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Staedtler von Przyborski ©November 2000, Translation: Christian Hennecke|
Software mentioned in this article:
So after Vol.1 hopefully has been well received, here is the second issue of
"The Free Files". Sorry for the delay of one month, but ConfigTool and
other things kept me busy.
A short reminder: This is exclusively about "Freeware", regardless
of the type of license, and I am going to present only packages that are selected
by me and which are known to work. The topic of licenses is a "hot button"
today. Those who follow the discussions around KDE vs. GNOME (both are X environments,
but can't hold a candle to the Workplace Shell) are able to see how the license
topic leads to inexorable trench wars and how developer resources are absurdly wasted.
Unfortunately, OS/2 is not immune against the waste of developer resources, too.
From time to time there is something like a favorite package, and even if there
already is a decent program around, people re-event the wheel. Once, e.g., Euro
currency converters were such a favorite package and judging from the newsgroups
Cdrecord/2 frontends are becoming the next in line. Wouldn't it make much more sense
to share resources (in the end only OS/2 is capable of multitasking/-threading by
time-sharing, too) and work together on one - or two competing - projects?
My own experiences with Goran Ivankovic have only been of the best kind, for
instance. Everybody does what he is best at and still the ideas of all participants
flow into a single project. By the way, this is also more fun, the development progresses
faster, and a first test is already integrated. You know, four eyes can see more
Before I get lost in dreams let's get back on the real topic:
Generally speaking, OS/2 comes well-fitted for being productive in every kind
from the start. But for a real office there are still some helpers missing.
Though the computer was originally invented to do mathematic calculations (for
John v. Neumann and Norbert Wiener this was self-evident), I always wondered why
it is not possible to do calculations in a simple way on a computer.
For instance, only since the 7.0 release of IBM's PC-DOS can you do calculations,
of course from the command line, and OS/2 comes completely without any helper for
this. As far as simple calculations are concerned, this gap can be filled with PMCALC, an
IBM EWS package. For some time also a remake of SourceCALC
has been available from Glassman now.
Both do their job for me, but if somebody needs to do more complex calculations,
NH48 are modeled
after HP calculators. Alas, they both haven't been completed, but are quite usable.
For those who want to dig deeper and who need graphical output of their numbers
the number of choices is relatively large: PMPLOT
1.2 is currently only available in German, DBGRAPH
2.1b3 has been beta for a while, and GNUPLOT
3.8 has mouse support.
What would a decent office be without those sticky notes (aka Post-IT)? Here
the German NOTIZEN
0.97b by Christoph Küchler and WANDA
1.04 by Thorsten Thielen have succeeded as electronic alternative, but I can't
say which one I like more.
Some will be missing a Personal Information Manager, here EXCAL
3M is certainly a good choice. Excal is also an IBM EWS package, that ought
to show the advantages of the WPS. But as I prefer a version that I can take with
we all the time, I have stayed with a leather file-o-fax.
OS/2 is well-fitted with clocks "out of the box"; Warp 4 even offers
two with the Warpcenter. But I miss a clock with an alarm feature, one that wakes
me up after a certain amount of "office sleep", like TINYALARM
by Martin Vieregg, or the one-for-all solution for anything related to time: WORLDCLOCK 1.20 by Goran
Ivankovics. With Worldclock you "have the grip on time", you can start
any program at a defined point in time, start alarms ... A description of of Worldclock
would be worth a separate review and as special bonus you get to see the "Blue
Moon" (just try setting the date to Oct. 2001).
Once in a while I have to do a unit conversion. For example, I want to know how
many DIN A4 sheets can be placed on an A3 sheet, how many gallons make a liter,
or what my Thai stocks in Baht are currently worth in Dollars. It's all no problem
for UNITS 0.95, also
written by Goran Ivankovic. Additionally the underlying database can be extended
to meet your personal requirements and if you mail your changes to Goran Ivankovics,
the other users will be able to take advantage of them, too. If you just need one
of the Euro converters I mentioned at the beginning, then PMEURO
1.5 by Carsten Müller is certainly faster and more slick.
Even though e-mail meanwhile has cut down the amount of faxes significantly,
where would an office be without a fax? Kellergroup has kindly made PMFAX
3.2 Lite available for all OS/2 users at no cost, which is especially interesting
since the version of Faxworks Lite that comes with OS/2's Bonuspak doesn't work
anymore if one of the latest fixpaks is applied. Of course, a fax-modem is mandatory.
If you are able to live with a more complicated solution (e.g. you can't send a
fax directly from within your application by using the fax printer driver), you
will find that FAX112
by Dr. Harald Pollack has much more to offer, and Dr. Pollack is very responsive
to bug reports and fixes, as well as feature suggestions. The combination of PMFax
(I am using the non-free PRO version, though) for sending and receiving while the
computer is running, the US Robotics Message-Pro modem for receiving even when the
computer is turned off, and of ROBOTICS
MESSENGER 1.1 by Rossen Assenov that relies on parts of Dr. Pollack's Fax112
for maintaining the US Robotics message modem has proven to be good for me. To avoid
having to have your phone on your desk all the time or if your cordless phone is
buried somewhere again, you can easily make your calls from the desktop with a voice-modem
and VDIAL 3.23
by Rossen Assenov (Editor's note: See also VOICE
line and how to share it). Alternatively you can try DIALER/2
that is also available in English (however that version is not the latest).
What I am missing is a simple address database for PM. You don't want to fire
up DB2 to retrieve two or three addresses.