Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, December 1, 1993 - Drexel University

A GX ROM Trade-Up Program

According to several sources, Hewlett-Packard will be offering a trade-in of early-version HP48GX's for the newest ROM version at the time of the trade. Early 1994 is supposedly the target date. At least two people have heard about a rev R ROM being currently readied at for market.

Omnibook 425 Appears

The new HP Omnibook 425 subnotebook has already made it to stores' shelves. Besides the 25 MHz Cyrix 486 clone CPU, I have not heard about any additional upgrades to the unit over the original Omnibook 300.

Dutch PROMPT Group Conference

The first "official" announcement of the tenth anniversary conference sponsored by the PROMPT group in Amsterdam recently appeared on the Internet HP newsgroups. The two-day affair is on May 28th and 29th, 1994 and sounds like it should be at least as interesting as the London conference in September of 1992. All presentations and papers will be in English. It is expected that several of the European HP groups will be represented, and hopefully a large contingent from the "rival" Dutch group STORC will also attend.

HP48 Serial Interface Kits On the Move

The HP48 Serial interface kits, which were made available for free to those recent purchasers of HP48G and GX units, have begun to appear on users' doorsteps. These kits include the same cable that comes in the HP100LX connectivity pack, with its 10-pin serial connector. In order for it to plug into the HP48, a 10-pin-to-4-pin converter is included.

PDA's Everywhere

Now that Apple's Newton personal digital assistant is on store shelves, the Casio/Tandy "Zoomer" PDA finally has appeared. For the same price of around $699., you get a machine that looks amazingly similar to the Apple, but with an operating system by Geos and applications including Pocket Quicken, an America Online navigator and more.

Apparently from the recent COMDEX/Fall show in Las Vegas,the PDA world will be getting a lot more crowded with Intel, Compaq, Sharp (with still another non-Wizard model), IBM and others announcing products. News in the press indicates that soon there will be perhaps a half dozen more handheld machines from the likes of Motorola, Compaq, Microsoft, Sony and others. In addition, the CPUs inside these machines will probably all be different, including new spins on Intel's 386 in a very-low-power configuration.

NiCad Batteries Going Out of Style?

The trend away from Nickel-Cadmium rechargable batteries is becoming legitimized by Duracell's recent release of Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) cells in standard-size rechargable packs for notebook computers. There is also at least one source of size AA NiMH cells rated 1100 milliampere-hours. (Standard AA-size NiCd cells are rated around 600 mAH with alkaline cells around 2000 mAH.) In addition to the no-memory-effect NiMH cells, AER Energy Resources Inc. has been attempting to get their new zinc-air battery formulation into the mainstream. With around triple the capacity of NiCd chemistry, this new battery is touted as the saving grace for the new generation of power-hungry notebook machines which have active-matrix color LCDs. In addition, the new handhelds such as the Newton (with a predicted battery life around only 12 hours) could use a boost from such a battery system. The same goes for the HP95LX or HP100LX.

Recent HP48 Public Domain Software

Since the HP48GX incorporated all of the software in the Equation Library ROM card except for the chemistry section (including the periodic table), the Hewlett-Packard folks recently released the chem section in a standalone library. In addition, they also made an updated version of the USAG library available. This library works like the CATALOG function in the old HP28: it provides the legal stack inputs each of the built-in functions plus gives other useful information such as whether each is integrable, differentiable, etc. I have these libraries available in the monthly Usenet BBS postings on a recent floppy disk.

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