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June 1999

Good Year Without the Blimp - Revisited

By: Don Eitner (freiheit@tstonramp.com) http://www.tstonramp.com/~freiheit/

In May of 1998 I wrote an End (User) article on my predictions for the coming year. Now that a full year has passed, I would like to look back and see how right (or wrong) I was.

"1998 will see twice as much Warpstock, covering twice as much of the world as did 1997." Sadly this did not happen. Warpstock Europe never got off the ground but Warpstock '98 in Chicago, IL was an enormous event with a lot of great speaker, vendors, and comradery. The only glitch was a network problem in the hotel which kept the outside world from getting real-time information from those attending the event.

I lose 1 point. Total: -1

"Speaking of OS/2-friendly hardware developers, Castlewood Systems (http://www.castlewoodsystems.com/castlewood/web/index.htm) are releasing the ORB 2.1 GB removable drive this year, and their website claims OS/2 support." It came later in the calendar year but it came nonetheless. And yes, it does support OS/2. For about $200 US (and about $30 US per 2.2 gigabyte drive cartridge) you get very fast and potentially reliable (it's still young so this is difficult to adequately judge) removable storage.

I gain 1 point. Total: 0

"The port of Opera [web browser] appears to be coming along nicely (compiling natively but as yet without sound support)." Sadly the original OS/2 porting team dropped the ball on this and the product never materialized. However Opera found a new OS/2 porting team and the project has begun anew, based on a much newer code base than before.

I lose 1 point. Total: -1

"IBM are expected to maybe, possibly consider releasing Communicator for OS/2 near the end of the year". In late September of 1998 IBM finally released Netscape Communicator 4.04 for OS/2 and the crowd went wild! For the first time in many years we OS/2 users had an industry competitive web browser with all the latest in HTML, JavaScript, Java, e-mail, and newsreading built in. Nevermind that it's bigger and generally slower than the 2.02 port we had before, it's still tolerable on my venerable Cyrix P166+ system with 32megs of RAM. Now there's talk that IBM may already be working on a port of the 4.6 (again the absolute latest official release) version of Communicator, so expect to maybe see that later in 1999.

I gain 1 point. Total: 0

"Hopkins FBI by PolyEx (http://www.polyex.com) is still in beta testing with an expected final release date this summer." Hopkins FBI for OS/2 was indeed released late in 1998 and now there is news that it will be receiving some kind of update later in 1999.

I gain 1 point. Total: 1

"OS/2 does have another new multimedia audio application--the Ceres SoundStudio. It's a multi-track WAV recorder/editor." Well sadly Ceres Software seems to have gone out of business as their website cannot be accessed (not even for the Windows version of SoundStudio). Howver the product was available for a very short time.

I'll consider this neither a gain nor a loss of a point. Total: 1

"TrueSpectra (http://www.truespectra.com/)... are now developing for OS/2, Win32, and the BeOS." Another instance of the product simply disappearing suddenly. TrueSpectra pulled out of the OS/2 market early in 1999 and even pulled the Photo>Graphics product line. It now sells only a fairly expensive server-side variation of it for use in interactive websites (like perhaps electronic greeting card sites or e-commerce sites) which currently only supports Windows.

Again, the product did exist (and even got an update from v2.0 to v2.02) so I shall consider this to be neither a gain nor a loss of a point. Total: 1

All said, it seems I was only right a little more than half the time. I guess I'll leave the predictions to the folks at the Pyshic Friends Hotline. I don't even want to try and tackle the prediction of whether or not we will see an OS/2 Warp 5 client release -- Stardock still says we might, IBM says we won't, and I'm going out for a pepperoni pizza and Pepsi.

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