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the Beta File- by Ryan Dill
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Welcome back to the Beta File, your source for the latest breaking news in OS/2 beta development. Every month we scour the OS/2 world to bring you interesting news of OS/2 software in development. If you have a product that you're sure is going to be the next killer app, or you want a little free exposure for your beta test, drop us a note!

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We'll start off this month with a few updates to beta programs e-Zine's already mentioned.

Nick Knight's MR/2 Newsreader (mentioned in June '97), has been updated (12/09/97) to beta #43 (ZIP, 1M). The ProNews newsreader (mentioned in July '97) has also been updated again (11/20/97), to beta 4B (ZIP, 1M). WarpAMP, the GUI MP3 player mentioned in August '97, has been updated (11/26/97) to beta 3a (ZIP, 260k); more info at its new home page. Richard Castle's Dialog Enhancer (mentioned in November '97) has been updated (12/15/97) to beta 1.61 (ZIP, 512k), and has had its text-mode install program traded in for a GUI install program currently at beta one (ZIP, 393k). The graphics front-end IPAD (mentioned in July '97) , received an incremental update (11/16/97) to version 5.0.2 (ZIP, 550k), and last but not least, the background changer ShowTime/2 (mentioned in November '97) has been updated (11/22/97) to beta 1.02.

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The second beta version of Lotus SmartSuite for OS/2 Warp 4 has been publicly released. Whereas the first beta required installation of a special edition of Warp 4 FixPak 3, beta 2 (and upcoming versions of SmartSuite) uses regular FixPaks. So, if you've already installed FixPak 5, you don't need any more fixes. See last month's Beta File for details as to what programs SmartSuite for Warp 4 contains.

As with the first beta, the second beta is freely downloadable from the Internet (registered Lotus beta testers get a copy free on CD); those who wish to avoid the time and aggravation of downloading over 100 megabytes of files (FixPak 5 is 29 Mb, the Suite itself is 107 Mb) can purchase a copy on CD from a reseller such as Indelible Blue or J3 Computer Technologies. (Materials, time and labor costs bring the cost of the CD to US$10 before shipping.) The CDs contain a copy of FixPak 5 if you haven't installed it already. Again, no word is yet available from Lotus of the final intended price of SmartSuite for Warp 4, but since SmartSuite 96 for is now selling for about US$399 at both of the above places, it's a safe bet that SmartSuite for Warp 4's full price will be above $400 US (less for academic and upgrades).

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Breant Borghese has released the 14th beta of version 1.71 of Super Pager, a Windows and OS/2 program which can send a message to any alphanumeric pager. This release fixes a few problems with the last beta, as well as adding a number of new network features. Super Pager supports both the commonly-used TAP (Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol) paging protocol as well as the UCP (Universal Computer Protocol) and scripting, for pager systems which don't support TAP. You can use Super Pager to send large messages to a pager (a large message will be broken up into smaller messages and sent piece by piece), or even to page a group of people at once. Just select the people you want to page from a list, and type your message; optionally, specify a log file to keep track of who's been paged and when.

Super Pager is also available in a full-blown server version, which includes a World Wide Web paging client, firewall support, and all of the software necessary for setting up a paging system on your own network. (You can see a demo version of the Web client pager at http://brent.dispatch.com/cgi-bin/wwwpage/page.htm)

Super Pager is currently available as shareware from BMT Micro, although the beta version is only available from the author's home page. (ZIP, 800k) The shareware version of SuperPager is limited in that the maximum message size it can send to a pager is 30 characters; to do more, you'll have to purchase the program. The Windows client and OS/2 client are each $25 US, but the OS/2 package has a few extra goodies, including a small pager server and the client source code. (The full-blown server version sells for $100 US) For more information on Super Pager, see its page at BMT Micro above or go direct to the author's site.

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Eduardo Fernandez has recently created a number of Java gizmos which OS/2 users might be interested in, including two in beta: The first, EdSock, is a set of Java-based classes for programmers, used to implement event-driven sockets. It also allows Java programmers to use packets, something which seems to be missing in Java's own libraries. The source code and classes can be downloaded from the EdSock web page.

The second is EdCAM. EdCAM v2.0 is a largely Java-based program to stream video across the Internet. The server requires some native OS/2 code, but the client will be fully Java. In its third beta, EdCAM 2.0 currently only has a distribution for the black and white QuickCam under OS/2, but the author would like to add support for as many cameras as possible; if you have a different one, let him know. EdCAM is expected to have one more beta stage before general release, which is hoped will yield streaming results of about one frame per second over a 28.8k modem connection. More information and the required Java classes can be found at the EdCAM web page.

Both EdSock and EdCAM are expected to be free for public usage upon finishing beta stages. Any suggestions, bug reports or other comments about either of the two programs should be directed to Eduardo at the e-mail above.

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Ceres Software has announced the beta release of version 2 of their SoundStudio software for OS/2. Already available for Windows (v2.31) and Linux (v1.5), SoundStudio is an all-in-one audio recorder, mixer and effect module for creating studio-quality professional audio tracks. Supporting all OS/2-compatible sound cards, SoundStudio allows recording and overlay of up to 32 simultaneous tracks in a WAV or RAW sound file, of any sampling rate up to 44.1 kHz. Your audio files can easily have tag information added to them, including author information, song name, genre, even entries for the names of the technician and engineer.

Some of its other features include simultaneous record/playback, synchronized CD-audio or MIDI play during recording, and the ability to use several sound cards at once. SoundStudio's effects module has a variety of ways to alter your audio creations, including fade in/fade out, echo, distortion effects, velocity tweaks, and more: over 20 effects in all. In order to run SoundStudio, your OS/2 Warp system needs to have DART installed (It's installed automatically with Warp 4, but if you're using Warp 3 you'll need to add it manually).

This beta release (ZIP, 2.3M) is fully functional until January 31st of 1998, after which point it must be purchased, for a price of $149 US. More information about the program can be obtained from Ceres' web site above.

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Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and e-Zine! 's technical editor. He is reported to be relieved that, with the advent of Warp 4, talking to your computer is no longer considered a sign of mental instability.


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