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the Beta File- by Ryan Dill

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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To start with this month, the folks at Cybercom should be releasing a self-running demo version of their AccuCount/2 business/accounting software within a few days of this issue of e-Zine! going on-line. Once the demo is ready, you should be able to download it from the AccuCount/2 demo page.

AccuCount/2 not only promises to include all the features you'd expect from normal accounting software -- invoicing, purchasing, banking, inventory, reporting, etc. -- it also includes a Contact Manager to keep in touch with people your business deals with (customers, employees, personal contacts, etc.), double-entry accounting, time management, fax and e-mail integration (via FaxWorks and PMMail), multithreading... basically, the works. According to Robert Mauro, one of the developers, AccuCount/2's modularized design will make it easy to add features as a business needs them: things like point of sale modules, restaurant modules, and so on. This software has a whole lot of features. Period.

A beta test consisting of 110 people will be starting in about two weeks, with beta testing open to all pre-order customers of the product. (See AccuCount/2's web site or call Cybercom at (703) 892-1888 for details). AccuCount/2 should be ready by the third quarter of 1997 at the latest, and will sell commercially, with a suggested retail price of US$125. Note that if you purchase AccuCount/2 via pre-order from Cybercom now, they're actually offering 50 percent off -- see their web page for more information.

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PerfectNiche Software is currently looking for both alpha and beta testers for their upcoming product, Smack!. Smack! is a program used for the design and printing of various types of labels, for things like postal addresses, packing boxes, business cards, and more. It includes everything you'd expect from a good labeling program, like different text and font styles, basic graphics and drawing tools, color, and various printing options. Not only that, though, it also takes advantage of OS/2 features such as WPS integration, multithreading and REXX enablement -- it even comes in international versions, so it can be used no matter which language you prefer.

Currently Smack! does not have a web page, so anyone interested in becoming an alpha or beta tester (alpha testers would receive incremental updates every 1-2 days, but would also have more responsibility) should contact Robert Rosenwald at PerfectNiche. Please include a short description of your system (including video card, video resolution, and printer(s) used), your experience with OS/2 and with beta testing in general.

Smack! is expected to be out of beta cycles by the third quarter of 1997, and will sell as a commercial product for US$69.95 (SRP), though alpha/beta testers may pay less:

All alpha/beta testers who make some reasonable contribution to the testing and development of Smack! will receive a 40% discount on the purchase of the final product. Those alpha/beta testers who make a significant contribution will receive the final product at no cost.
Perfect Niche Software will be the sole judge of what constitutes 'reasonable contribution' and what constitutes 'significant contribution.'
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For all those who have been using Eagen Software's WarpSpace to view VRML worlds in OS/2, welcome news: WarpSpace has reached its long-promised second beta, 1.0b2. In addition to numerous bug fixes, a rewritten parser and automatic GZIP support for compressed worlds, says primary developer David Eagen, beta 2 is also a plug-in for Netscape Navigator. The folks at Eagen are hard at work on the third beta, which should include WWW Inline support, LOD and multiple camera views.

For those who want to upgrade their previous beta, or those who haven't tried WarpSpace yet and would like to, beta 2 can be freely downloaded from WarpSpace's web site, side-by-side with more detailed information on the program. The public beta program will continue until WarpSpace v1.0 includes all features of the VRML 1.0 specifications, which is expected to be sometime in the third quarter of 1997. (At that time, the developers will begin work on the VRML 2.0-oriented WarpSpace v2.0.) WarpSpace v1.0, once completed, will be a shareware product whose price tag will probably be under US$35.

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Solar Systems' Stellar Frontier has reached its fourth beta release, and can at last be downloaded publicly from Stardock's Commerce Server, for a price of $36 US. (As per Stardock's usual practice, betas require payment, entitling you to a free copy of the final version when it's ready. Since the betas cost less than the final version will sell for, it saves money to pay for the beta now.) For those who already have a copy of the last beta, a free update to beta 4 can be found at Stardock's Software Library.

Beta 4 is the first public beta of Stellar Frontier; all previous versions have only been accessible to a select number of testers. (Solar Systems has been heard to say that the game is nearing completion, so the fifth beta, expected within the next week or so, may well be the last. Get it while it's cheap!)

For those who haven't heard, Stellar Frontier is a cross-platform arcade-like space battle game developed by Solar Systems and distributed by Stardock -- With full multi-player networking capability in addition to its own AI, high-res graphics and cool sound, Stellar Frontier is shaping up to be a great addition to any gamer's collection. More information about the game can be found at Stellar Frontier's web page at Stardock. If you like the sound of it, by all means, get the beta and try it out for yourself.

Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and Copy Editor for OS/2 e-Zine!. 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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