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December 2000

Trouble Right Here in Usenet City

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

The comp.os.os2.* Usenet news groups have been a great help to many OS/2 users over the years. This has been even more the case as IBM has been less and less responsive to OS/2 users who don't have a support contract. It is in these groups that a few OS/2 supporting IBMers and other folks who are knowledgeable on how OS/2 works, have graciously answered users' questions. Some problems reported in these groups have also made their way from Usenet through the torturous IBM defect reporting process and have been fixed, again thanks to some of these same people.

So what's the problem? One or two troublemakers have taken over the groups for the shear joy of showing they can post all the lies and hatred they want. Well meaning people, (and I must admit to at times doing it myself) respond to the absurd posts, and away it goes. Soon there are 100's of messages in meaningless threads. The nitwits use circular logic and outright lies to defend their crazy positions. There is no way one can convince these folks they are harming the OS/2 Community, since they don't really care. I don't know if this kind of nonsense goes on in the German and other OS/2 news groups. If it doesn't they are lucky.

This is not a new phenomenon. In fact the chief troublemaker has been pulling the same stunt for years now. He is in many OS/2 Usenet readers' killfiles. That's a mechanism to filter out the posters that SPAM news groups, spread lies and waste bandwidth. Unfortunately these troublemakers' bad behaviour ends up driving more people away from one of the few support mechanisms they have left in the OS/2 world.

What can be done? The easiest thing is to not respond to these troublemakers. That is hard to do when one sees outright lies. But the fact is, even when they are caught in lies they just ignore the truth, and spread new lies. Maybe they are so mentally ill they can't even discern when they are lying, I don't know. But one has to restrain oneself. I frequently write a reply, but then delete it before sending it. Again these people are not looking for truth or facts, they are only interested in spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to some how hurt someone or something.

If you must post an answer to their boldface lies, then make your point and don't respond to their response. Once they get into a thread, they use it to their own advantage. Facts and truth become meaningless in the barrage that follows. In fact the prime FUDster haunting the OS/2 groups has been known to invent posters just so he can create his own voluminous threads.

The latest nonsense that is polluting the Usenet OS/2 groups is an attack on Serenity Systems and their new product eComStation. First the Usenet abusers stated that IBM was going to bring out a new version of Warp, and that the Convenience Pak that eCS is based on was not this version. When this was proved false, they began posting claims that eCS is a bad choice because it costs more. They actually figured in the cost of 30 Day support available from distributors, which is not only optional and not required for most users, but an advantage to some. Purchasing support from IBM has been uncertain process at best, let alone unable to figure out what the true cost would be. Now that option for Installation Support is available at a reasonable cost from the eComStation Distributors. Now this troublemaker claims that anyone buying eComStation is no longer an OS/2 user and doesn't have a right to post in the OS/2 news groups. Interesting since my version of the eCS Preview reports itself as Operating System/2 4.5. Looks like OS/2 to me.:-)

As I have pointed out in the past, we now have a choice in the future of OS/2. eComStation is one of the choices. IBM's Software Choice is another option. A third option is to do nothing or perhaps move on to something else. In the name of clarifying these choices, these FUDsters are attempting to paint eCS as something to be distrusted. Something to be avoided. My question is why are they doing this? Serenity Systems has brought excitement and a sense of a future to the OS/2 community. There are no absolute guarantees that eCS will succeed. IBM could decide to cease all OS/2 support at the whim of bill gates, should microsoft decide that OS/2 poses a threat somehow to their monopoly. So there is no guarantee that IBM will follow through on any of their limited promises for the Merlin Convenience Pak (MCP) included as part of Software Choice. Only time will tell.

VOICE is about education (the "E" in VOICE) and to that end we try to provide information for the OS/2 Community to make an informed decision. We try not to beat people over the head with our own opinions, but we don't hide them either. It's your decision, but to me eComStation is one of the most exciting events to hit the OS/2 world since Warp 4 made its appearance. If you are trying to make a decision on Software Choice versus eComStation, here are some pointers to help you learn more about your options. You can checkout my October editorial "Our Choices" http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1000H/vnewsf1.htm. There is also Oliver Rick's excellent "OS/2 Warp Upgrade Options" page http://home.knuut.de/orick/english/warp_futureoptions.html.

