the Rave: Animouse for OS/2 v1.0a- by Ryan Dill

Are you a sucker for glitz? Have you ever seen some of the more "cosmetic" features of certain other operating systems and sighed with envy? "Ahhh, it's OK," you tried to tell yourself... "They may look good, but that's about it. In OS/2, I have an operating system with some real meat on its bones. Crash protection, multitasking, object-orientation, years of experience, why would I need more?"

Still, there was always that little, shallow part inside you that kept crying, "I want it I want it I want it!" like a little kid seeing a new toy. One of the best examples: Windows 95 and its animated cursors. After seeing Win95 for the first time, those cursors were one of the coolest things that stuck in my mind, so it always sort of bugged me that such an obviously powerful operating system as OS/2 (especially Warp) didn't have anything similar built-in. Sure, its icons could animate, but frankly Win95's animated cursors made me jealous, and made me wish someone would get off of their duff and do the same thing for OS/2.

Wishes do come true! The folks at Sentience Software in Australia have created the perfect little program to fix feelings of animation inadequacy. In their words:

"Animouse is a fun little program that animates your mouse pointer so that you can show your friends and co-workers how cool your computer is and how pathetic theirs is."

With an attitude like that, you know they are the type of people who enjoy their work. Sentience Software has created a great program for those of you who want to spiff up your desktop and impress those who don't have OS/2. Animouse lets you replace the default OS/2 cursors with animations obtained from a variety of sources. The program itself comes with a few sample animations, but more animations (GIF, 11k) can be downloaded from Sentience Software's website (or the US mirror).

If the prebuilt animations aren't enough for you, Animouse includes detailed instructions on building your own unique animations, using OS/2's Icon and System Editors (or compatible programs). Create animations to your heart's content! Just make sure to spread your new animations far and wide among your friends and over the Internet so that others can share in your "creative genius". (Animouse's author, Dan Libby, requests that you inform him of any animations you put on the 'net, just so he can keep a record of what's where.)

The program itself is fairly easy to figure out, but if you have any problems, and the FAQ in Animouse's help file doesn't solve them, help is easily available through e-mail, snail-mail or phone (addresses found in the help).

Animouse is a commercial application, but a downloadable demo is available at Sentience's web site. The demo is limited in that it only comes with two animations and doesn't allow for new ones to be added, but it's an easy way to find out if you like the program before shelling out the cash for it.

One caveat: Animouse is slightly demanding in terms of video hardware, and all video cards are not created equal. Some few video cards may experience a 'flicker' effect that gets annoying after a while. (My own Trident card flickers noticeably, but that's what I get for being cheap.) Any system running in 640x480x16 colors is also likely to have problems, but if you're doing anything graphics-intensive you'd want to have as many colors possible anyway. All the more reason to download the demo and test it on your system, if the demo works well, you've got it made. Otherwise: been thinking of shelling out for a video upgrade? Now's the time!

Currently Indelible Blue hasn't started selling Animouse, but they will; when they do, the price will probably be $19.95 US, and since it's now only $19.95 AUS (yes, $1 AUS is less than $1 US) it's in your best interest to get Animouse now, before the price goes up. Try out the demo; buy the full version; impress your friends! This is one nifty little utility that should make the grouchiest person smile.

 * Animouse v1.0a
by Sentience Software
download from Australia or the US (ZIP, 278k)
MSRP: AUS$19.95
Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. He holds fast to the belief that sleep, while nice, is highly overrated.

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