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November 1999

"Good Morning and Welcome to Warpstock 99"

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

A little after 8:30AM on Saturday, October 16th, Gordon Roland kicked off Warpstock 99 with those words. I guess it's silly, but this was my first OS/2 event, and I was charged up and ready to go. I wasn't disappointed in the least. Warpstock Inc. and their event team put on one heck of a great show. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough time to see everything I wanted to see.

I counted 51 sessions, not including the Keynote, Warped Jeopardy or the raffles. I could only attend a handful. Ones I really wanted to attend but couldn't included the Scietech Display Doctor session, Mike Percell's session on Warp Server for ebusiness, and David Moskowitz's "OS/2 Then, Now and ???". I also wanted to go to at least some of the OS/2 programming classes, but couldn't. I also didn't get much time to spend looking around the exhibitor booths. I did spend a lot of time in the VOICE booth, on IRC and also meeting people who stopped by to check out VOICE. Warpstock 99 was very successful membership-wise for VOICE. Thanks to all that joined and those that took the opportunity to renew their membership.

The Keynote address by PCWeek columnist Peter Coffee went over really well, with a decidedly anti-microsoft flavour to it. As a whole we love OS/2, but we also dislike microsoft. Peter's equating an un-named pc operating system to a Pinto and then detailing where OS/2 strengths were was interesting, though I think he belaboured the issues of the windows2000 rollout a bit. He stressed support for standards which will allow us all to continue to use the best resources for our computing tasks, rather then what proprietary kludge is popular. He then spoke about security and future trends in information technology.

All the main room sessions were recorded using Real Video extractor and are available for viewing at http://www.cspcorp.com/Forums/OS2Central/OS2CFOR/Warpstock__99/warpstock__99.html. I don't really run any windoze applications except TaxCut and ExcelTax at tax time, so installing RealPlayer for Windows 3.1 was an adventure. I initially could only get it running in Fullscreen win-OS/2, but after considerable tinkering got it running in Seamless win-OS/2, but could never get it running as a helper app. instead I copied the URL's from the Compuserve video archive into the seamless session. As those who watched the live broadcast are painfully aware, the audio is not all that great, unless the speaker had the microphone perfectly positioned and didn't walk around at all. It does work however (except for a few videos which keep giving me and allows me to view a lot of what I missed, even though I was there. You can get some help on installing RealPlayer under OS/2 at http://www.gt-online.com/~bri/ns-ra.html and http://budgetweb.com/os2/plugins2.html#realaudio.

I missed out on Abel McClendon's session on "VOICE offers Opportunity", and also Lynn Maxson's discussion on WarpDoctor, since someone had to man the VOICE booth. Abel's presentation can be found at http://www.os2voice.org/warpstock99/vcews99/vcews_0.htm. For more on WarpDoctor please see the web page at http://www.warpdoctor.org/. There is quite a flurry of activity on WarpDoctor, with almost daily IRC meetings in #voice on WEBBnet. We are still in the specification phase. User input is needed so now is the time for OS/2 users to join in and tell us what support you need to continue using OS/2. Check out the web page and join the mailing list. WarpDoctor is the first phase of the Warpicity proposal. Warpicicty is the project to take control of our own computing experience. No more worry about what IBM or microsoft will be doing to us. The active OS/2 community will control the direction. As I said before, now is the time to get involved, and the best way to do this is to join VOICE now to show your support for this project. For new members, check out http://www.os2voice.org/membership.html .

I did manage to get to part of the Roundtable Discussion with Peter Coffee of PC Week http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/stories/columns/0,4351,2377721,00.html, David Moskowitz (of OS/2 Warp Unleashed fame), Bob St. John (of Serenity Systems http://www.serenity-systems.com/), Pete Greulich (of IBM Austin) and Oliver Mark (of IBM Germany). Some snippets that I can recall from this discussion included Peter Gruelich talking about centralization of service, Oliver Mark commenting that OS/2 server still has 50% of the European Banking/Finance market, and Bob St. John stating that Serenity systems was negotiating with IBM for an OEM Warp Client, as well as Mensys(which took pre-orders for a Warp 5 client some time ago). The last item of note was a discussion on Software Choice, which will become by subscription only in January, 2000. Mr. Greulich stated that this was done to generate revenue for the OS/2 group. That the pricing was primaily focused on Warp Server users, and that if people felt it was a problem, IBM might re-consider the pricing structure.

I also made it to the final session of the first day, Questions and Answers with the Netscape Team. These guys are IBMers, not Netscape employees. Mike Kaply and Jeff Kobal display a great enthusiasm for their job and their product. They answered questions as honestly as posible and were entertaining to boot. They started the show with an old video from the release of OS/2 2.1. Some of their tips included:

I guess I'm a bit biased since I was involved in the planning for the VOICE/Mensys sponsored "Magic Moments" dinner on Saturday night, but I thought it went smashingly well. However, I felt like a deer caught in the the headlights when a microphone was thrust into my hand at the beginning of the dinner. I couldn't think of what to say on stage, and was woefully unprepared. What I should have said was a big thank you to everyone who made Warpstock 99 possible and for the opportunity to meet so many fellow OS/2 users for the first time.

