Column: What chance, OS/2?

When I first joined IDG Communications last September and enquired as to the possibility of installing Warp on my workstation, I met with a wall of scowls from the guys in the MIS department.

You can count the OS/2 users at IDG on one finger. Me.

When I first joined the company last September and enquired as to the possibility of installing Warp on my workstation, I met with a wall of scowls from the guys in the MIS department. "Don't talk to us about OS/2" and "You'll get no support from us" are typical of the responses I received.

Further investigation into their mind-set revealed a saga stretching over a couple of days when the IDG MIS department and several gurus from Big Blue had a tough time installing Warp on publisher Martin Taylor and editor Don Hill's workstations prior to my arrival.

Their difficulties were put down to insufficient driver support and their hybrid systems. Sound familiar?

I should have kept that in mind when an IDE controller breakdown left me with a newly formatted hard drive a little over a week ago.

This presented the perfect opportunity to install Warp Connect on my workstation; after all, Connect includes a multitude of new drivers.

Installation went fine, and after Connect was up and running on the machine I summoned one of the MIS gurus to help with the configuration of the network settings.

Somewhat reluctantly, one agreed to help and what followed was an unsuccessful, two-and-a-half-hour attempt to configure Connect to the IDG network.

To cut a (very) long story short, although Connect recognised the Intel EtherExpress Pro network card, any new settings we gave the card were reset back to default whenever we rebooted the machine.

Undoubtably, a simple solution to the problem exists somewhere within OS/2, though it didn't jump out and present itself to two computer professionals.

Okay, so where is this going?

Simple answer--after we gave up on OS/2, it took 40 minutes to get Win95 installed and running on the same workstation.

I received a beta copy of Merlin today. With voice recognition, TrueType fonts and OpenDoc all thrown into the equation, I'm glad there's a whole weekend ahead of me ...

ATA/IDE doubles speed

While it seems hard drives with increased storage capacities are announced weekly, it's not often that data transfer rates hit the headlines--until now. Leading hard drive manufacturer Quantum last week released plans for its new ATA/IDE interface protocol which effectively doubles current burst transfer rates.

Developed in conjunction with Intel and branded Ultra DMA/33, the new protocol promises an external transfer speed of 33Mb/s.

For desktop PCs, the faster data transfer means better performance during disk intensive tasks, such as system boot-up.

Data integrity capabilities have also been improved under DMA/33, with improved cyclical redundancy check data protection and timing margins.

Vendors are expected to begin licensing DMA/33 around October, with IBM, Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital already announcing support for the new protocol. Intel has also announced plans to support it in future chipsets.

Telecom falls behind

Telecom seems unable to keep its Internet white pages directory up-to-date.

A reader emailed me last week, when I optimistically wrote: "The new service means you no longer have to rely on the quickly-out-of-date telephone directory, or the 018 computer ... "

Cantabrian Andrew White has found otherwise. Apparently, Andrew moved house nearly a year ago but his new number is not yet listed in the online directory.