Advertising

Happy (Belated) Birthday OS/2: A Multitasking Pioneer

Advertising
Happy (Belated) Birthday OS/2: A Multitasking Pioneer
OS/2 on an ATM
    image courtesy of William Cabrera

    As pointed out on Slashdot, IBM’s OS/2 turned 25 last Monday. As a long-time computer user, and not a fan of Windows, I do have some experience with the operating system. Unfortunately, I was pretty much anti-GUI for the longest time, so I missed out on OS/2 up until Warp 3.0. By then, the operating system had matured a great deal, and, had IBM done better marketing (it didn’t help that Windows was installed on PCs, including most of their own hardware), the computing world may be much different than it is today.

    Advertising

    One of the things I remember most about OS/2, aside from the price tag, is the built-in voice recognition. I believe this as introduced into Warp 3.0 and, at one point in time, voice recognition was going to be the next greatest thing, and IBM had it integrated into their OS. Not only that, but it worked great! It did require a minimal amount of training, which I immediately did when I did my initial install, even though I had a cold at the time. Amazingly, OS/2 recognized what I was saying with what I am sure was greater than 99% accuracy. Even more amazing is that as my cold cleared up, the accuracy did not go down. IBM also marketed this voice recognition software as third-party software for other operating systems branded, I believe, as either VoiceType or ViaVoice. Regardless of the name, at the time I did not feel it worked nearly as well as it did in OS/2.

    Advertising

    Another thing that I remember quite well was the multitasking. For the general population of computer users, multitasking was not something in great demand. However, for those of us who ran dial-up Bulletin Board Systems, good multitasking was the holy grail of computing. Back then, there were two real choices. Either you ran DESQview, or you ran OS/2. The final option was that you dedicated a computer to running your BBS, which was quite an investment back then. For many, this made the price tag of OS/2 worth every penny, especially since it was able to multitask DOS programs extremely well. Many of the multi-line BBSes of the time ran under OS/2.

    Advertising

    Warp 3.0 also made it to market before what Microsoft eventually named Windows 95, but was code-named “Chicago” at the time. The TV commercial for Warp 3.0 is one of the earliest computer-related commercials that I can recall. Only because of the Internet’s constant reminders am I consciously aware of Apple’s “1984” commercial, and the only other part of a commercial that I remember from earlier than the Warp commercial is Apple’s tagline “and we even throw in the mouse” or some such for their commercial for, I believe, the 2e. The fact that IBM did not take advantage of this market lead illustrates just how poor IBM was at marketing OS/2. It didn’t help that many people considered IBM’s main competition to OS/2 was Windows NT. The running joke was that the choices were either half an operating system or a nice try. Even the “grassroots” Team OS/2 could not overcome IBM’s poor marketing.

    Advertising

    The final thing that I recall about OS/2 was that it was (and in some cases, still is) installed on a large percentage of ATMs. I don’t know that I ever discovered why that was the case, but it’s one of those little useless tidbits of information that sticks with you over time.

    Advertising

    And lest you think OS/2 is gone for good, it evolved into eComStation, which is published by Serenity Systems. There is still a small, but enthusiastic, community around it. Many open-source packages are available, from Mozilla’s Internet applications, to development tools, server software, games, and office suites.

    More by this author

    Happy (Belated) Birthday OS/2: A Multitasking Pioneer

    Trending in Technology

    1 How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private 2 20 Must-Have iPad Apps /iPhone Apps That You May Be Missing 3 Finally, 20 Productivity Apps That Will Ensure Efficiency 4 8 Useful Apps Every Learner Should Not Miss 5 Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    Advertising
    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

      Advertising

      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

      Advertising

      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

      Advertising

      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

      Advertising

      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

      Read Next