By: Walter Metcalf
Last week we looked at some software indispensable to the OS/2 Warp user. This
week, I want to conclude this series with some looks at software the new user can
live without, but that he or she should consider purchasing as soon as possible
because of its high quality and usefulness.
by Lotus Development Corp.
If your word processing needs are very simple and limited, then you may well be
satisfied with the IBM Works word processor found in the Bonus Pak. If your needs
go beyond that, unfortunately there is no perfect answer. Your choices are quite
limited, partly because DeScribe which is the workhorse of so many OS/2 users has
not been manufactured for some time because its parent company went out of business,
so unless you can purchase one second-hand (which is quite unlikely), it no longer
available. If your needs are not too complex, or speed and "lightness"
are important (for example, if you have an older computer such as a 486 or low-end
Pentium), you may want to take a serious look at Clearlook
from Sundial Systems.
For most OS/2 users the best way to go, IMHO, is WordPro from Lotus. Though WordPro
has a huge number of features, the SmartMasters, plentiful help, and intuitive interface
make it easy for the relative novice to become productive quickly. There are two
ways to get WordPro: either as a component in SmartSuite
for Warp 4, or separately as WordPro
96 for Warp. To the best of my knowledge the two versions of WordPro are substantially
the same: in particular WordPro 96 for Warp, like the SmartSuite for Warp component,
is a native OS/2 application. (Actually WordPro 96 comes with a copy of FreeLance
Graphics on the same CD. At this writing Indelible
Blue was selling the package for $104, which makes this a very good deal. Note:
if you do get WordPro 96, Lotus has an update for it, which may be freely downloaded.
You should check to see if you need this update.
Because of the high cost of SmartSuite for Warp 4, I recommend you purchase it
only if you have a definite need for another of the applications besides FreeLance
Graphics (such as Approach or 1-2-3), or if you are eligible for the academic version.
by ONG Software
If you're using the World Wide Web at all, you are already, or soon will be, collecting
bookmarks for sites you use a lot or want to be able to find again easily. Netscape
Navigator is an improvement over Webexplorer in that at least it permits
more than 22 bookmarks. However maintaining the bookmarks, and even viewing them
when the number exceeds the 25 or so permitted on the drop-down list, is very awkward.
WebOrganizer solves this problem very neatly. The bookmark list is created on
a standard HTML document that you typically assign as your home page (so you have
single-access to it); since it is an HTML document it has scroll bars and supports
unlimited nesting of folders. Addresses or documents are added to the bookmark list
(and therefore to WebOrganizer) by dragging the link from the document you are viewing
onto the WebOrg window. Within the window you can delete, sort, add descriptions
to links, and re-arrange them using drag and drop. When you are satisfied with it,
you press a key to re-create the home page with the new bookmarks. WebOrganizer
is a compact, easy-to-use program with a lot of features for such a inexpensive
program. It works equally well with Netscape or Webexplorer. (The registration fee
is only $19.95.) It's a must for anyone who does any amount of "surfing the
web." (Download free from the OS/2
by Barebones Software
Most OS/2 users feel the need a file manager. I've tried various ones out, and FM/2
is the most complete, and fairly reasonably priced at $40. Personally, I've never
used a file manager on any regular basis, but if I did decide to purchase one, FM/2
is without question the one I would get. To some extent it mimics the File Manager
program in Windows, with which most people feel comfortable, and all the windows
are totally configurable, as is almost everything else in the program. There are
far too many features to list here, so I'll mention just a few: FM/2 supports reading
and editting EA's, bookshelves, and features a history of frequently-used OS/2 commands.
See the link at the beginning of this paragraph for more details. The registration
fee for FM/2 is $40. (Download free from the OS/2
by Don Russell
If you use Advantis as your provider, then you can skip this section. To everyone
else it comes as no surprise when I say that the "Other Internet Providers"
(DOIP, as it's not so affectionately known) dialler provided with Warp is very limited.
The most glaring feature missing is the ability to automatically redial in case
of a busy signal! Moreover it cannot start up other tasks after the connection is
made, something that is often very desirable. Consequently, the Hobbes archive is
replete with other diallers that correct these deficiencies. One of the most popular
these is InJoy,
that, according to the documentation, completely replaces the PPP.EXE routine with
one that supports such esoteric functions as IP masquerading and Dial-on-Demand.
The latter might be important if you were running a server and didn't have a 7-days
a week, 24-hours per day connection to your ISP. The registration fee for InJoy
However, if your needs aren't so exotic, then the least expensive way to correct
for DOIP's deficiencies is to enhance the dialler using PPPDial by Don Russell.
Don has spent countless hours developing this program to its present state and then
graciously released it to the OS/2 community as freeware. To use it, place PPPDial
in your tcpip\bin directory and then specify it in the bottom window of the first
page of the DOIP window. You also specify a text file (called a response file) as
a parameter of PPPDial. PPPDial contains a number of commands that you specify in
the response file. By specifying these commands judiciously you get almost complete
control over the connect and log on procedures. Setting up the response file can
be a little tricky and requires some experimentation to get right, in part because
commands are heavily dependent on the messages returned by your provider that you
don't normally see and that vary depending up the ISP. The good news is that once
the response file is set up, you normally never need to touch it again (unless you
change providers). Complete instructions, PPPDial command descriptions, and several
examples can be found in the accompanying documentation.
It's also possible to go one step further and eliminate the DOIP dialler¹
altogether! This has several advantages. First, doing so allows your computer to
gain immediate control and take appropriate action if the ISP disconnects you for
some reason. This is especially important if you are operating a server. Second,
doing so makes it possible to display and act on information returned by the ISP
during the connect/logon sequence. Finally, and this is what I like the most, it
becomes possible for your computer to automatically start up any number of programs
once the connection is made (for example, your mail program, browser, internet clock
program, etc.), and shut them down smoothly if the connection is broken for any
reason. (Download free from the OS/2
¹In reality, even in this case, dialling is still performed
by the PPP.EXE program, located in the Internet Access Kit or in Warp itself, and
normally called by the Dialler Window. The difference in this example is that the
dialling is performed automatically, without using this window.
by Peter Nielsen and Raja Thiagarajan
Let me close this discussion by briefly mentioning PMView. Not everyone does a great
deal of graphic or image related work. That includes me. However, nearly all of
us are at least faced with the task of viewing images from a variety of sources
occasionally. Since the image viewer provided with Warp is hopelessly inadequate,
we have to look elsewhere. When I have such a need--beyond what Impos/2,
which contains my scanner support, provides--I have looked a number of products,
and PMView is the the most versatile, stable one I have found. It supports an incredible
number of formats, boasts a slide-show option, and contains a very handy thumbnail
feature, allowing you easily select which file you want. For more detailed information,
please see the review by Carsten Whimster in the May, 1997 issue of EDM/2. (Download free from
That's all for this week. I hope over the last two weeks I've been able to give
you some tips on how to spend your hard-earned software dollars more wisely.