From the Editor
Written by Larry Salomon Jr.
like the ole' one-two body punch that you know is coming but can't do
anything about. Doesn't it sometimes seem like no one wants to do
anything about it, though? Peter Coffee reports in this week's PC Week that
Microsoft is not going directly to the object-oriented file system in
Cairo but will instead make constant incremental upgrades to NT to
(eventually) achieve this goal.
The really scary thing is that they'll get away with it again. Just like they'll get away with the ActiveX confusion that they've created. According to the opinions of the trade press, once the version of Visual Basic is released that generates ActiveX controls, no one will remember how bad it really is. I can relate - I had thought Basic was dead and buried until Microsoft resurrected it and (worse yet) made it one of the most popular languages in the "I'm not really a geek" market.
PC Expo is Here Again
All of this hoopla can only mean one thing (actually, it could mean several, but that sounded good so I went with it) - PC Expo is back in town. I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't apply for a hotdog vendor's license. Anyone who has attended this show knows what I'm talking about - this is the only week when hotdogs on the West Side cost $2.00 each, and that's the bargain price!
The show should be good, though. There is supposedly a separate section just for the Internet and related technologies, which I am looking forward to browsing. Also, who can forget all of the goodies, although the quality has been declining in recent years (as I have been told. I haven't attended the past two shows.)
Anyway, if you are planning on being there, send me email and we'll meet somehow.
Cast Your Ballots
Speaking of sending me email, I hope to soon have a working HTML form that you can use to vote on your favorite article over the past months. If I don't have it done soon, I will have to revert to email for the ballots. [sigh]
We have three prizes already generously donated by IBM which will go to the winners. These aren't pledges - I have them here in my "toy room" (still shrink-wrapped, I will proudly add). I will not yet divulge what they are, however.
Our First Advertisement
EDM has its first victory! We are happy to welcome SPG to the (now-growing) list of EDM sponsors.
I've been absent the past week. I apologize, but I plead hard drive trouble as the cause. It started last week with the corruption of the "EA DATA . SF" file's FAT entry on my boot drive. This means, for those who haven't picked up on it yet, that my desktop was lost totally. I didn't do anything to cause this; it just happened sometime between the time I turned off the computer last Sunday and the time I turned it on again the next evening.
The next night, the Boot Manager partition became the active one that was booted - a feature I disabled a long time ago. The partition name was missing, too.
That was enough for me. I booted to the command line, backed everything of value up to the ZIP drive that I wrote about a few weeks ago, repartitioned, reformatted, and reinstalled. (Un)fortunately, my version of Warp is the original, pre-CONFIG.SYS/AUTOEXEC.BAT bug-fix, red box version that was distributed to the press (who subsequently ate it for breakfast), and I didn't want to reinstall that monster, so I conveniently used this as an excuse to upgrade to Warp Connect. Oh, and I forgot to make a bootable DOS floppy (I need my real-time MIDI recording capabilities), so I just had to buy DOS 7.0.
All-in-all, the day (Wednesday) wasn't so bad.
Voting is On!
Then, on Thursday, I discovered the bug that has been plaguing me since the beginning of May; I fixed it and the result is that you are now able to vote for your favorite articles. The winners get big prizes, so cast your vote today!
Other changes on the site include the much-overlooked mistake that the Back Issues page and the Links pages were the same. Worse yet, I made this mistake locally, so I didn't have a backup to fall upon. (I did have a sword, but that's so messy.) We now have a growing list of links and are always looking for more.
The Acknowledgments and Sponsors pages have been combined. This only makes sense.
The Real World
But, enough of us. What's going on out there?
Blah blah blah. I suppose it's that "time of the year" again. Some "high priced consultant to IBM" said, according to Robert X. Cringely, that Merlin better sell well or OS/2 is toast. I have a very nasty suspicion that I know this person well, especially since he fits that description and is always hooting about how OS/2 is doomed. He doesn't mind taking their money, however.
Heh. Maybe he should become the "people's poet" by quitting his position so that IBM can put an extra dollar or two into the OS/2 coffers.
"Well, gee, Wally. Redmond says everyone's moving to NT and this here high priced consultant says that OS/2 is doomed, so I guess, yuck yuck, that we should also do the 'hokey pokey.'"
That's us. Just call us "idiot's on a rope."
