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We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mailing lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 or eComStation recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to tips@os2voice.org. If you are interested in joining a particular OS/2 mailing list, check out the VOICE Mailing List page for subscribing instructions for a large variety of existing lists - http://www.os2voice.org/mailinglists.html.

These tips are from OS/2-eComStation users and in some cases can not be verified by myself. Please heed this as a warning that if you are not sure about something, don't do it.
This month's fascinating tidbits
Date Description OS version Experience level
September 22, 2006 RSJ CD documentation? Both General
September 26, 2006 Sound Problems with Newest Version of Flash Both General
September 27, 2006 INI-file Maintenance Both General
October 19, 2006 Two Useful Things to Know Both General
November 1, 2006 Firefox 2.0 CPU Overload, … and Slow Both General
November 19, 2006 Running DOS Programs under VPC Both General

RSJ CD documentation?
September 22, 2006 – Both – General

My friend “inkleput” asked in news.ecomstation.com:

Is there anything anywhere that actually tells a person how to use RSJ CD? The readme with a list of technical features added over time definitely doesn't count, as it is apparently just the programmer's notes to himself.

Bob Eager covered that one:

It's not well-documented!

The version 6 stuff is best found by starting up CD Writer Control. Press [F1], then [Ctrl-C] for contents. The USB support topic actually relates to non-USB in part.

Mark Dodel (who forwarded that item to us), added this comment:

I can't verify this since I only have RSJ 5.06 installed, but it does work for that version, albeit minus the info on USB devices and since I'm using NewView for eCS's help function, I need to use [Alt-C] to get to the contents.

Sound Problems with Newest Version of Flash
September 26, 2006 – Both – General

Do you now have sound problems, … as well as your newest Flash viewer?

“zircon” in Japan has a solution:

When viewing for example YouTube with the newest security fix version of Flash, sound problems are cured by reverting just the npswf32.dll to the 2003-09-04 version. (Remember, however, that the newest version is a security fix.)

INI-file Maintenance
September 27, 2006 – Both – General

Andy Willis (responding to ??) wrote to us directly. [Beyond the usual tools] there are a couple of other apps that can be used [for INI-file maintenance]:

Iconomize lets you eliminate the single largest source of bloat in OS2.INI: duplicate icon data. Running it just once can shrink OS2.INI by 10-25%. Iconomize was created to demonstrate the features of Remote Workplace Server, a toolkit that lets programs interact with the WPS as though they were part of it. For more info on RWS, see rws050.zip.

You can get Iconomize here.

Did you ever wonder why checkini reports folder position for non-folder object? Have you ever wondered what all those entries in PM_Workplace:FolderPos are for?

FPos identifies what they do and lets you delete them once you realize what a useless waste of space most of them are. [...]

You can get FPos here.

Both require rws070.zip. RWS is written by Rich Walsh (Dragtext author).

Just a little later, Andy added:

I forgot about XWP (don't think it is turned on for eWP). If you hold the [Shift] key as the WPS is coming up (either a reboot or restarting the WPS), you bring up the panic dialog. From there you can run xfix which allows one to remove invalid folder positions and invalid file handles that checkini and cleanini do not (I don't have Unimaint so can't speak to it).

A word of caution for the folder positions: If you use hotkeys from XWP and run the xfix it will see the hotkeys as invalid fpos (folder positions). If you remove those, you will lose the hotkeys. So you have to pay attention to what the invalid fpos are, to make sure you don't remove those (Rich's fpos cleaned some of that up for me but YMMV for that).

I generally run cleanini, then checkini (no particular order) and when the WPS is rebooting I do the xfix from it.

Two Useful Things to Know
October 19, 2006 – Both – General

Our very own Editor-in-Chief Christian Hennecke came across the following himself:

OS/2 versus GNU tools

Many ported Unix applications enlist the help of several GNU tools. In a few cases, there may be incompatibilities with standard OS/2 tools of the same name. If a ported application or one of its scripts fails with an error message about syntax errors or produces unexpected results, check whether you have tools of the same name that are located in a directory that comes earlier in the PATH.

An example for the above is the SORT.EXE that comes with OS/2 and eCS. In this case, you can solve the problem by simply renaming it.

eCS 1.2 and GNU sed problems

eCS 1.2 is shipped with a version of the stream editor SED.EXE that is incompatible with the latest GNU sed. Unfortunately, the executable is located in \ecs\bin on the bootdrive and thus is used even if one has also installed GNU sed. This causes many scripts that are part of ported Unix software to fail. If you are lucky, you get an error message about errors in the regular expression syntax used but other scripts might silently fail or produce unexpected results. Since the SED.EXE that comes with eCS is only used during the install process, it can be safely renamed.

Firefox 2.0 CPU Overload, … and Slow
November 1, 2006 – Both – General

Thomas Klein reports an interesting exchange on the UltraBoard forum at os2world.com regarding current OS/2-eCS builds of Firefox 2.0.

Mikael asked:

Have you tested FF 2.0? How does it work for you? I have problems with frequent/nearly constant CPU overload. Monitor shows between 50 and 99% and performance is slow. Same phenomena with PW-FX2.0. Nothing like that with FF1.5.0.7 or PW-FX1.5.0.7.

Ben Dragon reported:

...no problems… except breaking some extensions… but that was expected. [Athlon FX2 3800+ - 1 GiB RAM - Gigabyte motherboard - eCS 1.2MR]

So Mikael expands his description a bit:

Thanks Ben, that's good to know, as a reference. The CPU load seems dependent on the size of the FF window. At a certain point of window size the CPU load, when FF is idling, is going down to 1.1% or up to 76% (make it lesser or bigger from that point). The mouse pointer is flickering. Even if load is 1.1%, it is very easily rises when using FF (not idling). I installed FF2.0 in a folder of its own for test purpose.
[I also use eCS 1.2 MR - Athlon 2600+ - ~760MiB RAM - but just VBE-graphics]

Now Andy Willis could point the way:

It is related to your personal toolbar. This happens if there are more bookmarks in it than can be displayed.

And Mikael is ecstatic with the solution:

Yes, you're absolutely right! That seems to be the problem. If I get rid of my bookmarks in Bookmarks Toolbar, the functionality is near to normal. I reported it as a bug. Couldn't see it was reported before.

Ben Dragon makes it official:

Now that's a useful piece of knowledge… I'll file that one away.

Running DOS Programs under VPC
November 19, 2006 – Both – General

The ever-vigilant Mark Dodel spotted this…

Stuart Gray had written in ecomstation.support.virtualpc:

I have been having trouble running DOS programs under VPC. I have an installation of PC-DOS 2000 which will not set up the memory as EMS, and another install of Warp 4.51 (CP1) in which the DOS memory settings are not available. Is this a known problem, or have I been stupid somewhere?

I'm only trying to run some old DOS games which corrupt the video on eCS 1.2, so it isn't a huge problem.

…and then quickly answered his own question:

OK, just in case anyone else reads this NG…

I have solved it by setting DOS=HIGH,UMB in CONFIG.SYS, which seems to work.

Formatting: Christian Hennecke
Editing: James Moe