Philadelphia Area HP Handheld Club Meeting | Thursday, April 30th, 1998 | Drexel University

Hewlett-Packard Announces the HP48G+

In a grand-style rollout at the recently-held National Conference of Teachers of Mathematics annual gathering (this year in Washington D.C.), HP announced the HP48G+ calculator. The "plus" is the upgrading of the RAM from 32 to 128K bytes built in. The operating system is unchanged from either the 48G or the 48GX, however, and all three machines remain on the price list. The price of the G+ lists at $179.95 with the G dropping to $119.95 (and the GX remaining at $265.) Street prices on the units are expected to be approximately $90 for the G (down from 100) and $135 for the G+, with the GX remaining in the $190 range.

Despite the fanfare at the teachers' conference, the new machine has earned a big yawn from the savvy HP48 users. True, this is not a significant announcement, but the new Australian Calculator Operation has to start somewhere. In my imagined scenario for the A.C.O., they take a "Ready, Set, Go" approach to the market where the HP48G+ is "ready", a successor to the HP48GX with a new operating system is "set", and a whole new generation machine with new hardware represents "go". It's only been six months since the group was formed, so I wouldn't expect to see "Set" for at least another year.

Texas Instruments Announces the TI89

Just recently, TI announced the upcoming TI89 calculator, to be available later this year. This $150. vertical-format unit will be the handheld version of their earlier "large beast", the TI-92, with its symbolic integration and differentiation, calculus, factoring, advanced graphics and other math features. In addition, the '89 will feature 188K of RAM and 384K of archival flash ROM like the TI92's Plus Module (a plug-in flash-based operating system upgrade). Although the LCD will be smaller than that of the TI92's 128 by 240 display, the '89's 100 by 160 increases the resolution of the earlier handhelds such as the ti-86 with 64 by 128. The only functionality which the TI89 will lack as compared to the 92 will be the extensive geometry capability. Check on the web for additional information.

Ioptics OROM Still Another Portable Storage Solution

A new company called Ioptics has demonstrated its first product, called OROM which is a portable memory-card storage device for handhelds. The cards are read by a beam of light shining through the card's outer plastic surface. Current card densities are 130 meg and expect to shoot up to CD-ROM capacity by the time the devices get popular. The big advantage to these 2- to 3-dollar cards is that they are one fifth the size of CDs. Apparently, Microsoft has already invested a sum of money in this company so one would expect to hear from Ioptics more over the next year or so.

SMI's 2-meg Cards for the HP48

Surveyor's Module Inc., a popular surveying software company has announced the availability of 2-meg RAM cards for the HP48. The largest size previously available has been one meg, selling for around $300. The SMI 2-meg cards cost $525 and represent sixteen 128K RAM banks when plugged into the calculator's port-2 card slot. There is also an upgrade program, allowing the purchase of a 2-meg card by trading a 1-meg card and paying just $250. SMI may be contacted at 800-234-0123 or on the web.

From EduCalc to The Calculating Edge

Magha Shyam's DaVinci Technologies (formerly Sparcom), which took over the EduCalc mailing list, intends to make its first catalog mailing very soon. It's too bad that Jim Carter got cold feet and decided not to sell them the EduCalc name along with the inventory and other materials. It's difficult to generate a reputation from scratch. DaVinci may be accessed at on the web at present. It still looks like EduCalc's (and PPC/CHHU's) Richard Nelson will be going to work for Megha in the coming months. He is not looking forward to the move from California to Oregon, but it will keep Richard in the field with which he has been so familiar over the past quarter century.

HP Handheld Conference in Vancouver, Washington August 29-30

There is still a bit of activity in planning for the HP conference this August. Richard Nelson will be cranking up his organizing skills again to collect up enough speakers for a weekend of presentations. We're still holding out hope that the folks from Australia send at least one representative who will give us some hints (if not facts) on their future direction.

Former HP Corvallis Calculator Folks' Whereabouts

In the most recently-received issue of the British HPCC group's Datafile, chairman Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz listed the current goings on of many of the former HP calculator people. To quote Wlodek:

  • "Jim Donnelly and Bill Wickes continue to work at Corvallis - Jim in the

    inkjet printer group and Bill in the notebook PC group....Dave Arnett is also

    working in Corvallis....Diana Byrne wanted to stay in Corvallis after the team

    was disbanded - she now works for the TI calculator group - they have agreed

    for her to work for them from Corvallis. Raan Young has set up his own

    company. Eric Vogel now works on handheld instruments.... I have not heard

    from Chris Bunsen nor Bruce Stephens recently....Dave Conklin and Dennis York

    are both working with Da Vinci."

  • A PPC CD-ROM Set in the Works

    About two months ago while in conversation with a friend about the capabilities of the HP 7470 HP-IL plotter (working with the HP41 calculator), a question came up as to whether the RS-232 version of this plotter would work on the HP-IL loop via the HP-IL/RS-232 converter. We thought that this subject probably had come up in the old PPC Journals from the early 1980's, but didn't know exactly which year or issue. I thought about bringing out my many ring binders of the issues and spending a few hours combing through them when an idea popped up: It would be useful if all the PPC Journal issues were available for reference on a CD ROM disk.

    So, over the past ten weeks or so I have been preparing a two-CD set of information for reference of older HP calculators. The hope is to have this set ready in time for the August conference. Right now it looks like disk one will contain the majority of the issues of the PPC Calculator Journal while disk two will contain the remaining Calculator Journal issues, the PPC Computer Journal, CHHU Chronicle, HPX Exchange issues plus the HP Key Notes issues and the relevant HP Journal articles. As of this moment a bit over 2600 pages have been scanned into Adobe Acrobat .pdf format for the first disk and the goal is to complete the job by the end of July. I will demonstrate early versions of the disks at our meetings for those interested.

    Design The Next HP Calculator

    Back last September, HP sales representative Harry Sauer from the Netherlands suggested at the London conference that the user groups compete to suggest the design of the next top-of-the-line calculator. He promised that the design deemed the best would win a prize for the submitting group. Well, from recent reports, there haven't been any submissions yet. If you would like to participate in the Philly group's submission, please contact me and we'll add your suggestions to the ones I already have. The deadline for submissions is the end of this June.

    Next Month's Article Previous Article Back to PAHHC Page