Notes from Virtual Meeting 24th October 2020
Bob Penick (USA), Bob Prosperi (USA), Dana Greathouse (USA), Edward Shore (USA), Godwin Stewart (UK), Jackie Woldering (USA), John Struthers (UK), Mark Power (UK), Nigel Rumble (UK), Sylvain Cote (Canada), Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz (UK)
1) We talked about the 1 minute marvels - very short programs that could be typed into a calculator in less than a minute, but which performed useful functions. The original document is available at https://www.hpcalc.org/details/1691 for the HP48 (and 49/50). We asked about whether there was an equivalent for the HP-41 which could help introduce people to the DM41X. Sylvain pointed to the ‘Calculator Tips and Routines’ book by John Dearing which is available on hp41.org and the various archives of that site.
2) A discussion followed about the quality of manuals and the observation that the earlier HP manuals were more story books, with example personas created to demonstrate useful solutions and programs. An example from the HP-67 manual (p.106): “In a rather overoptimistic effort to break the speed of sound, high flying pilot Ike Daedalus cranks open the throttle on his surplus Hawker Siddeley Harrier aircraft. From his instruments he reads a pressure altitude (PALT) of 25,500 feet with a calibration airspeed (CAS) of 350 knots. What is the flight mach number” followed by a calculation showing a result of 0.84. I love the fact that the author of this story thought it entirely reasonable that a purchaser of an HP calculator might go out and buy a surplus jump-jet!
3) We then explored the differences between professional writers producing manuals and those produced by software engineers, the authors at HP who ended up at Grapevine and other publishers and the abundance of French calculator books, with attendees observing their need to learn French in order to be able to benefit from the various works such as L'Ordinateur de poche: http://www.hp41.net/articles/articles.php#op
4) This story of how programmable calculators were promoted in the Soviet Union by the publication of science fiction stories was mentioned: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/silicon-revolution/how-programmable-calculators-and-a-scifi-story-brought-soviet-teens-into-the-digital-age.
Another example from the UK Your Computer Magazine ‘Fingertips’ column which featured a program by 'Flight Officer' Frank Wales (of HPCC, Zengrange, Zenrom, HP41 emulator for the HP48 and RCL20 fame): https://archive.org/details/your-computer-magazine-1981-10/page/n59/mode/2up
5) Edward pointed out a book on Fractals for the HP28/48 at: https://archive.org/details/fractals-on-hewlett-packards-hp-28-and-hp-48/mode/2up
6) We discussed the availability of a template for keyboard overlays for the DM41X with Bob P. highlighting the Word template at: https://forum.swissmicros.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=2677
7) It was pointed out that there are a couple of HP-71B 3d printed stands on eBay with the warning that one is a well-engineered original and one is a clone of the original designer’s work and might not be as well produced:
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/3D-Printed-Custom-Calculator-Stand-for-HP-71B-Calculator-and-PIL-Box/203125668454 (original, with the designer offering designs for other calculators in various materials)
https://www.ebay.com/itm/3D-Print-HP-Calculator-Stand-for-HP-71B-Calculator-Color-Blue/154156813951 (clone which is not recommended)
8) For those people undertaking HP41 repairs, the new ebook from The Calculator Store was discussed:
Along with suitable glue for repairs - Plastruct Bondene Styrene & ABS Plastic Solvent Cement Part number PLS 00003:
9) Nigel asked about connecting a HP48 to a Mac. Mark’s recommendation is a Keyspan USA-19HS:
Bob and Sylvain pointed out that often cheaper models do not work and that you should look for a RS232-USB converter with a FTDI chipset, not a Prolific chipset which may have functionality/driver issues. Bob also recommended:
10) We are likely to run a HPCC mini-Virtual Conference 15:00-18:00 (GMT, UTC) on Saturday 9th January 2021 and hope to have Cyrille (from HP) give his talk that he was unable to give at our main conference this month because of illness. The plan is to use the normal virtual meeting invite, to avoid a re-run of the 518 emails that hit Mark’s Inbox for the main conference and ensuing administrative overheads. There will be one 1 hour talk (from Cyrille) and two 30 minute talks, along with two 30 minute question and answer sessions. We have offers already for talks that could not be included in the October conference, but if you would like to offer a talk for this or future sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. As the mini-Conference will only be 3 hours, we will not be adding a long break in the middle (which was a suggestion following our 7 hour extravaganza in October). We hope to run a programming challenge for this mini-Conference. The challenge will be emailed to those who have registered or who are on our email list a day or two before the session.
11) A reminder that the HPCC Annual General Meeting is at 16:00 (GMT, UTC) during the next Virtual Meeting (15:00-17:00) on Saturday 14th November.