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the Beta File

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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Nick Knight, author of the award winning e-mail client, MR/2 ICE, is expanding his line of products for OS/2 with the introduction of the MR/2 ICE Newsreader. This newest product of Knightware Software Company is a DLL-based add-on to the MR/2 ICE e-mail client that enables full-featured news reading. It will allow both on-line, off-line or mixed-mode reading. The news reader will sport the same interface and feature list as the MR/2 ICE e-mail product.

There is no web site specifically for the beta test of the newsreader at this time but interested surfers can pop over to the Knightware Software Company's home page. The beta is closed and consists of a small group at this point. Phase II will be started shortly and will allow a larger group of people to participate though. The product has been in testing for a month or so, with over 40 testers involved.

At this time there is not yet a firm date of a v1.0 release. The product is planned to be included as part of the basic MR/2 ICE package and the base price of MR/2 ICE may be increased slightly at release time to reflect the increased functionality. And it will be shareware, of course.

When asked the motivation for the expansion into the news reader market, Knight said, "We're just looking to take what we've done with the E-Mail side and create a similar newsreader product." If our readers like the new features half as much as they did the old ones, it is sure to be a winner.

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Speaking of news reading, I came across some interesting threads this month in one of the comp.os.os2 groups. There is a small but vocal group of netizens who have started a thread of discussion about the supposed demise of the Money Tree financial software package in beta development by Mt. Baker Software.

Looking to get to the bottom of this rumour, I gave Bryan Minor, President of Mt. Baker Software a phone call on March 13th to see what he had to say about Money Tree's status. This was his response:

[Regarding] the comments about Mt. Baker Software's viability and the prospects of Money Tree, [the people who have commented negatively] are clearly NOT speaking from an informed position. Here are the facts regarding us and Money Tree:

1. A second Beta of Money Tree will be released within days. This will most likely be the last private beta. A public beta will come next, then followed by the general release. This next private beta will contain all of the following:

2. We are here for the long haul. Mt. Baker Software is firmly committed to the OS/2 market and Money Tree.

- Bryan M. Minor, Ph.D.
It looks like the rumours of Money Tree's demise are very premature indeed.

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Those of you who have grown used to using Info-ZIP's zip and unzip but who have longed for that forgotten friend, PKZIP, good news: a new OS/2 version of this old favourite is currently in beta testing. PKZIP for OS/2 from PKWARE, Inc. is, as you most likely know, a program to create compressed .ZIP archives and .EXE self-extracting files. What more do I need to say?

This beta test has been ongoing for some time, including 120 beta testers since November 11th of last year. Unfortunately, PKWARE is not accepting more testers at this time but the ETA of the general availability release is sometime in the mid to late second quarter of 1997. Not much longer now 'til we can all get a look at the new version.

The price for this combination shareware and commercial product will be US$47 at the time of release.

If you're wondering what features the product will have, one of the beta testers gave us this list:

Sounds good!

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If you thought the company that has recently brought us not one, not two, but three ColorWorks plug-ins couldn't possibly have anything else up its sleeve, think again. Modular Dreams Inc. is currently beta testing their newest stand-alone product, code named M3.

M3 is an image database tool that is ideal for the Internet age. M3 will feature:

Modular Dreams has told us that there will be a web page for the beta test but at the time of this writing it was not yet active. Look for it in the future at:


Testing began on March 3rd and Modular Dreams expects it to last about one month. The beta will include fixes and suggestions received on the company's previous product, MD+F SX demo which was posted to their web site back in 1995, and many enhancements made on that demo code.

The beta is still open so if you're interested, grab the fully functional beta (time expired) from the Modular Dreams web site. Daily updates are planned (they will usually only include a new executable for faster download).

General availability should be around mid-April and the MSRP of the commercial product is currently set at US$169.

As you can probably guess from the above feature descriptions, a company spokesperson tells us that, "This product is for someone who has ONE very large, chaotic collection of images." And there are plenty of us in the OS/2 community!

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And also in the graphics market this month, Dadaware is just wrapping up its beta test of the newest version of its product formerly named JView Pro. Now renamed Embellish v2.0, primary developer, V. Joseph Burkley, tells us that Embellish is an image editing program that combines painting, drawing, color editing, text and special effects all into one application.

He's not joking either. We had a look at an early beta of the product and while it was clearly not finished, it had some impressive features. Most importantly, it had the feature that we've been wishing for in an OS/2 product for a long time: good text anti-aliasing.

Some other features include:

Debra Gonzalez of Dadaware tells us:
Embellish has come a long way from the shareware version, JView Pro. The entire GUI has been redone and cool features have been added. Dadaware's goal is to provide customers with a fun-to-use, yet powerful program at a good price.

Oh yeah... and we don't charge for tech support.

If you are interested in getting in on the tail end of the beta test, Dadaware is always looking for beta testers and always looking for feedback. Drop by their web site or contact Joe Burkley or Debra Gonzalez and join the approximately 20 other testers that have been banging on Embellish for the past month.

The release date for Embellish v2.0 was originally scheduled for March 17th but this has slipped slightly. Expect the eventual price to be US$69.99 with a three month promotional pricing of US$39.99. Beta testers are offered special pricing based on the extent of their input. (Contact Dadaware directly for more information.) Embellish will be a commercial product.

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