Feeds

back to article Wyse words mate

Next year is Wyse’s 30th anniversary. The company rose to fame during the 1980s with terminal emulation thin clients, and although it had a brief flirtation with own-brand PCs it is its focus on thin clients that has made this company famous. Today, Wyse specialises in the client side of remote computing and desktop …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

The Windows Media Player thing

Hi,

I did some research concerning thin clients a few years ago.

The reason the TCX suite will only kick in if you use Windows Media Player is because it inserts custom components into the DirectShow filter chain used in that program.

A Wyse TCX component on the server side simply takes the encoded video and sends it to the client, where Wyse software is available to decode it.

This will work with other media players, too, like the lightweight Media Player Classic. Basically, as long as the media player uses the DirectShow filters, the TCX suite will step in to accelerate playback.

VLC does the decoding all on its own, without using DirectShow, so video tends to take much more CPU (both on the server and the client) and more bandwidth if you use VLC.

Citrix does much the same thing with their Remote desktop software, btw.

Regards,

Jeroen

1
0
Coat

For whatever reason...

I have some fond memories of those old amber-screen Wyse terminals of days gone by. They always seemed to work well. I've no doubt that their newer products should also work well--these people do know this particular business.

I'm less impressed with the company when it comes to actually supporting their products. Someone gave me a dandy little Wyse Winterm J400 that looked very promising--small flash disk, single twelve volt DC input, some low power VIA CPU...what all could be done with this? Why don't I just find out what the official specs are?

Errm...that'll be a bit difficult. To look at the Wyse support website (which is a poorly organized and hard to use mess) was unproductive. Wyse would have you believe they never actually made a Winterm J400. Which is fine but inconvenient, considering that I have one and want to know about it.

Believe me, that does make a difference when you're planning to buy into some company's current product. Disk space and web site hosting is cheap--there is simply no excuse.

The default BIOS setup password for a Winterm J400 is "Fireport". Just in case anyone ever asks.

3
0
Stop

Youngsters, nowadays...

"The company rose to fame during the 1980s with terminal emulation thin clients" - thin clients? Wyse were pretty well known for making *real* (not emulated) terminals, well before anyone thought up the phrase "thin client".

1
0
Gold badge

They were indeed real terminals...

...but they could also emulate a variety of others beyond their "native" type. Does that make them hybrids? Real terminals? Emulators? It's a bit before my time, in truth. I started off with a trash-80 and c64 and went straight to an 80286. By the time I got around to dealing with anything more client/server or mainframe-like than a BBS, Novell was the 800lb gorilla.

I apologise then if the terminology is slightly off. Everything I can find from those days talks much about their capabilities to emulate various kinds of terminal…so I classified them as terminal emulators.

As to "thin clients," well...they wouldn't have called a bombe a "computer" in WWII, but I would still classify it as "an analogue computer" based on today's terminology...

0
0
Happy

You could call them "Smart Terminals"...

Those old Wyse terminals were really terminals, but some had a minimal computer and control program onboard that allowed you to customize some options like key repeat rate or beeper volume. And change the type of emulation, of course. You might contrast to the "dumb" or maybe even "more conventional" type of terminal that did what it was told to do by a host computer and was powerless to do anything else as it had no control program of its own. (Some dumb terminals did have memory and processors. These were only used to buffer information being displayed, or to relieve some of the communications overhead.) Dumb terminals are pretty much limited to plain text and a monochrome display.

The "official" term for such a terminal with some control, emulation and configuration options is a "smart terminal". Most terminals are smart to some degree, being able to process and act upon things like control codes or color/graphics displays.

Since you mentioned the Trash-80 and C64, it sounds like you were computing almost from the rise of the home computer's popularity to the present day. Computing with terminals is kind of a specialty configuration and I would dare say that the closest many computer users got to that sort of thing was the use of a terminal emulator on a real computer to dial into a BBS. Then again, I don't know your experiences in computing and should not make assumptions.

Anyway, just thought you might find the information useful. I enjoy reading your articles when they surface.

0
0
Gold badge

@The Unexpected Bill

Well, my first exposure to a Trash-80 was when I was...4? I don't actually remember my first forrays into computing...but I do remember vividly being confused by the introduction of the mouse into my computing environment.

My earliest experiences were generally as simple as using someone else’s pre-configured text menus and playing games. Type 1 and hit return to get into the spelling game or Type 2 and hit enter to get into a text-based adventure game.

It was the text adventure games that did it for me: having to learn exactly how to type in “pick up candle” or some such really made future use of computers easier. From a fairly young age I was conditioned to learn how the computer worked as opposed to trying expecting the computer to know how I worked. This makes me a terrible programmer (I am not used to bending the system to my will) but a good sysadmin. (As a sysadmin I learn what the system can do and thus how to make it behave in unexpected ways.)

It wasn’t until the 80286 that I really got some legs under me and started working on my own. Navigating the command line, writing batch files, coding in QBasic and generally fully exploring what DOS could do. I remember being so proud of myself when I got my first 386 laptop (1MB RAM, 100MB HDD.) I had figured out how to load almost everything into extended memory and was sitting pretty on 631K conventional post-boot with all my drivers and compression software loaded!

It was an attempt to be really clever in early grade school that sent me down the road towards systems administration. I was trying to get a document I had written in Word Perfect over to a floppy so that I could bring it to school to work on it over lunch. The disk I took out of the box was unformatted and my father (with his magic book of commands) was not around. I hit “Format, return, Y, return.” Wiped out the C:\ drive. Oops. Fortunately my uncle was able to unformat the drive – but it was that incident that made me decide it was time to stop farting around with these smeggling things for games and documents and actually learn how to use them.