OS2Web is Back Up!
After the "Pe-Perlow Fi-asco" (that even has the proper rhythm), Jeff "Boomer" Bakalchuck (I hope I spelled his name properly) has gotten everything in order and the site is once again at "full steam ahead." (Aye, aye, Captain.) If you haven't visited in a while, the new look will pleasantly surprise you. Stop by at http://www.teamos2.org/os2web.
From the IBM School of Marketing
It seems that Rogue Wave took that IBM route when it comes to marketing. "Yessirree, yuck yuck, we'll build a better mousetrap and they'll come a runnin'." I'll bet that you don't know that Rogue Wave has an OS/2 Java development environment already on the market. Yeah, neither did we. We have the name and number of someone at Rogue Wave that we hope to speak with shortly about this. Look for a "First Looks" on this hopefully coming in an issue soon.
PC Expo I'm really surprised that no one asked me anything about PC Expo. I daresay that if you weren't there, you didn't care; this would explain the lack of interest. My beef at the show was to drum up support for EDM/2, including selling advertising space, acquiring software for review, and generally making myself known. Of course, I could've showed up in a katt outfit, but I didn't want to be too conspicuous.
"So," you ask me, "what did you see?" Well, when I wasn't trying to hobnob with the various product managers and such, I did manage to see...
This was the hottest thing for OS/2 enthusiasts. Aside from the (amazing) jugglers that were there, I hung around until late that afternoon for a more intimate demo of the system. Since there was only one other person watching, I got to ask questions about the system, what the components were like, etc.
It turns out that the task bar, a la Object Desktop, was "stolen" (almost a direct quote from the IBM gentleman) from the Lotus Smartsuite. "I hope they didn't pay the billions of dollars for that alone," queried the quantifying Q-ster. (Heh, Katt doesn't know how easy he has things!)
The interface, however, was rather stunning and it will likely be the most noticeable improvement over Warp. No, I haven't forgotten VoiceType, but I don't yet believe that the majority of people are going to use it. Let's face it - if everyone went for the new and better technology immediately, OS/2 would have smashed Windows into the ground a long time ago. No, people are very inertial, especially when dealing with technology they don't quite yet understand.
I don't want to detract from VoiceType, though. It worked fairly well, although the demoers - is that a word? - did at times have trouble with it. For the record, it was hard to tell if the problems were caused by the software or the extreme amount of ambient noise in the large conference center. I am looking forward to playing with it; hell, if it's good enough, maybe I won't have to type in this column every week. I still have to get one of those nifty headset microphones before I can use it. (It figures. I have over $20,000 of musical equipment sitting next to my computer, but I don't have a headset microphone.)
This is a project management software package which runs on OS/2 using TCP/IP as the network protocol for a truly client/server system allowing multiple people to work on a large project simultaneously. IBM rattled off a whole list of features to me, but I opted for the evaluation copy of the software. Hopefully, we'll get the real McCoy and Brad will be able to review it in the near future.
One thing we won't be able to test (I don't think so, at least) but is something you should definately be interested in is distributed building of your product. You have 30 computers connected via a network - why should only one of them do all of the compiling? This feature definately sounds fun to watch in action.
For those of you who are interested in cross-platform development, IBM's Visual Age product was being demoed on OS/2 and NT with the same user interface (for the most part). If you've complained about the performance of the Visual Builder (who hasn't?), some help is on the way. According to the gentlemen I spoke to, IBM segregated the code generator from the builder and (if I remember correctly) rewrote the generator in C. The visual aspects of the builder are still written in Smalltalk, I inferred.
Where Was Everyone Else?
Besides IBM and Lotus, there was a small section of IBM's floor space dedicated to ISV's. DevTech is the only ISV whose name I can remember, though. This is getting scary, folks. Where was everyone else?
I was really disappointed to find (or not find, as the case may be) little OS/2 software outside the confines of the IBM and Lotus sections. When I say little, I mean little. There was so little software for OS/2 that I can't even remember seeing any, but something inside tells me that I did indeed see some OS/2 packages.
This is yet another testimony to the lack of support for OS/2 in the marketplace. While I don't completely agree with the pronouncement of doom, OS/2 is quickly headed for the ranks of the Amiga OS and Unix, i.e. well known, but not popular among the mainstream users.