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Messages - Doug Bissett

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1
I installed AD blocker on my Android phone. Otherwise, the site would become close to unusable.

About a month ago, I started using this: https://alternate-dns.com/index.php. When used with the HOSTS file, from: http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm, I see very few ads. I set my router to use that site, and it blocks for my phone too. So far, it seems to be a good solution.

2
You can span ADVANCED volumes (even on different physical disks), but I don't know about >2 TB volumes. Advanced volumes are not bootable.

I did it, years ago (much smaller disk, of course), with mixed results. It did work okay, but introduced some very messy maintenance challenges. Eventually, I just consolidated it all, when I got a new disk that was big enough to hold all of it.

It would be educational to know if it works with large disks, but I don't have one to play with.

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Not sure if a RAID setup will work under OS/2, a hardware one might but then you're stuck if your MB dies unless you get another close to the same.

Even if it is a hardware RAID (highly unlikely), it might not work in OS/2. Some years ago, I got a SATA PCI adapter, so I could use SATA disks in my antique Asus P4VP-MX machine (I use that machine as an ArcaOS based NAS box, with a 2 TB drive). It has a hardware RAID on the card, but it is not usable with OS/2, simply because it needs a driver to turn RAID on at boot time. The whole RAID setup is done by code that is attached to the BIOS (no OS required), but it needs that driver to actually turn it on, or it just uses the basic, single drive, disk access (which is exactly what I want anyway). I did not bother to try to make RAID work <see below>.

At the time, I did some reading about how RAID actually works (there is more than one method), and quickly came to the conclusion that RAID is a rich man's toy, that isn't worth the work, or expense. Sure, if you are doing medical monitoring, or  the machine isn't available for manual repair (like space craft), when storage goes bad, but in a normal work station it is nothing but unnecessary overhead. High performance, high demand, servers may justify it, but, as Arca Noae found out, if the RAID controller goes bad, it can take out ALL of the copies, leaving you to rebuild your system manually (you still need to make good backups, and that is less work than trying to manage a RAID). It is also a good idea to get a spare disk, because they all need to match, and a match may not be available when one goes bad (probably won't happen in the next 30 years anyway).

The rest looks like it should work, but you are probably spending more money than it will be worth. If you use the machine to run games, under windows, it might be worth it, but you are selecting a lot of expensive (even with discounts) hardware, that isn't going to do anything for OS/2 (the video adapter, for instance - most modern processors come with a video adapter built in, that will run circles around older devices, when using Panorama). Ask yourself: "what are you going to do with 1 TB of disk space?". Even 500 GB of disk space remains mostly empty, on my systems (except the 2 TB drive, which contains multiple backups of all of the rest of my systems).

Those large disks lead to a user not maintaining their disk space, which adds to the size of backups, and not being able to find what you are looking for. I know, for sure, that about 30% of the data on my HDDs should be removed (80%, if you count windows), but it is just too much work to do it. It would have been easy, if I had maintained a 250 GB disk, over the years. My two 1 TB drives are left with large empty spaces, just waiting for something to get lost on them. My most efficient system has a 30 GB disk, and 6 GB of that is taken up by win98 (I boot that about once per year, just because...). ArcaOS 5.0.6 is quite happy with the rest. Of course, I don't keep my photos, or music collection, on that disk. They get saved to a DVD (it does have a DVD drive - USB also works, but it is a single USB1 port), and that works just as well as having them on the HDD (I don't use that machine much anyway).

I did replace 500 GB HDDs, with 500 GB SSDs, on two of my laptops. That was not to gain speed (it helps), but more for shock protection. The price, of SSDs, is now in the "reasonable" range. If you want "high speed" disk, get a high performance NVME device, but be sure that it will use all 4 PCIe lanes for data transfer (4 lanes seems to be what is now available, it should be possible to use all 16 lanes, when/if the devices are produced).

4
Applications / Re: Interest in Dr. Web Antivirus?
« on: May 26, 2021, 08:03:22 pm »
What's the point of an anti-virus on OS/2? Sure if it is working as a mail server or even file server for other operating systems, it could be handy, but otherwise?

