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February 2002

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Letters, Addenda, Errata

If you have any comments regarding articles or tips in this or any previous issue of the VOICE Newsletter, please send them to We are always interested in what our readers have to say.

December 31, 2001 - Here is a letter regarding Mark Dodel's review of the Cisco Systems 340 Wireless network card Cisco 340 PCMCIA Wireless network card in the December issue of the newsletter:
Hi Mark

Thanks for Your Article about the Cisco Aironet Adapter. I downloaded the Driver and installed it on my ThinkPad 600 with Warp 4 FP15. Here my findings:

- I used the Cisco Aironet 340 Access Point. This one is configurable completely under OS/2. The initial configuration (IP -Address) was done with a modem cable and ZOC. The handling of the menus is somewhat unusual, but this is by (Cisco) design. The rest is done via the browser interface (I used Netscape 4.61 on Warp). This works fine and in a intuitive manner. I configured the 128 WEP encryption.

- Then I installed the Cisco Aironet PCCARD on the ThinkPad. This was easy, but supports only 40 bit encryption. I changed the Access Point to 40 bit. The Adapter was then able to register on the Access Point but unable to transmit data. Later on I removed encryption and now the connection worked fine.

- I have another PCCARD from Bintec (X-air). I downloaded the driver and installed it with 128 bit encryption. The Adapter is not correctly activated during booting. But when removed and reinserted after boot it works fine and with full 128 bit encryption with the Cisco Access Point. (While this writing I'm connected exactly through this type of connection!)

Thanks for Your info. Regards and all the best for 2002 :-)

January 7, 2002 - Here is a letter regarding our editorial last month A Happy, and Healthy OS/2002 to everyone. :
Dear Editor,

Please note that while your letter to the DOJ and the States regarding the proposed antitrust settlement contains admirable recommendations, it is incomplete. While the recommendations you listed -- open file formats, open APIs, and open preload arrangements -- are restorative, they are not punitive. Any settlement which merely restores market competition, while leaving the monopolist with its illegally acquired advantage and yet zero penalty for its years of illegal abuse, does not remedy the situation. In fact, it rubber-stamps the current market condition as an acceptable economic outcome.

Instead of merely being restorative, any settlement in a major antitrust case ought to have an additional punitive element (and hopefully a preventative element as well). In terms of punishment, the most appropriate one would be to extend your preload recommendation as follows:

* Microsoft and its partners, associates, suppliers, and OEM customers are hereby enjoined from preloading any Microsoft software onto any hardware product for a period of seven (7) years. This mandate shall include restriction against bundling or software and/or installation services, as well as disallowing firmware or other pre-stored forms of Microsoft software.

* Microsoft shall reimburse any Local, State, or Federal entity within 30 days of billing, for any costs associated with discontinuing the use of any Microsoft product as a result of the prohibition on preloaded Microsoft products.

* Hardware OEMs offering Windows-compatible hardware are simultaneously enjoined from requiring the installation, downloading, registration, or other use of any Microsoft product or service in order to make full use of any or all hardware or software sold or provided by the OEM.

This simple set of restrictions places the burden of software installation on those who use Microsoft products, and requires OEMs to remove such burden from users of non-Microsoft products. These burdens include device driver configuration, hard disk partitioning and formatting, software loading, and system tuning. These are the exact burdens -- costing time, money, and expertise -- that users of non-Microsoft products are burdened with due to the fact that they cannot obtain their OS of choice as a preloaded, preconfigured option. It is these *transactional costs* which give Microsoft its illegal and unfair advantage in the marketplace -- not any theoretical "quality" or "performance" advantage. By heavily burdening Microsoft products with the exact same transactional overhead costs that they have illegally avoided for ten years, Microsoft products are placed in the same position of market disadvantage and "hidden costs" that Microsoft has unfairly imposed on superior, competing products during the last decade.

Furthermore, Microsoft would be prevented from leveraging its illegal PC software monopoly into the handheld or other firmware-based markets, as firmware containing Microsoft software would become illegal. Makers of 100% Microsoft-free devices would be assured that their markets would be safe from the oppressive encroachment of a vicious monopolist determined to apply its leverage. No more would makers of copiers or industrial equipment feel compelled to use an embedded Microsoft product with its attendant risks.

Naturally the costs to the enduser and corporate buyer of Microsoft products would increase -- the hidden overhead costs that are the real deciding factor as to which technology prevails in a captive market. By forbidding the preloading of Microsoft software, these hidden costs would be revealed at last, and would have to be assigned obvious places in the budgetary plans of companies instead of merely ignored. This situation would in effect raise the relative price of Microsoft products without giving a dime of the price increase to Microsoft. It would simultaneously lower the transactional overhead for any non-Microsoft products that occupy the preload position formerly held by Microsoft, without the government choosing or mandating any particular product or products to be preloaded.

Microsoft may whine and complain that such an edict is "unfair" or "draconian," but it is merely turning the tables and giving them the same treatment that they meted out for the past decade. If their products are really as vastly superior as they claim, then they will continue to sell them. Private companies will find a way to expedite the installation process, and public entities will have their additional costs fully paid by Microsoft from its stockpile of ill-gotten plunder. And if Microsoft products are truly no better than anyone else's, then anyone else will be able to succeed without an oppressive monopoly occupying the low-overhead position of preload-meister.

Tom Nadeau

January 10, 2002 - Here is another letter regarding our editorial last month A Happy, and Healthy OS/2002 to everyone. :
I used to love OS/2 and stuck with it for a long time until I got !@#$%^ from eComstation. MAJOR problems:
  1. My PCMCIA hardrives no longer work. I therefore cannot backup my system.
  2. The built in modem on the IBM 770X does not work and the PCMCIA slot also do not seem to be working.
I therefore recently had to abandon OS/2 becuase of these critical issues. I lost the ability to backup and the ability to connect to the internet, and OS/2 has lost a long time supported (1992-2001) on silly little things.

I very much like the new visual appear of eCom but they got to get their priorities straight. After that I was no longer prepared to purchase the IBM convenience pak.

Bernard Stamm

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