Computer programs

The following programs were used to assemble the data and images for the hobby of rolling stock research and photography


FTS - File Tracking System

This was a program written to index negatives and unscanned material, slides, scanned material, computer images and files. Work began in 1998 on a strategy to index an unlimited number of files without HDD limits. One goal was a method to eventually converted unscanned material to file links once the images were scanned.

The system breaks down the indexing of material into two areas

  1. Physical location - filename, directory, disk, etc

  2. Logical indexing - category, topic, description, etc

The program can be downloaded from this link: FTS_EXE.ZIP. Current version is 5.43d May 2006

Install and run the program to a unique directory, such as '[DRIVE]:\FTS\'

To run properly, the program needs a browser name and the image viewer program name. This is changed in the menu section Utilities>Parameters. Text editor is optional. FTS can then open files for viewing and check the reports created. File links are opened by the browser using a program associated with the file.

If FTS is restored from a CD/DVD, the directory and files need to be altered from a READ ONLY condition.

The manual is installed as 'FTS_MAN.HTM'. This can be viewed with a HTML browser.

New versions of the program are released as required. A new version can be extracted and placed over the top of an older one. The data files are modified as required.



Register

This program was started in 1988 as a storage method for rollingstock data. It was in continuous development until 1998. The aim was to provide a program that would allow quick data entry, reduce data entry errors and provide a cross reference capability.

The program was developed in DOS from version 2.11 upwards to Windows. It functions best in the Windows 98 environment but can run easily in Win95 and WinXP. Setup in DOS requires file handling and memory tweaking. In Win98 the program can be unzipped and run in a DOS "window" that can be expanded full screen.

The program can run in XP Home or XP Pro with the following XP files installed: "Config.nt", "Autoexec.nt" and "Command.com" and located at "C:\Windows\system32\"

Note: The program 'Register' makes direct hardware calls to printers and the keyboard. This functionality is disabled under XP due to the operating system preventing direct hardware access. Some fields require use of CapsLock and NumLock which was previously done by the program

The program runs without a mouse and uses keyboard controls for selection and data entry. The program was developed during the early DOS years and had to incorporate file functions, text editing and printing within the same layout.

Download 'pjv_reg.zip' (aka 'Register') with this link

View the manual

In this manual, all fields are described and the methodology is explained.

Description of sample vehicle history output

Unpack the zipfile to a directory location such as '\reg' and then run the file called 'reg5.exe'. Change the properties of the application to run full screen and close the window on exit. Files may need to have the properties on disk changed to 'read/write'.

This file contains the data on about 82,000 vehicle identities, cross referenced across some 225,000 history items; ten years of data entry. The project would only be about 70% complete. This was sufficient to understand the basic vehicle and class movements across 100 years. The research was stopped because an obsessive hobby of this nature prevents project completion as more and more data is found.

The most interesting impact on rogram use has been the processor development. Taking the same size and routine request from the whole database, an XT would take 4-8 hours, a 486 processor would scrape in for an hour and the latest machines zoom through at about 90 seconds.

Written by Peter J. Vincent, updated 14/2/2007

pjv@pjv101.net