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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 tips@os2voice.org. 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 - http://www.os2voice.org/mailinglists.html.

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.
This month's fascinating tidbits!
Date Description OS version Experience level
December 25, 2005 Seagate's USB Pocket Drive Both General
December 31, 2005 Plugins For Firefox Both General
January 19, 2006 Switching TCP/IP Connections Both Advanced
January 23, 2006 Mice With Optical Sensors Both General
Feb. 1, 2006 JFS & Duplicate Block References Both Advanced
February 14, 2006 OpenOffice Crash, & Fix Both General
February 17, 2006 AIC7870.ADD Problem, & Solution Both Intermediate
February 21, 2006 VIRTUALADDRESSLIMIT vs. SNAP Both Intermediate
March 3, 2006 "Resume" in Z! Both General
April 6, 2006 The Last Word Both General

Seagate's USB Pocket Drive
December 25, 2005 - Both - General

All this from comp.os.os2.bugs:

"me" had written, plaintively, in comp.os.os2.bugs:

I am trying to get this drive working under OS/2 with the latest USB drivers and the latest FAT32 drivers. I can work on the driver with DFSee

"steve" responded:

I have never gotten a USB 1GiB pen drive to work formatted as FAT32. Worked fine as FAT16.

The problem, I think, had to do with the drive geometry being reported incorrectly so after it was formatted as FAT32 either the FAT table or directories were misplaced.

Indeed, for me DFSee also saw the disk, but I had no luck ever getting it to work with FAT32.

William L. Hartzell replied in turn:

I seem to remember that you need a real recent version of the USB DASD driver as OS/2 was using a drive geometry different than MS and everyone else, until the most recent driver. I'll have to get this newest FAT32 driver as my older one did not support USB drives. I would partition the drive using OS/2 tools, but format it with Windows 95 second edition or 98 (if you can find it).

"me" was beside himself with joy:


My pocket drive is now working! Last night I took a look at the INF file that came along with the FAT32 driver and it mentioned things to try if your USB removable wasn't working. It seems OS2PCARD.DMD is a problem for me as they indicated it could be. As I don't use PCMCIA ATA drives I rem'ed it out and the pocket drive now works.

Well, when you're in trouble. . . The Manual??
But, "All's well that ends well" (W.S.); and we're not complaining. -yke

Plugins For Firefox
December 31, 2005 - Both - General

Eric Erickson (netscape.public.mozilla.os2) complained:

This is Firefox, not Mozilla. There is no about:plugins on the Help menu item anymore. It seems to me that some of the UI has taken a step backwards with Firefox.

So I'm still in search of how to get new plugins installed and how to determine what plugins are installed.

Heikki Kekki (or was it Hessu?) helped him out:

Just type about:plugins into Firefox's location bar. Put the line

user_pref("plugin.expose_full_path", true);

into prefs.js and you see full paths. For example, G:\MOZPROFILES\Mozilla\plugins\npswf2.dll. And in this case, Mozilla and Firefox use the same plugins. Look at Steve Wendt's Tips for Warpzilla

Switching TCP/IP Connections
January 19, 2006 - Both - Advanced

Peter Koller (he of Maul Publisher) tells us:

Here is an easy way to change the interfaces TCP/IP uses to connnect to a network. Sometimes this is useful to setup a temporary connection when traveling with your laptop.

Create a CMD file to clear the current settings and re-initialise the interfaces.

The CMD file consists of 3 parts, and you can create as many command files as you require. In the following examples, I have an ethernet card configured as lan0, and a wifi card configured as lan1. These interfaces are defined in \mptn\setup.cmd. When you add a network card in Setup > Adapters and Protocols, you chose a number for each interface.

@echo off
REM Part 1: We delete all interfaces
ifconfig lan0 delete
ifconfig lan1 delete
REM . . .and so on

REM Part 2: We need to clear the route and arp tables
route -fn
arp -f

REM We must always have this
ifconfig lo

REM Now comes the interesting part.

REM Part 3:
REM You can either configure a fixed interface like this. . .
REM ifconfig lan0 -netmask metric 1 mtu 1500

REM . . .OR you can configure a leased interface like this
REM dhcpstrt -d 0 -i lan0

REM Here we set a default route to the network
route add default -hopcount 1

REM Decide about IP forwarding,
REM  - The alternatives are: ipgate on or ipgate off

. . .and that's it!

I have created 2 files, wired.cmd, and wireless.cmd. Here they are again:

echo off
ifconfig lan0 delete
ifconfig lan1 delete
route -fn
arp -f
ifconfig lo
ifconfig lan0 -netmask metric 1 mtu 1500
route add default -hopcount 1
ipgate off
echo off
ifconfig lan0 delete
ifconfig lan1 delete
route -fn
arp -f
ifconfig lo
route add default -hopcount 1
dhcpstrt -d 0 -i lan1
ipgate off
start wifistat.exe

I use this technique a lot to create quick connections to different networks I want to access with my laptop.

That's really cute, Peter. Thanks. -yke

Mice With Optical Sensors
January 23, 2006 - Both - General

Peter J Seymour asked in comp.os.os2.misc, somewhat wistfully:

Looking round a local PC store recently, I noticed that there has been one of those changeovers in manufacturing that occur from time to time. It seems that the traditional ball mouse is now difficult to find and that the main PC stores are only stocking mice with optical sensors.

What I am wondering is does this pose any OS/2 issues? Will these optical sensor mice work with the existing drivers?

