Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

December 1997

OS/2 Reviews
VOICE Board Member Interview
OS/2 Tips
View from the END (User)

OS/2 Reviews

STI Twain 1.6.5

By Mark Dodel, HTTP:// or

Initial Impressions:

I purchased TrueSpectra's Photo>Graphics Pro for OS/2 - in part because it includes the twain driver for OS/2 from Solution Technology. After years of hearing how difficult it was to get a scanner to work under OS/2 I wanted to make sure I had the right hardware, software and driver to do the job right. Shortly after I purchased my HP 5P, J3 began advertising an Epson scanner bundled with STI's Applause and there was also a Microtek scanner bundled with Applause prior to that. I decided on the HP since that was the only brand supported by CopyShop/2, which is not Twain enabled. The initial version of twain that was shipped with Photo>Graphics Pro was version 1.014 which worked with my HP 5P, but generated some benign error messages. I had contacted Leon at STI and he assured me that the next version of STI's twain fully supported the HP 5P and that TrueSpectra would release it as part of their next upgrade. A few months passed before the upgrade became available, but it works as advertised, no more error messages after scans complete.

So what's the big deal about Twain anyway? Well it's an attempt to standardize access to image acquisition devices in software applications - This includes digital cameras as well as scanners. Before twain you had to make sure that the software package supported your make and model of scanner. I like CopyShop/2 for scanning, copying and faxing, but it will only work with HP scanners because that is the only driver supplied. If it were twain compliant, it should work with any twain scanner. So long as you have an OS/2 twain driver that supports that scanner, you can use any graphics software package that is twain enabled. Of course that is not 100% accurate, since Embellish so far only works with the twain driver from CFM -, but STI says they are working with Dadaware - to help get Embellish working with the STI twain driver as well.

Hardware Requirements:

IBM PC, PS/2* or compatible
Intel 386 or higher
8 Mb ram, 4Mb under Warp MINIMUM
Mouse recommended
Hard disk
OS/2 supported SCSI card
Supported scanner - for a list of currently supported devices - Device Driver Information


I installed STI's twain as part of TrueSpectra's Photo>Graphics Pro package. According to STI the install is the same as the stand alone version. The installation is smooth and hassle free and uses the standard OS/2 install program. It creates an STI\twain directory using 372K of space for files. It put's a device driver called ASPIDRV.SYS in your CONFIG.SYS, sets a TWAIN environment variable and also installs a REMed out DOS driver as well. You also need a driver for your SCSI controller card in the CONFIG.SYS as well. You then have to shut down and reboot your system. The biggest problem is to remember to turn on your scanner before you boot, or else it won't be found.


Using the product is pretty simple. I had no need to read any manual or bother with any online help. First you have to be in a graphics application that supports twain. These include STI's Applause and Review, TrueSpectra's Photo>Graphics Pro, and PMView. If you have more then one twain device you can select Source from the FIle menu, and then select the imaging device.

To perform a scan, select Acquire from the File menu, you'll get the following screen. This allows you to configure the scanning parameters. You choose the type of scan, from Black and White, Black and White Halftone, Black and White 16 Grayscale, Black and White 256 Grayscale, Color Drawing (256 Colors), and Color Photo (16M Colors). You can select a resolution between 75 dpi up to 600 dpi. Brightness and Contrast can be adjusted using slider controls. There is no preview mode, but you can adjust the scan width and height. Keep in mind that the larger the image and the higher the resolution the longer the scan takes, and the larger the resulting image file. When you are done with your adjustments select the Scan button and away it goes. You can select Save to save the settings you configured.


I highly recommend STI's twain for OS/2. There is no demo, but if you have the need and a scanner and graphics package that supports the STI driver this is a definite buy rated package. The STI driver currently supports about 22 devices and there are a lot more in development. I'd like to see a preview mode though, which would save some scanning time for smaller scans. I'm not heavy into graphics, but folks who are have said they'd like some kind of software color calibration also. STI says they are mainly focused on developing for new device support, rather then adding features so neither of these items is a high priority for them. STI gives quick responses to questions submitted by e-mail. Leon Zetekoff of STI frequently responds to posts about imaging problems/questions in the comp.os.os2.apps news group also. The only alternative that I know of is the CFM twain driver for OS/2 - Check both sites and see which provides the most complete support for the devices you plan on using. Also CFM has a demo which is limited to a resolution of 72DPI.

