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

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    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.

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

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

    Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

    Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

    As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

    In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

    Projects and Tasks Management

    1. Monday dot com

      Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

      The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

      The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

      The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

      Check out the software here!

      2. Asana

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        The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

        The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

        Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

        Check out the software here!

        3. Trello

          Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

          Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

          Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

          Check out the software here!

          4. Jira

            The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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            The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

            The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

            Check out the software here!

            5. Evernote Business

              Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

              The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

              Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

              Check out the software here!

              Communication

              6. Slack

                Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                Check out the software here!

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                7. Spike

                  Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                  Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                  Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                  Check out the software here!

                  Creation

                  8. Office 365

                    Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                    Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                    You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                    Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                    Check out the software here!

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                    9. Grammarly

                      Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                      Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                      Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Team Analytics

                      10. ActivTrak

                        ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                        The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                        Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                        Check out the software here!

                        The Bottom Line

                        Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                        More Productivity Tools

                        Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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