Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club meeting

Thursday, December 3, 1992 - Drexel University


Sparcom Stat ROM Card

Sparcom Corporation, known for its foray into the HP48 educational software market with its various ROM cards in engineering and science has announced a new Statistics ROM card this month. Several capabilities are included,whose categories are: Matrix manager, Basic Statistics, Probability Distributions, Estimation, Plotting Manager and Regression Analysis. Data to be analyzed is entered into statistical matrices (either via the Matrix Manager section or the calculator's built-in matrix editor). After performing various computations, the results may then be saved or printed. The card contains a series of menus through which the user must navigate in order to find the application which is desired. The menus are presented in a "browser" format, where the arrow keys are used to move to the desired choice. This browser is the heart of many of Sparcom's HP48 cards, and seems a bit sluggish to use once familiar with the card's features. we're told, however, that a new user interface is being developed for their future products which will significantly speed up the method by which keyboard choices are made.

New HP48 ROM Version Soon

It seems that the much-rumored "Revision J" version of the HP48 is right around the corner, as individuals on the HP48 developers' list recently received questionnaires about their products. In it was a reference to the internal System-RPL language entry-point list which contains addresses "which are guaranteed not to move on versions A-J." This appears to be the first "public" reference to ROM versions beyond the version E which has been the latest and greatest for almost 18 months. The purpose of the questionnaire was to explore which entry points have actually been utilized in third-party products. In their words, they "are looking at upgrades to the HP48 operating system." This implies that a followon BEYOND rev. J is in the cards, confirming previous word on the street that 1993 would bring us a new unit which offers significant enhancements in both ROM and RAM capacity. It also tells us that we should expect some of the so-called "frozen" entry points in all previous versions to be shifted around. Start saving your pennies now.

Upcoming Winter CES

The 1993 Winter Consumer Electronics Show is fast approaching. Between Thursday, January 7th and Sunday, January 10th a hundred thousand attendees will cram into Las Vegas to see the latest in Audio, Video, Computer and other related gear. This show is second in size only to Comdex which recently packed lem in. Since Apple and IBM were both present at last Summer's CES show in Chicago, one might expect them to appear again this time. This could be an additional opportunity for many companies to introduce their latest handheld "PDA" ( or personal digital assistant, as Apple calls it) products. IBM showed a prototype at Comdex, and Apple has the industry holding its breath for their intro of "Newton." HP, TI, Casio and Sharp usually exhibit as well, and some new intros are expected, including Sharp's recently announced model 9600 Wizard organizer which accomodates both keyboard and touch-sensitive LCD for stylus input.

The semi-annual Hewlett-Packard handheld users, meeting in conjunction with CES will be held on Saturday night, 1/9/93 in Las Vegas. I will be attending and most likely videotaping the presentations. With two new HP palmtop and two new top-of-the-line HP calculator models rumored to be released 1993, we can expect some interesting chatter among the attendees which typically are a mix of users, manufacturers' representatives and thirdparty developers.

An HPCC Tragedy

I was informed by Email in the third week of November by HPCC (London) group chairman Wlodek Mier-jedrzejowicz that their editor, Mark Cracknell, had been killed in an auto accident. This is a great loss to their group, as mark was a critical part of keeping their publication, Datafile, on a regular schedule. I was lucky enough to have met Mark in September when attending HPCC's Tenth Anniversary Conference, and can attest that the British folks will miss him dearly.


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