From the Editor
Written by Larry Salomon Jr.
you picture this: OS/2 wins Infoworld's Reader's Choice Award for the
fiftieth year in a row, and Stewart Alsop is still "predicting" that this
year is the final year, albeit in a wheelchair. You have to love this.
Steward, get it right!
In case you didn't pick up on the last paragraph and have been dead for the past week, OS/2 won Infoworld's Reader's Choice Award in the "Overall Product" category for the fourth year consecutively. Additionally, it narrowly beat Windows 95 in the "Best Client Product" category.
"How's 'bout dem apples?"
You have to hand it to them - regardless of the fact that it eats system resources like pancakes on Sunday, the Visual Age development environment(s) are fantastic. Of course, if it didn't take a one gigahertz CPU to finish your compile before next Tuesday, it would be nicer, but it is still a neat environment.
And, soon, you'll be able to do Java with it. This week's PC Week reported that IBM should be making this announcement in mid-summer with a target release date of "before the end of 1996." I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to it.
April Issue of EDM/2 Cancelled
Due to a lack of interest and a lack of time, the April issue of EDM/2 has been cancelled. I'll be an optimist and say that it's because everyone is rushing to make the new, 15th of the month deadline. At least that's what I hope it is.
So What's Your Point?
Other than IBM kicking some Redmond butt (for the fourth year running), nothing else that your reporter considers newsworthy has happened. If I'm wrong, let me know!
"Eat My Shorts, Man!"
Hey, hey, it seems that Bart is indeed still alive and kicking, although IBM seems to have been able to keep him under wraps quite well. (Is that a good thing?)
IBM is apparently readying VisualAge for Basic (VAB) for OS/2 and NT, coming soon to a software store near you. Other operating systems (AIX is the only one I can imagine, although Windows 95 might be another) are soon to follow.
It is claimed that it will compete head-to-head with Visual Basic, although VAB will probably add object oriented features.
One thing they probably consciously left out is that it'll probably have a hefty toll on your system's resources, mused the Meticulous Meowste...(Hey! Whose column is this, anyway?)
So if things are hunky-dory in Blue Land, why did DeScribe drop OS/2 support for their namesake word processor? Rumor had it that this was reported in the printed version of PC Week the week before last, but I couldn't find it in the online edition. I'd like to hear from you if you can confirm this.
I'm not trying to beat up on DeScribe but although this is a sore blow to OS/2 - DeScribe was, after all, designed for OS/2, so it takes advantage of multiple threads, etc. - the user interface lacked the polish that is evident in the current leader, Word from (gulp!) Microsoft. I will abashedly admit that I've tried DeScribe, Ami Pro, Wordstar, and Microsoft Word and I have always found Word to be the hands-down winner.
But then again, user interfaces always seem to look better coming from Redmond. When was the last time you saw a dialog box that had one or two, one-line tall text elements on it, yet took 75 percent of your screen to display? I still think that the usability departments of many companies, IBM especially, are either virtually non-existant, or are being overridden by other forces.
I've actually seen the latter at one of my jobs. This company, who shall remain nameless because I don't want them tracking me down during my vacation with the Cheyenne Indian tribe, hired a person to lead the usability "group" which was to review the products produced and indicate where the interfaces were lacking. However, when this person spoke up about a specific product (for another, 16-bit operating system, I might add) and said that there were numerous inconsistencies with the way the "rest of the world" did things, the director responsible for that group took it personally and fought it tooth and nail; he won the argument when he escalated the issue to the CEO, with whom he had a close relationship.
Why'd they hire him if they weren't going to listen to him?
It's in the Mail
I received, last week, a catalog from IBM Direct, of all places. They put together a very nice catalog of the OS/2 products currently available from both IBM and participating ISV's. I was quite surprised and was especially taken aback when I saw that many of the prices were reasonable as well.
Someone at IBM seems to have their ear to the ground. Good start, guys, but don't stop there!
