Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

August 1998


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Interview with an OS/2 User

This month VOICE interviews two business OS/2 users. Our first interview is with Thom Davis, of Centari Computers. Thom is a former BBS sysop that used to run & Beta Test Wildcat BBS from Mustang Software, the BBS was called "The Confederate BBs" and was one of the first to get Wildcat running under OS/2. Thom also runs The WarpCast News Services' Alternate Site for IBM.NET users, where they can finally get the Warpcast, because IBM's Spam filters do not like Warpcast from it's source. He also run the OS/2 BookStore, where you can find books that pertain SOLELY to OS/2

VOICE> What kind of business are you involved in?

Thom> We're a small store front that has been dealing with local customers but are branching out via the Web to service a big hole in the OS/2 Community, A OS/2 Reseller with a heart! :)

VOICE> Can you please describe your current use of OS/2 in your workplace? What kind of hardware and software are you using for OS/2? Approximately how many pc's are running OS/2 at your site?

Thom> OS/2 is the primary OS on a Cyrix 200mhz System, although we do have Win'95 installed, it is used only for cross-platform testing. We run our Web Site on a Road Runner Cable Modem using IBM's Internet Connection Server v1.1 also we use QuikBooks for all our other needs under WinOS/2

VOICE> Were you aware that Intuit has dropped win 3.1 support for Quickbooks >6.0?

Thom> No, I was throughly upset with this development. Last night I was actually going to their sight to thank them for supporting Win3.1, but alas, I ended up asking for a v6.0 that could be run in Win/OS2. This is not a big deal us, as v4.0 is what we use and it works good enough, but for them it could cause problems, they just lost another customer.

As a side note, Family Tree Maker, the Genealogy program from BroderBund has also ceased making a Win 3.1 version of it. My Wife discovered this recently and called them about it. These mis-informed people told her that "OS/2 Warp is OLD" and then proceeded to tell her "You need to get with Times" and when she kept asking questions about it, the guy got even more rude and basically told her "TOUGH" Needless to say, BroderBund will never get another dollar of my personal or company money and I might even goes as far as putting a nice blurb on my Website's support page about us "NOT" support running BroderBund software on our systems, we'll have to see if I calm down or not in the next day or 2, but right now it is a go :)

VOICE> Since you are in the business :-) Are you finding it harder to find components that support OS/2?

Thom> Not nessasarily hard, just frustrating and time consuming, I eventually find what I am looking for, whereas the common user that only uses the Net on occassion would have a even harder time.

VOICE> Can you outline two systems you might suggest for us? A minimal OS/2 configuration and a power users "money not a big object" system.

Thom> For A Minimal System I would suggest our Londo Series, cheap and fast with all the basics except printer (we don't do printers <VBG>)

Cyrix 200MX CPU, Motherboard w/512k Cache, 16meg of RAM, 3.2 Gig Hard Drive, 1.44 Floppy, 2meg S3 Virge 3D Video, 24x CD-ROM, Sound Card, 60watt Speakers, 33.6k Modem, Enlite Mini-tower case, 104 Keyboard, Artec Mouse, 14" AOC SVGA Monitor and OS/2 Warp v4.0 (easy installation) or Win 95 for $799 +shipping

For a Power Users System, we just recently added this to the WebSite, Our "Presidential Power-Users Series" The system is the ULTIMATE, the big guys can't get one over on me with this one!

Pentium II 400Mhz CPU, Motherboard, 256meg of RAM, 18gig Wide SCSI Hard Drive, 1.44 Floppy, Internal Zip 100 Drive,16meg Matrox Millennium Video, 40x CD-ROM, AWE 64 Gold Sound Card,180watt Speakers, 56k v.90 Modem, Super Tower case, 104 Keyboard, Artec Mouse, "21 SVGA Monitor and OS/2 Warp v4.0 (easy installation) or Win 95 for $5099

The website is probably a better reference , we have buttons with all the different CPU's available for each system.

VOICE> Do you do any marketing of OS/2 to the general computer user in your area for your business?

