Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Info on how to get a free copy of TRIUS' spreadsheet program AS-EASY-AS for DOS and AS-EASY-AS for Windows and messages by users on how to use it, etc. (Discontinued, but still used by many users)
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chasmoran
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Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:20 pm

Hello!

Back in the mid-1990s, I acquired a shareware version of As-Easy-As for DOS, in order to program a worksheet as a weekly domestic budgeting system. I later bought the spreadsheet, so as to have the latest version, which was 5.5 at that time. I have using it to control my own (and later my family's) financial planning ever since, updating it with new input every week - about 17 years in total.

During this time, I have improved the system several times - the latest version is a major overhaul. So why did I never re-write it for Windows? The fact is, I'm not a professional programmer and my skills are limited: I never did find time to learn VBasic. However, I have been able to get the DOS spreadsheet running under Windows 95/98/2000 using a desktop shortcut to the program, with a switch to auto-load the worksheet.

My reason for posting this, is that I have been trying to get it to run under Windows XP. It loads the spreadsheet from the shortcut, but then reports that the worksheet file is "too large to load". Clearly this has to do with how the program asks Windows XP for memory info, or the form in which the data is provided.

I've tried using the As-Easy-As virtual memory switch, adjusting the pc's virtual memory from manual setting to system setting, and managed to cut down the worksheet file size by about 100kb (to 432kb), but to no avail. I'm wondering if disabling XP's Direct Memory Access Controller might do the trick? - but don't want to risk upsetting the system. Does anyone have a solution to the problem?

Thanks for looking!

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by BillRotando » Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:35 am

Have you tried downloading the latest version available for free here? The program was discontinued, but the company made the latest version 5.7 available for free to everyone. I would suggest you try that first, in case the memory management in 5.7 had been improved. BTW, if I recall, the size of the file on disk had nothing to do with how much RAM it needed to load. I had similar questions, at the time, and in order for them to demonstrate the point, I remember them giving me a sample worksheet that was 20K on disk but would expand to 1.2 Mb in RAM.

Anyway, try v5.7 and let the rest of us here know if you were successful.
If at first you don't succeed, just give up and do something else

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:10 am

Thanks very much for the suggestion. The only thing I'm wary of is, whether my worksheet macros will run the same in the later version. I seem to recall that there were slight differences in the macro operations between the shareware version and 5.5. Of course, if it solves the XP problem it should be worth making a few modifications. I'll try it, anyway!

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:23 pm

Hi again!

I was a little crestfallen to find that the latest version of As-Easy-As for DOS gave the same "File too large" message. However, I decided to take a look at the latest on-screen Help file, to see if there was an improved method of configuring the program for larger files. I was disappointed to see that the VP and VM switches were the same as in v5.5, as i had already tried them in the shortcut to v5.5 without success.

Suddenly, I recalled what you told me, that the file size on disk wasn 't necessarily the same as the size in memory, and the lights came on! I had previously set the VM size calculated on the basis of the file size on disk, not in memory! When I set the VM switch to maximum (500) pages, my worksheet loaded not only into v5.7 but also v5.5! So, many thanks for the key datum: problem solved.

As it turns out, in between my original post and this one, I had also tried running the spreadsheet under Windows 7 Starter edition on my wife's netbook. I found there wasn't any memory problem, but a "full screen mode not supported" error. I googled this, however, and found the solution: to disable the display driver. Sounds drastic but works!

On a related subject: I'd like to make my budgeting worksheet and documentation available to any interested forum member to download free, and was wondering how to do this? Particularly, to any member with programming skills who might be interested in converting it into a Windows program?

Cheers,
Charlie

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by BillRotando » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:41 pm

Thanks for letting us know!

As for uploading, you can just post a message here, in this forum with some sort of explanation, and attach the file to the message. That's all you should have to do. WKS files may not be allowed as uploads, you may want to zip it first. Or you can try it and see if the forum software rejects it.

