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Copyright 2017, Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG, Warp Expo West, and Warpfest are trademarks of the Southern California OS/2 User Group. OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.

The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
A Computer, An Operating System, And A Man Named Carsten Whimster
EDM/2 Magazine Editor-In-Chief Braves The Technology Of OS/2

by Peter Skye
O
NTARIO, CANADA — Just where do you go when you really want to learn?

           The library?  The computer books there tend to be a little stale.

           How about a newsgroup?  You’ll certainly find a lot of basic tips and answers, but not a lot of new technology.

           Or buy a couple of books on the subject?  Perhaps, but you’ve got to do an awful lot of reading to get a concept or two, and it gets pretty pricey if you like to learn on a regular basis.

           Ahh, there we are.  Should have thought of it earlier.  Right there on the screen in front of me.  It’s current, it’s free, it’s as technical as you can get.

           An online technology magazine.

He is, he is

           Carsten Whimster is Editor-In-Chief of EDM/2, the Electronic Developer Magazine for the OS/2 world.  He’s a top-notch code writer and a dedicated journalist.  He’s an OS/2 enthusiast and a stalwart renaissance man.  He’s a hunter-gatherer and he’s a visionary strategist.

           He’s making sure that OS/2 technologists the world over have a place to come and learn.

How to gap the plugs on your Pentium II

           Want to know something new?

           I’m not talking about the release of a video driver upgrade, or how to increase the number of files you’re allowed to have open.  I mean technology.

           Take the partitions on your hard drive.  Sure, you can just run FDISK, or go a little bit further and run Partition Magic, but what’s really going on?  Carsten got Andrew Pitonyak to write an EDM/2 article on this very subject, complete with sample C code, and that article explains the finer points of disk drive dementia such as how to put primary partitions inside of extended partitions and how to write software that walks through the entire partition table.  That’s technology.

           Or how about doing some critical timing applications on an OS/2 platform?  Timur Tabi, writer of OS/2’s TIMER0 device driver, presented “High Resolution Timing under OS/2” in a recent issue courtesy of Carsten’s editorship.

           Behind the new driver, behind Partition Magic, behind your last settings modification, there’s this magical technology.  Carsten makes sure this magic ends up in your lap.

Or was that the g-string?

           There’s a magical mix of art and science emanating from this talented man.  He’s knowledgeable in everything, it seems, as a good editor should be.  He’s interested in computers, of course, and he’s always fiddling with them (he builds his machines from scratch).  And you’d expect just that from the chief honcho of a computer magazine.

           But his long-time passion is photography, and he owns a Hasselblad 500, a rather expensive 2-¼” x 2-¼” format camera, with which he photographs “portraits, landscapes, and textures.  I like to frame my prints to sort of hide the true identity of the subjects,” says Carsten, who has been an avid photographer since the age of 12.

           And he enjoys fine arts (of which he especially likes drawing and sketching and, yes, creating computer graphics), reads a lot of books about “just about anything”, and plays the guitar.  If it’s two a.m., he’s just as likely to be tuning up an e-string as tuning up his config.sys.  And if he does have his hands on some unfortunate computer, it’ll be sunrise before he’s done with it.

           Carsten likes to tinker.  He likes to play with his operating systems, move things around, experiment and see what happens.  Computers, guitars, cameras and sketch pads, they’re all just an outlet for his creativity, and we should all be quite thankful that he didn’t grow up on the wrong side of the tracks with a can of spray paint in his back pocket.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Pentium

           And that’s not all.  Carsten writes as expressively as he tinkers.

           For starters, he’s written the monthly From The Editor EDM/2 column since September 1996.  He interviewed Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock Systems, early in his editorship.  He wrote a number of OS/2 book reviews for EDM/2 beginning in May 1994.  He’s written about Java, he’s written about Modula-3 (on OS/2, of course), he’s written product reviews.  His three-part “An Introduction to C Programming” and three-part “A Programmer’s Editor Shootout - Visual SlickEdit 2.0 vs. Preditor 3.0 vs. RimStar Pro 4.0” have filled the EDM/2 pages, side-by-side with the submissions of the other authors he has cajoled into contributing.

           He’s especially proud of the articles he’s presented that were written by IBM’ers, such as “ICAT:  The New Remote Source-code Debugger for OS/2” penned by IBM employees Chris Matthews and Dave Evans.  And he’s just as proud that EDM/2 is “OS/2 Accredited”, which means it has satisfied IBM as to certain quality criteria.  “I know we’re read inside IBM,” says Carsten.  “I know they pay attention to what we cover.”

Two mens’ vision, one man’s image

           EDM/2 (the “/2” was put there to match “OS/2”) was started by Steve Luzynski, who ran it for five issues and then turned it over to Larry Salomon, Jr.  Shortly thereafter, Carsten and Larry met online through an OS/2 newsgroup, and Larry asked Carsten to help with the magazine.  Carsten joined EDM/2 at Volume 2 Issue 3, and at first did book reviews and proofing.  Larry ran the show until Volume 4 Issue 6, and Carsten then took over.

