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February 2002

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A breath of fresh air

An editorial view from Mark Dodel, editor of the VOICE Newsletter.

What motivates trolls in Usenet? Do they just enjoy blindly attacking everyone and everything? Many people have abandoned the comp.os.os2 Usenet groups because of several very disturbed, and very persistent trolls that masquerade as OS/2 users, but attack anyone that actually promotes OS/2.

Well I'm not trained as a psychiatrist so I can't really say why these people are constantly there (don't they have jobs or at least go out to lunch once in a while?) and any attempt to reason with them is futile. They have been at it for years now. These guys are either seriously ill, or they are just so full of hate, that the only real solution is to ignore them.

But how do you ignore it when they fill the groups with their asinine drivel and lies? Well things have improved since the OS/2 community has come up with a plan. This came about do to the insistence of 3 or 4 trolls to attack anyone that mentions eComStation in the c.o.o news groups. They keep harping that these threads on eComStation are SPAM, yet they start many of them themselves. Perhaps they are just lonely. One of the FUDsters actually promotes his website "auctions" where he sells used clothing and other junk, every chance he gets, while branding as SPAM legitimate questions about eComStation, the OEM version of OS/2. Talk about perverse logic!

So how do we "air" out these news groups? Two methods have been devised.

The first plan is to add the phrase [FUD4] to the subject line, whenever anyone replies to one of the trolls. That way anyone that wants to browse the news groups, but eliminate all the nonsense can just use their news reader to filter any messages from the trolling parties, and also filter on [FUD4] in the subject header so they won't even see the replies that some people feel compelled to make. Generally in the past I have asked people to refrain from replying to these troublemakers, but when one is incessantly attacked, it becomes difficult to sit by and say nothing.

So by adding the phrase [FUD4], one can reply and still be courteous to those that want to participate in the OS/2 Usenet community, but don't want all the trash. I'm not sure exactly who we have to thank for this inventive idea, but many people have adopted it. As for those that don't, but continue to engage in endless, circular threads with the garbage spewers, they can be filtered as well to complete the process. Unfortunately that may mean losing some of their contributions, but I suppose that is the price one has to pay for sanity.

The second method to eliminate the noise in Usenet, is to use a server that does the filtering for you. And Jack Troughton has heard the call and setup such a beast. Its called Jakesplace. The server URL is news://

You will want to read the announcement group on his server to be clear on his policies in regard to filtering and use. Jack isn't trying to hide anything, like those who are out to destroy what's left of OS/2 community.

An added benefit to using Jake's server is that he brings together OS/2 related news groups from many different private servers as well as the Usenet comp.os.os2 groups, so you only need to point your news reader to one place to access a world of OS/2 information and help. This includes IBM's OS/2 groups (yes they have them still), Scitech's, Mozilla, eComStation, Sundial Systems, and several non-english OS/2 groups as well.

My own small contribution to this effort is to suggest that everyone that is fed up with the sorry state of all these attacks should send a complaint to the abusers ISP. It is by no means a permanent solution, as these troublemakers can easily find a new ISP to get back at their one and only reason for being, but it clears them out for a few days or even weeks.

To report these scofflaws, look in the headers of their post for a line that says "X-Complaints-To:" and forward the entire offending post to that email address. Add a comment about how the person is abusive and ask that they be investigated. Some ISPs are more stringent then others. But even the most stubborn will finely police their subscribers if enough complaints are received.

Ahhhh, isn't it nice to have a breath of fresh air in Usenet?

Mark Dodel

p.s. As a followup to last month's editorial where I asked readers to help with a Warpstock 2002 survey, the survey is now completed and you can view a summary of the results at A big thank you to everyone that participated. I found the results somewhat unexpected ( 82 out of 188 who answered the question positively about OS/2 being used in their place of employment was surprising to me, and of course a pleasant one.) We are now working on making an Austin Warpstock 2002 a reality. An event team is being formed, and as soon as we have a confirmed date and location we will let everyone know.

VOICE Newsletter Update:

We are always interested in your thoughts and views on subjects related to OS/2, and would like to see opinion/editorial pieces as well as hardware/software reviews and HowTo articles. If you can help by writing an article please contact me at The Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter page has been updated with the addition of some ideas for articles. Please take a look and see if you can help us with an article for an upcoming issue. Some folks find they enjoy telling about their OS/2 experiences. And you don't have to be a VOICE member to write an article. VOICE is here to assist everyone, though joining helps support our efforts. :-)

The Warp Doctor site: Have an idea for Warp Doctor? You can send your comments directly to the Warp Doctor web guy Jeremy at or better yet attend one of our Warp Doctor Team meetings, weekly on IRC.

Everyone's help is required to keep this project going. Please note that beginning January 7th, the team will meet every Sunday at 4PM EDT (21:00 GMT), on IRC in the #warpdoctor channel on the WEBBnet IRC network. For more information on attending online IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page -

VOICE Online Update: This month we have general member meetings on February 4 and 18 at 8PM EST (01:00 GMT). Everyone interested in OS/2 or eComstation is invited to attend either or both of these sessions. For more information on attending online VOICE IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page -

This past month we had a very successful Speakup event with guest Achim Hasenmueller of Innotek, the company that has provided many fascinating projects for the OS/2 community, including Flash/2, Co-Standby Server and of course VPC/2. A log of the meeting can be found on the VOICE IRC Transcripts page.

If you have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to, and we will try to schedule something. As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at for more details on future VOICE events.

We are also planning on adding a new page to the VOICE site to allow small Freeware and OS/2 User advertisements. Hopefully we can have something together for February. But we need your help. If anyone is interested in this concept please send me an email at

This would allow developers of freeware apps to advertise their products by having a free banner ad on this page. Also OS/2-eCS users and OS/2 user groups could place text ads seeking other OS/2-eCS users in their geographical area to start/promote a user group or maybe just find someone to help them with a support problem or have coffee with.

We are also revising our sponsorship levels to make it more affordable to sponsor VOICE, and have banner ads on some pages of the Newsletter for shareware and commercial OS/2 developers. You can view the status of that on our Sponsorship page -

This month in the VOICE Newsletter we start with an article by Franke Berke, At a glance - new and updated OS/2 software. Frank discusses some of the software he saw Demoed a couple months ago at Warpstock Europe.

After that Paul Floyd has a review of DFSee "Swiss Army knife of disk tools". Paul gives us some idea of the power contained in this disk partitioning/repair application.

Next follows Manfred Agne with a look at Scilab's Xact - an unsung hero. Manfred tells us why this is one of his favorite and surprisingly versatile applications. And then Don Eitner gives us some comparison's of mp3 encoders in his article Keeping Up With the Gates - mp3 encoding under OS/2.

Walter Metcalf gives us an Update on Current Warpdoctor Status. If you've been out of touch with this major project of VOICE, or weren't aware of it at all, Walter will bring you up to date on potentially one of the greatest resources the OS/2 community may ever need.

Our last feature article of the month is a hardware review; 24X CD Recording At an Affordable Price. Don Eitner looks at his latest purchase and shows us how a relatively inexpensive IDE CDRW drive may be ready for your consideration.

Finally we have the VOICE Newsletter OS/2 Tips page and the Letters, Addenda, Errata page. If you have any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it, please send them to

That's it for this month. For the March issue so far we have an article on Useful tools for hard disk maintenance by Eric Baerwaldt, an article on MP3 players by Don Eitner and an article by Julien Pierre on assembling a dual Athlon machine for OS/2 SMP.

Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke
VOICE Newsletter editors

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