It is always good to be sure that you don't, accidentally, pass on a virus to some poor, unsuspecting, unprotected, windows user. It is also possible for some of those XUL things to infect an OS/2 system.

You can also get yourself into trouble if you accidentally send a virus to someone. Some companies check mail, as it is sent, to see if their users are sending viruses. That can get you black listed, but usually the message just disappears into the ether (sometimes it doesn't have to be an actual virus, it just needs to be something that might be a virus). Even worse, is that a receiving server can detect it, and get your whole domain black listed. Somehow, all of these measures can't seem to stop the problem, but they can create problems for legitimate users.

I was using ClamAV, for a long time. A few months ago, it quit updating, and I couldn't be bothered to try to figure it out. It was also not usable, without using CLAMD, which uses HUGE amounts of shared memory space (mostly upper shared space, so that wasn't too much of a problem). I did add a script to PMMail, to run ClamAV as each message was received. That was working okay, but the overhead was pretty high. Over about 10 years, I only trapped about 5 viruses (two of which were false positives). The other problem was that only incoming mail was checked, I had to manually check any other files that needed checking.

As for Dr. Web, I would need a lot more information about exactly how it works, and the cost, to make any decisions. One option would be for somebody to buy 5 (or more) licenses, and sub license them (depends on how that goes over with the owners). It would probably mean that whoever does it, would need to do front end problem resolution. Overall, I can't see that it would be a popular item.

5
Applications / Re: theseus 4.001 trap in usbmon
« on: May 25, 2021, 08:17:58 am »
Dave, maybe the object is in the XWorkplace Startup Folder instead of the legacy WPS startup folder ? For me, it is in the legacy WPS startup folder.
No, it's always recreated in <WP_STARTUP>. That one is always processed before any XFldStartup object. Maybe it's recreated early on startup via PM_InstallObject, indirectly added by USBPRT.SYS. Quite unlikely and I suppose its notification window during object creation can't be disabled.

Actually, it does get recreated, if you delete the object. I don't have a USB printer, so I just MOVE it somewhere outside of a startup folder. It doesn't get replaced (it already exists), and it doesn't start (nothing to start it), so it can't take up resources, or cause problems. Not a useful approach if you do have a USB printer, but it makes sense when you don't have a USB printer.

6
Applications / Re: Desktop Enhancement for WPS
« on: May 15, 2021, 03:08:16 am »
Actually, a couple of years ago, I bought some WiFi capable "smart plugs", from Amazon. After a couple of days, i had a problem, where something, repeatably, crashed, while I was in Firefox. After I investigated, it was a program. called Hello.exe. Looking further, that is, apparently, one of those ransomeware things.  The, so called, smart plugs opened a path for the virus to be introduced into my computer. OS/2 just spit it out, with no damage. It did infect my router, but a reset to factory fixed that. Amazon did take them back, but nobody did anything else about it.

The "problem", today, is that perfectly valid software is classified as a "problem", simply because microsoft did not make a dollar, by "inspecting" the files.

7
Applications / Re: Desktop Enhancement for WPS
« on: May 14, 2021, 10:55:12 pm »
If microsoft didn't write it, or if the files were not submitted to microsoft so they can charge to "inspect" them, they will probably be classified as a virus, by the microsoft, so called, anti virus checkers. They are getting a LOT more aggressive at doing things like that, even with well known, third party, windows software (Avast, AVG, CCleaner, and probably more). Even worse, is that microsoft software will prevent such software from being installed, and will often just kill it when the user attempts to start it, if it is already installed. At least we don't need to worry about that.

Somebody, with very deep pockets, needs to haul them off to court.

8
Setup & Installation / Re: Booting with NVMe
« on: April 15, 2021, 06:28:18 am »
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I'm booting just fine from a Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 with a StarTech PCIe-4x NVMe card

Does that card attach to the BIOS? Mine doesn't.

