DIY calculator: HP30b to WP34S!

Posted: 9/30/2015 4:35:52 AM
wohb

Joined: 9/29/2015

Hi dewster,

Please note the WP 31S doesn't support integer modes.

"But the worst thing is the keys, they're just barely reliable enough to make me keep using it, but quite unreliable compared to classic HPs I've owned in the past. Someone needs completely rethink the keys, the display, the form factor, RPN as language, etc. rather than just copying old HPs with more functions crammed in.  I have deep respect for these projects, but they don't seem to be headed in directions I get super excited about.  I want the next level of personal calculating device."

What exactly do you mean by 'keys' - the underlying keys by HP or the overlays by hpcalc? HP's hardware is what that project couldn't change. Everything else is open source. You are free to take and modify it so your wishes get materialized (and you get super excited about the results). Just complaining is not enough ...

And I'm starting to become more optimistic (or less pessimistic) about the 43S. Seems there is a chance it may reach the software guys in 2015 still. Maybe there will be a Windows emulator like for the WP 34S and WP 31S? From my point of view, this project might need some helping hands and brains.

Posted: 9/30/2015 5:33:06 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"What exactly do you mean by 'keys' - the underlying keys by HP or the overlays by hpcalc? HP's hardware is what that project couldn't change. "

The HP hardware, though I suppose the scanning algorithm might also be to blame.  Opinions may differ, but IMO a calculator should, at bare minimum, register key inputs correctly.  Otherwise you're constantly double checking it after every single keystroke, and even then you're not guaranteed good results after hitting one or more flaky function keys in the process.

"Just complaining is not enough ... "

Tell me about it - but my hands currently contain too much bull by the horns.

My feeling is calculators veered from basic usefulness when they started graphing, which brought a boatload of keys, incompatible modes, and deep confusing menus.  

If there's an alpha mode I need to touch type on it, hunt and peck ain't my style.  But then one is edging into netbook territory.  But netbooks usually don't have room for a dedicated numerical entry pad, and the whole folding and booting thing means you have to prepare to start and stop using it.  Maybe a scaled down version of the landscape form factor (but with a number pad):

I honestly don't care how small or thin or light or sexy it is, as long as it works reliably and easily and doesn't eat batteries too fast.

Posted: 9/30/2015 9:13:09 PM
wohb

Joined: 9/29/2015

Well, I guess there's no need repeating here anything what's written on the forum of hpmuseum.org already. As far as I know there's no graphic planned for the 43S. And it seems being the strict will of at least one of the core developers that the 43S shall be a pocket calculator according Bill Hewlett's definition. That excludes everything with a QWERTY keyboard, sorry. After all, it shall be a calculator, not a text processor. But according to what's published so far it looks like being the most powerful pocket calculator the world has seen up to now. I'm anxiously waiting for the HHC conference videos being published so we can see and hear what Eric Smith and Jake Schwartz presented there in this matter and how their talks were received by the audience.

 

Posted: 9/30/2015 9:33:40 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"As far as I know there's no graphic planned for the 43S."

I was referring to the HP48G, which helped turn me off to HP calcs.  Can't you read my mind? ;-)

"And it seems being the strict will of at least one of the core developers that the 43S shall be a pocket calculator according Bill Hewlett's definition. That excludes everything with a QWERTY keyboard, sorry. After all, it shall be a calculator, not a text processor."

Yeah not a text processor, but there's alpha input on the WP34S, as well as the alpha mode on the HP41C.  If there is alpha input at all QWERTY or some equivalent should be there IMO.  Text input can be quite useful for naming and calling functions.  I rarely if ever hold my calculator in one hand and operate it with the other, so portrait layout doesn't mean much to me; two hands and a landscape layout enables QWERTY.

Ah, don't listen to me, I'm just a cranky old dude who wants things that no one wants to make (like calculator buttons that actually work).  But IMO people seriously working on any product should put everything on the table, entertain fresh approaches, and treat no past feature as sacred.  But that unfortunately is the hardest work there is, so everyone avoids doing it until they can't avoid it anymore.

 

Posted: 10/1/2015 11:45:28 AM
wohb

Joined: 9/29/2015

As far as I can see, the 43S will be a portrait calculator. Alphabetic letters will be located on the keyboard almost like on the WP 34S or WP 31S. Since there will be a local interface to an SD card and/or a serial communication line, you can edit programs on your laptop using QWERTY; transmit them to your 43S after editing and debugging using the emulator. Calling functions not printed on the keyboard will be via a new kind of menus allowing you to see 18 items at once. So, no landscape design but something better :)

 

Posted: 10/5/2015 6:06:02 AM
wohb

Joined: 9/29/2015

Please note you find complete coverage of the official presentations at HHC 2015 in Nashville held last week at youtube. Some news about the 43S, too. Just search for HHC 2015 ...

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