The President's Message
by Tony Butka
It's a good thing that our members like donuts and pizza and cake! We had a lot, and it all got eaten. The reason, of course, that it was really good that we like food is that our Internet special sort of fizzled considering that we never got a dial up Internet connection last month. The good news is that we will have a (courtesy of Sundial Systems, thank you - thank you) machine available at the meetings that has a working modem dial up connection software all installed to alleviate those embarrassing moments.
The real point to me of all the trials was twofold. First, I couldn't even remember how exactly to set up a modem anymore. DSL and cable has forever changed our lives, and in a very short time. The other point is how needed user groups really are, even in these days. The fact that the assembled mental horsepower of our club couldn't get a modem working proves how necessary help desks are for all of us.
Recently, I discovered that these kinds of issues are not limited to us OS/2 geeks. A friend has a Mac, and I'm the first to admit that I know very little about Apples anymore; my last Mac was a Lisa. Anyhow, she has an older Performa 6400 which she likes, but she had a printer problem. The problem is that these Macs only had those USB-looking serial ports to hook up to a printer, and you may have noticed, no one makes serial printers anymore (or if they do, I sure as heck couldn't find one). So I noticed that her machine had a couple of PCI slots, and said, sure I can help. I'll just get a parallel PCI card and you'll be fine. Well, it turns out that Mac doesn't support parallel devices under their operating system (at least up to 8.6, which is what she is running). Fortunately for me, I joined an older Mac e-mail list that I found through a site called lowendmac.com. Cool name, huh?
Anyhow, the e-mail list is how I found out about the parallel port realities of Mac's, and the fix for it - called buy a USB PCI card. I felt right at home! Memory module issues, hardware issues, formatting issues, upgrading hassles -- Wow, I was in heaven. So much for that buy it and plug it in advertising campaign that Apple has done so well. Hah!
And Windows is not without its little faults. In the middle of my Epson C80 testing, I had a Win2K partition decide to die a lingering death. First you get the trap error information which looks a lot like the OS/2 information, except that MS also gives you a little header saying that if this is the first time their cheesy OS has died on you, reboot and if it continues to die contact someone like a sys admin. You can guess what happened next - two traps and now the partition has simply decided that it doesn't exist. Sigh. Someday I might reinstall, but not soon. The two OS/2 partitions on the same box (eCS and WSeB) are running just fine, by the way.
So I guess the bottom line of my ramblings is that all operating systems have their little issues, and for all the hype, OS/2 is a remarkably stable choice.
And after we get our little dial up issues resolved, we really will show you that on the browser front, OS/2 is right up there with everyone else and offers a variety of solid choices.
Questions, comments, ideas for any presentations, contact me at
The Southern California OS/2 User Group
P.O. Box 26904
Santa Ana, CA 92799-6904, USA
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