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August 2000

Letters, Addendum, Errata

If you have any comments regarding articles or tips in this or any previous issue of the VOICE Newsletter, please send them to editor@os2voice.org. We are always interested in what our readers have to say.

July 3, 2000 - Following is a letter from Tim Fitzpatrick in regard to my article in the May newsletter on the RealPlayer7 and Odin:
I notice you said that when you tried to install RealPlayer with Odin, that it insisted on installing to drive C. I would guess that C is your boot drive, because when I tried installing RealPlayer, it wanted to install on drive F, which is MY OS/2 boot drive.
My reply:
Yes, windoze programs like to pollute the operating system, I guess. It just seems easier to give them their own way since they screw things up anyway. The main thing I'm told is that it needs a file system that can deal with long file names.

Thanks for writing,


Also here are some updates to my article. The problem I reported with the video being reversed and upside down has since been fixed. Here is a recent RealPlayer 8 capture showing the video in the correct orientation :-)

Also in regard to my problem with sound under RealPlayer with the Crystal chipset drivers, where it sounded like it was recorded under water. There are new Crystal sound drivers at http://www.cirrus.com/drivers/audiodrv/os2.cfm. Performance has improved to the point of being able to understand the sounds in RealPlayer, but some videos have no sound for some reason, and the sound is still of poor grade. Changing the Sound preference to disable 16bit sound seems to help somewhat. Overall RealPlayer works, but remains unstable, closing unexpectantly frequently.

Also the batch CMD file to start RP7 in my article is no longer correct as the directory structure has been changed in the Odin distribution. All Odin DLL's, are now in the System32 directory under your root Odin install directory. Here is an updated version which should now work:

REM this will start RealPlayer7 under Odin */
set beginlibpath=C:\Odin\System32;
set oldpath=%path%
set path=C:\Odin\System32;C:\Real\RealPlayer;C:\Real\Common;C:\OS2\SYSTEM;C:\OS2\Mdos\Winos2\System;C:\OS2;
PE C:\Real\RealPlayer\realplay.exe %1
set path=%oldpath%
set oldpath=

If you are having a problem with Odin, here is an important tips concerning the Odin WarpIn installation process. According to Odin developer, Sander van Leeuwen:

Regarding WarpIn: "You just must not deselect the update config.sys option. Due to a WarpIn bug, executing odininst depends on this".

When I wrote my review, most folks were still just using the ZIP archives and manually changing CONFIG.SYS. WarpIn was relatively new. Now, however, you should use WarpIn to at least do the initial install to set up required directory structure. After that you can then use the ZIP builds to update it. However there is a manual workaround:
"It's (Odininst) required since a few months. You can do it manually by performing the following steps:
- unzip daily build in x:\odin\system32
- execute odininst.exe in this directory
(creates empty directories, sets up the registry)

Executing odininst is only necessary once (unless you move Odin to another directory).
Afterwards you can just copy the new daily builds in the system32 directory.

The new readme now contains these instructions (since two days) and the website will
be changed shortly."

Finally here is some more helpful info on installing Odin and RealPlayer from Steve Levine:
Well, first you have to get it installed correctly. <gd&rfc> Given that Odin is a work in progress, there are no guarantees this is going to be easy. Take a look at: http://www.scoug.com/os24u/2000/scoug006.mrkia.html for setup hints. Note that I always run RealPlayer from it's home directory (i.e. d:\Real\RealPlayer in my case). RealPlayer can work as a Netscape helper. With the kind help of Mike Kaply, I have resolved that last annoying nits. If we get lucky, it will eventually work as a plug-in.

July 14, 2000 - Following is a letter from Dominique Pivard in regard to my article in the June newsletter on the IBM Wireless LAN Kit:
Hi Mark,

Thanks for your excellent article on setting up the IBM Wireless LAN Kit! I have decided to purchase a similar kit from the same seller. I'll actually buy a customized kit with 1 ISA card and 3 PCMCIA cards (because most of my computers are laptops).

Have you managed to get both the wireless and the fixed network adapters to be active at the same time in your laptop? I'd really like to be able to use the faster fixed LAN when using my laptop at a location where's there is a fixed network connection.

