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Tom Nadeau's Warpstock Experience
After quitting my job and driving 2000 miles, I fully expected a great Warpstock. I was not disappointed. I had a deep suspicion that there were hundreds of dedicated, loyal, friendly OS/2 users willing to trek from anywhere at great personal expense to support OS/2; once again, I was not disappointed. In fact, the only big disappointment was the lack of bigtime computer press there. (Of course, our Esther was there and I look forward to her coverage, but I was thinking just maybe John Dvorak had an open weekend.... nah.) The vendors had very basic exhibit tables, and ran out of product right away. The tables that seemed brimming with business were POSSI, who sold some 40 new memberships; and Harry Martin's T-shirt booth. Harry's shirts were fabulous, even at $15. Fortunately he had a XXX-Large available for me. The seminars showed just how deep the talent is in this group. Timur's Win32 stuff was cool: these fellas actually understand what MS is doing "under the covers" and will soon be able to run some of the more basic Win32 stuff on OS/2. Jim Koerner from IBM gave us an overview of the IBM viewpoint on OS/2. Basically, OS/2 Warp Client has a niche, just like everything else does. That niche is at one end of the spectrum (the high-cost end), whereas dumb terminals were at the other end. For companies looking to have lots of transactions for cheap, but who want more than just a dumb terminal, that's the IBM Network Station, or the WSOD (Bluebird). Those two hold down the middle portion of the spectrum in terms of cost per transaction. Basically, IBM sees businesses as wanting to slide everything towards the low-cost-per-transaction end, and that's where they want to focus most of their efforts. Mike Persell of IBM was the most down-to-earth guy I've ever met from a big company since Frank Ingari left Lotus. We had a 45-minute private chat and I'll spill the beans right now: 1. He's disappointed that we OS/2 supporters are so dependent on IBM for everything. "Don't whine, don't beg, ASK and you WILL RECEIVE" was his message. In other words, we need to learn to develop serious business-case proposals for what we need from IBM, and stop whining and complaining. WE must make the first move, and Mike will go to bat for us. 2. Brad Wardell has a lot of "potential." Hmmmm... think about that, a guy who's sold millions of copies of OS/2 software has "potential." Apparently, OS/2 must really have a tremendous untapped potential. It's up to US to tap that. 3. IBM makes 10-year contracts with big companies to use OS/2, and puts the software in escrow accounts. That means IBM must support it for the duration of the contract -- and can't change its kernel, etc. in that version. It's not a lack of support for new stuff, it's about keeping their commitments. Douglas Grove blew everyone away with his down-and-dirty expose of just how far behind OS/2 the "other guys" are. That's right, NT is basically a dud. The SMP stuff in NT is medieval -- like dumping the cache contents every time there's a thread switch. He recommends camping on the Aberdeen Group's website to get more ammo.... and also Microsoft's own developer sites!! I was pleased with the response to my Consumer Marketing presentation. Apparently my sense of humor and timing match that of most OS/2 users -- they were rolling in the aisles! Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation. The big windup was Michael Steinberg's demo of the Lotus Smartsuite Alpha for OS/2. It was so thrilling, the audience rushed the stage at the end to get the free CDs that were handed out. This is what we've been waiting seven years for. There were many other exhibits and seminars that I just didn't have time to attend. Everyone did a marvelous job and seemed to have taken care to be well-prepared. The Warpstock committee and volunteers did a great job, and the free meals were very much appreciated! Thanks also to the Ruffo/Pugh blues band, who made Saturday night quite entertaining. I'm already looking forward to Warpstock 98. Tom Nadeau os2headquarters@mindspring.com

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