Sunday, the last day of Warpstock99, brought more great sessions. First up was Kim Cheung of Serenity Systems (http://www.serenity-systems.com/) with his session on the OS/2 Super Client. Basically it would be an Aurora based remote IPL client. Unfortunately due to hardware problems he wasn't able to demonstrate this. Hopefully Kim can get the OK to OEM OS/2 from IBM, and provide this as a viable solution for small scale networks.

Next up on Sunday morning was Simplicity for Java, by Data Representations http://www.datarepresentations.com/. I'm not particularly fond of Java, but this is really a neat product. It is written entirely in Java itself, so it is truely cross-platform(except for running on microsoft's non-compliant JRE, but runs on all Sun and IBM JDKs). You can build an entire Java application UI using Drag'n Drop. It also includes a module called the "Code Sourcerer" which will builds function code using selection screens. Version 1.2 should be out soon and will include a "Canvas Composer", Class Path Editor, a debugger and IDE enhancements. In addition Simplicity Professional will be released in November which is geared to Server Side Java coding. It will include a Servelet Composer, built-in development web server, Internationalization (support for 41 languages), cross-platform testing and database tools.

After the Simplicity demonstration I wondered into Chris Wright's 'Making "Help desk" ' session. Chris writes/draws the UberSoft comic strip seen in OS/2 e-Zine (http://www.os2ezine.com) and on his own web site http://www.ubersoft.net. He went into detail on how he uses OS/2 to construct his strip using Photo>Graphics Pro, Embellish and PMView to do the graphics and Home Page Publisher for the HTML.

Warped Jeopardy was a great diversion. Rice-A-Roni flying everywhere as a panel of guest challengers and the audience were tested in their knowledge of all things OS/2. The commercial breaks were a blast from the past with films of OS/2 promotions past. Somehow in a bizarre twist, all three contestants ended up in a tie. My favorite category was the "Sayings of Chairman Bill" which for some reason all had the same response - "What is OS/2?". Just ask Judy McDermott, it was her favorite category also.

Finally it was getting close the time for me to catch a plane back home. I only managed to make it to the first few minutes of Lynn Maxson's presentation on Warpicity. Unless IBM wakes up and realizes they need to update the user functionality in OS/2 to compete with other lesser, but more bloated operating systems, Warpicity provides a fantastic solution. Lynn is hard at work building his SL/I compiler to make Warpicity a reality and provide the device driver and updated operating system functionality that we sorely need. For more on Warpicity go to the OS/2 Central Forum on Compuserve http://go.compuserve.com/OS2Central, click on messages, and then select Forum 20 Warpicity Project. Here Lynn outlines everything he is doing on this wonderful project.

I enjoyed my first Warpstock and I look forward to Warpstock 2000. Maybe they can add a third day and repeat the sessions so attendees don't have to make so many tough choices. All in all a great show. A hardy thanks to Warpstock Inc and the Warpstock 99 Event Team. For more on Warpstock 99 in Dan Casey's Warpstock 99 ... A View from the Top., Abel McClendon's: Warpstock 99, from my perspective and Wayne Swanson's somewhat bleary eyed view of Atlanta in Wayne's World hits Atlanta.

Coming up in November/December, we have a General VOICE meeting on November 15th at 8PM EST(01:00GMT) on IRC in WEBBnet. Please attend if you can. VOICE needs your input and involvement. Also on Monday, December 6th, 8PM EST(01:00GMT) we have another General VOICE meeting and another on Monday, December 20th, 8PM EST(01:00GMT) . 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.

Looking for a great computer-related gift for Christmas for an OS/2 user? Check out Isaac Leung's review of ACECAT III Pen Tablet from ACECAD, Inc.. This is a product that not only has longstanding OS/2 support, but it works well. You can read more on this product in the November, 1999 OS/2 e-Zine - http://www.os2ezine.com where they have a review as well. I'd like to take this opportunity to say welcome back OS/2 e-Zine, we missed you.

John Twelker is back with more on USB AND OS/2. Unless you have a motherboard with an Intel chipset, be sure to read this article if you have any intention to run an USB device under OS/2 . Next up we have Tom Nadeau with an article titled "Doh! IBM's Sibling Rivalry Does It Again". Then Tom opines on the recent Finding of Fact by Judge Jackson in the microsoft-USDOJ case in For a Change, a Dose of Reality.

Finally Don Eitner returns with a new End(User) column. This month he follows up to my rant last month on IBM's latest OS/2 anti-marketing nonsense in Okay, You've Got My Dollar, Where's The Magic Trick?.

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.

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
Editor, VOICE Newsletter

If you want to express your feelings on the way IBM has abandoned OS/2 users in it's quest to appease bill gates, please write a letter to the US DOJ and tell them how you feel.

Joel I. Klein
Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Division
U.S. Department of Justice
601 D Street, NW
Washington, DC 20530

The email address is antitrust@justice.usdoj.gov, however I believe a written communication has more effect then electronic.

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