Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

August 1998


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WarpGLOBE, Beta 7

By: Wayne Swanson, (

Initial Impressions

I'm not quite sure where I first heard of WarpGLOBE, perhaps it was from the "most excellent" WarpCast mailing list. Whatever the case may be, I can say that it sounded like an intriguing program. For the uninitiated, WarpGLOBE is a background bitmap for your desktop that paints a red dot (light?) wherever OS/2 users live. Of course, the only users that appear on the globe are the ones that have sent their home location to the author, Sergio Costas.

The bitmapped globe is updated at user specified intervals to reflect the actual position of the sun's lighting of the earth. It can be adjusted to view your hemisphere only or you may elect to have the earth rotate and the sun remain static. It is also quite attractive as a desktop background.

WarpGLOBE is small and unobtrusive so you will hardly realize that it is running. It is a text mode program that uses very little in the way of resources to start with and is usually found sleeping. At the interval you select, it will awake and update the background display. You've got to believe that there is some heavy number crunching going on here but it only takes a second for the bitmap to be updated and WarpGLOBE to go back to sleep.

The update of the image is divided into three parts: the first one paints the stars in the output buffer. The second one maps (projects) the MUNDO.PCX image as a sphere, creating the world, and storing it in the output buffer over the stars. The third one takes each cities' coordinate pair from USERS.NFO file, and uses it as longitude-latitude angles to paint the points over the mapped image in the output buffer. Finally, it saves the buffer as a bitmap and changes the desktop background, making point it to the new file.

Why a globe with OS/2 user locations? Sergio says, "I saw the XEarth program on Linux, and I thought that it could be a good idea for OS/2. A lot of times I think that I'm alone using OS/2, and I'm sure that a lot of users sometimes think like me. I think that WarpGLOBE could make OS/2 users feel that they aren't alone in the world, that there's a lot of people using this Operating System."

User response has been very good. According to Sergio, "The first week I received more than 60 messages with cities, comments, bug reports and suggestions. Now, only one month after the first release, I have received (in total) more than 250 e-mails. There's 170 cities listed, and I'm receiving more cities every day (about 6-7 new cities per day)." You can almost bet that if you send your city information to Sergio, it will probably be in the next USERS.NFO file and visible on your new WarpGLOBE background.


The first prerequisite is that WarpGLOBE works with the EMX runtime. A large percentage of OS/2 users will probably have EMX installed already but those that do not will need to download it from Hobbes and install it.

The program itself comes in three separate archives:

GLOBEUSR.ZIP contains two files: CITIES.TXT, which contains the names of the cities included in WarpGLOBE, and USERS.NFO, which is the file that has the coordinates used by the program. This file is updated each week with new cities.

GLOBEPRG.ZIP contains the last executable file, the instruction files (both in Spanish and English) and an icon file.

GLOBEIMG.ZIP contains the MUNDO.PCX file. This pcx file is reworked at each program interval and is the basis of the bitmapped globe.

The reason for the three file distribution according to the author is, "The MUNDO.PCX is an extremely large file and never changes. If I distribute in one file, each time a user wants to take the file with new cities, or a new beta executable, he/she would have to download a lot of repeated data. Dividing it into three files, the users can download only the new parts, reducing their telephone costs."

Once the files were downloaded we created a directory for WarpGLOBE and unzipped all three archives into the new directory. There wasn't an installation script to build a program object for Globe.exe but most OS/2 users are familiar with that process.

Upon starting WarpGLOBE (Globe.exe) you are presented an OS/2 window with the program setup. Here you can set your screen size, time zone (in deference to GMT), refresh interval etc. There are plenty of adjustments to be made but most will be easily understood. For the ones you don't understand, it is possible to refresh the display every time you make a selection to see the effect it will have on the background. After setting your preferences you can minimize the window and forget about it! WarpGLOBE will keep your view of the world of OS/2 users updated.


There has not been time to do a help file yet and it could use an installation script for the neophyte OS/2 user that doesn't have a handle on creating program objects yet. These are very minor inconveniences and may come to pass soon as WarpGLOBE is still a very young program. Another item that would be nice to see is an option to save a particular view and leave it as your desktop background without the periodic updates. If you exit WarpGLOBE, it automatically deletes the present bitmap and your background will revert to it's underlying color. I have found myself manually saving a view that I like and setting it as my background to get around this.

The author updates the GLOBEUSR.ZIP (Cities files) about once a week and they can just be unzipped into the WarpGLOBE directory overwriting the old files.

All in all, it was relatively easy to setup and very pleasant to look at. The price is not a factor in deciding whether to install WarpGLOBE. Sergio has made it available for free saying, "I would like WarpGLOBE to be used by all OS/2 users, so making it freeware is the best way to do it."

Send your city location to Sergio and take a peek at WarpGLOBE. I think you'll like what you see!

Author Information

Sergio Costas Rodriguez (RASTER)

WarpGLOBE URL: (in spanish) (in english)

WarpGLOBE is FreeWare!


Wayne Swanson
Developers of WarpZip, ShowTime/2 and the Enhanced E Editors


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