Reviewed or mentioned in this article:

Solution Technology Twain for OS/2 Driver Pack - $45.00, IB
CFM Twain for OS/2 - $50.00, BMT

OPCONSOL Review Update

I reviewed the OS/2 system logging utility Opconsol in the October VOICE newsletter, and I had asked if anyone knew what happened to development of this application. Well good news. The author of Opconsol - Gary Green was sent a copy of my review and contacted me. He is still trying to recover from a system crash that wiped out 18 months of his development code with it. He is in the process of recreating Opconsol from scratch. If you have any suggestions, or just want to send a word of encouragement he can be reached at

He is still working on recreating version 1.3 of Opconsol, and is adding some increased functionality including the ability to "extend OPCONSOL with your own command library. I provide the requirements and anyone that follows the rules can add their own commands (or even replace my commands)."

Opconsol is an OS/2 system logging utility based on the IBM mainframe MVS system log in appearance and functionality. It is available at or


Interviews with the VOICE Board

In our continuing series of interviews with the people who make up VOICE, we now interview Seth McFarland (Ptackbar), VOICE Web Master:

VOICE> How long have you used OS/2?

Seth> I've used OS/2 for about 5 years...since 2.11. I ran it on a 386/25 w/ 16mb RAM.

VOICE> How do you currently use OS/2?

Seth> Well, currently I use OS/2 for everything. Everything I do basically is internet related. I create all HTML and graphics in OS/2 using EPM and Adobe Photoshop 3 (in Win-OS/2). Nothing matches the WPS and within the last year I've really come to use the object oriented desktop to it's full extent.

VOICE> What is your background in computers?

Seth> I've got no background really :) I began using computers as a kid for games and such and then for school work, learning everything I could about them on the way. Now I am the webmaster for the North Carolina General Assembly. I also do internet PC support for my division.

VOICE> A budding Bill Gates. Hopefully you'll show a bit of mercy to the compettition. By the way what is 'Jamawkinaw Enterprises'?

Seth> Jamawkinaw Enterprises is a "company" which is bacially just 3 of my buddies who do web design and are beginning to work on PM OS/2 internet applications. We might actually make money some day.

VOICE> How did you arrive at the Jamawkinaw name? Is it a Southern thing? Or an Indian (Native American) thing?

Seth> Back in school, an African group came and presented a fable of sorts..the main character was called "Jamawkinaw" and the name just stuck with me for some reason...I came up with the spelling myself though :)

VOICE> What other OS/2-computer related activities are you involved with right now?

Seth> I'm currently the webmaster for VOICE, Warpstock, and #os/2 on the undernet. I've also done graphics for some OS/2 websites, namely The Ultimate OS/2 Gaming page and Team OS/2.

VOICE> How did you get involved with VOICE?

Seth> Well, when the original VOICE web master didn't "work out", I volunteered to do it.

VOICE> What does the 'VOICE Web Master' do?

Seth> I basically just put all information possible relating to VOICE on the webpage in an organized and (hopefully) asthetically pleasing manor.


OS/2 Tips

Dec 13, 1997 - From a post in comp.os.os2.beta from the Lotus Smart Suite for OS/2 Warp Admin:

If you're using 4OS2 as your command interpreter, you need to open
an OS/2 window, type CMD (to switch back to the standard OS/2
command interpreter) and then run the Suite install.

Please append here and let us know if that was the problem. If not,
still send us a feedback message as I described in my earlier posting.


Feel free to pull QuickStart from your Startup folder if you feel it's
causing problems with other apps. By the way, I might as well let you
know now we plan to pull the QuickStart utility because we've discovered
it isn't providing sufficient improvement on "initial launch" of the
SmartSuite apps to warrent its use. I know this will please folks who
aren't particularly excited about having something added to their
Startup folder.

(Editor's note: I found that once I removed the Quick Start object from the Startup folder an annoying system freeze I had been experiencing with Netscape/2 appears to have gone away. Since there doesn't seem to be any benefit to this process anyway, it seems like a good idea to remove it).

Dec 12, 1997 - Yet another OS/2 mail list os2-opengl - OpenGL for OS/2 programmers discussion list. A mailing list to discuss software development with OpenGL for OS/2. To subscribe to the list, sent email to with the following line in the e-mail body: subscribe os2-opengl <your e-mail address> To post to the list send e-mail to

Nov 30, 1997 - For information about the XFREE86/OS2 mailing list go to The XFreeOS2 mailing list deals with all aspects of the XFree86/OS2 port of the X Window System.

