Maroon&Blue

29 March 1995.


IBM Introduces Select-a-System

Beginning this month, Select-a-System will come standard on most IBM PCs, including IBM Think Pad, Aptiva, PC 300, and PC 700 models that ship with 8 MB of memory. This new option allows customers to select the operating environment they want to use by clicking an icon. Customers can also switch back and forth between the two environments.

Getting both operating environments on the same system allows customers to run their current 16-bit WindowsTM applications and experience all the advantages of Warp. Dealers and business partners also benefit from Select-a- System because it reduces the number of models they have to carry. source: IBM Home Page.


Meeting Notes. . .

by George R. Welch

The group's computer is fixed! After months of tooth gnashing, the problem was isolated to the power supply and fixed. We now have a functioning 386-33, 8M RAM, 120M HD. The machine has Warp Fullpack with HPFS, MM, and TCP/IP installed. Having these installed with little RAM impacts performance, but it is still quite usable. Anyone who wants to donate a new MB or more RAM is encouraged to do so.

Announcements: The group still has books that can be checked out, including Inside OS/2 and Teach Yourself REXX in 21 Days. Thanks to Frank for advertising the meeting in The Battalion s What s Up column.

We have agreed that the group s Web site will temporarily live on George Welch's office PC. Web-meister will be Frank Swiderski. e-mail all suggestions (or completed documents!) to os2web@os2www.tamu.edu. The URL is: http://os2www.tamu.edu/os2/. Thanks to Stan Wood for explaining how to set up a cname alias.

The main item of business was a head- to-head comparison of three word processors: Lotus Ami Pro for OS/2 version 3.0b, along with PFS:Works and IBM Works word processors. As expected, the Works word processors were more minimal than the full blown product from Lotus.

PFS:Works
Basically, Brett s entire review can be summarized succinctly: he hated it. Even though Brett's machine is a DX2-66 with 16M, text display lagged keyboard entry by as much as an entire line. However, no typed characters were missed. This was more pronounced on the group's 386, where text display lagged by several lines. PFS:Works also had odd differences in font sizes. For example, bolding lines tended to increase line spacing. In addition, bold letters in some fonts did not appear bold on the screen. No help feature existed, but this may have been due to our evaluation copy. Inserting graphics was nearly impossible; only bitmaps could be inserted. Other tools in the PFS:Works package were equally flawed. Although Brett is a database expert with three years experience on many platforms, he was unable to get the PFS database to do anything.

IBM Works
A more usable product, IBM Works easily kept up with the group s fastest typist and had some good features, as well as most standard ones. However, it did lack a column feature. Another drawback was that emboldening text caused the entire screen to be redrawn. While this might not affect use of a fast computer, it was annoying with the 386-33.

Lotus Ami Pro
The general consensus was that Ami Pro, fully featured and relatively bug free, was currently the best word processor for OS/2. One problem was that the text attribute buttons did not stay pushed in when the cursor was positioned on the selected text because they were not actually buttons. The import/export feature occasionally failed. George reported that he could not read WordPerfect for DOS files. Neal reported problems with tables and printing. Also, the equation editor seemed absolutely incapable of producing an h-bar (Planck s constant). Although the program was not fast, it responded well to the hardware solution, with one user reporting that on a P90 with 32M, Ami Pro was downright snappy.


After the software demonstrations, we considered two videotapes brought to the meeting. We skipped Team OS/2 in Action, a short propaganda film that IBM had sent the group. Instead, we watched the last 20 minutes of the PBS television series, Computer Chronicles which featured OS/2.

The review started with IBM's David Barnes doing his standard OS/2 rah-rah cheerleader impersonation, complete with pom-poms and bells and whistles. Next, we saw a demonstration of the impressive Voice Pilot software. The guy doing the demo had probably spent a long time teaching it his voice and the computer made only one minor transcription mistake. (His command for telling it to back up and correct an error was No-No.) He ran several programs by voice only, including notepad, calendar, and memo programs.

Next we saw some real geeky guy from a San Francisco law firm talk about how well OS/2 runs WindowsTM programs. The tape finished with a demonstration of a program called Colorworks, which highlighted the multi-threaded abilities of the operating system.


Letter to the Editor

Greetings. I am compiling a list of system configurations for the OS/2 Users Group Homepage and I need some information. If you could answer the following questions as thoroughly as possible, it would help a great deal. Replies may be sent to: fes@anarchy.tamu.edu or fes2327@tam2000.tamu.edu. Thank you.
  1. What version of OS/2 are you using?
  2. What is your system configuration?
  3. How long have you used OS/2?
  4. Did you have any problems installing OS/2? If so, how did you solve them?
  5. What programs do you run under OS/2? Any difficulties? If so, how did you solve them?
  6. Were there any programs that you could not get to run?
  7. Will you allow your e-mail address to be placed on the homepage? If so, what address do you use?
  8. What is your name? What is your favorite color? What is the air speed velocity of a laden swallow?
Thanks again,
Frank Swiderski
(fes@anarchy.tamu.edu)


Maroon&Blue is an independent publication and not an official document of IBM, Texas A&M University, the Board of Regents, or Bill GatesTM. OS/2 is a registered trademark of IBM.

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