the Beta File

Welcome back to the Beta File. As always, there is plenty of activity going on in native OS/2 application development. In fact, the list below represents only half of the people I targeted this month. Where are the other half? Too busy to write an E-mail in exchange for free publicity I guess.

And of course, in the course of the month, I don't come across every company currently in development. What's that you say? You want to help fill out this column? You have a product that you're sure is going to be the next killer app? You want a little free hype? Well get off your keister and drop me a note!

So let's get into the good stuff. By the way, did you ever notice that software companies have a penchant for naming their products with two words strung together? Like SuperWidgit? Have a look below.

Have you ever looked at Web Explorer and thought, "Boy, this thing could really use a better hot list manager"? Well, it seems that we won't have to rely on the Web Ex team to find the time to fix this. Dave Peterson of Sine Qua Non, Inc. is deep into a beta test of his new product, WebBook(TM).

WebBook attaches itself to Web Ex and replaces the Quicklist so you can group, arrange, edit, and update your URLs. It provides a graphical, drag-drop, interface that is capable of interacting with Web Explorer URL objects. The program allows grouping of URLs into five hierarchical containers called pages, books, shelves, aisles and libraries. Everyone's got to reinvent the wheel, right? Still, it sounds useful. The price of this little miracle? A mere $10 (US) registration fee. I expect you all to do the honorable thing.

In beta since August, Sine Qua Non currently has over 100 testers. Things seem to be on schedule for a December 18th general release of WebBook. You can find more info and screen shots of WebBook at their web site but you should note that they are getting their own domain name soon. Look for the E-mail and web addresses to change to:

If you thought that no cutting edge Web stuff was going on in the OS/2 world, think again. By the time you read this, Eagen Software will be into beta with WarpSpace, an OS/2 VRML browser. VRML stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language and next to Java it's the hippest buzzword on the 'net. Basically, it allows you to build 3D virtual worlds and navigate the WWW in 3D.

David Eagen assures me that the fully 32-bit multithreaded architecture will keep the program snappy. The user will also be able to control the level of detail they desire to change performance and rendering quality. Sounds good. WarpSpace uses OpenGL and DIVE for speed and will automatically direct non VRML links to Web Explorer and VRML links to WarpSpace. There will even be support for Virtual I/O's i-glasses - a hip new VR interface that you wear on your melon.

As Eagen says, "The days of flat and boring HTML are quickly disappearing. VRML frees users to surf the Internet in immersive 3D virtual reality." Why would we ever want to come back?

The Alpha test included 16 people and the beta will be open to all. Expect to see a shareware release sometime in December 1995. The price should come in under $50 (US) but may be nudged a little higher for the version supporting i-glasses.

Good news for those of you who have been pining to call your Aunt Louise in Fiji via the Internet. Jonathan Tew is finishing up InterCom, a complete telephone for the Internet. Some of the features include: Caller ID, Call Blocking, answering machine, and of course, person to person calling. No intermediate servers are required - this is strictly two person communications.

InterCom had been in beta for a couple of weeks at the time this was posted and over a hundred users had signed up. A final shareware release should be available no later than January, but in the meantime, Tew is frequently updating the betas with new features. The registration price will be around $29.99 (US). Eventually, a commercial version may be available in stores. Let's hope!

Unfortunately, as Tew puts it, "Internet phone [apps] like [InterCom] are still evolving," so both users need to use the same software. This means you won't be able to chat with Aunt Louise if she's using Windows (and a Windows Internet Telephone program) or even if she finds some alternative OS/2 program. This stuff is still strictly proprietary.

The current beta is public and can be downloaded from the web page. So go have a look. And give us a call when you get there.

And to satisfy the tech heads in the crowd, the next release of the Graham Utilities for OS/2 by WarpSpeed Computers is currently in beta testing. I can attest the amount of work being put into it as I'm part of the beta program and my mailbox is constantly stuffed with suggestions and comments.

For those who don't know what the Graham Utilities do (where have you been hiding?), they are basically a drop in replacement for the Norton Utilities for DOS, and a competitor to the Gammatech Utilities. Chris Graham is the mastermind behind this suite of 68+ separate programs and modules specifically written for OS/2. This version includes a re-edited and expanded 324 page manual in both printed and .INF format. Shortly, the entire manual will be on-line as a web page!

The list of new and enhanced features is so long that I wouldn't know where to begin. As Chris Graham says, "There are now over 68 apps! Where do I start? [They are] the only utils to have remote network diagnosis, the best HPFS support period. Runs under all versions of OS/2. . ." As always, pop over to the web site or E-mail for more info.

There are over 70 people worldwide taking part in the beta and final delivery is expected in January or February of '96. Take note: this is a commercial release. Expect to find it for about $99.00 (US) on the shelves.

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