As you can probably take from the context then, the original “smart terminals” really were before my time. I certainly had procomm plus and a modem on my 80286. BBSes and fun! But it honestly was the closest I ever got to “terminals” until I was in junior high (early 90s) and started spending time at Libraries.

Odd though…the more this technology progresses headlong into the future…the more I miss the simple days of my 80286 and the sacred sheet of local BBSes. Photocopied and re-photocopied and distributed with great ceremony to young nerds like me. Oaths of secrecy were sworn and much ado was made about the importance of the information on that sheet. Computers were a super-secret private club back then. They were kludgy and wonky, awkward…and really cool.

I miss that. This instant interconnectivity, disposability and interdependency is a whole other world. It’s lost it’s shine somehow. The /mystery/ is gone. There is too much information available at your fingertips, and not enough requirement to spend nights hunting through piles of old books and documentation. Oh, but that’s another rant altogether…

1
0

Indeed

We use the much more basic Wyse S10's for our low-use users in the office, and the odd HP thin client laptop too.

However I HATE the WDM software. For more beffy use (like you've mentioned) when I want some basic local apps but the option of using Citrix for the hardcore I use HP thin clients. Much, much better devices in terms of management.

Plus they look well sexy too.

1
0
Gold badge

@The Original Steve

I made the very same comments to the Wyse folks during a teleconference with them. (This was whilst wearing the hat of "sysadmin for my employer" rather than "dude who writes for El Reg." I never really did get the chance to do any sort of interview with them for El Reg.)

They were really open to my comments! They put me on with some bigwig in charge of the WDM software and he took notes furiously. Apparently, they have not traditionally had many SMEs as customers…but are seeing this as a growing source of new clients. As such, they promised that they would start incorporating things into the WDM that addressed all of these concerns. Kind of cool for a guy sysadmining a shop that bought a piddly 45 units.

I promise you, I had quite a list. Not the least of which was “there’s nothing in this software that helps me diagnose why the PXE stuff works some of the time, but not others. I only have one DHCP server…what’s up?!?” I also wanted a simple way to do things like “put a *.RDP shortcut on someone’s desktop to talk to their specific VM.” Why do we have to build these absurd packages to deploy things…why can I not simply feed it an MSI? Why aren’t there some GPO like abilities to do thigns like “copy this file to the C:\ drive, into a folder called “Data Store” and set it as the background.” There were others, but those are the highlights. The Wyse guys seemed quite keen on all of this.

Long and the short is…at some random point in the future, we should be able to expect a bigish revanmp of the WDM software with all sorts of things to let SMEs manage these devices better. When, how much of what I talked about will actually make it in…this I don’t know. Here’s hoping it’s soon!

0
0

Good, if deployed properly.

My employer deployed Wyse terminals to our communal staff areas to replace standard Dell desktops which were due for end-of-life replacement.

The only problem is that while we can carry out simple tasks such as checking fault logs and reading emails, it is useless for certain very important tasks required in my field.

Much of our field equipment (deployed during the early-mid 1990's) can only be interrogated via a dial-up telnet connection. The Wyse terminals are incapable of this. Also, rather stupidly, they send us our monthly video briefing by DVD, the Wyse terminals don't have an optical drive. There are many other safety critical tasks which the terminal cannot perform.

Also, due to the very remote location of our base, our corporate network access is very slow (<1Mb/s), which results is app access being ridiculously long. It takes 2 minutes to open MS Word alone!

Our manager tried to have the terminal replaced with a desktop, but IT refused on grounds of policy. Eventually he got round it by requesting a personal issue laptop for himself and then donating it to our cause.

It would seem that some IT managers have blind ambition to save power and cost with these terminals, but if in turn that means I cannot get the equipment up and running as I don't have the means to remotely interrogate the it, then any IT savings will be swiftly lost in compensation payments to the customer.

1
0
Troll

Who's saving the energy? Who's paying for it?

Doesn't this kind of operation just shift energy costs from the enduser to the network/server/cloud, by enormously increasing the amount of data to be held/organised/transmitted (2 minutes to d/l Word for example)? Typical example of outsourcing costs, byte-shuffling (would have been paper-shuffling a few decades ago).

Anyone who can produce references to studies comparing energy usage under different paradigms (thick client, thin client, etc)? With, of course, comparable-tech hardware in the clients - I read somewhere recently of a CPU that's using just one (1) watt...

Not denying the management advantages. But the great strategic advantage of the thin/partly dumb client is the strangle-hold the cloud gives to software providers in particular to make sure they get paid for their software by providing it via SaaS, at the expense of the user, competing alternatives being much decreased.

Again, I enquire, have any suitably cynical TCO studies been published?

0
0
Thumb Down

Have you looked at any other Thin Clients?

Wyse, mainly there WDM product is out dated. Most of their development happens in India for the management suite and the wyse ThinOS. Don't try to use their wireless with any type of encryption because is will not work. Building and maintaining their configuration files ini, can only be explained as archaic. You can use a third party non supported tool to created them, though. Try making a major change in a global company when you have more than 80 ini files world wide on 60 or more different server locations. Wyse is not as smart as a solution as you would think. Look into a little German company called IGEL. Test their thin clients out and let me know what you think.

0
0
Thumb Down

Really, have you looked at any other Thin Clients?

Wyse, mainly there WDM product is out dated. Most of their development happens in India for the management suite and the wyse ThinOS. Don't try to use their wireless with any type of encryption because is will not work. Building and maintaining their configuration files ini, can only be explained as archaic. You can use a third party non supported tool to created them, though. Try making a major change in a global company when you have more than 80 ini files world wide on 60 or more different server locations. Wyse is not as smart as a solution as you would think. Look into a little German company called IGEL. Test their thin clients out and let me know what you think.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.