You should also check Serenity's eComStation site http://www.ecomstation.com and IBM's Software Choice site http://service.boulder.ibm.com/asd-bin/doc/en_us/home.htm. And don't forget this past month's VOICE Newsletter with "eComStation (eCS) First Look: The Preview Edition" http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1100H/vnewsf6.htm by Dan Casey, and of course his updates in this month's issue eComStation (eCS) Preview eComStation (eCS) Preview - 1 Month Later and Corrections, Clarifications and new Information, re: Software Choice, Warp 4 and eCS. In addition you might want to check out the other November VOICE Newsletter articles as well, especially Michal Necasek's "Short Introduction to LVM and JFS " http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1100H/vnewsf4.htm and Eirik Overby's "LVM, FDISK and Partition Magic" http://www.os2voice.org/VNL/past_issues/VNL1100H/vnewsf5.htm which cover the a couple of the new features included in eComStation, though as of now only LVM will be part of the IBM MCP.

In OS/2eZine, this past month, there was Richard R. Klemmer's article on "eComStation Updates" http://www.os2ezine.com/20001016/ecomstation.html. I also see that Walter Metcalf has started a series on installing eComStation as well in his informative and well read OS/2 web site - http://os2.about.com. Again very helpful for people who want to make a decision.

If you have specific questions about eCS the best place for answers is the eComStation mailing list on eGroups - http://www.egroups.com/group/eComStation, or the news group setup by Mensys for eComStation support - news://news.ecomstation.nl/ecomstation.support.misc.

VOICE Server Update: VOICE's website is now running smoothly on our own server machine. It is running Warp Server for eBusiness (complements of an IBMer who wishes to remain anonymous) of course on our own hardware co-located at an ISP in North Carolina. Our initial problems with running our mailing list software appears to have been resolved. Next up will be more services for our members. We have discussed setting up mail accounts or just an email address redirection using the os2voice.org domain. Also providing web space to members and possibly server space to OS/2 development projects. If you have any thoughts on these or other services, please let us know. Either attend a meeting, or send your thoughts and ideas to president@os2voice.org. If for some reason we do experience any more down time, you can also access our pages including the newsletter at our mirror site - http://os2voice.ibmforum.com.

In November we had a general meeting on IRC on the 6th and the 20th. We need more folks to attend to give input on what the membership would like from VOICE.

For December there will be two general meetings scheduled on IRC - December 4 at 8PM EST(01:00 GMT, 02:00 Berlin), and December 18th at 8PM EST(01:00 GMT, 02:00 Berlin). For more information on attending online VOICE IRC meetings please see the VOICE Meeting Information page - http://www.os2voice.org/meetinginfo.html

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, 02:00 Berlin). 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 December we start with a review by Jason R Stefanovich, of the IBM ScrollPoint Pro Mouse. Jason wrote a review of the original IBM ScrollPoint Mouse in July 1998, so he's familiar with this device. If you are looking for a holiday present for an OS/2 user, this might be the ticket.

I'm always on the lookout for new gadgets and software that work well under OS/2. One thing I've been looking for, for years is a way to track my telephone modem usage. I finally found that tool in the form of PM Timer. If you use a dialup connection and would like to keep track of your connect time no matter what dialer you are using, then give this utility a look.

For the cutting edge, power user, SCSI has always been the ultimate edge in storage device access. Fast but expensive. Andrew Stephenson takes a look at the latest SCSI format in Adventures in Adaptec U160+ Land. Then we have a more generic article, applying to SCSI as well as IDE, Hard Drive Geometry and OS/2 by Daniela Engert.

Next we have two articles by Dan Casey. The first is a followup to his article last month in the Newsletter eComStation (eCS) First Look, The Preview Edition. This one is titled: eComStation (eCS) Preview eComStation (eCS) Preview - 1 Month Later. Then we have Dan's article on Corrections, Clarifications and new Information, re: Software Choice, Warp 4 and eCS.

Klaus Staedtler von Przyborski is back with his third article in his Free Files series. This month he has a small addendum to last month's article on Little helpers for your office (SOHO) and he also continues on the SOHO office topic with Copying and archiving (SOHO, part 2).

Finally we have the VOICE Newsletter OS/2 Tips page and the Letters, Addenda, Errata page. If you have any OS/2 or eCS tips you've uncovered, please send them to tips@os2voice.org. If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter or articles in it, please send them to editor@os2voice.org

We are planning to publish a list with topics we would like to see articles about in the Newsletter. You can and should contribute to the collection! So if you can think of a topic you always wanted to read something about, please submit it for the list! If somebody with detailed knowledge in this field reads the list chances are that he/she might feel encouraged to write an article him/herself. And of course if you have an idea for an article you want to write, please let us know. Send your ideas for topics to topiclist@os2voice.org, or your own articles to editor@os2voice.org.

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. So far for January we have lined up articles on OS/2 Networking, including Hardware, Cable Modems, and DSL. 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. If you can help by writing an article please contact me at editor@os2voice.org. Guidelines for Article Submissions to the VOICE Newsletter.

Mark Dodel and Christian Hennecke
Editors, VOICE Newsletter

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