Thom> Yes, we are one of the few places in the area that deals with Cable Modems and have been avidly persueing letting people know that OS/2 can run on these systems. We have OS/2 Displayed in the Store as "The MicroSoft Alternative" (which we had to Create our selves) When people ask me about certain Win95 programs I even have a good line to get the conversation turned to OS/2 "We do not run or install any Microsoft programs" this usually gets a response of "Then what do you use?" "Why OS/2 of course" in fact most of my return local business knows this and has repeatedly asked questions, some have tried some just think I'm eccentric, by either way, they have been informed that M$ is not the only game in town.

VOICE> How did you decide to use OS/2? What features were considered important for this project(s)? What previous experience was there with OS/2 and other operating systems?

Thom> I jumped into OS/2 Because at the time I needed to upgrade the BBS to 2 lines and DesqView was getting overloaded and the reports that I had seen OS/2 handled comports better than anything else, I admit, I did try Win31, but the ports speed and the lack of true ANSI emulation was terrible.

VOICE> What other operating systems if any were under consideration or are used for your business? If you use OS/2 in conjunction with other OSes in any form of a network, how well does OS/2 work with these other systems?

Thom> Currently, we are working on installing a Lan with OS/2 only, we really have no need for another OS except for like I said earlier, cross-platform testing, OS/2 fills all the other needs quite nicely.

VOICE> Do you foresee continued/increasing use of OS/2 in this fashion?

Thom> If IBM would quit putting there foot in their collective mouths, I think OS/2 has a bright future. I would not have moved into OS/2 Web Market had I thought otherwise. OS/2 is proven it's self, I just wish IBM would stop installing Win95 on all their computers they sell and start letting the common man have a choice. OS/2 could actually be moving at Warp speed if they would just OPENLY support it.

VOICE> Are there any changes that you would like to see to OS/2 that would facilitate your continued use or expanded use of OS/2?

Thom> It's hard for me to sell a local customer OS/2 when the only software they see if for Win'95, so from my store's point of view, I would have to say that the ability to run Win'95/98 is number one for continued use and expandability

VOICE> How have IBM's statements that they are targeting the medium to large business sector affected your work or your decision to continue using OS/2 for this/these task(s)?

Thom> It's gotten very hard! I tell everyone about OS/2, some to the point that they won't talk computers with me as much :) It's also very hard to get business customers to consider us for their needs when our expertise is in OS/2 and all they see is 95/NT software and support out there.

VOICE> If IBM licensed another company to sell the OS/2 client to home/SOHO users, would it affect your usage of OS/2 (would you use more OS/2 clients for your work, etc)? If this company could add features, what features would you like to see added?

Thom> I probably would not use more clients personally, but I would imagine it would be easier to sell to the end-user, just because I think another company would be able to see the potential that OS/2 has and would add in things like support for 95/NT, shoot, NT should be relatively easy considering a lot of it's API's are OS/2's!

I'd also like to see more device drivers added, Yes, I know OS/2 will need these, but I would especially like to see Scanners with Parallel Port interfaces supported, there devices are really cheap and very
useful, but OS/2 has not 1 driver for them

VOICE> Would you be interested in a refreshed version of OS/2 Warp 4.0, that is a new install package that included all fixes and new enhancements as well as new harware support since the original release?

Thom> DEFINITELY! But I would like to see them have a new Large disk driver, one that would incorporate more capacity that what is currently available, I personally have had to change that driver 3 times in the last year

VOICE> Has your business been contacted by IBM about the potential use of Work Space on Demand? Do you see any use for that product in your business?

Thom> NO, IBM has not contacted me on ANYTHING! I'm a SO/HO and with my store obtaining the Toll-Free number (877-OS2-WARP) I'm very suprised and it also makes me wonder....

VOICE> Do you know of any other sites using OS/2 in your industry?

Thom> I know most of the popular ones that everyone knows, like Stardock, Supersite, BMT Micro. I do a lot of searching on the search engines and find a lot of the other sites, but don't always bookmark them. One thing I have seen is a few sites that run OS/2 but do NOT publize it, (you can tell when you get and error 404) These are usually bigger companies that do not care to make their OS known


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