I have a StarTech PCI SATA /RAID card, that I can boot from. It is in an old Asus P4VP that I use as a NAS box. It does add itself to the BIOS, so I should be able to boot from it (but I never tried).

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As far as being a waste, new machines only have this type of drive, so we need booting support.

That is what I meant by "or it is your only choice".

Many people think that a fast boot is a good thing, but they only boot once in a while. Other things are used all of the time, and fast access helps out. Meanwhile, the boot code is just taking up space that might be better used for other things (it depends on the size of the drive). I would think that some (but not all) of the UNIX support would be good to have on a NVMe drive. Unfortunately, there is no obvious way to separate the often used parts, from the never used parts. I have been using the RAMDISK for temporary files. My RAMDISK is big enough for most things, and it doesn't matter if it survives a reboot (in fact, it is a good thing that it gets cleared at every boot). Now, I can use the NVMe drive for temporary files that are too big for the RAMDISK (large ZIP files, for example). It is, in fact, a little faster than the RAMDISK (according to the DFSEE speed test). However, it seems that the NVMe drive needs TRIM sometimes, and it is probably not good to keep reusing the same area. I am not too sure how that will work out.

Time will tell the tale...

9
Setup & Installation / Re: Booting with NVMe
« on: April 15, 2021, 03:23:13 am »
I got a Vantec PCIe adapter, and installed a 250 GB Samsung 980 PRO (PCIe 4.0 NVMe M,2). It works well, after the driver loads, but I cannot boot from it. The problem is that it is mounted on a plug in card, that the BIOS doesn't know about, so it won't boot from it (because it doesn't know it is there). Air Boot also cannot "see" it, because BIOS doesn't know about it. Most (if not all) machines cannot boot from a plug in card, if the BIOS doesn't know about it. This is true for USB too.

If you have a machine, that knows about the adapter, it should boot from it.

Then again, it really doesn't make much sense to waste one of those things for boot code, unless you boot 14 times a day, or it is your only choice. I am still thinking about how to use it effectively. At least it is non volatile, so it remembers what was put on it, unlike what the RAMDISK does.

10
Storage / Re: eSata
« on: March 27, 2021, 04:07:35 am »
eSATA has never been completely supported by any OS. that I know about. Even windows will usually refuse to eject it, until the system is shut down. For those who understand it, eSATA is a far better technology than USB, but lack of proper support makes it difficult to use.

NVME is a storage technology, related to SATA  (or eSATA, which is really just SATA with a different connector), or IDE. M2 and NVME are just other interfaces to storage technology. Which one will win the race, is yet to be seen.

In years past, there was the "winprinter' controversy. Today, "winprinter" is all that is available, because people didn't understand the difference (other than price). Pay double for a computer powerful enough to do the job, and save a little on the printer. This is really no different.

Manufacturers are going to choose the cheapest alternative, and they usually don't care if that alternative even works properly (and many of the new technologies don't work all that well). The only thing that will stop that nonsense is if users refuse to buy inferior technology. Most users have no idea what technology their computers use, so it isn't going to happen.

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About eSATA, as a external device port, my opinion is that is loosing on the market (or maybe already lost).

No, it is not, yet, lost. You just need to watch for the option when you buy something that can use it. You do not need a specific eSATA port, it will connect to normal SATA ports, if you have an adapter (just a cable), or even just a cable with the appropriate ends on it. The killer, as mentioned above, is lack of support for mount/dismount, and that is not unique to OS/2 (and the cost, of course).

USB 3 is definitely going to take a chunk out of the market, because speed is no longer a serious difference. If they ever get USB quality under control, it may be the end of eSATA. I don't see that happening any time soon, but if the market goes away, so will the devices.

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But as part of the OS/2 community, eSATA may be working better than USB 3, today.

Not from what I see. I have two eSATA devices. One has a USB 2 connector, which is definitely slower than eSATA. The other has USB 3. Running the exact same job runs so close to the same speed, that I can't tell which is faster. USB is somewhat easier to use, because of the mount/dismount requirements for eSATA. Which is better depends on exactly what you are doing with the device.

