Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, July 13, 1994 - Drexel University

Summer Consumer Electronics Show

The 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago was held between June 23rd and June 26th at McCormick Place, where it had been held since 1971. This was the final Summer CES in this location and time frame for all intents and purposes, as next year's "non-Winter" show is the first called "CES Interactive", to be held May 11-13, 1995 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Market Street in our back yard. The Philly site has a capacity of around 300 thousand square feet, which is less than half the size of the Chicago facility. However, since many of the audio and video exhibitors were pulling out of the Summer shows because of the bad timing for distribution deals, this may not be a problem. The last few Summer CES shows were shrinking markedly, with the number of exhibitors at a 1990's low of six-hundred-something this time. Compare the numbers to the most recent (and the largest to date) Winter show in Las Vegas last January, which held over 1400 exhibitors and over a million square feet of booths. The Philly show will apparently concentrate on portable computing, video games, multimedia (CD-ROM) and handheld and wireless computing and communications products.

The CHIP HP Meeting in Chicago

The Chicago-area CHIP group sponsored their annual HP handheld users' special meeting on June 24th in conjunction with SCES, and it again was held in downtown Chicago in the building where Ron Johnson currently has his office. The attendees numbered around 25 and it was overall an interesting time. Presentations were made by:

Paul Kettler (on an HP48 program to convert Voyager-series keycode program listings to alphanumeric ones),

Ken Bourke (on an HP48 generallized triangle solutions program),

Brian Walsh (discussing the impromptu HPCC London meeting which he attended during the weekend of the postponed Dutch HP conference),

Richard Nelson & Paul Hubbert (on the performance of Rayovac's Renewal alkaline rechargable batteries in HP handhelds)

Craig Finseth (on his new HP100LX program, LOKI, which is a multi-purpose RPN 4-level stack calculator simulation)

In addition to these, Craig Finseth proposed the idea of holding a 1995 HP handheld conference in his stomping grounds (being the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area) next Summer. Response was favorable.

New Omnibook 530

One highlight of the evening was a speaker-phone call from HP Corvallis' Eric Vogel (who recently has been working on Omnibook products) to speak on HP's newly introduced Omnibook 530 subnotebook. Along with this was a fax of a five-page paper which he is scheduled to deliver at the IC Card Expo at the end of this month. (I have copies available if anyone is interested.) It does look like HP responded to several users' suggestions during the life of the three previous versions of the Omnibook (300, 425, 430) machines.

The HP48 Programming Contest

Another highlight was the presentation and judging of the second-annual HP48 programming contest, whose programming problem was made public around the second week of June. The problem and results are provided in this handout. Our own group's Jim Lawson was the third-place winner and won an armful of HP41 peripheral products. (First place was Brian Walsh, winning a rev. R HP48G and second place went to a Chicago-area user Ram Gudavalli who won HP16C and HP21S calculators.) All the entries from the contest were made available to the attendees, along with a long paper from Richard Nelson describing several programming techniques for byte-saving and program testing. Overall, everyone had an enjoyable time.

New HP Palmtop Imminent

By the time you read this, there may already have been an introduction of a new palmtop computer from HP. So far, all the rumors (in print and otherwise) have mentioned the HP200LX as being an evolution beyond the 100LX. The only known upgrades at this time are the updated two-way infrared communications and the addition of pocket Quicken money-management software to the ROM. No CPU upgrade was made, according to the rumors. I'm sure we'll know all the pertinent details by the August meeting time.

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