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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 September 25, 2019

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    Project management doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, not if you have apps that make things a whole lot simpler. When you have project management apps, you can take care of your team, tasks and deadlines, without even being in the office. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get most of the apps you might need.

    Here are the 7 best project management apps to super boost your team’s productivity:

    1. Basecamp

      It’s probably the most well-known project management app out there. It allows you to organize projects that act as a central location for everything and contains such things as to-do lists, notes, events, files, and much more.

      It is user-friendly, and has a free 30-day trial period. After that, the plan is $99 per month.

      Find out more about Basecamp here.

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      2. Asana

        If you are looking for something that is not difficult to use, check out Asana. This is a great task management app that can be used for managing projects as well.

        In a nutshell, Asana helps you create and share task lists with your team. The app is simple but smart enough and has got a lot of integrations. Teams with up to 15 members can use Asana for free. Teams with 15 members and up can choose plans that range from $10.99 per month.

        Find out more about Asana here.

        3. Casual

          This is a unique app that offers a different way of doing things. On Casual, you plan your tasks just by drawing them as a flowchart. The neat thing is that Casual helps you visualize and track dependencies between tasks.

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          This app is incredibly intuitive and works great for personal projects, as well as for organizing projects for small teams. You can try it for free, and if you don’t like it, there is no obligation to pay for anything.

          Find out more about Casual here.

          4. Trello

            This app is incredibly user-friendly, and is based on Kanban boards. It actually works like a virtual whiteboard with post-it-notes.

            Trello is great for organizing your to-do lists, ideas, and is very easy to use. You can create several boards to use for various projects, and it’s free of cost. Trello is available to iOS and Android users as well.

            Find out more about Trello here.

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            5. OmniPlan

              This is an awesome app for iPhone and iPad users. If you love Gantt charts, this is definitely an app that you can get a lot out of.

              You start out by creating a simple project outline. Then you can use the app to help you through every step of the project until its completion.

              A standard plan for iOS costs just $99.99, and the pro plan is only $199.99.

              Find out more about OmniPlan here.

              6. Podio

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                This is a great app for medium and large-sized teams working on projects. The special point about Podio is that there are additional features such as CRM and social intranet.

                There are four different packages: Free, which is free for up to five employees and five external users; Basic, which is $9 per month per employee; Plus, which is $14 per month per employee, and Premium, which is $24 per month per employee.

                Find out more about Podio here.

                7. Microsoft Project

                  This is one of the most commonly-used project management apps. However, it is also one of the most difficult apps to use. It does have a lot of features that are popular with project managers, which is why we have chosen to include in on this list. You can customize reports, track burn rates, and stay on track until projects are complete.

                  The basic plan starts with $7 per month, which allows you project team members to collaborate in the cloud, via web browser or mobile.

                  Find out more about Microsoft Project here.

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                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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