Donations by Microsoft for the OS Lab

Microsoft has donated
  • four Compaq Ipaq H3970/3975 handheld devices running Windows CE 3.0. The device is equipped with bluetooth, wireless 802.11b (Cisco Aironet 350 PC Card) and infrared communication. The H39xx uses an Intel XScale processor, the PXA 250. The market value at the time of donation was in excess of $4,000.
  • Two Tablet PCs (Fujitsi T3010D) for experimental classroom usage and software development for Tablet PC software under the Windows XP Tablet PC edition. (Market value at time of donation: $4000)
  • four Compaq Ipaq H5550/5555 handheld devices running Windows PowerPC 2003. The device is equipped with bluetooth, built-in wireless 802.11b and infrared communication as well as biometric fingerprint reader. The H55xx uses an Intel XScale processor, the PXA 250. The market value at the time of donation was about $2,600.

The donation are to enhance teaching and research on Real-Time and Embedded Systems as well as advanced Operating Systems Principles.

Results of experiments:

More references:

Sample student feedback:

  • I think the ipaq was a very useful learning tool. We were forced to learn new tools such as EVC++ and forced to learn to use the windows API. I don't know if the latter applied to everyone but it was an introduction to Windows programming for myself. The only difficulty was finding relevant information about the Ipaq and xscale. However, this is to be expected and forced us to become somewhat efficient at finding information. I will be honest, when we first decided to use the Ipaq it seemed a little overwhelming. But, looking back on what we accomplished, I feel I have learned a great deal from using the ipaq in our project and from the class in general.
  • Working with the Ipaq was a good learning experience. On the positive side, we got an opportunity to work with a handheld device, experiment with its wireless networking capabilities (specific to our project), gain insight into the real-time features of WinCE. Several times, we faced the problem of the device not responding, which necessitated a 'reset' of the device. The other issues we had were related to the RTP/RTCP protocols and wireless networks, not specific to the Ipaq.
  • The experience of using XScale with WinCE was good. The API's provided by WinCE eased a lot of coding effort. I have no specific views on the XScale hardware. However, we were not able to exploit the hardware fully as we had only the API's that WinCE provided us. Ideally, it would have been good if Microsoft gave us Platform Builder 3.0 to go along with the hardware. Using this we could run a lot of experiments that is not possible from the application level.
Roman Stylus and Writing Tablet
~2nd century AC.