Contents of the DEADMAN.DOC file
Keith P. Graham
A "deadman" is a switch that was (and still is) used by
railroad engine designers to prevent the engineer from
falling asleep at the throttle. The deadman originally was a
switch that if the engineer fell over the switch would go
off, stopping the train. Now the engineers are attached
electronically to a device which requires them to touch a
metal portion of the controls every thirty seconds. If they
don't touch the metal, an alarm goes off and then the train
is automatically stopped.
This program was written for the benefit of a blind person
who was being disconnected from bbs's by the bbs's timeout
because of not being able to read the braille screen reader
fast enough to respond in time.
This program will send some characters every x number of
seconds so that the BBS will think that he is active. This
is a PC Deadman switch. If the person does not press a key
then the deadman takes over and prevents the crash.
The way to install DEADMAN.COM is to enter:
DEADMAN /Mmessage /C/Pnnn
/M is the message switch, everything following the /M up to
the end of line or the next slash character is the deadman
message (ie: these are the characters sent to the bbs to
keep the connection going. These must be selected with
care since you don't want to send input that will mess up
your situation with the bbs.
/C is the Carriage return key. If you want you message to
terminate with a carriage return include /C somewhere on
the command line.
/Pnnn where nnn is the number of seconds between the last
time a key was struck and the issuance of the deadman
message. There must be 3 digits! This is a Q&D program
and as such tends to be a little user antagonistic.
/F means turn off deadman. For instance at the A> enter
DEADMAN/F and the deadman is turned off.
/O is on (the opposite of off).
In addition to /O and /F the deadman switch can be turned off
with a hot key combination. Alt-Left shift-D toggles the
deadman. There will be sound indicating that deadman saw the
There is a 2 second warning sound that goes off before the
deadman runs so touch any key (I suggest a shift key) if you
don't want deadman to kick in just then.
I am releasing this to the public domain. Another example of
a program which is incredibly interesting to code and useful
to a small number of people, but not in the least commercial.
I am also including the code.
I hope that DEADMAN finds a home somewhere in someone's
autoexec.bat and doesn't languish forgotten on a few remote
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