Anyway, glad you were able to get it to work.
If at first you don't succeed, just give up and do something else

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:24 am

Hi!
Well, for anyone interested, I've attached a ZIP file with the following file content:
1) the Moneystar budget worksheet (monystar.aut);
2) an Aseasy configuration file (.cfg) which works under DOS version 5.5 (not sure if it's compatible with 5.7);
3) 3 budget samples (.m_r files);
4) 2 desktop shortcuts (moneystar.pif for Win 95/98/2000/7 and moneystar XP.pif for Win XP), and
5) the Guide (.doc file).
The config file contains colours and punctuation changes. If it won't load into v5.7, you should reconfigure the currency symbol to a blank (i.e. delete it), and change the menu key from "/" to "`" (that weird key with the odd symbols!).
To install:
1) Copy the relevant shortcut to the desktop;
2) copy monystar.aut and the 3 .m_r files to c:\aseasy;
3) if you wish to try the config file, first back up your old one then copy this one to c:\aseasy;
4) copy the Guide to your Documents folder.
For Windows 7 users, if you get a message that the system doesn't support full screen mode, you should disable the display driver. Don't try this unless you're confident you can do it safely!
Moneystar is still undergoing trials (I'm using it myself) and under development (meaning I tinker with it occasionally!) and may still have the odd bug, but I'm confident I've got most of them. Any problems or questions, please ask.
Strange as it may sound, although the system works, it isn't a "finished product": I think of it as a demonstration of budgeting principles and the basis for a Windows version, which would be much much better...!
Cheers,
Charlie
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Moneystar.zip
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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:28 am

Hi...P.S.
For anyone who's downloaded or intends to download the zip file: I've found a couple of bugs in the worksheet. Will upload a revision when I've sorted then out. Thanks! :)

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:38 pm

Hi!
This version irons out a couple of bugs.
Cheers,
Charlie
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mstr_rev.zip
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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:06 pm

Hi,
I notice no-one has downloaded the revised worksheet - which is fine of course - but I'm still finding bugs and making improvements, so if anyone would like to take this further please message me separately.
Thanks!
Charlie

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:49 pm

Hi again,
At the risk of becoming a rather wearisome fixture on the forum, having started I must continue, especially as I've found and fixed yet another bug in the Moneystar worksheet, and also made a major-ish modification to it, which hopefully won't create any future bugs of its own!
So, I'm attaching the latest revisions of the worksheet and the Guide doc, to which I've added an appendix explaining the modification.
Thanks, I'll get my coat... :)

Charlie
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mst_rev2.zip
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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by BillRotando » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:25 pm

I downloaded the file and took a quick look at it, but with all honesty, having to jump through hoops to get an old program running only to load a worksheet to do some financial analysis, is not really worth the effort, other than just for seeing such a relatively old system still work. I am sure there are plenty (free) apps or systems of apps these days that are native to Win7 that can do all that, with no special hoops to jump through. Just my opinion.
If at first you don't succeed, just give up and do something else

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:49 am

Hi !
Found yet another little bug and squashed it! :) New revision attached.
Cheers,
Charlie
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mst_rev3.zip
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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:08 am

Hi Bill,
Got what you said, but you overlook the point that maybe this is a better budgeting system than those already available for Windows 7. I would maintain (i.e. my opinion is) that, if you really need to sort out your finances, my system will do the business. There's a certain amount of opinion involved in judging such things, but the ultimate criterion has to be: does it do the job required? - rather than: does it run under the latest platform?
Cheers, Charlie

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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:12 am

Hi (yet again),
If you're fed up of seeing these posts, look away now :)
Still looking? Well, I've found yet another bug. It's true what they say: debugging is always a major part of programming - even with macros for an old DOS spreadsheet. If anyone has actually succeeded in setting up a budget with the system, please message me, as this bug may have distorted your income figures.
Still reading? Because there's a little back-story to this worksheet which explains why it's so important to me. In the mid 1980s I was unemployed several years and had no incentive to budget, because I spent more or less all my social security every week with little or nothing to spare. In 1989, I got a job which boosted my income greatly but, apart from the occasional luxury, my spending remained the same. Because I knew I was earning more than my personal cost of living (=solvency), I still felt no incentive to budget.
About a year later, however, I was persuaded to take out a loan, then to extend it - twice! Suddenly I was in unfamiliar territory. It wasn't that I knew I was spending more than my earnings (=insolvency), but that I DIDN'T KNOW. I was paralysed by uncertainty. Suddenly I had the incentive to budget! Knowing what was happening to my money gave me the power to change things. It has probably rescued me from possible ruin several times since.
So you see why this spreadsheet is so significant to me. I don't expect it to mean as much to anyone else: it won't, unless you've been in a similar situation. I only wish I'd started budgeting earlier and not needed a disaster to motivate me!
Cheers, Charlie
PS, there's an additional modification to the week-ending date change function, explained in a revision of the Guide, which is also attached.
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mst_rev4.zip
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Re: Using As-Easy-As for DOS with Windows XP

Post by chasmoran » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:34 pm

Hi, two more bugs found and fixed. This attachment is dedicated to the one, kind individual still downloading them... :)
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mst_rev5.zip
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