Having said all of that, yes USB does have some problems, that are being addressed. The biggest problem is that USB is often very poor quality devices, and that makes it very difficult to make every one of them work well, with any OS.

The race is still on. It is up to the consumer to determine which technology wins. Meanwhile, we need more drivers to make some of the new things work with OS/2. I know that NVME is almost ready. Nobody is working on making eSATA mount/dismount work, although there is a half way solution, if you want to mess around with it (not worth the effort, from what I see).

11
Storage / Re: eSata
« on: March 26, 2021, 01:56:21 am »
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We are discussing an external drive case that used to have eSATA and USB3 sockets but which now only has USB3 socket - so there is no longer an option to use it as eSATA drive, it is now USB only.

I assume you mean an updated version of a drive enclosure, not one that magically removed it's existing eSATA connector  ???. You can still get eSATA enclosures (also with USB 3), but you need to watch what you order. Most vendors list the version with only USB first, because the eSATA costs more, and not many people even know what eSATA is.

eSATA has definitely NOT gone away, although USB 3 is giving it a good run for the money. If they ever get the quality of USB devices under control (apparently not even considered, in most cases), USB may end up replacing eSATA. Currently, I see no evidence that the companies who care about quality, are abandoning eSATA.

12
Storage / Re: eSata
« on: March 25, 2021, 08:05:31 pm »
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1] eSATA works as per SATA ie must power off system to eject drive.

Not true. SATA and eSATA, are both hot plug technologies. Power off is not required to physically attach, or detach, either one. In OS/2 you MUST close out the file systems before detaching them (shut down the system). You can attach them, at any time, but in OS/2 you must reboot to get them recognized.

Note that some systems have a physical connector for eSATA, and the BIOS should, automatically, recognize that port as being for eSATA. Other systems may use an adapter (or just a cable) that plugs into a normal SATA connector on the motherboard. In that case, the BIOS should have a setting to tell it that the port is used with eSATA (but that doesn't seem to exist in all cases). In fact, that is only used with operating systems that recognize that eSATA can be plugged in, at any time, so it is irrelevant to OS/2.

I am not familiar with eSATA(p), so I don't know how the connector gets power for the external device. The devices, that I have, all use their own power source.

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2] eSATA support was dropped at some point, I do not know when.

Not true. All that was dropped is the built in eSATA connectors. You can still use eSATA devices connected to normal SATA ports (see above).

13
Storage / Re: FAT32 - Netlabs or AN?
« on: March 17, 2021, 02:25:08 am »
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How could FAT12/16 support interfere with IBM's FAT support, interestingly? Is not that Lewis Rosenthal who said you that nonsense?

No, I didn't hear it from Lewis. In fact I probably told him about it. This was early in the life of that driver, so things may have been fixed.

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Regarding the exFAT, it is very useful if you use digital cameras.

Perhaps, if you have an older camera. I haven't seen exFAT in anything that I ever bought, and looking at the information on the net, it seems that most companies have decided that it just isn't worth paying Microsoft for the rights to use it. True, it is available, but nobody trusts Microsoft.

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What's the rubbish is that? Why it's not legal? Because AN fears Microsoft? There are several exFAT drivers for Linux. Nobody proved so far that they are illegal, the same for our driver.

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Regarding software patents and other rubbish. exFAT and FAT12/16 support is not more patented than FAT32. So, if M$ didn't sued us for using FAT32, then we could sleep in peace with FAT and exFAT as well.

It is not legal to use FAT32, without paying Microsoft for the right to use it (even if it is only a dollar). They own the patent (as they do with exFAT). Just because they haven't, yet, gone after somebody for using it without the legal paperwork being done, doesn't mean they won't, in the future. IBM trusted Microsoft, and look what happened to OS/2. AN quite rightly fears Microsoft, and they fear IBM too. Their contract with IBM probably prohibits using things like exFAT. If either company decided that AN broke any contracts, they could put AN out of business with the stroke of a pen. AN cannot take the chance. They are a US company, and must follow US law. Obviously, you don't care much for laws, but they are necessary, even if they are stupid. AN do supply the FAT32 driver, which is old enough that they are pretty safe. I do know that they spent a lot of money checking out the legality of many parts of OS/2. That is one of the reasons why some of the GENMAC drivers are not included with ArcaOS. They couldn't get permission to include them.