           “Larry and I both had this vision, that we wanted to create an online magazine as an amazing resource for OS/2,” Carsten reminisced.  “It was an exciting time, people were reading it, we were scrambling for the authors that really knew the OS/2 technology and could describe it in our online articles.  Larry built it up, and I made it attractive.  I designed the current EDM/2 logo with ColorWorks 2.0, and I give the magazine a unique and pleasing look by doing all the HTML markup by hand, using Visual SlickEdit.”

           So there’s Carsten the technologist and Carsten the artist.  He won an award for one of his visual creations:  the often-seen animated web image of a silver ball rolling forward on a checkered floor.  “So many people copied it onto their own web pages, I was seeing it everywhere,” Carsten says.

           Carsten uses POV-Ray 2.2 For OS/2 for his ray-trace renderings (there’s a version 3 out now), and you can see more of his graphic creations on his personal web page.  He’s written a front-end for POV-Ray (email him if you want a copy) using his original success, the ball, as an icon, and he uses it when he’s designing web logos, buttons, animation and other “flashy web stuff”.  He’s also finishing up his own ray tracer.

Easy Rider

           Not everything about this man is technology or art, by the way.  You know I like motorcycles because I’ve written about them before; I’ve owned my share of them, I’ve ridden them hither and yon, I’ve dumped them a few times.  But Carsten’s one up on me with the road trip he took a few years ago.

           Starting from Toronto (that’s eastern Canada), he rode his Yamaha one-cylinder 1986 SRX 600 to Vancouver (that’s the western edge of the country).  Then he rode down to Los Angeles (that’s another four digits of mileage), and back to Toronto.  “A search for humanity!” implored this journalist.  “A chance to study the philosophy of men, to ponder the open road, to meet all of mankind!”

           “I just thought it would be fun,” said Carsten.

           And he likes to read.  “What kind of books?” I asked him.  “Everything”, he said.  “Fiction, non-fiction, computer books, photography books, I’m always reading”.  That’s good, I think to myself.  You can’t be an editor if you don’t know what good writing looks like.

But can he sail a ship?

           Carsten Whimster was born in Scotland on February 20, 1966, the son of an English father of Norwegian viking descent and a mother of Danish viking ancestry.  His family moved to Denmark when he was three, and he then moved to Canada when he was 16.  He stands 5’10”, weighs 145 pounds and looks, well, with his blue eyes and brown hair, exactly like a viking.  Prince Valiant would have some competition for the lovely Lady Aleta had Carsten been born a tad earlier.  He resides in Ontario.

           He finished high school in Canada and then studied mechanical engineering for three years (from ’86 to ’89), worked for a few years after that (among other things, he was a bartender at The Phantom of The Opera), and currently is a co-op student (alternating four months of study with four months of work) at the University of Waterloo in Ontario where he studies Computer Science.  He already holds a three-year “General Bachelor of Math Degree with Distinction” from that university, and he is currently upgrading that degree to a four-year “Honours of Math in Computer Science” degree.  Carsten hopes to eventually get a Masters in Computer Science, possibly at Stanford.

So how fast can he type?

           Inside the computer he creates EDM/2 on, you’ll find an Asus TX97E ATX motherboard with an AMD K6-233 (“Asus is one of the best motherboards available”, says Carsten), 48 MB of memory, 1 GB and 3.2 GB Quantum IDE hard drives, an internal Iomega Zip Drive, an ATI Mach64 video card with 2 MB (he runs it at 65K colors and 1024x768), a 17" monitor, a 3Com 905 ethernet card, a SoundBlaster 16, and a USRobotics 56K modem which he doesn’t use because he has this machine networked to another that’s got a high-speed cable modem.

           His very first computer was a 386SX-16 with 3 MB of RAM.  He ran Windows 3.1 on that old 386, but it crashed a lot so he looked around for something else, heard about OS/2 2.0, and on the day it was released he hunted all over town to get a copy.  He subsequently upgraded to version 2.1, then 3.0, and now has 4.0 installed (no fixpaks at this time; he tried fixpak 5 but had some video problems so removed it).

           In addition to OS/2, Carsten has Linux installed on his machine.  “I like what I’ve seen and heard of the NeXTStep interface, including its ’Docking Bar’, and you find it duplicated in Linux” Carsten tells me as we talk computerese.  He also has Windows 95 (for games - he especially likes Command And Conquer, and Quake) and recently removed Windows NT (“I didn’t really like or use it”).  He monitors a few newsgroups, mostly oriented towards OS/2 and graphics.

           The future of OS/2, he says, seems somewhat dependent on IBM’s OS/2-based WorkSpace On-Demand.  “We’ll see what happens,” he says thoughtfully.

