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EDM/2

From the Editor

Written by Carsten Whimster

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  The first major item this month is the move to The OS/2 SuperSite. Panix has been a fantastic ISP, but EDM/2 never earned enough money to support living on a large commercial server with the accompanying high costs. The OS/2 SuperSite has much better prices, and we struck a very favorable deal with them. Our new URL is http://www.os2ss.com/edm2/, but this will hopefully change to http://www.edm2.com/ once I scrape together the money required for this purchase. If you should feel like supporting this purchase, please contact me and I will tell you how much I am missing to be able to purchase this URL. Then you can send any amount you like to help us out. The OS/2 SuperSite is the new OS/2 specific server set up by Dr. Dirk Terrell, and houses EDM/2, OS/2 e-Zine!, a partial Hobbes mirror, soon to be complete, and eventually much much more. Take a look and I think you will like what you find. The OS/2 SuperSite will be one of the most important OS/2 sites on the web in very short order, I think.

The New Look

By now, you will have noticed that EDM/2 has gone through yet another facelift. I hope that you like the new look as much as I do. I am not completely satisfied with the new logo, and there may be one or two other adjustments over the next few months, but the major part of the look should be here to stay for a while. Basically what has been happening is that every few months, the state of the art in magazine design on the web moves on, and I try to keep up. I think that although EDM/2 has gone through some ugly-duckling phases, we have always been visually competitive with the rest of the web at any given point in time. This time I think that EDM/2 is significantly more attractive than most other places on the web. All the same, I am willing to listen to criticism if something doesn't suit you. Please mail me both good and bad reviews of the new look, and the new site. The modifications to the site are mostly enhancements and redesigning for the sake of achieving a cleaner, but more functional site. I hope I have succeeded. By the way, the colours are supposed to be blue-green, white and two shades of red for the links. If your computer shows anything else, such as showing blue instead of blue-green, let me know and I will look for a solution.
Regarding my notes on Netscape and WebEx last month, I would like to clear some things up. I did not mean to sound like WebEx was the dregs and Netscape was divine as much as I think I ended up doing. My point was that WebEx has a number of layout bugs, some of which make designing attractive HTML quite difficult, and for this reason I will be using Netscape for design, not WebEx. All the same, I intend for the magazine to be presentable for WebEx users as well as Lynx users, and users of other browsers. If you use Lynx, you will notice that I have expended a large amount of effort ensuring that we are fully HTML 3.2 compliant, with ALT text for all images (I think). To my knowledge, the only thing that doesn't work well for WebEx and Lynx users is the client-side maps at the bottom of each page. This means one more click to back out to the previous level, so I hope you will bear with me with respect to this slight indulgence. If your browser has difficulty with EDM/2, let me know, and we'll see if we can fix it together. I will never support beta browsers, however. Netscape 2.02 does work on Warp 3, by the way. It does not require Warp 4, so try it out. I think you'll like what it does for EDM/2 and the web in general.

Other Stuff

I have incorporated a new section into the site, called Code Snippets & Tips. It is accessible from the top-level page, on the left-hand side, as well as in the index of each month's magazine. On this page I will place the type of small code snippets that appear again and again on the comp.os.os2.programmer.* newsgroups, as well as anything small that people send me. This happens more than you would think, so the snippets will be forthcoming for at least the next five months. This month I have four different snippets that deal with the problem of the NumLock in OS/2. Enjoy, and let me know what you think. By the way, I take no responsibility for this code. Just use it, and pray :)
After reading the review of RAR at OS/2 e-Zine!, I downloaded a copy of it and tried it out on the EDM/2 issues. It turns out that with RAR there is about a 25% improvement in size, which could be considerable on some of the issues. Given this savings, and the fact that UNRAR is freeware, I would like to switch the archived format of EDM/2 to RAR, but, a move like this always generates both positive and negative feedback. Please send me your opinion either way. I am very keen to do this, but if I get lots of negative feedback, I won't. If I get lots of positive feedback, I will. It is quite easy to use. Not exactly like ZIP, but not too different either. RAR is shareware and has many great features, including a very compact self-extracting option. It is available on OS/2, DOS, Windows95, Windows NT, Linux, SCO, and BSD UNIX, and portable source code is also free for UNRAR, so even the oddest of platforms should be able to UNRAR the EDM/2 issues. Downloading times (and uploading times!) would be 25% improved, so think long and hard before saying no. Since it is relatively easy to use, I really can't think of any good reasons for not doing it, can you? Mail me.
This month the technical slant of EDM/2 continues with an article on web servers and OS/2. This is not strictly speaking development oriented, but the focus of EDM/2 has shifted slightly to encompass both developers and technically minded individuals, and the web server article fits right in with this. Enjoy it.
Those of you who frequent Hobbes may have noticed that EDM/2 now has its own subdirectory: /os2/newsltr/edm. Given the sheer amount of stuff that EDM/2 has deposited at Hobbes over the years, this move makes a lot of sense. I am indebted to the maintainers of Hobbes for listening to my plea.
Now there are three of us converting TXT issues to HTML format. Paul Czarny and myself have been joined by Thomas Bridgman who is working on some of the volume 2 issues. We could still use more volunteers to speed up the process. You will notice that the links to reading and downloading older issues are ALL active, but issues 1-04 to 4-03 are all in text format. These will be HTML with time. Mail me if you would like to help us out here.
I would like to just remind you that the service set up by Gess Shankar to distribute EDM/2 information from a mail server is still running, although it is not very busy these days. Send a blank e-mail to edm2-info@earthchannel.com for EDM/2 info.
Finally, the search still doesn't work quite right, but hang in there. I am on the track of some solutions, and may have something in place by next month or soon thereafter. Also, some of the older pages are not quite right, such as the metaindex. For this reason it doesn't appear on the front page currently, but it will be back, as will the book and product indices. I just have to find the time to fix all these little niggling things. I have yanked the older format HTML pages and replaced them with text versions of the older issues for two reason: space, and as encouragement to people to help converting to HTML. The INF format magazines can still be downloaded from The OS/2 SuperSite and Hobbes, however, should you need the source code or the pictures.
I hope you enjoy the changes that are now in place, and look forward to those that are coming. As usual, I am very receptive to constructive criticism, although of course I can't guarantee that I will always agree with you. Please send me any thoughts or ideas you have. Especially, send me information about things that don't work well.

Until next month,

Carsten
 

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