|IBM Technical Connection Personal Software CD
|- by Stacy King
Your Personal Support Center
s a former help desk person and the CO-SIG leader for the OS/2 User's group here in Austin, I am often asked where I get my technical information. Well, here is my biggest secret in trouble shooting OS/2 Warp... the IBM Technical Connection Personal Software CD-ROM (we'll call it the TC from here on in). Although there is a DOS implementation, I am going to speak of the OS/2 side of it (of course, the only side we're interested in!).
The best way to describe the TC is that it's like an encyclopedia. Information on the TC is refreshed monthly, and you can buy a single copy or subscribe to get monthly or quarterly updates. It's a single source for valuable information, presented in an easy to use format. The components of the TC (which I will describe in detail later in this article) are:
The US/Canadian version of the TC (check the web site listed below for information on the worldwide issue of the TC) contains two CD-ROMs, and the installation is painless. I have personally installed it on several different PCs and haven't had a problem. You can accept the
default paths that the installation routine suggests, and in a few minutes you're off and running with your very own help desk at your fingertips. The installation consists of two parts: loading the required files on your hard disk, with the desktop icons being created, and the installation of AskPSP (the support database).
- Table of Contents
- What's New
- How Do I Use the TC
- Usage Tips
- Product Information
- APAR Reference
- Corrective Service
- Most Frequently Asked Questions
- Technical Bulletins
- Reference Diskettes
- Device Drivers
Because it does modify your config.sys (for update and path purposes) you will need to reboot after the installation is completed. If you are like me and do not like defaults, here are a few things to keep in mind:
The information on the TC comes from a lot of people... technical support experts, developers, testers and, of course, the users themselves. It covers a wide range of IBM products, both LAN and standalone. OS/2 Warp, OS/2 2.1, OS/2 LAN Server, OS/2 Warp Server, TCP/IP, OS/2 Warp Connect, DCE for OS/2, DB/2, Communications Manager, MMPM/2 are just a few of the products you can get information on. Data is also pulled from various bulletin boards, internal IBM documents, problem databases, etc. Of course, outdated material is removed as
- Which partition are you going to use?
This is important, because when you update your TC, it will use the information in the config.sys to find the files to update.
- Whether to install AskPSP to the hard disk or run it off the CD-ROM?
I've done it both ways. The hard disk installation of course is faster, but if space is an issue, run it off the CD. I personally run it off the CD.
Y'all want to know what's available? Here is a breakdown on a per section basis:
As you can see, there is a LOT of information, and it changes monthly. You can have all of this on your desktop... without downloading from the Internet, or calling support. It really is a help desk on CD!!
- Table of Contents -- self explanatory
- What's New? -- This section tells you what's new with the TC, what's been added, what's been removed, what's been changed. It includes a new "SMART" feature that allows you to go directly to a new item from this section.
- Usage Tips -- This gives you hints on more effective use of the TC.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions -- Answers to the frequently asked questions from various support centers. This could save you a call to IBM!
- AskPSP -- This is where I get a LOT of my information. AskPSP is like having your very own technical support desk, 24 hours a day. It is an expert system tool which allows you to interactively obtain answers to problems and questions concerning many IBM software products.
- OS/2 APARs -- Here, you will find the latest closed APARs (Authorized Program Analysis Report). This is the same information that the support centers use for workarounds and code patches to problems. The products currently covered are: OS/2 Warp (this also includes OS/2 Warp Connect and OS/2 Warp Server), OS/2 2.1, DB/2, MMPM/2, NTS/2, LAN Distance, PC DOS, OS/2 LAN Server, Communications Manager/2, IBM TCP/IP for OS/2, OS/2 Development Tools, Netware Requester for OS/2, DCE for OS/2 and Windows, Personal Communications/3270. More categories are added as needed. You can view the categories singly or select several to search.
- Technical Bulletins -- There are three sections to this gold mine of information:
OS/2 Assist -- contains 9 different databases, including Timothy Sipples' OS/2 Warp FAQ (a must have!), tools, employee written software (TOYS! TOYS! TOYS! Need I say more?), and OS/2 Debugging Tools (for those more persistent problems).
PC Assistant -- contains 11 books of technical documentation on all types of IBM PC hardware.
Product Compatibility Information -- contains 6 files on what works with what, including integration test information on the hot new IBM Software Servers, the LAN Systems Supported Adapter List, and the Ready for OS/2 / Ready for LAN Certified Software, an extensive listing of applications and hardware that have been tested AND certified to run under OS/2.
- Corrective Service Diskettes -- No more downloading them from the BBS or FTP site. Pull 'em off the CD! Included are TCP/IP CSD's, OS/2 CSD's (French Canadian and US English), DOS CSDs (French Canadian and US English) as well as the Fix Strategy book. Select the product you want, follow the instructions provided, it's that simple!
- Reference Diskettes -- Vital to most of IBM's own computers, and they are provided here. Again, the TC is refreshed monthly, so you can have the very latest at your fingertips. The process is similar to the CSDs: select the one you want, follow the links and instructions... easy! Current product categories include Aptiva Diskettes, Files Specific to the IBM PS/1 Line, IBM PS/2, PC Server, PC 300 and PC 700 Series Diskettes, ThinkPad Diskettes, Displays and Video Adapters, Memory Adapters, Internal and External Devices, IBM Communication Adapters, and many others.
- Device Drivers -- anybody ever need one of those? I see a few hands... well, a lot of them can be found here, too! There are too many individual drivers to list, but some of the categories included are printers and video... plus instructions on what to do if you can't find what you are looking for.
- Product Information -- Contains the latest news about IBM products, including:
- IBM's Worldwide Electronic Resource Guide -- contains information on IBM's presence on the Internet, BBS and Faxes, etc.
- TeamOS/2 NewsLetters
- PSP Developer Support NewsLetters
- Personal Systems NewsLetters
- IBM OS/2 WarpNews
- Demonstration Programs -- demos on OS/2 LAN Server 4.0, OS/2 Warp, PSP LAN Systems, etc.
- OS/2 Connect NewsLetters
For more information, or to order the TC, call 1 (800) 992-4777 or see the TC web site. For those of you who reside outside the US/Canada, also check the above web site or call for more information regarding distribution to your country.
Stacy King is a Level 2 analyst for CTG at IBM. She is married to wonderful husband, Larry, has a 3 year old son, Brandon (future computer geek), is a member of the Central Texas PC User's Group, the OS/2 Co-SIG Leader for CTPCUG and a member of Team OS/2.
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