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September 2000

Spreading the News(letter)

An editorial view from Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke, editors of the VOICE Newsletter editor@os2voice.org

You are reading the first issue of the VOICE Newsletter that is available in two languages: English and German. Maybe you didn't think that this would come about so soon. To be honest I didn't think it myself. Most probably nobody did. But as it turned out things went surprisingly well and fast once the project was really started.

A bit of history from Christian: I carried around the idea with me for quite some time. When I read several people's postings in newsgroups and forums asking for magazines I finally decided to contact the VOICE Board. In the last week of July a mailing list at eGroups was founded for discussion and organization; and as there are only few German VOICE members as of late, an announcement was posted to OS2.org, the German OS/2 newsgroups hierarchy de.comp.os.os2.* and commTalk.de, a bilingual on-line forum with lots of OS/2 groups. Response was very positive and soon several people subscribed to the list. Contrary to my expectations there was little discussion at the beginning. Instead people immediately asked me for files to translate. Abel McClendon set up FTP accounts for the new VOICE server and the team began to translate the files that are included in every Newsletter. Meanwhile a database table has been set up at eGroups to coordinate work on the articles. It contains information about articles, the translators and editors and the current status. An FAQ in the list's files section provides information for new members. Things are going well.

Now you might ask why we started this effort at all. Well, there is no German OS/2 magazine any more. (Ok, last year saw the first two issues of the printed magazine OS/2 Only, but the third issue has been overdue for over a year now.) Unfortunately, many Germans don't speak English well enough to understand an English computer magazine. This is because many people simply don't have any practise and their school-English soon begins to decay. Also think of the formerly separate two German states. In the GDR young people learned Russian rather than English as a foreign language. All these circumstances cut off a large number of OS/2 users from the latest information.

I have been a VOICE member for two years now. Knowing VOICE's objectives and capabilities, the Newsletter was my number one choice as a platform for establishing a new source of information, as I saw the need to keep it all on a voluntary base. Not only do we German speaking people profit from the much larger pool of potential authors, VOICE also provides us with the necessary infrastructure like webspace, FTP accounts and a good image in the OS/2 community. So what does VOICE gain in return? Well, more members in the future, I hope. The proof to be really international. And more articles for the newsletter of course, as we do not only translate English to German but also vice versa. The first example for this exchange is Klaus Staedtler von Przyborski's new column "The Free Files" in which he provides an overview of freeware related to a certain topic. Right, that's column so you can expect more of that in the future, maybe not every month, but frequently.

Finally I would like to thank all members of the translation team for their help in making this a reality and all those who encouraged me to begin the project, for their input, especially the members of the Warp mailing list of the university of Bochum.

At Warpstock Europe 2000 I'm going to hold a presentation on VOICE and its services for the OS/2 community and try to spread the news(letter) of course. Hope to meet you there.

Missing Opportunities

An editorial view from Christian Hennecke, editor of the VOICE Newsletter christian.hennecke@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

It seems a lot of people are doing this. And it really bothers me, almost to a point where I could grab them, shake them for some minutes while I'm screaming "WHY?". Do you want to know what I'm talking about? - I'm talking about certain kinds of shareware developers.

You probably don't know that I am a member of the Warpstock Europe 2000 planning team, especially of the group that tries to get developers of freeware and shareware and those who offer internet services of an OS/2-related kind to attend WSE2K. Since early July we have contacted about 100 of them.

Some were very enthusiastic and agreed to attend immediately. Some even contacted others to persuade them to attend. Others required a bit more persuasive activity from our side. Again others had to sadly turn down our offer (exhibition for free) because time doesn't permit them to attend. Some of those asked if they could send someone else who is familiar with the product (which is no problem BTW) or if we could find a person who would be willing to do the presentation for them. As you can see all those people showed some interest in both Warpstock Europe and marketing their product.

<polemic rant mode>

Then there are those who haven't found it necessary to reply at all -- even to this very day. They simply ignored us, so we cannot even speak of contact. I won't start whining about a lack of politeness here. What really makes me go wild is the fact that this group highly matches that of those who often can be found lamenting in newsgroups, forums etc. where they complain about OS/2 users not registering their software, sometimes even implying software piracy, and that of those who don't do even that. So of course it's no use for them to bother with OS/2 users and events any more, eh?

Well, let us investigate this a bit further. Is an up to date version of their product available at Hobbes or LEO? No, if it is somebody else uploaded it. Do they announce new releases of their product in the newsgroups or other OS/2 news sources? No, if there is an announcement somebody else reported it. The one and only place to obtain information and the latest version is a carefully hidden homepage. If you are lucky you can read something about the product in OS/2 ezine, the VOICE Newsletter or a newsgroup, but written by users. There plainly is no such thing as marketing and the product remains unknown to the vast majority. Now, lacking all this how likely are tons of OS/2 users committing software piracy?

