Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Thursday, Sept 30, 1993 | Drexel University

HP48GX Rev. P Ships

The latest ROM version of the HP48GX, version "P", has begun shipping. This version fixes a few of the nasty bugs that bit in all earlier releases. Calculator crashes because of an empty list as an input to the CHOOSE command or due to the ticking clock/merged card problem (see last month's article for more details) have been apparently eliminated. Unfortunately, a few other problems have survived. An apparent stack-overflow problem at the machine code level during execution of the fast-Fourier transform can cause havoc if additional keys are pressed during a running FFT.

Port Predicaments

Two HP48 anomalies related to RAM cards in the ports have been discovered. One (which HP contends is a function that they never intended to support despite its effectiveness in the HP48SX) is related to evaluating or recalling objects from a RAM card in port number two. If an object resides in a directory which has been saved (as a "backup object") in the port-two RAM card (be it a 32K, 128K or larger bank-switched one-meg card in any of its 8 virtual 128K pages), an attempt to recall or evaluate the object by referencing it via a tagged path will not operate properly. For instance, if object AAA resides in directory BBB which is stored in HP48 port 2, the key sequence :2:{ BBB AAA } RCL or :2: {BBB AAA} EVAL will successfully access object AAA in an HP48SX but will generate an "Undefined Name" error in a 'GX.

The other anomaly is related to storing libraries into a RAM card in port number two while another RAM card resides in port one. According to one user who carefully checked the ROM code, instead of the HP48 saving the library and writing the new end-of-port marker before bank-switching the port-two RAM back "underneath" the port-one RAM, the bank switch occurs first. This causes an end-of-port marker to be written at the correct address but into the wrong port. If a RAM object in port one is corrupted due to this action, it's a sure thing that this object will cause unpredictable results. There has not been established any sort of policy from Hewlett-Packard with respect to swapping older machines for newer "bug-free" ones. This may be due to the fact that bad bugs are still being uncovered. In 1990, HP did allow a user to trade in a revision A, B, C or D HP48SX for a revision E machine. It is expected that once the excitement dies down and a version of the GX ROM appears afterward, we'll hear a definitive word from the Corvallis folks.

Educalc Catalog 61 Arrives

The back-to-school catalog from EduCalc arrived in the mail in the middle of September with ever-increasing sections of HP95/100 and HP48 products. In the HP95/100 arena is a new PCMCIA card fax/modem from Epson. In the HP48 world, in addition to HP's new 1-meg RAM card and Jim Donnelly's two new HP48GX related books (released in August), there is new navigation and regression analysis software from independent developers. Also, some new books from Grapevine Publications includes "An Easy Course in Programming the HP48G/GX", "Calculus on the HP48G/GX" and "HP48S/SX Machine Language". The big addition to the catalog is the Sharp PI-7000 Expert Pad PDA, which is Sharp's version of the Apple Newton. At $699., the jury is still out on whether such a product will be a best-seller or merely a novelty.

A Deal for Early HP48 Buyers

Originally as a back-to-school offer, Hewlett-Packard is offering a free Serial Interface Kit and game software for early purchasers of the HP48G or GX. After enough flack from users about the offer only applying to those purchasing machines between August 1st and October 31st, HP recanted and extended the offer to anyone who purchases a machine before the October 31 deadline. With a dealer-supplied coupon, a box flap and a photocopy of the sales receipt, a 30-or-so dollar freebee will be yours.

Omnibook Successor Soon

At least two sources in print claim that HP will introduce a successor to the Omnibook 300 at Fall COMDEX this year in Las Vegas. In order to keep up with the competition which doesn't stand still these days, this new unit is supposed to contain a Cyrix 486-25 inside instead of the Intel 386-25. Hopefully the hard-disk capacity will increase above the current limit of 42 meg at the same time. Other companies' subnotebook units already handle drives in the 80 to 100-meg range.

HP48GX Rev. P Stops

Just in the last few days, some folks posting messages on the Internet mentioned that various vendors told them Hewlett-Packard had ceased shipping HP48GX units. Supposedly, they will not resume until some time in November. It is thought that the latest rash of bugs is the reason. If a new ROM appears beyond version "P", it is expected that HP will have to develop a program to satisfy the users with earlier versions.


Following Month's Article  Previous Month's Article Back to PAHHC Page