Btw, how do you interpret the info about "Wired network topology" on the product information page (http://www.networking.ibm.com/wireles/wdprods/jb.htm)? There it is said that the Wireless LAN kit is optimized for Token-Ring, whereas the Wireless LAN Entry kit is optimized for Ethernet. Just wondering how much we are losing in terms of performance by using Ethernet.

Looking forward to receiving my kit and playing with it!



My reply to Dominique:
No not yet, I still have to have my hard-wired PCMCIA NIC undefined to have the wireless NIC work correctly. I haven't had time to play with it. I may re-investigate it at a later date though. Right now I have two full installs on the laptop. One boots to Warp4/FP10 and uses the wireless PCMCIA, the other is Warp Server eBusiness which still boots expecting the hardwired IBM LAN card. I haven't booted WSeB in months.

As to the question about a comparison between IBM's two similarly named but completely incompatible Wireless Networking setups I have no idea really. But the "Wireless LAN Entry" is PCMCIA only, and I only have one laptop, so I never considered it. Also the Entry kit is rated at only 350Kbs while the other setup is rated at 500Kbs to 1.2Mbs. I am all Ethernet here, so i can't compare it to Token Ring.

Following is a brief update on my article on the IBM Wireless LAN Kit:
As you may recall from my artilcle one of the few issues I had with setting up this wireless LAN was that two of the radio transceiver units were actually for the Japanese market. To finally get them working I had to configure all three devices with a country code of 3 for Japan. This scaled back the available transmission power and frequencies used. At the beginning of July I decided to try to exchange the two Japan market radio units for North American units. I contacted the seller - Gary Faulhaber. He appologized for the mixup, and said he had just recently learned how to identify which country a unit supported.

I mailed back the two radio units and four days later received the US replacements. You can tell which country code the hardware is for by looking at the last 2 digits of the serial number on the radio transceiver unit. The two replacements both had "01" for US/Canada. I connected them to the ends of the wireless LAN cables, then booted each computer to the DOS based IBM Wireless LAN Utility diskette and changed the Country Code from "3" to "1" and saved the new settings to the LAN cards ROM. I then booted both computers back into OS/2. The laptop workstation was successfully able to connect to either of the Base units.

The Radio Signal Strength Indicator on the laptop still only showed 4 "+"s as before, but this doesn't give any numerical readout of signal strength. I booted the laptop to the Wireless LAN Utility disk and ran the Radio Signal Level Test. Previously this showed a numerical signal strength of between131 to 132. Now with the the new radio units it showed a signal strength of of between 136 to 149. So using the US market shows some improvement but not a huge amount of difference.

July 19, 2000 - Here is a letter from Tom Nadeau regarding the recent decision of Sun to NOT release any OS/2 source for Star Office:
According to a recent announcement, Sun Microsystems will be basing their GPL open-source versions of Star Office suite on the SO version 6.0 codebase. However, Sun has decided not to produce such a codebase for the OS/2 version. I e-mailed Sun and got clarification on this apparent conflict. Sun Micro will apparently REFUSE to open-source the OS/2 source code for Star Office.

Frankly, I find this quite disappointing. When you have the source code for a product, to simply throw it away instead of giving it away, licensing it, selling it, or otherwise gaining something for the code -- well, that's foolishness. Sun is throwing away untold person-years in development, testing, and debugging. But even worse, Sun is making itself into a pariah among the millions of satisfied OS/2 users who would have been potential Sun Micro clients and supporters. There would be absolutely no harm in giving away source code to OS/2 users for something, if Sun plans to give away source code to everyone else. By specifically refusing to cooperate with the OS/2 community, Sun is showing the same kind of hard-headed, short-sighted mentality that it showed with the Java "community license" and other "almost open" license arrangements. This mentality has held back Sun from taking full advantage of the current wave of interest in alternative platforms.

I believe OS/2 users and general, and VOICE members in particular, should petition Sun to either release the OS/2 code publicly, or else sell it to the OS/2 community for our own development purposes. VOICE members should send a discreetly-written, reasonable letter to Sun at the following address, detailing our strong desire to obtain the source code for SO for OS/2:

Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Attention: Product Development
901 San Antonio Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303 USA
E-mails should be sent to:
Perhaps it is not too late. Maybe the Sun will wake up after all.

Tom Nadeau

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