I'll try to make it even more clear. What does the standard OS/2 user do if she/he is searching for a certain type of software? Visit the well known freeware and shareware archives Hobbes and Link Everything Online (LEO) that both provide search functions. The mass of programs presented may be a bit overwhelming or she/he may not find what she/he was looking for. Visit OS/2 ezine or the VOICE homepage and search their archives using the type of the desired software or names of products found on Hobbes or LEO as keywords. Then there are the newsgroups of course where she/he can ask people for a list of products and their experiences with the software. If all this doesn't provide her/him with a suitable package she/he may use a web search engine. This is usually the last step as these engines tend to offer tons of useless links. Now, looking at the above what is the probability she/he finally reaches the passive developer's homepage?

</polemic rant mode>

* sigh * I really can't understand it. There are people out there who have written such fine software packages. Sometimes the product is so blazingly good that people needing exactly that would pay double the price to get it. And they won't get their hands on it simply because the developers don't understand that they need to make their product known to the world and provide a certain level of service to be able to sell it. It's a shame. Especially in the OS/2 community where the number of active, capable developers isn't that large any more.

So developers, I'm talking to you! It's so easy to spread the news about your product. Send announcements to WarpCast, OS2.org, OS/2 News and Rumours or the editors of the VOICE Newsletter. Post to the OS/2 newsgroups comp.os.os2.* or de.comp.os.os2.* (German). Upload the latest release of your software to Hobbes and/or LEO. Enter your product into OS2.org's SoftWhere? database. And of course attend OS/2 events like Warpstock and Warpstock Europe. There you'll meet tons of potential customers and they can be convinced of your product's advantages much more easily when they see it in life action, presented by someone who knows how to use it and who knows all the not-so-obvious things.

Please, PLEASE, don't let all these chances go by! Don't miss these opportunities. We all will benefit, you and the OS/2 community. Think about it.

Besides Christian representing VOICE at Warpstock Europe next month, VOICE will also be at Warpstock 2000 in Philadelphia this month. Dan Casey, VOICE President, will be on a special Keynote panel addressing the topic "The OS/2 Community - Where Do We Want to Go Today?". Anyone out there want to help out at the VOICE Booth in Philly or help Christian spread the word at Warpstock Europe? If you can help us out please contact me at editor@os2voice.org or Christian at christian.hennecke@ruhr-uni-bochum.de.

If you are not yet a member of VOICE, we can use your support. If you haven't done so yet, but are ready to do so now, joining VOICE has been made a bit easier if you are outside the US. Mensys has added the VOICE memberships to their online store - http://shop.mensys.nl/cgi-bin/db2www/mns_art2.d2w/report?artname=VOICESUB. As before you can also join VOICE online via our BMT Secure order form at https://secure.falcon-net.net/BMT/order0308.html. If you prefer to just mail in a check, we take those as well. :-) For more on mail in memberships see http://www.os2voice.org/membership.html. As always we will be taking membership renewals and new applications at Warpstock 2000 as well. Please consider joining VOICE now. Every membership helps make us stronger in our support of the OS/2 community. And right now the OS/2 community needs all the help it can get.

This past month VOICE sponsored IRC Speakup sessions with Sundial Systems (August 07) and the Warpstock Event Team (August 12). You can read the transcripts of these sessions on the VOICE Meeting Transcript page - http://www.os2voice.org/transcripts.html. For September we have general meetings on IRC on the 4th and the 18th, at 8PM EDT (00:00 GMT).

If you would like to hear from someone in particular or have an idea for a Speakup event, please submit it to liaison@os2voice.org, and we will try to schedule something. Also on the VOICE Calendar are weekly Warp Doctor team meetings every Wednesday at 8PM EDT (00:00GMT). As always, please be sure to check out the updated VOICE Future events Calendar in this newsletter or on the VOICE website at <http://www.os2voice.org/calendar.html> for more details on future VOICE events.

For September, Isaac Leung reviews the Lexmark Optra E312 Laser Printer and tells us about his experiences with its installation and drivers. Next up Christian Hennecke continues to inform you how to raise the needle on your system speedometer in How to Supercharge OS/2 Warp, Part 4. This month Christian looks at video performance.

Wilson Jones tells us about his experiences with installing OS/2 on a modern machine in How I installed OS/2 on a Large IDE Drive (40GB). Then we learn about Russell Kneebone's struggles with OS/2 to get his new scanner to work in Canon FB1200S - a (newly) affordable scanner for OS/2.

Peter Lazenby gives us an overview of the new free alternative to OS/2's VIEW.EXE that should bring back the life to the INF format: NewView, an Alternative .inf Viewer. Finally, with Characters and Fonts we have the first article in Klaus Staedtler von Przyborski's new column "The Free Files". This new column is brought to us by the German issue's translation team, by the way.

Next month we have an article on using PMFax with a voice modem titled VOICE LINE(how to share it) by Brian Crook; the 5th and last part of Christian Hennecke's How to Supercharge OS/2 Warp, and more.

Just a reminder that we now have a full Newsletter Master Index page. All the feature sections of the current and previous issues can now be found on this one page. Additionally, we have added a Java based search function to this master index page. It will allow you to search all past issues for a specific word or phrase. So try it out and let us know what you think. If you have any ideas for improvements let me know at editor@os2voice.org.

That's it for this month. We are always interested in your thoughts and views on subjects related to OS/2, and would like to see opinion/editorial pieces as well as hardware/software reviews. To that end, and because of several recent requests, we have added a Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke
Editors, VOICE Newsletter

GDR - German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany.

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