Report on the UPCO OS/2 SIG (Michigan, USA)

While I was researching the possibility of a Rexx user group in the town of Flint (MI, USA), John Werle suggested a visit to the UPCO (Users of PCs Organization) OS/2 SIG.

This group meets once a month in Okemos (MI, USA), where Skip Osterhus is the SIG leader and very fluent in REXX, and John is the VP of the parent club.  A copy of the agenda John sent me stated that "The December meeting will be a stocking stuffer presentation.  Featured will be a plethora of programs and techniques not otherwise categorizable".  Indeed, it turned out to be a variety of different subjects!

Roughly 10 people were present at the December meeting (about average with compensation for the Christmas season, according to John).  Watching Skip demonstrate and answer questions while using keyboard, mouse, large-screen monitor, and blackboard was a delight; this man is multi-dextrous, which is an understatement!  Switching from CLI to GUI (Command line Interface, Graphical User Interface) in OS/2 without any hesitation proved not only Skip's expertise, but also how easily OS/2 can handle such switching of interfaces.

Skip tried to purposefully crash OS/2's Presentation Manager and show us how it would come up by itself again.  My impression was that the demo was a failure; OS/2 would not cooperate in crashing when told to.  This type of "failure" - if you can call it that - is one that I find very reassuring, compared to what I've seen Windows 95 do "unassisted"...

Another point Skip addressed was the need for defragmentation of files, when fragmentation occurs, and why defragmentation is necessary.  I made a rather "stupid" remark, which Skip immediately used to point out some factors not necessarily immediately evident to the audience.  And did it in such a way that made my remark actually seem at least half-way smart.

One demo was especially interesting for myself, since I'm considering an upgrade from my current opsys (DOS 3.30).  Skip showed how easy it was to define an icon in OS/2 for a set of applications that one might want to use as a group for some length of time.  This demo halfway convinced me to definitely consider OS/2 as my possible next opsys.  How easy the OS/2 GUI is to use compared to Windows - and the robustness of OS/2 - are worth another 25% conviction.

The above subjects are just a few from Skip's grab-bag, enjoyed while trying to munch *quietly* on the provided snack-food...  ;-)

The notice sent to members - and other interested people - each month for the next meeting includes a list of some favorite web sites containing useful/interesting information.

Various members (including Bob Miller) took the time to make me feel right at home, and the variety of subjects made the meeting very interesting.  I won't mention Skip again; I might have already made him uncomfortable with my laudatory comments.  <grin> Also my thanks to John Werle for introducing me to this SIG.

Am looking forward to the next meeting, and hopefully will then bring you some news on the Rexx front. BTW, I'm still interested in a user group in Flint, MI...

If you would like to be on the UPCO monthly mailing list, then just send e-mail to Skip Osterhus,, indicating such.

F. Scott Ophof [editor],