No day is complete unless you’ve swiped a good idea

           Putting together each monthly issue of EDM/2 is the same struggle faced by editors everywhere.  Carsten has to chase down the authors that have promised him material.  He has proofreading to do of the material that’s already submitted.  As I said, he hand codes every bit of the HTML.  “No HTML editor?” I asked Carsten.  “No.  I put in every tag myself, to get the special look I want.  It’s just me and Visual SlickEdit.”  While Carsten wasn’t looking, I took a peek at the EDM/2 site’s HTML code to see some of his hand-coded creations.  Indeed, he’s got some tricks up his sleeve, such as his solution to the half-line spacing problem, and the pages of EDM/2 do look better because of them.  He sneakily puts in half-line spacing by using a one-by-one transparent pixel which he then allocates his true spacing requirement to via the image tag.  Real cute, Carsten, and I not only stole your trick, I swiped your one-by-one transparent pixel, too.

We always knew it was OS/2

           I did ask Editor Whimster if he knew of any counterparts to EDM/2 Magazine for the other popular operating systems.  After all, you wouldn’t expect technologists to only gather around OS/2.

           “No, I don’t know of any,” he replied.  “They may be out there, but I haven’t run into them.  I think we’re kind of unique in that way.”

           There are three main areas of interest on the EDM/2 site.  First, of course, are the well-written articles and code samples dealing with computer and OS/2 technology.  Second is the group of online courses that EDM/2 offers, in subjects such as C programming (Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced), the OS/2 Device Driver class taught by Timur Tabi (“one of our most popular, I’m still amazed at how many people are signed up” says Carsten), and the planned courses in Java and NetRexx (NetRexx has Rexx syntax but compiles to Java byte code).  Third is the online book store, which has quick links to all of the EDM/2 book reviews and a “shopping cart” feature (courtesy of Amazon Books – EDM/2 gets a small fee when you buy through the EDM/2 Bookstore) for purchasing the books that have been reviewed, recommended, are used by the online courses, or any other book on any subject.

           “I’ve experimented a bit over the years,” says Carsten.  “I tried interviews, and I myself interviewed Brad Wardell of Stardock back in 1996.  But that’s not really the direction that our readers wanted us to go in, so we went back to the technology.  That’s really our purpose, and what we do best.  When the readers are happy, I’m happy.”

           And what does he like best about EDM/2?  “It’s a lot of fun, and my schedule is very flexible.  I can sit down and write an article, and then spend the next two months chasing after people.  It can get very routine at times, of course.  It’s hard to find people to help with the work, and there’s a lot of it.  But look what we’re producing:  one of the finest technical resources available anywhere for OS/2 developers.  It’s a very nice feeling to know that the articles and code we publish are having an impact on so much OS/2 software that ends up on people’s machines.  OS/2 is such a wonderful tool.  Knowing that everything we do is making it stronger makes the occasional obstacle that much more fun to overcome.”

           Fun for you and us too, Carsten.  You’re the creative genius, and we’re all the better for it.  You keep editing, and we’ll keep reading.  Three cheers for EDM/2.
 



References

Carsten Whimster, EDM/2 Author Profile, http://www.edm2.com/common/authors/cwhimster.html

Carsten Whimster’s personal page, http://www.undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca/~bcrwhims/

EDM/2 Magazine, http://www.edm2.com/

EDM/2 Bookstore, http://www.edm2.com/bookstore/index.html

EDM/2 Online Courses, http://www.edm2.com/courses/index.html

3Com, http://www.3com.com/

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.), http://www.amd.com/

Asus (ASUSTeK Computer Inc.), http://www.asus.com.tw/

ATI Technologies Inc., http://www.atitech.ca/

Hasselblad, http://www.hasselblad.com/

Larry Salomon, Jr., http://www.edm2.com/common/authors/lsalomon.html

Linux, many independent sites on the Internet, one is Linux Online!, http://www.linux.org/

Steve Luzynski, http://www.edm2.com/common/authors/sluzynski.html

NetRexx, http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/netrexx/netrexx.htm, http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/netrexx/nrl.htm, http://www2.hursley.ibm.com/nrl/nrlsupp.html

POV-Ray, Persistence Of Vision Raytracer, http://www.povray.org/

Quantum Corporation, http://www.quantum.com/

SlickEdit, see Visual SlickEdit

SoundBlaster (Creative Labs, Inc.), http://www.soundblaster.com/

Stardock Systems Inc., http://www.stardock.com/

University of Waterloo, http://www.uwaterloo.ca/

USRobotics, http://www.usr.com/, also see http://www.3com.com/

Visual SlickEdit (MicroEdge, Inc.), http://www.slickedit.com/

Zip Drive (Iomega Corporation), http://www.iomega.com/
 



Section List

He is, he is
How to gap the plugs on your Pentium II
Or was that the g-string?
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Pentium
Two mens’ vision, one man’s image
Easy Rider
But can he sail a ship?
So how fast can he type?
No day is complete unless you’ve swiped a good idea
We always knew it was OS/2


The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA

Copyright 1998 the Southern California OS/2 User Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SCOUG is a trademark of the Southern California OS/2 User Group.
OS/2, Workplace Shell, and IBM are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.
All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners.