Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quick Note – Windows Serial Port Enumeration

I am working to develop a serial port application on Windows. As part of this project I ended up wanting to code a routine to present a list of active serial ports on a PC.

What I thought would be an easy tasked turned into an evenings worth of work…

It turns out that there are a number of different ways to pull serial port information from a PC and they don’t all come up with the same set of ports.

The list of ports in some cases includes ports that are defined but not active or in some cases doesn’t include serial ports assigned to devices like modems. What a mess.

If anyone finds there way to this posting I wanted to give them a pointer to a site that helped me out a great deal. Check out Naughter Software’s EnumSerialPorts the shows 9 different ways to enumerate serial ports.

Thanks to PJ Naughter for putting this together and making it available to the rest of us.

It Worked for Me – FIOS Installation

We recently moved from Comcast to FIOS. The change was sparked by recent changes in Comcast’s cable service. We had been a long time Comcast customer and had a very good experience. However, when I compared bundled offerings from Comcast and Verizon the FIOS bundle came out better.

The week before Thanksgiving I put in a FIOS order and scheduled the installation for the next week. The day before the installation Verizon called to confirm that we would be home during the appointed window. The morning of the installation the Verizon Installer called to let us know that he would be arriving towards the middle of the installation window.

When the installer arrived we reviewed the setup. We looked at where the phone lines came into the house, the cable TV and found an appropriate power outlet that would be able to supply power to the box on the outside of the house.

It was an aerial delivery so shortly after we finished with the review another Verizon person showed up with a bucket truck and between the two Verizon personnel they installed the fiber to the house.

Overall the installation took four or five hours. The installer was very professional and even went to the trouble of having shoe covers for the inside work.

We now have a new box on the outside of the house, two phone lines moved over, three TVs connected and a new wireless Internet firewall/router. With one minor exception all parts of the installation went without a hitch. There was a problem with features on the two telephone lines which were reversed. A follow up email to customer service fixed this within 24 hours.

Two weeks after the install the TV service has been working flawlessly as has the Internet. One of the phone lines still has a problem with call forwarding.

Customizing the setup of the TV remotes and the Internet was easy to do. The Internet firewall/router even has a few bells and whistles that my previous Linksys and DLink boxes did not.

All in all a very good experience…

Time Flies – November 2009

Wow, looking back at my last post I see it was in October. November just flew by. Look for a couple of posts on activities that were squeezed in with everything else:

  • FIOS Migration
  • Garman GPS MAP 60 Acquisition
  • Hacking around with Qt
  • Arduino Robotics