Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Thursday, August 17, 1995 - Drexel University

HP Conference A Success

The recently-held HP Handheld Users Conference at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota (just outside of Minneapolis) was a success, with approximately 65 attendees. Roughly twenty speakers made presentations on both calculator and palmtop topics, with several Hewlett-Packard representatives from both Corvallis and Singapore. Keng Joo Khaw (head of the handheld and palmtop operations in Singapore) spoke on the current state of HP and where they are headed in the very near future (as in until the end of the year). Khaw mentioned that in October, HP would be announcing their first organizer product at the Telecomm '95 show in Geneva, Switzerland. This product will be available outside the U.S. first (in November) due to there not having been established a single digital cellular comm standard yet in the Western Hemisphere. Khaw also mentioned that there would be an HP presence in all 4 categories of calculators, organizers, PC companions (200LX) and "personal communicators" (as in cellular phone-based devices) by the end of 1995. Very little details were offered to back this statement up any further. Also, Feng Yuan (Singapore HP38 software team member) made a presentation on a Pascal-based PC system-RPL development system for the HP48. Both Jim Donnelly (Corvallis HP38/48 team member) and Diana Byrne (Corvallis software team leader) spoke on HP38 issues. On the second day, there was a panel of HP folks (including Sharon Butterfield who has been there since the HP35 days) present to field questions from the audience.

Goodies Disk 10 and HP48 Hacker ROM is Here

Other highlights included Joseph Horn announcing (and making available) Goodies Disk #10, which consists mainly of HP48 "hacking" tools. In conjunction with this disk was announced the Hacker's ROM OTP card which has 128K of hacking tools in a plug-in card for the HP48GX. This is available from Educalc for $40. - the cost of the blank card.... Just ask for "GD10C". Eric Smith (does anybody from our group remember Eric from the HP18C days when he "blew" into our area for a few months and then disappeared into thin air?) demonstrated some of his recent achievements in PC emulation of some of HP's older machines (including the HP41 and HP45). Jeremy Smith talked about his vision of the future of handhelds in his usual "blue-sky" approach, with some rather interesting points. Ron Johnson of the Chicago CHIP group talked about why he has lost his enthusiasm for HP machines, as the focus has moved from engineering tools to educational teaching tools. Paul Hubbert, also of CHIP, presented procedures to refill ink-jet ink cartridges for both Canon and Epson units, and also continued singing the praises of Rayovac Renewal rechargable alkaline batteries (as he has done for over a year now).

In the conference meeting room were also a handful of vendors, selling mainly palmtop-related products, and also was Craig Finseth's HP calculator "hall of fame", with his private collection of dozens of machines. Vern Lindsay of Firmware Corp. brought along the whole gamut of projectable display devices for the HP machines, such as the modified HP18/28/19 with a projectable LCD, plus the displays for the HP48 and HP38. Their newest product not only works for both HP48 and 38 but syncs on an LCD signal to make the display image remain steady on the screen. (This has been an existing problem with the older displays (such as mine) turning on with the virtual top of the info some number of pixel rows down the LCD.) Overall, it was an enjoyable event.

July CHIP Special Meeting

The previous week, on Friday, July 28th was held the CHIP annual special meeing in Chicago, and a relatively sparse 13 attendees showed up. Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz (head of the London HPCC group) was present to speak about calculators in general and to introduce his new book, "A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers". This is a 60+ page 5 by 8 paperback which contains short articles about every HP machine and series from the HP35 to the present, with a handful of color photos inside and out. This book will soon be (if not already is) available from EduCalc. Other speakers included Paul Hubbert, Richard Nelson and Ron Johnson. The third-annual CHIP HP48 programming contest was also "held", with eight official entrants. Both the Chicago meeting and the entire Minnesota conference was videotaped and I can make copies for anyone interested.

Educalc BBS Is On Line

The long-awaited EduCalc bulletin board system is finally on line. It can be reached at 714-348-8115 at a setting of 8N1. Speeds go right up to 19200 baud, as far as I could tell. They are in "experimental" mode at present, ironing out the kinks, but it looks like it should be good. The entire catalog is supposed to be available on line, eventually. Now, if they'd get an Internet Email address so people could communicate with them from other sites, things would REALLY be looking up. Of course, their taped-message newsline (714-582-3976) continues to change each week with info on new products and local user-group activities.

Conference Videos On Tap

At our upcoming meetings, I will be showing exerpts of the Minnesota conference presentations, especially the ones by Hewlett-Packard people which were of most interest to the group. Over the next few meetings, I'd like to at least cover talks by Jim Donnelly, Diana Byrne and the HP panel discussion, which produced many interesting tidbits about past events and also about the prospects for the near future. See you at the meetings.


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