|When looking back on the year
that has passed there are two major
aspects that for me, personally, stand out from the rest.
First of all this is the
year when I have given up hope altogether about Hewlett
Packard's calculator division. After endless email conversations with
people at different levels in the HP organisation it is to me perfectly
clear that HP will never do
anything whatsoever (profit or non-profit)
to serve its RPN user community - a user community that nonetheless is
blindly loyal to the HP spirit of old days.
Just to name a few of the things I am thinking of -
The fundamental laws of business hasn't changed so much in the 21st
century that it is now possible to ignore your
customers - rather the opposite. And
most ironically at the same time as the HP calculator business is
fading away the HP spirit lives on stronger than ever - outside HP...
- HP will never release the HP-42S ROM to the public domain.
Neither in binary format nor as commented source code.
- HP will
never put the HP-42S back into production again (so why being so strict on retaining the
copyright in the first place!?)
- HP will never start to include Hrastprogrammer's
HP-42X with every sold HP-49G+ (that
might however been good a way to boost sales figures killed by
rumours about low
keyboard quality - remember high keyboard quality was once something HP
was famous for!)
- HP will never include Emu42 and the HP-42S ROM
in the factory setup of their Pocket PC:s (why not include the HP-17BII and the
HP-27S ROM at the same time and no-one would ever ask for another
program installed on their PDA:s...).
Because (and this is the flip side of the same coin) there are values
buried deep in the HP spirit strong enough to bring together developers
and users from all over the world willing to take the HP-42S into the
future. Here the commitment to high quality, accuracy and reliability
unites and this is what the
HP spirit in essence stands for. It is indeed much more than just being
nostalgic about an old calculator considered "the best ever made", it is about
the true belief that persistently paying attention to the triplet of
and reliability will eventually push the very limits for our
capabilities forward. Quality lives on, cheap solutions are only for
The last year more things has happened on the HP-42S horizon than, I
would say, the five years previous to that.
This is keeping the HP spirit
- Emu42 by Christoph Giesselink was released after a
successful campaign (again thanks to all contributors!) and now makes
the HP-42S available in emulated format both on Windows and Pocket
PC:s. I would say that Emu42 is an essential piece of software for any
- Thomas Okken announced his work on Free42 and has shown an
impressive pace with new releases every week. There is a long way to go
before full compatibility can be achieved (LOAD / SAVE, decimal
arithmetic, internal representation etc.) but I am not doubtful that
all this will once see the light of day. Most imporantly Free42 is
already today a working HP-42S calculator for both the Palm Pilot and
Linux platforms and as it is built as a reverse engineering of the
HP-42S there are no copyright issues.
- HP-42X by Hrastprogrammer was ported also to the HP-49G+
thereby becoming the fastest handheld device for running HP-42S
with a calculator keyboard.
- Luiz C. Vieira produced some very good looking TTF fonts
for both the internal LCD display and for the IR printer.
- Several contributions to the Program Library where made by
Paul Dale, Christoph Giesselink, Richard Garner and Ton van de Burgt
(thanks!). I would also
recommend trying to get hold of the latest issue of the HPCC Datafile
which contains a very enjoyable article by Valentin Albillo - "Long live the HP-42S!" - with an
program listing for a solver for the "Eight Queen" problem, that also
displays the solutions graphically).
- Nelson M Sciuro discovered that a 32K RAM chip could be
soldered to the place holder for additional ROM and provide continues
memory for testing small Saturn Assembly programs. Much more convenient
than entering them into unused memory of the RPN program area.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Erik Ehrling (Sweden)