Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting

Thursday, August 28, 1997 | Drexel University

I Will Be absent In September (London Conference)

Right around the time of the weekend of the September PACS meeting, I will be London for the HPCC Fifteenth Anniversary Conference. It looks like it is shaping up to be memorable, with a plan to provide the first 50 registrants with free HP71B (circa 1984) handheld computers as an enticement. The tentative speakers list looks good, with talks planned on hardware, software and the status of the industry. I will be videotaping the events, and will make copies available upon my return. Also, hopefully there will be a presentation of still photos/slides/etc. at one of our future meetings.

It also looks like I will be doing a repeat performance of a presentation on the HP48 Meta Kernel software product. Since the leader of the group which developed this package is also an HP employee, he felt that it would be better if he wasn't the speaker. (I might still convince one of the others in the group to talk on the "MK" if he shows up..)

The HP48 Software Archive

Check out a new web site called the HP48 Software Archive. This site contains over 1500 HP48 programs available in the following categories:

It's located at on the web.

Give the HP Shell a Try

For those who are either dissatisfied with or didn't obtain a copy of HP's Program Development Link (PDL) package (which provides connectivity between the HP48 and PC), here's a freeware solution which outdoes PDL. It's called HP Shell and is currently available in version 3.0 from Thom Wellige. A great deal of features are provided, including:

The HP Shell may be found at on the web.

A New Symbolic Matrix Editor/Viewer

Claude-Nicolas Fiechter, co-writer of the popular ALG48 math package has just released a viewer/editor for symbolic matrices on the HP48, called AIO48. It works with the EQSTK stack-viewer package to display matrices on the stack, and even in the absence of the EQSTK library, still allows viewing and editing symbolic matrices in a matrix-writer-type environment. This editing capability is similar to the same functionality in the Meta Kernel, although MK will not automatically display symbolic matrices on the stack.

Sony Digital Mavica Still Camera Debuts

If you've been reading this column over the past several months, the subject of digital still cameras has surfaced on a few occasions. I categorize them into three types: (1) those whose memory is non-removable and non-expandable; (2) those whose memory is expandable via plug-in memory cards (be it full-sized PCMCIA or one of the smaller card formats); or (3) those whose memory is expandable via plug in rotating memory devices.

Cameras with memory of the first type, when full require either that they be downloaded to a computer (and who brings a computer along with their camera?) or have pictures erased and replaced by new pictures. Those whose memory is of the second type require the user to purchase rather expensive plug-in cards. A 2-meg card is on the order of 80-100 dollars and holds between 40 and 100 snapshots, depending upon the picture resolution. (Who wants to purchase a stack of expensive cards in lieu of a pocket full of cheap film?) Those cameras whose memory is of type three makes the most sense, and ranges widely in its storage choices. Hitachi offers a $2500. camera that stores images on a PCMCIA 260-meg hard drive which holds 3000 shots. Sharp's MD-PS1 unit costs around $1000 and stores pictures onto audio minidiscs with a capacity of 2000 shots on one 140-meg disk costing less than ten bucks. (The Sharp camera has limited photographic options however, with only fixed-focus standard and telephoto lens settings.)

Finally, Sony has introduced its Digital Mavica ("MAgnetic VIdeo CAmera") with possibly the best of all features. The lens is a camcorder-type with 10-to-1 zoom and auto focus, macro-focusing down to one centimeter, plus this baby saves its images onto standard 3.5-inch floppy disks. Resolution is 640-by-480 with either high or low data compression, allowing 40 or 20 images per disk, respectively. The rechargable lithium-ion battery is good for 500 shots per charge. The Mavica has a 2.5-inch color LCD on the back (like many of the others) for previewing/reviewing pictures and also contains a built-in flash (also like most of the others). The list price on this unit is $799. Finally, some sanity arrives to the consumer digital camera arena.


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