The bottom line is that you can do what you want. Arca Noae cannot take the chance. If people want to use your driver, that is fine too. Just don't put AN at risk because you think you are above the law.

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The other reason was, that I can finally format a dump partition up to 4 GB with FAT16 (by selecting a 64k cluster size) which allows to use the original OS2DUMP (that only dumps to FAT16 partitions) without the need to install DUMPFS.

Well, DUMPFS is actually the FAT 16 driver, with a patch. You should also realize that ArcaOS 6.0 has new dump support. It will dump to FAT32 (or FAT16 if 2 GB is enough). It doesn't make much sense to make the dump partition more than 4 GB, because that is the largest size that a dump can be. Don't try to use the dump partition for anything else. The dump program doesn't care if you already have something in the drive.

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Hardware / Re: Quatech SSP-100 Serial Port PCMCIA in ArcaOS
« on: March 16, 2021, 05:55:11 pm »
I have been sort of following this, but it is not entirely clear what you are really trying to do.

I have two PCMCIA modems, that do work fine (well, I no longer have a telephone line to connect them to, but ZOC communicates with them), when I take the time to set it up properly (they are just serial ports, with a modem attached). PCMCIA is very sensitive to the order of the lines in CONFIG.SYS, and you probably need the /VW switch on the ACPI.PSD line (if you use ACPI.PSD, which you probably should). You would need the proper PCMCIA driver (sounds like you might have that, but see below), and the COM driver (use PSCOM.SYS). All that does (is supposed to do) is create a normal COM port. Check that with the MODE command. Then, if you need software (if any) for the attached device, you need the OS/2 version (a windows driver isn't going to work).

That may be a "pretend" PCMCIA adapter. I found this information for IBM Thinkpads: http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Ricoh_R5C476. Since your machine is actually quite new (in the life span of PCMCIA), you may have one of them (which would require it's own driver, probably not available for OS/2). In ArcaOS go to a command and run C:\sys\install\DETECT\pci.exe to get a list of what is actually attached (be sure to attach everything, then boot, then run the program). That should tell you which PCMCIA controller you actually have. Redirect the output to a file, and post it here.

ArcaOS does not install everything that you will need, but they do supply what is available for supporting the base PCMCIA. You need to supply any other OS/2 drivers that may be required, and add appropriate lines to CONFIG.SYS. It is in the DOCS, but the DOCS are ancient, and they don't tell you the whole story. I suggest getting my LCSS (Logical Config.Sys Sort - it is at HOBBES) to be sure that the lines are in the proper order, and position, in CONFIG.SYS. Also be aware, that "old notebooks" may have more than one serial port built in (possibly only used when attached to a dock). You may also need to have it all connected when you boot so it can do a proper configuration.

You might have better luck (and better performance) with a USB serial adapter, but be sure to get one that is known to actually work. I have a Belkin branded one, that almost works, but it depends on what you actually use it for. Years ago, I was able to operate a modem, but it didn't work with my UPS, or when trying to do a serial port trace.

15
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Dave - I attach an image of how far the boot goes. You can see that the usb drivers are loaded.

Loaded. yes. Operational, no. The USB drivers normally take a few seconds (a LONG time, at computer speed) to finish initializing. During that time, there is no access to USB devices. Since OS/2 doesn't have any way to wait for initialization, it just assumes that the media went away (or the required file(s) aren't there), so it throws the error.

Some machines have a setting in the BIOS, something about "USB hand off", where the BIOS will continue to operate USB devices, until the driver takes over. That may work, sometimes, but could be very timing sensitive. The switch would need to happen exactly between file fetching, or the switch could happen while the file is being fetched (probably not a good thing).

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