Alternative Text-Mostly MUST-HAVE for OS/2
What's new around here?
I do not want to overlap (too much) the already numerous OS/2 Must-Have
software lists. However there is some software that I just
love to death which I never see mentioned
anywhere else. I must mention them here! Many of my favorite and
most used programs are text mode.
And of course I might mention a few of the common ones. But without further
ado, let the show begin (in alphabetical order)!
Case -- Filename Case Converter"
Is there anything more annoying than all upper case filenames? What was the
Evil Gates thinking back then in the DOS days?! Has his caps lock key been
stuck on since the 80's, or what?! I'm sure we don't want to know. It is a
legacy which has added terror to our dreams for too many years. We can
thank God at least when
4DOS (and 4OS2)
allowed us to replace command.com with a
decent (if not the best!) command processor and view our
directories in lower case at last. But even now we are still once
in a while afflicted (like a virus that just won't die!) on our HPFS drives
with the all upper case filename. I was about to write my own case
conversion utility until I found
very complete utility. You can do just about any sort of case conversion
you can imagine with this tool.
HSwitch -- Text Mode Popup Tasklist Selector"
Please brace yourselves. I'm going to give you plenty of advanced warning,
so it will be no good trying to sue me for any damages you may suffer
from the utter shock of the statement I will shortly make. The up-coming
statement is graphic in content and sensitive readers may wish to
skip this program description right now.
Ok, here it comes: Windows is better than OS/2 when it comes to text mode task
switching! Gasp!! The ease and speed of switching through full
screen DOS sessions in Windows 3.1 is a delight. Use ALT-TAB and windows
loops through the titles of all running tasks until you release the ALT key.
It requires only one hand and a couple of repetitive keystrokes to find what
you want, and you never have to leave text mode. OS/2 has no such facility.
Enter the venerable
HSwitch. As far
as I'm concerned, this is still a second rate solution compared to the ease
and speed of the Windows way of doing things noted above-- but this is still
a good program, and extremely essential. With this program you can pop up
a text mode menu of tasks in a full screen OS/2 session, or a VDM. The
menu has a light bar so you can cursor up and down and pick the task you
want to switch to, as well as allowing you to press letters to take you to
the next task
beginning with that letter. It's a nice little utility. But you do have to
hit the hot key, and then find your cursor keys, and then locate with your
eyes in a list where the task is and get to it, or hit the appropriate letter,
and then hit enter. Am I whining? Well, I deeply apologize. But I just wished,
in just this one way that OS/2 handled full screen task
switching like that old rusty tin can of a DOS shell known as Windows. As it is
I find HSwitch an adequate, though not perfect, solution, and use it in
conjunction with SwitchMaster & Switch, and
it's all very complicated.
LST/2 -- Text Mode Directly/Text/Hex Viewer"
For those of us who left Beurg's LIST utility sadly behind back in the DOS
days, LST/2 is
a pretty good replacement. It is not as feature packed as LIST is
(and so small and optimized!), but it is pretty good and has some neat
tricks all its own. It supports long filenames and EAs. It has a neat
"auto-view" mode which shows you a directory listing on the left and
automatically a text/hex view on the left.
RAR -- "the Russian Archiver"
I don't use
compressed archives very often. It is a good program and
compresses very well, but is a bit slow; and not in wide use. However,
what I do use it for more often is just as a simple archive viewer. It has
a built in full screen mode where you can browse directories, look inside
of ZIP or RAR files, view files within the archives, and so on. It's very
fast, and simple. It it usually sufficient, and saves one from using one of
the more full featured god-awful file managers for OS/2. Is it just me or
do ALL the file managers, both text mode and PM, completely suck!?
I think they all do anyhow.
SwitchMaster & Switch (& NoList) -- Alt-Esc Tasklist Management"
A simple command line utility that can enable and disable the "jumpable"
attribute of tasks by name it seems is too much to ask. So i have to make due
with these two utilities. They work well in their own right, but seem unwieldy
to me. The first,
SwitchMaster, is a PM
program. It is quite nice, except i can't think of any practical way to use
it's features! However one of the main problems with OS/2 for full screen text
mode freaks like me is that when you hit alt-esc you are traveling
blindly and are bound to hit a PM/WPS window eventually and have to wait for
the screen to redraw and all manner of annoying thing. Of course you could use
HSwitch, but nothing is as fast as ALT-ESC. So SwitchMaster
has this setting that you can instruct it to remove all WPS programs from being
"jumpable". And that's what I do. SwitchMaster also has a setting to shut itself
down after 5 five seconds, and i have that turned on as well. So I put it, with
these settings in my StartUp folder and when my system boots the first thing
it does it remove the WPS Desktop from the alt-esc task list! Hurrah! No more
desktop popping up at awkward moments. What's more, i have a cmd file set to
start SwitchMaster with these settings in the background from a command prompt;
so when there are PM apps running i can just run SWM.CMD and it will start
up in the background, remove the jumpable flag from them, and shut itself down.
This is fine, but what if you have an OS/2 Command window, or a Win-OS/2 session.
Ug! it doesn't get them. I'd have to go do it manually or something. That's
where the second utility,
in to play. It is a small text mode utility which lists all tasks in a
numbered list, and reports if they are "jumpable" or not. One then can press
the number of the task one wants to toggle the "jumpable" state of. This way
when non-PM GUI tasks are bugging me at least i can start up this program and
knock them off the list. But as I say, it's awkward. If only the author of this
second utility would have put in simple command line parsing routine to toggle
a named task from the command line rather than forcing this interactive toggling;
then i could just make a CMD file that knocks out the most common tasks i like
to knock out of the switch list periodically. Maybe i should write
the author about this one day! Maybe! The archive also comes
with the C source code if anyone else wants to hack it for me! I have looked
at it but it's a bit over my head, and I have no documentation on the OS/2
structures involved. That's my story.
to be just what i was mentioning above: allows you to remove tasks by
process NAME pattern from the command line. A reader of this page alerted
me to it's existance. It's shareware. It works well. I don't feel like rewriting
the above blathering at the moment, so consider this an update.
THelp -- Text Mode INF Viewer
If you are in full screen text mode a lot, like I am, it can be very
annoying switching to the desktop get some info out of an Inf file.
really a wonderful program! It allows you to read INF files in text mode.
It is fast and efficient. It has searching capabilities, and a optional
split screen display (view the table of contents in one window, and text in
the other). I love this program.
Yarn -- Usenet/Email SOUP Reader
Good grief, aren't you tired of those slow bulky GUI mail readers yet?!
They make me dizzy just looking at them. They make me nauseous to load
them. Alright, I'm exaggerating a bit. However, there is nothing to match
the speed and flexibility of good old text mode
Yarn/2. Not only is it the best tool for the job,
in my opinion, but it's free.
| Yarn/2 REXX
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Last Updated: Thu 04/25/96 04:27 pm est