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June 2002

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OS/2 Tips

We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mailing lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 or eComStation recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to If you are interested in joining a particular OS/2 mailing list, check out the VOICE Mailing List page for subscribing instructions for a large variety of existing lists -

Editor's note: these tips are from OS/2-eComStation users and in some cases can not be verified by myself. Please heed this as a warning that if you are not sure about something, don't do it.

April 26, 2002 - From news:// comes our first tip of the month is from Mike Kaply on how to add a mail indicator to Warpcenter:
Unbeknownst to most people, there is an undocumented way to get a new mail indicator on the WarpCenter. At some point we are going to hook this up to Mozilla, but first we have to get people's machines configured.

It involves creating an icon on your desktop with an object ID of <CCINBOX>

Here is the rexx code:

/* */
call RxFuncAdd 'SysCreateObject', 'RexxUtil', 'SysCreateObject' result = SysCreateObject('WPProgram', 'Mozilla Mail', '<WP_DESKTOP>', 'OBJECTID=<CCINBOX>');
You can then customize this object to open mozilla -mail If you were to reboot now, you would have an extra gray box on your WarpCenter. The reason it is gray is because for some reason, the OS/2 people chose to remove the actual icons used for the mail item. Don't reboot yet. Here is how you can get them back.

Your Warpcenter should now have a mail icon. I have placed a mailtest application in the ZIP file so you can run it and see how the icon changes when you have new mail. It's called mailtest.exe.

If you want to customize the icons, edit mail.bmp or newmail.bmp, then run the resource compiler to recreate scenter.res. Then follow the process I outlined above. Please let me know how this goes and if anyone could streamline this process, that would be great.

April 28, 2002 - Next up, Herbert Rosenau offered the following suggestion for someone asking on the os2user Yahoo! mail list how to determine how much RAM JFS is using for a cache:
Type "cachejfs" on commandline to get the current state.
Type "cachejfs -?" to get the possible parameters.

April 28, 2002 - Getting a TRAP screen and don't have a digital camera to capture the screen data? Al Savage suggested the following ways to capture the information in a response he posted on comp.os.os2.bugs:
<Ctrl-Alt-NumLk-NumLk>? (That is, press CTRL-ALT and hit the NUMLOCK key twice.) (Does <Ctrl-Alt-F10-F10> also work? [Editor note: Yes <Ctrl-Alt-F10-F10> is what I use on my laptop which lacks the Numlock key.) Triggers a core dump of all system RAM. Feed a floppy in, let it write the first diskette (I think I recall that you can get the trap info from the first diskette, but I can't seem to find a confirmation of that), then C-A-D to reboot. Perhaps someone else can fill in details here -- I haven't done it this way.

Or, if you want to get serious about OS/2 dumps, Steven Levine has info on how to set up your system to save process and core dumps to a file: Dumps made in this way contain the trap screen information, of course :)

And Steve Levine added the following:
There's also: which will suck the trap screens and some other info out of the 1st dump diskette.

April 29, 2002 - On the eComstation news group someone asked "How can I know which is my kernel?" IBM's Scott Garfinkle had this to offer:
type "bldlevel os2krnl" to get the internal revision.

May 7, 2002 - Steve Crutchfield offered the following tip on the news group:
Some time ago, I posted a message asking for help with eCS peer-to-peer networking. My network device drivers loaded ok, my NIC drivers loaded OK, the other computers on the network were "seeing" the eCS box, but I couldn't share files/resources between the computers.

Today, I suddenly got an idea. I checked my BIOS configuration, and noticed that I had an entry for "detect PS/2 mouse", with two options: "detect" and "on". The description for "on" said "use this if other resources need IRQ 12." Well, I'd read on this list that network cards use IRQ 12, so I switched to "on" instead of "detect." VOILà! Now, my eCS peer network is up and running just fine, with all computers able to see each other and share resources. Plus, as an additional benefit, the sound card drivers now load and I have sound (whereas I didn't before). The machine, by the way, is an HP Pavilion 7966.

The tip, then, is that if eCS users are having trouble with networking or other system devices, it pays to look carefully at the BIOS setup for possible IRQ conflicts.

Thanks to all (especially Chuck McGinnis, whose NICPAK programs now work!) for their help.

May 10, 2002 - Jack Troughton wrote out this little primer on OS/2 drag and drop conventions in a post on the Yahoo! xworkplace-user group:
The default operation of a drag is to move. There are three major exceptions to this:

  1. The default operation when dragging an executable file is to create a program object in the target location.
  2. When dragging to the desktop, the default operation is to create a shadow of the original object on the desktop. This behaviour can be modified in the Desktop properties notebook on the Desktop tab (right-click on the Desktop, select Properties, and click on the Desktop tab).
  3. When dragging a file to a removable media drive, such as a floppy drive or a zip drive, the default operation is to copy the object.
You can modify the behaviour of a drag operation with the use of two keys: shift and ctrl. When shift is pressed, it forces a move of the object. When ctrl is pressed, it forces a copy of the object. When both ctrl and shift are pressed, it forces the creation of a shadow of the object.

Finally, the WPS gives a visual cue to help you know what the operation to be performed is. When moving, the mouse cursor and icon are solid; they appear as normal. When copying, the mouse cursor and icon become semi-transparent. When a shadow is to be created, a line appears from the original object to the target. To see this in action, drag a file from one folder to another (but do not drop it!), and, while holding down the left mouse button, press the three key combinations in turn (ctrl, shift, and ctrl-shift) to see the cursor change in accordance with the operation to be performed.

Once you see what the visual cues mean, the operation to be performed should be immediately apparent, so you can easily modify it to do what you want if you need to do so.

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