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Where Are They Now? - by Chris Wenham
OS/2 e-Zine!

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Chris Wenham is the Editor-In-Chief of OS/2 e-Zine! -- a promotion from Senior Editor which means he now takes all the blame.

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Summary: A pause to check back on some old promises and a few old faces, to see if they'll ever be kept, and to see if we'll ever know them again.

TrueSpectra Photo>Graphics

As of January 1st, 1999, TrueSpectra ceased to sell and develop their remarkable OS/2 graphics software: Photo>Graphics. Incidentally, they also did the same for the Windows version, so it's not as if we were exclusively penalized. TrueSpectra's current product is something called Image Server - a program that puts the ColorWave graphics engine of Photo>Graphics into a web server. It gives webmasters control over the images they display, such as delivering multiple views from a single high-resolution file, or mixing the various graphics and drawing effects of the ColorWave engine on the fly. A demonstration is available on their newly redesigned web site. At the moment, this product is only available for Windows, but TrueSpectra have told us they've been developing their products with Java and C in tandem. Whether anything of use to OS/2 users materializes remains to be seen.

Panacea's ProNews/2

We could see early on in the vote tabulation stage that ProNews/2 was going to win the newsreader category by a very healthy margin, yet the product has been out of development for over 6 months and the company apparently dissolved. Everyone was expecting it to disappear completely and leave PMINews to have the whole pie by itself, but last month we saw a ray of hope. Bill Buchanan of Panacea software posted a public letter that explained what had happened. The long and short of it is that the programmers suffered from "burn out" and had to take a long, or permanent leave. Fortunately the departure of these programmers took place under friendly terms, meaning that future revisions aren't completely out of the question.

With that, the company is now considering a number of options. The least desirable of course is to simply drop all OS/2 support while their staff continue to explore other venues such as Be and Linux. The other is to hand over the code to another company, or even to release the source into the public domain. The last is for Panacea to hire more OS/2 programmers. We're hoping that if Panacea can't get it together, they'll do the right thing and open the source to the public.


Only after publishing the voting form did it occur to us that we could have added a new "Turkey of the Year" category, but then we also realized that there'd be one definite winner of that unflattering award. In the words of dozens of e-mails we've received from irate OS/2 users who've paid up for the beta: WHERE THE HECK IS THIS THING? Cybercom, developers of this vaporware business accounting program have been mum for considerable time now. They wouldn't reply to our inquiries, nor, it seems, those of their customers who have turned to us instead.

For their quietness, Cybercom's web site has still been redesigned a number of times (and with the same old stale promises as usual). Now it looks as if they've put a re-emphasis on their web design services. Maybe they should sort out their priorities and start giving their customers an honest answer instead of the decreasingly credible "Online here in mere days!"

Other news on their web site is a Accucount/2 related product called ZipSearch that looks up US Postal Service "zip codes" for use in locating addresses. They have a download link and the news that it's "Fixed - Now downloadable", but wouldn't you know... it's still broken.

Think Tool Pro

As far back as Indelible Blue's 1997 Spring/Summer catalog, on page 49, there's an entry for something called "The Think Tool" by Phoenix Software - a personal information manager and general purpose object database all in one. The catalog entry doesn't say anything about the fact that the product did not exist at the time they went to print with it, and still doesn't exist in sellable form today. Promised to be "coming soon" for a good year longer than Accucount/2, this product has also been the topic of many irate e-mails from our readers who want us to investigate. We ourselves were also promised a "demo" last year when we conducted our Personal Information Manager review, that didn't materialize and the screenshots we were also promised came too late to include in our article. That simple screenshots couldn't be supplied smelled a bit suspicious to us.

So we contacted Phoenix Software and the "good news" is that they are still alive and doing something. They claim to be almost ready to ship a CD with the second beta of their product, plus they have two full time employees and one part-time programmer working on the code. Think Tool Pro is described as being a major piece of software with impressive database technology, but here at the e-Zine! we're not believing anything until we see it on shiny pressed plastic. Stay tuned, this story may have a happy ending.

Copyright © 1999 - Falcon Networking ISSN 1203-5696
January 16, 1999