Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Wednesday, July 17, 1996 - Drexel University

The '96 HP Conference Looms

By the time you read this, we'll be on the verge of the 1996 HP Handheld / Palmtop Conference to be held August 24-25 at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, California. It looks like it should be an interesting affair, with representation from Hewlett-Packard in the likes of Kheng-Joo Khaw, GM of the whole Singapore handheld/palmtop/organizer operation, plus a few others as well. As of this writing, it is planned that there will be two simultaneous "tracks" of talks; one on palmtops/organizers for business users and one on high-end calculators (38/48) for science/engineering users. I shall be videotaping the calculator end of things plus any talks or panel discussions involving HP people. I've been told that someone else will be there to videotape the remaining sessions.

New HP Web Site for Handhelds

Finally, Hewlett-Packard has set up a World Wide Web site exclusively for handheld devices, with product demos, information and announcements. Check it out at This area is divided up into four sections: News, Getting Help, Resources and Feedback, plus there are special articles accessible from the main page. This looks like a good start for HP, which really didn't have any sort of handhelds presence on the Web before. In contrast, Texas Instruments has had a vast amount of material on their calculators at their site ( for a long time.

Fourth Annual HP48 Programming Contest

In conjunction with the HP conference, the fourth annual HP48 programming contest has begun, with the winners to be announced at the conference. The programming problem turns out to be shorter than earlier contests, but is nonetheless just as interesting. In fairness to those who like to make fast programs (as well as those who like short programs), the winning entry will be judged on the product of execution time and size. The timing program is the "standard" timing program "TIM" from HP48 Goodies Disk 10, which returns execution time in milliseconds. The length will be bytes, so the resulting units of comparison shall be milliseconds-times-bytes.

The program is as follows: Write an HP 48 program that accepts an arbitrary string on level two, an ASCII character number on level one, and returns the number of occurences in the string of the ASCII character. The input string may have any number of characters from the first half of the ASCII table, ASCII 0 - 127. The Initial test string will be a series of the letters A thru Z followed by ASCII 0, 127. Four of these will make up the 112 character test string. The ASCII input will be 0 and 65, with the two results averaged. Only programs that pass these tests qualify for further testing.

Various prizes have been made available to the top three performers, with the "best" prize being an HP48 1-meg RAM card (valued at 300 dollars). For more details, feel free to contact me.

Speaking of HP48 Large RAM Cards...

In just the past few weeks, Epson (the manufacturer of HP RAM cards for the HP48) approached EduCalc to see if they had any interest in selling 2-meg and/or 4-meg RAM cards for the HP48. Currently, the largest size RAM card available for the calculator is the one-meg size. (The upper limit allowed by the HP48 operating system is 4 megabytes.) They are still studying the possibilities of making the rather large investment, but Educalc is giving this serious consideration. For those who just have to have every useful program in their machine at once, one of these babies may just be the ticket. Be prepared, however to pay big bucks for them, on the order of a thousand dollars for the 4-meg card. A few years ago Sparcom advertised (but eventually never offered) 4-meg cards for the calculator for a price of $1095.

A 5-meg upgrade for the 200LX

Currently, a few HP dealers are offering a new service to add up to 4 megabytes of RAM to the HP200LX. This converts 1-meg and 2-meg machines to 5 and 6-meg units. The upgrade isn't cheap, but is definitely useful. So, if you've got around five hundred bucks you're willing to part with, this upgrade will certainly boost your palmtop's capacity.

See You in September

Since it's been an uneventful Summer and since the news from the HP conference will arrive too late for an August meeting, we will not be holding any meetings in August. In September, we'll have a slide presentation (and possibly a video presentation) on the goings on in Anaheim, plus a distribution of any pertinent materials.

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