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February 2005

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Letters, Addenda, Errata

Translation: Christian Hennecke

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.

We have received several letters in response to the Your turn to decide - continued editorial from last month.

January 4, 2005 - The first letter we received is from Wolfgang Draxler. Wolfgang thinks about the general problems and how to possibly tackle them:

[. . .]

I have also read your article about the magazine. Basically, I am experiencing the same problem with my project WDSibyl. I, too, have thought of quitting several times. But then there are always moments (and itching fingers ;-) ) that make me go on. Also, I know that suggestions won't be of use as you certainly have already tried much, and I am sure that you are going to try more.

All of us who work on different projects basically have a large problem. OS/2 and eCS are not widely known anymore. Few know that OS/2 or eCS are still alive. Even an IBM developer was surprised that OS/2 was still being developed. These days, everybody only knows Mac, Windows, and Linux. For most people, OS/2 and eCS are dead and do not exist any more.

The only possibility for you and me is to get more people from the Mac, Linux, and Windows side. But I don't know how to accomplish that either.

I can only think of the following possibilities. Not the best, but maybe it helps.

Unfortunately, companies that are still sticking with OS/2 aren't rich enough to start advertising campaigns.

So if we want to support eCS and OS/2, we (the users) have to promote Netlabs, eCS, and VOICE to those not knowing, and that is only possible by advertising.

January 4, 2005 - Next, James Cannon:

I understand the difficulty of your situation. Unfortunately, I find myself without OS/2 on my current system due to situation beyond my control. I am currently unemployed and have household goods in storage while living with relatives. I am stuck with my family's computer (Windows) and really enjoy the effort to make an issue. I am sure there are others like me who are using another OS to reach your fine magazine. I am curious how many non-OS/2 browsers visit VOICE. Also, what are the percentages? That may explain the low contributions.

One thing I might suggest would be to keep the main web page mentioning a lack of articles and not having the other months issue so readily available (as the November issue was). I am sure other readers kept on hitting VOICE, thinking the next issue was only one day away. By not making an issue available (replacing with the statement "awaiting articles") may encourage readers with OS/2 systems to submit an article. Perhaps this logic could be tested the next time there is a lack of articles?

Another item to suggest would be to use internet resources to translate from one language to another, and only requiring a native language speaker to proofread it (they would be rewarded with an exclusive "sneak peek"). I used Google to find a language translation page where I copied my Christmas greeting from a text file, pressed a button, and had the greeting translated to German to email relatives in Germany. Only an idea. Perhaps this can be tested and see how the translation worked. I also included the English text in case the translation was wrong.

Jason R Stefanovich answers:

Appreciate your input. I can't comment on the browser usage, our webmaster would have to do that, but I think I can comment on translation. Although translation software, such as Babelfish, or Universal Translator, is relatively good at translating simple and general written language from one to another (such as a letter to a friend), they are very poor at translating technical jargon and tutorials. There are two primary factors that cause poor translation.

  1. Technical articles and tutorials follow a set of rules that are not the same as for general coorespondence. An example would be our submission guidelines that give rules for the outline and contextual notation. Also note that techincal articles tend to be very concise and often the writing is fragmented, giving less context for the program to use in its translation.
  2. Technical jargon is just that, "jargon." Therefore it is not normally built into the common dictionary files of translation software.

There are many companies who do use translation software for this purpose. However, most of them use software that is specifically designed for their market, costing thousands of dollars. Those who do use COTS translation software must have it extensively modified with custom dictionaries and grammar rules.

January 5, 2005 - The next letter is from "Nate" and represents, in fact, the typical view of the average user:

I am writing this in response to the 'Your time to decide' article. I would like to help the eCS/OS2 community anyway I can. However, I don't really have a whole lot of skill sets that I think are applicable to it. I am a full-time student and work full time as a IT help-desk. I'm still working on a BS in IT management and my AAS is in web design. So, I don't know a whole lot about programming. In fact, I almost feel like I only have opinions to contribute (though, I do try to send a driver or two the way of every now and then). That's why I didn't respond to the initial request for articles. I'm running eCS 1.2 at home. I have used and still own OS/2 W3 and W4. Plus, I used to be a subcriber to Passport Advantage ([formerly] SWC). But I hardly have any expertise; in my opinion at least. Just a casual user, spending a bit of money to support OS/2 and now eCS. Well, I guess I was just wondering if opinion articles were accepted (I don't believe Opinion articles were listed in the guidelines) or if there was anything else that I could contribute.

Well, either way, thanks for putting out OS/2 VOICE.

Christian Hennecke answers:

If you happen to have a nice idea for a new design of the VOICE Newsletter or the whole VOICE webpage, I'd be glad to hear about it. ;-) It could use some re-vamping.

Of course we accept opinion articles. That's what we meant with the item "Essays and comments regarding things that are going on in the world of (OS/2) computing." Other than that, are there any applications or tools that you use that haven't been reviewed in one of the OS/2 magazines so far? Or are you successfully using any hardware that is known to be problematic (e.g., USB, etc.)? Articles about these topics are always of interest.

Again, you don't have to be one of the top developers or such to help with the Newsletter. We can put all kinds of qualifications to use.

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