Doug Bissett replied, helpfully:

I have used a Labtec optical mouse, and now use a Logitech optical mouse (both are USB, but I did use the Labtec with a PS/2 adapter, since USB didn't want to play nice on my old machine). Both work far better than a ball mouse, BUT, you need to be careful about what pattern is on your mouse pad. A plain, single color, cloth pad works best. If you have one with a high contrast, sharply defined, pattern (especially on plastic), you can have a problem with the mouse thinking that a large jump has been made, as it crosses the boundary, and the cursor will jump around on you. I use the SingleMouse driver [smouse], as supplied by eCS and eCSMT.

Marty agreed:

Yup. I found out the hard way that wood grain falls into the "bad" category of things to run your optical mouse over. I was ready to smash it into tiny bits before I tried a plain white sheet of paper under it.

"Percival P. Cassidy" had a different take on the situation:

I hate mice, with or without balls. Have you ever thought of a trackball instead? It needs less real estate. I have several different Logitech models, both wired and wireless, on different machines, and they seem to work fine with the AMouse driver.

JFS & Duplicate Block References
Feb. 1, 2006 - Both - Advanced

We've marked this item "Advanced" largely because:

  1. an ailing JFS is not for the faint-of-heart,
  2. "Duplicate Block References" is not for the faint-of-heart, and
  3. any non-trivial use of DFSee is not for the faint-of-heart.

That said however, some things turn out to be not so hard to do. . . Sometimes.

Mark Dodel had a problem alright. And using DFSee to fix it resulted in this ominous message CHKDSK: Duplicate block references have been detected in meta-data. UH-oh!

Jan Henkes, in the dfsee-support forum, tried to help:

Had the same problem with a formerly always stable JFS volume. Suddenly unreadable because CHKDSK does not want to finish on a JFS-volume with a unrecoverable problem with the superblock and its copy (both were missing on my system, very presumably 'eaten' by that wonderful piece of s**t called the Winblows (2k/xp) Disk Manager).

All you want is CHKDSK not to run on that volume.

Now there's this tiny utility ISJ that will set a flag on the broken volume to 'nocheck' and after reboot all data will most likely be accessible again. Run ISJ with the -C switch ISJ -C, and chose the appropriate volume.

Download ISJ.

Reboot, and then don't shutdown before you've recovered and backed-up all data!!

I recovered all data thanks to our friend from (I think) Odessa, but after this nasty as well as time-consuming incident I got the creeps and changed all JFS back to HPFS. . . :-)

Mark replied:

I finally thought to boot with the eCS 1.2MR CD and remove the autocheck on the JFS.IFS line in CONFIG.SYS. And just managed to boot the system, and the original JFS volume that wouldn't chkdsk was [now] accessible. Very cool. I'm not sure if it was using DFSee to set as clean or if I used JRescuer against it before I left it alone for a week. I'm now backing it up to a USB drive, but its taking forever since its a USB 1.0 port. Thanks a lot for the suggestion.

I guess its time to start looking for a replacement for the old Pentium Pro file server as the lack of USB 2.0 alone is painful. Funny how a few years ago I couldn't see any sense to USB. Now I have several USB drives, card readers, printers and a couple of USB scanners. Too bad there isn't FireWire for eCS as that drive is very fast on my iMac.

OpenOffice Crash, & Fix
February 14, 2006 - Both - General

Julian Thomas informs us:

On OS2, running OO 1.1.4 I had a crash (text document). Open Office subsequently would not start up.

Fix was to restore this file: G:\openoffice\user\registry\cache\org.openoffice.Setup.dat from a backup.

We all do have backups, don't we?? -yke

AIC7870.ADD Problem, & Solution
February 17, 2006 - Both - Intermediate

V.Weise has written us directly:

The driver AIC7870.ADD (versions 10.3, 10.3.1) cannot be operated with Realtek RTL8029-driver PCIND.OS2 (normal version 2.1 in \Ibmcom\Macs\)

Symptoms: Programs which try to test the SCSI devices (e.g., qscsi.exe from ImpOS/2, aspitest.exe from STI, sane-find-scanner.exe and cdrecord -scanbus) will stop although the driver seems to be corectly installed - and is shown in the hardware-manager.

Solution: A patched version of rtl8029p.zip on Hobbes.

That's rtl8029p.zip, dated 12-2004. -yke

February 21, 2006 - Both - Intermediate

Mark Dodel forwarded this from the Scitech SNAP OS/2 news group news://www-1.scitechsoft.com/scitech.snap.graphics.os2:

Regarding a thread on problems with having VIRTUALADDRESSLIMIT set to 2048 or more when a video card has a lot of video RAM in use. Andy Willis suggested a possible workaround and Scitech's Steve Wendt concurred:

Willis: Cards with less than 128MiB do seem to be getting less common. . . Isn't there a setting that allows only 32MiB to be reported by SNAP?

Wendt: Yes - http://www.scitechsoft.com/support/faq/fom.cgi?file=21

Willis: Would that get around the problem?

Wendt: I'm sure it would help in many cases.

The following day Steve Wendt added:

There is also gaoption vidmem <size> which should work on all the drivers that have chipsets with massive video memory sizes.

Mark then clarified things a bit:

The actual CONFIG.SYS setting according to the above web page is


"Resume" in Z!
March 3, 2006 - Both - General

In comp.os.os2.apps was this, from Z!'s author - "dink" himself:

If you accidentally quit (or hit previous/next) a track and didn't mean to, just reload z! (if needed) and press [Alt-L]. It will resume the last track that got interrupted and jump to the time index where it was interrupted.

The Last Word
April 6, 2006 - Both - General

This month's column is shorter, item-wise, than most on my watch. Importantly, as short as it is, we received the items only over several consecutive months. . . Instead of the usual one month.   Not good!   Help me out, guys and gals!     -yke (Your Kindly Editor)

Formatting: Christian Hennecke
Editing: James Moe