SCOUG OS/2 For You - Nov 1999
What with the holidays coming around the corner and all, I thought I'd switch gears a bit and talk about what kind of goodies us OS/2 Warpheads can treat ourself to in the way of printers, scanners, and software. As the selection shows, OS/2 isn't dead!
For printers, I still think that the best deal in town, hands down, is the Lexmark Optra Color 40 printer. As far as I can tell never marketed (let alone well), the printer has been discontinued, but is still available at steeply discounted prices at buy.com for about $219. When you consider that this is a real PostScript Level 2 color inkjet with a good processor and 4 Mb RAM (that can be later increased with either a 32 or 64 Mb SIMM), and it originally went for $480 when I bought mine, it's a steal. Being PostScript, the printer will also work quite well with any os -- Warp, Linux, Unix, Mac, and probably CP/M if anyone can remember that far back.
If you want photos, the best game in town is still Epson, and there are deals out there, my friends, at your local Fry's, Micro Centre and such. With sub-$200 prices for the 600 and 700 series, including older Photo 700's, you can't go wrong. As to the HP series, I've had one reader write to say he had modest success with the omni drivers and an HP855, but switched to an Epson 850 and has been much happier since. Other feedback would be appreciated from anyone using an HP inkjet under OS/2, particularly any of the newer ones. And be sure to stay away from any of the "windows" printers which have no on-board processor and instead rely on your computers CPU for printing. Even the very few which have OS/2 drivers (notably the Lexmark 5700 and new Z51) will print quite slowly relative to real printers. A quick way to check (besides asking the sales person who probably won't have a clue and will shamelessly lie to you) is to see if the supported operating systems for the printer include Mac and/or DOS -- the same trick as for winmodems.
For scanners, if you want to do it on the cheap, check out the PM Sane (http://www.quasarbbs.com/yuri) site for compatibility with the sub- $100 scanners . Or for a step up, get the HP or Epson scanners, again first checking out either CFM or STI (stiscan.com) sites for drivers.
For the artistically inclined, graphics tablets are available from Acacad
(http://st15.yahoo.net/acecad) out of Monterey, CA with OS/2 drivers.
And moving to the software front, I'm happy to announce that PMView (my favorite all round graphics program) will be shipping their major new release, PMView 2.0, for both OS/2 and Windows, in time for Xmas. I'm told that those of you at WarpStock got a special 2 floppy preview edition, so this is not vapor ware, folks. If you are already a registered user, the upgrade will be free. Thanks to Peter Nielson for keeping the faith for us users.
Shifting to readers, specifically Adobe's Acrobat Reader for pdf files, you may or may not know that Version 3.1 has now been upgraded to Version 4 and the full software package is shipping, but alas, not for OS/2. On the reader front, at least, this is changing for those that need Version 4 compatibility. You can download the latest java beta of the reader, complete with OS/2 instruc-tions, from:
And on the word processor front, as I wait drooling (wait, wait) for the next version of Clearlook from Sundial Systems, you can still get cheap new software from Sun, those nice Solaris UNIX and Sparcstation folks. They bought StarOffice, and you can now buy a cross platform CD from them for about $16, that has 5.1 versions for OS/2, UNIX flavors like Solaris, linux. They have also announced that the source code for StarOffice will be publically released for free as well. For those used to MS Office, this isn't a bad way to go
Wow, out of space. Next month, an upgrade for Maul Publisher, and how I use a variety of freeware/shareware/ inexpensive software to do my document handling chores, now that manuals have gone out of fashion.
Feedback is always welcome. Write to me at
You might want to read last month's Ink.
By day, Tony Butka is a bureaucrat for Los Angeles County. In his other life he lives in a loft surrounded by computers, printers, and a host of vinyl records.
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