Butterfly effect from a simple script - TPMonitor

The guest blogger for today will definitely open your eyes to how a simple thing  can be personally rewarding , influence and inspire others, and foster small connections that make our world a bit smaller.  He is the author of TPMonitor, and is known on the internet by the nick name 'Tracemouse'.  Readers here may recall a prior post that I wrote about him some time ago. We are honored to have him here  sharing some of his experiences developing TPMonitor as well as the small story that encouraged him to continue writing and sharing  his useful program with the rest of the world.   Hope you enjoy this!

- Cleo

TPMonitor is actually an abbreviation of ThinkPad Monitor.   It is an auxiliary tool for ThinkPad, which is also my first effort creating software for the PC .  Since I upgraded my old ThinkPad T42 to a T61p last year, I noticed the temperature of the keyboard was a bit warmer.  I was curious to know the exact increase in temperature, so I tried a tool that every DIYer would use, which is 'Everest'.

However, it was not as helpful as I expected; it could not even detect the CPU temperature.  Next, I tried the TPFanControl that had gained a very good review by all ThinkPad lovers is certainly a perfect match tool for ThinkPad.   Nonetheless, I do not want to control the ThinkPad fans by using software and not to mention it's unpleasant UI which is really driving me a little crazy.  After doing some research on the early source code of TPFanControl and the How-To of ThinkPad Sensors provided freely in the web, I decided to write my own temperature monitoring software. Sounds cool, isn’t it? You may get the latest copy of TPMonitor  here. Below are some snapshots of the enhanced TPMonitor.


I am a programmer for bigger sized machines and I must tell you that the on the job experience is entirely different from PC programming. For this reason, I learned C++ language by myself while analyzing the techniques of retrieving data from ThinkPad Sensors.

When I successfully installed WinIo.dll and correctly read the temperatures retrieved from ThinkPad Sensors, I was very sure that this project could be easily accomplished.  In the following month, I dedicated my spare time to developing TPMonitor. I recalled that there was a moment that a colleague of mine questioned me because I was in a sort of daze having fully focusing on this project. In fact, I was thinking hard on how to display ThinkPad components’ temperature in chart form as showed in Task Manager by utilizing programming codes. Generally speaking, the development of TPMonitor was smooth without many hurdles.  Thanks to Google, I could learn from the experiences shared by other experts. TPMonitor has garnered attention and compliments from ThinkPad lovers when it was first released and introduced in a Chinese forum patronized by many Chinese ThinkPad lovers, 51nb.com. I reckon this is the ultimate goal that every programmer  wants, which is to be recognized for their hard work.  Sometime later, TPMonitor’s development was set aside due to other heavy workload on my plate.  The ever hot (popular) thread in the forum slowly faded and fell out of their sight. Nevertheless, my work was never a waste at all which I found out later. Reward came to me 2 weeks ago after I downloaded Tn3270 Plus from SDI website for working purpose.  Surprisingly, I received a thrilling email from the SDI CEO! I was told that the CEO was using my TPMonitor on his very own X60s!  His compliment of my piece of work is truly a big encouragement for me. To recognize my effort, I was given a free license for Tn3270 Plus! Oh my ~ Someone from the East is being recognized by another man in another end of the world. Frankly speaking, the world is not that big, isn’t it? We have been keeping in touch through emails. Since English is used during work time, there is no problem of writing to him at all. A little thing he does not know is that the Chinese have their own powerful English dictionary called iCIBA. Compliments  for my English proficiency, encouraged me to enhance TPMonitor with multiple languages.   Just one day and I was done with the enhancement. The  SDI CEO was the first person I shared the work with, for he is my inspiration and his encouragement is really appreciated. My relationship with this CEO reminds me of one of the Native America Indian’s belief that every one of us has to be responsible for what we have done, as every little thing influences and affects things that are around it.   As we observe in the contemporary networking world, the practice of sharing by worldwide web users is slowly but surely enlarging the power of “FREE” concept; and it is actually been affecting  our lives, and even our future.   Like the beating of a butterfly's wings, small influences can grow to create greater effects.   So, what butterfly effect have you created?