Reading, Writing, and Responding
Read the articles, write an article to contribute your share, and respond to other author's contributions. We're testing a script that has been written which will allow you to fill out a form and send in your comments to both the author of the article or column and to EDM/2. When the script is made available sometime later this week, you will be able to help improve the quality of the site by using it.
Speaking of improvements, the following changes were made last week to the site:
The layout of the front page and the "other" front page ("Also Available Here...") was changed to make it more readable. We're changing the article and column indices as well, but these will take longer to appear since their a little more involving.
The blank advertisements were removed from the section indices of the articles and columns. We're not making any money from these, so there's no sense in wasting your bandwidth (yet); I'm sure people get the point on the other pages.
The What's New?, Miscellany, and Letters sections were deleted because they weren't really contributing anything and weren't maintained due to lack of activity. It is agreed that, using these criteria, the Gotcha section and a few others should probably receive the same judgement, but we still have hope for these.
Let us know what you think about these changes!
Finally, some respect!
Each time, when the going seems to be getting rougher, I always manage to find something uplifting. This week, I was spending quality time keeping up-to-date (read: surfing the web) when I found that Adobe is beta-testing their OS/2 version of Acrobat.
I'm truly excited. Finally, some major company with some clout is following through (that's the operative phrase) on their promise to write an OS/2 version of some popular software. Check it out at http://www.adobe.com/amber.
Speaking of popular software, the product you love to hate has released a new maintenance version. That's right, I'm talking about IBM's WebExplorer 1.03B. It's available at ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/ps/products/os2/fixes/v3.0warp/english-us/webx103b/.
Yeah, I'd like to see you type that in error-free on the first try.
So What's This?
You know, I'm really tired of seeing some other geeks who formed their company in 1994 go public and become multimillionaires in one day. (I'm referring to the IPO of Yahoo last week.) It's not that these guys haven't put in a hard-day's work, but how innovative is a huge card-catalog?
Lessee...I incorporated in 1995, so I'm due next year. Yeah, I'll be holding my breath for that one.
All kidding aside, Yahoo's success (a serious congratulations to those two who started it only to keep themselves from getting lost on the Web) goes to show us that there is always a demand for certain kinds of things and that those who are willing to make the effort to ease the burden of performing those things will be the ones to make the money, while I sit on my butt and complain about it. [grin]
I can't believe it. I just can't believe it.
Someone actually apologized to Stewart Alsop for the behavior of other religious zealots, collectively known as OS/2 users.
Uh, hey buddy. Psst. Yeah, you. Err, if I wanted to have someone apologize for me, I would have done it myself. Thanks.
No kidding, someone actually did this. I couldn't believe it. It was said that operating systems are not religions and that we should get a life.
Let me try to explain this in simple terms: we like OS/2. I won't claim that you can't run Windows 95 if you don't try to stop me from using OS/2. But that's exactly what is happening every time the press puts OS/2 in a bad light - they make OS/2 look bad, ISV's think that they shouldn't write software for such a bad OS, and I suffer because I have to use something I don't want to (Windows) to get my work accomplished.
I'm not saying that they shouldn't do it when it is deserved; but when it does well, say so. In other words, Stewart should have kept his mouth shut when OS/2 won (again). Like I said two weeks ago, I can easily picture him in a wheelchair saying how OS/2 got lucky for the 60th time in-a-row.
Hot off of the Press
...is absolutely nothing! That's right - for a limited time, you'll read absolutely nothing here on this page! And, if you read it now, we'll throw in a set of Ginseng Knives!
Seriously, this week is all but dead. Last week, I found some things in places other than my usual haunts, so when I didn't find anything in PC Week and Infoworld, I decided to go playing around with my Hot List in WebExplorer.
I still didn't find much.
The only thing that I thought was interesting - it's very interesting, even - is that IBM has been demoing TrueType support in the Merlin betas. This feature has been asked for annually by the teeming millions and it looks like we're gonna get it.
Oh, one other thing - the same source (Infoworld, I think) mentioned that Merlin will support "irregularly shaped windows." I would love to find out more about this, so if you know anything...