[Mercede Computer Associates -- PC's for a Warped World!]

The Need For Speed- by Jon Cochran

I don't have any particular focus this month, I just want to go over a few useful tips and tricks I've picked up over the past few months, and update some information on some tips and tricks I've covered in the months past.

Enhanced CD-ROM Support

Have you had any problems reading new CD-ROMs recently? More and more CDs are being burned in a new format that allows for filenames longer than 32 characters, and of mixed case. In addition, never one to be outdone, Microsoft has introduced their own CD format, Joliet. For a nice change of pace, IBM decided to make drivers available for these new formats before they become a problem, and you can pick them up from one of IBM's many web sites.

After I installed these new drivers, I noticed that some of my older CDs had long file names and mixed case names that I had never been able to see. Apparently they are for those people who have Windows 95 installed (those of us without it aren't supposed to see them). I had a brief worry that Win-OS2 support may somehow be compromised by the new filename support, but apparently Win-OS2 still continues to see only the 8.3 format, and the LFN support is for the OS/2 side of things only.

A 32-Bit CHKDSK?

Well, I don't know about that, but there is a new CHKDSK on Hobbes and the OS/2 Supersite, which is reportedly the new CHKDSK code that IBM has been working on for a while now. It is a Gamma release, and has all sorts of "install at your own risk" type messages, but it seems to work fine. IBM says that performance is faster with the new CHKDSK, and while I didn't do a stopwatch test, it seemed a little faster on my 1.2gb drive, but nothing radical. Apparently you see the biggest gains on large RAID arrays but, as I have no large RAID arrays, I can't substantiate that claim.

Odds and Ends

So many people have written to me asking for the URL for those wonderful ESS drivers (first mentioned in vol 2, no 1), I thought I'd just put the URL here for future reference. You can find them at http://www.esstech.com/techsupp/updates/intro_ud.htm.

Bonehead Install

In closing, I'd just like to share a little "Bonehead Installation" I made a few weeks back. I had purchased a Toshiba 8X SCSI CD-ROM to replace my tired and old Sony SCSI CD-ROM. Since it's a SCSI drive, the only drivers I should need are my SCSI adapter driver, the OS/2 SCSI driver, and the CD file system drivers, right? Who needs selective installation just to tell OS/2 you've got a new CD, right?

Wrong. After playing for a while, I noticed that some of my CD's just wouldn't read at all. After the usual bout of panic which always happens when I experience this sort of thing, I tried to come up with some logical reasons this would be happening. Finally, I realized that Selective Install probably would have installed a filter for the drive. When I added TOSHCDS1.FLT to my CONFIG.SYS and rebooted, everything worked just fine.

So what's the point? None, really. I just hope that someone else who may be going through the same problem one day will think back to this little incident...

Jon Cochran is a full time student at Rider University majoring in History/Secondary Education. He hopes (or at least his parents do) to graduate soon.

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