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August 2003

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OS/2 Tips

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 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 -

Editor's note: 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.

Editor's note: After 6 years, this will be the last OS/2 Tips page, unless someone else wants to take on the job of finding the information and editing this page, in which case we would be happy to continue it. Because of so many other more things pressing for my time, I just don't have the time to seek out the data anymore and the page has been suffering as a result. If anyone is interested please contact me at


June 22, 2003 - Our first tip of the month is from Luc Van Bogaert and Rich Walsh, as posted on comp.os.os2.apps. Its about the drag and drop support in the latest release of Mozilla 1.4:

First from Luc:

Load the page for which you want to make a URL object on your desktop, now drag the icon that's on the left edge of the Mozilla URL-field to its desired location. This should create a URL object.

Then from the Rich:

Other things you can drag: Someday (v1.5 probably), you'll also be able to drag selected text to the Desktop or a DragText-enabled window. I expect other d&d features will be forthcoming.

June 22, 2003 - Next up Al Savage posted some really helpful information on comp.os.os2.apps about using the File Open Container (FOC) in PMView Pro
FOC = File Open Container, Peter's description of what most of the world would call a gussied-up File Open Dialogue.

It has more features than are apparent.

One of the most obscure (hard-to-find? hard to know is there? most necessary to know?) features is the very odd method to access some extremely important stuff: you have /at least/ three different areas in which you need to RMB on to get to a context menu, on which whose functions are not available from a CUA-compliant equivalent.

a) In the right pane of the FOC, the area where the thumbnails will normally reside, there is a gray area underneath, which contains (at least) the "Open", "Cancel", and "Help" buttons. If you RMB on that gray area -- anywhere EXCEPT on the buttons themselves -- you can access a context menu which includes an option to toggle an FOC "status bar", which is a completely different item than the status bar that is enabled for the main window. Because the FOC has no CUA-compliant menu at all, this is the ONLY way to toggle this option. And, surprisingly, once the status bar for the FOC is enabled, you cannot then RMB on *it* to toggle it back off -- you must, again, RMB on that button gray area. Difficult to do if the FOC is not maximized in some situations.

b) If you RMB on a thumbnail, you'll get a context menu which includes the prized, and highly useful, "Convert" and "Convert To" items (the latter is where the meat of scripting is hidden, which is pretty non-obvious to me). Also on that menu is custom timestamping, lossless JPEG rotates (this one *is* duplicated on a CUA menu in the main window), and Quick Scripts. Also, "Info" for an image can be accessed here.

c) But! If you are a sloppy mouser, and RMB on the area in-between thumbnails (which is quite easy to do, as on my systems the color between thumbnails and the background color are the same, so there is no visual guidance at all), you get a completely _different_ context menu, the one where you can define the TYPE of thumbnail that is to be used (EA, on-the-fly, mixed, what size thumbnail, when they are created, whether automatically or manually, etc.). This is the menu I use the most, and on a crowded (full) pane full of thumbnails with longname filenames, it can be somewhat difficult to do -- I often get the "thumbnail RMB menu" when I really wanted the "in-between thumbnails RMB menu".

The obvious answer to that last problem is to scroll the window to the end, where there will (often) be a half-row of whitespace, and it's easier to not RMB on any one thumbnail's territory. Two problems with that: 1) It is NOT foolproof, because sometimes the number of thumbnailed images in a particular dir can be divided evenly by the row/column matrix in use by the sized FOC pane; 2) If I'm looking at thumbnail No. 456 of 3,343 (not an unusual situation here), I do NOT want to lose my "place"! Scrolling to the bottom scrambles my workflow.

I find that I have to RMB on several different places to find the menu where I "just know it's here somewhere", the item I'm looking for this time. It's nearly impossible to recall where to change one option or the other, you have to poke about a bit.

Anyway. Much of this is now well covered in the online Help, rather better than it was in the past, complete with screenshots. This is most welcome, especially since scripting and timestamps and JPEG rotates have been added to these menus since v2.32 . But who reads the Help until desperate?

Al S.

June 25, 2003 - Don't want to see any Flash on a web site when you are using Mozilla? Jim Stewart tells the folks on news:// about a feature in Prefbar that allows you to kill a Flash presentation:

I just tried the prefbar and it adds a preference bar to each of my browser sessions with controls for java and a "flash kill".

Would you believe I got into a abcnews hang condition and was able to cut it off mid stream and go about my business. I'm impressed!! The link is:
Thanks, Jim

June 30, 2003 -eComStation 1.1 is running beautifully on my systems here, but I noticed that even though I have system sounds enabled, I get no sound when opeing windows. The solution was provided by Wayne on the eComStation news group news:// :

If you look at the descriptions in Sound object in the System Setup folder, you'll see that it says something like "Closing Window (Animated)" Well, Window Animation is OFF by default in eCS 1.1! I just found it out while looking through the System setup dialogue (also in the System Setup folder)! Go to the 'Window' tab and turn on Animation and the sounds magically reappear!!!



July 13, 2003 - David Graser sent in the following tip for users of Mark Kimes' FM/2 File Manager:

For those using FM/2 (latest is 3.02 and can be downloaded from Hobbes), one can speed up access to files and directories on HPFS, JFS, and fat32 partitions by right clicking on the drive letter for that partition, selecting "Edit", and then "Drive Flags...". Check "Don't load icons". Do that for each drive you want to speed up access to.

Although FM/2 icons aren't as pretty, look at the speed difference in accessing partitions, especially fat32 partitions.

July 13, 2003 - David Graser sent in another tip this time for RSJ CD Writer users :

Received this tip from Mike Snyder.

Normally if you have two CD-writers installed, both are recognized as worm devices on bootup with only one of the CD writers available for writing. The other can't be used as a reader or writer.

However, you can have RSJ ignore one of the drives with lockcdr.flt by using the -sx switch on the one that you don't want it to mount. Look on the CD Writer Control menu, in the System tab. The first drive listed is s0, the second s1, etc. So to have it ignore s0, add -s0 to lockcdr.flt.


basedev=lockcdr.flt -s0
Thus, when one boots up, one will be used as a reader and the other will be used as a writer.

July 13, 2003 - David Graser sent in another tip on RSJ CD Writer:

If you use RSJ and have two writers and want them to be used as both writers and readers, do the following:


in the config.sys file


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