Nov 26, 1997 - Confused about applying OS/2 fixpacks? IBM has a primer on fixpacks - Beginner's Guide to Understanding OS/2 Fixes

Nov 20, 1997 - There is a mailing list for the OS/2 BBS of new files posted on The OS/2 Shareware BBS
To subscribe to this mailing list, send a message to: with a blank subject and a message body which reads: subscribe os2new-1day-text

More information on this mailing list can be found at

Nov 20, 1997 - Is there a feature you would like to see implemented in OS/2 Warp or Warp Server. Well you can tell IBM what you want. Just go to and fill in the form detailing what you want and how you plan to use it.

Nov 14, 1997 - A mail list is available for users of the In-Joy Internet Dialer.
To join the In-Joy mailing list: send a message with a subject of: "subscribe" to:

Nov 6, 1997 - From GammaTech a new mailing list to support GT-IRC . To subscribe to this mailing list send e-mail to: with a Subject of: subscribe. Once subscribed, e-mail should be sent to

Nov 2, 1997 - From Anssi Saari , in c.o.o.bugs news group - To find the help for a trap error code, "Take trap #, convert to base 10, add 1930 and see help. The info for TRAP000D is thus obtained by help 1943 (or help sys1943, if you prefer)" That is 1930+13=1943. For those unfamiliar with HEX math, A=10, B=11, C=12, D=13, E=14, F=15 and a HEX 10=16. For a guide in INF form that gives OS/2 trap error messages and suggestions on how to deal with them.


View From the END (User)

GammaTech IRC 3.0

By: dON k. eITNER (

The GammaTech IRC client 3.0 was recently released amidst a decent amount of hype in IRC channels. I was not one of the lucky few to beta test it, but with the release of a brand new free demo version I have had a chance to try out some of its new features.

For a bit of background, I am not a longtime GT-IRC user. I actually use mIRC under Winos/2 but desire to do away with the last remnants of my DOS/Windows history. I had used the free demo of GT-IRC 2.05 and 2.06, however, just enough to know that it was a good client but one which needed a little work on the user interface end.

Using a native OS/2 client is wonderful if for no other reason than long filename support for DCCs (and playing SOUNDs) and stability. GT-IRC 3.0 doesn't let you down in these areas. There are even some new additions to both features, such as the ability to hear (locally) a sound that you play in an IRC channel. Some other new enhancements include the ability to hide the old toolbar (this requires a reloading of the client, so is not supported in the demo which does not save user settings between sessions -- that is why it is a demo) and the ability to add items to the various popup menus on-the-fly or within a standard IRC-REXX script file. There is also a nicely enhanced Server dialog which allows grouping of servers under a network name (for convenience purposes). Another nice new feature is the ability to strip mIRC color codes from incoming messages so they don't create garbage on your screen. This is a great client for skilled IRC users. Unlike many other IRC clients, however, it is also good for amateur uses, having a well-designed online help file and status bar help text for the icons on the tool bar.

However the prerelease hype may have been misleading. A number of users, myself included, were expecting full popup menu editing. This is not the case. The use can add to the bottom of any popup menu easily, but predefined items cannot be deleted (if you have no use for them) nor can they be rearranged (so you cannot add an unignore item right next to the ignore item in the nicklist popup - if you add unignore, it goes to the bottom of the menu while ignore is near the top). Furthermore, there are no cascading menus as one finds both on the OS/2 desktop popup menu (and most folder and app system menus) and in such clients as mIRC and OpenChat/2. This lack of cascading menus means you cannot have one main menu item which acts as a descriptor for various other items which are similar in purpose (i.e.. having a cascading menu for various types of greetings for people in the channel nicklist). You must have each and every type of greeting on the one nicklist popup menu.

It has also been stated by several users that 3.0 does not seem to be a very significant change from 2.0x. For instance, there is still no auto-close of DCC windows on file transfer completion, no customizable toolbar (only able to hide), no actual color support, and all-in-all 3.0 has the same user interface as 2.0. If you liked GT-IRC 2.0, you'll love 3.0. However if you're used to a much more easily-scripted (such as I am with mIRC's ridiculously-easy popup menu and alias editing) client, then you may have to take a few weeks to get used to this. The power is there, and if you know REXX you can enhance it even more, but the power is not as readily available as it could be.

Still, thanks must go out to GammaTech for continuing to work on this, the original OS/2 PM shareware IRC client. It has a nice solid application core that merely needs some external enhancements. And you cannot beat the $24.95 price tag, available now until the end of January, 1998. Try the free demo and see what the registered version can do for you. Only through user support will the client continue to grow and mature.

Product: GammaTech IRC 3.0
Information & Download:


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