HP41 Wand Update



#15

My wand just arrived (very nice one, BTW, like new with manual in excellent shape and some of the other stuff, like the sticky pads of the barcodes, not even opened!), and works well.

Can't scan printouts of the PDFs from the MoHPC DVD. The quality is just not crisp enough. However, barcode I create myself with the Leo Duran utility, either RAW files from this site or what I create myself from my own text files (easier to edit and type than entering directly to the calc) prints out and scans absolutely beautifully.

Thanks for all of the earlier feedback.

Les


#16

"Can't scan printouts of the PDFs from the MoHPC DVD. The quality is just not crisp enough"

Have you tried cleaning them up? You can export PDFs to various graphics formats (I prefer PCX - PC Paintbrush - files, which are lossless; I'd argue strongly against jpeg format, which is slowly ruining the beauty of graphics and art work!) and then operate on them in various graphics programs to "crisp" them up. Try some of the sharpening / averaging / min / max options. I haven't seen these files, but I'd guess that you need to create more space between the solid lines - most scanners tend to fill in empty space between closely spaced lines.


#17

I agree with trying to clean them up in this manner. I have had some success doing the things mentioned. What you are after is for the space width to be the same width as the narrow bar. Also, I have had some success with increasing the scan speed. Seems that if you scan too slow, you can pick up more errors. I was surprised at how fast you can move the wand and still get it to read. One other thing to keep in mind is that you can skip the lines of bar code that you cannot get to read and go to the next. The resulting program will have gaps that you will need to enter, but it beats typing in the whole program.

#18

Doing that with these barcodes might be more arduous than keying in the programs. There are lots of lines, even for a fairly short program. Here's a sample from the DVD copy of the Calendar Solutions book. This program is only 147 lines, yet there are 20 barcode lines, a little over a page:

I captured that screen shot from Adobe Reader 8 using the GIMP, then saved it as a greyscale GIF. There may have been some loss in the sampling to greyscale, but I can't see it. The PDF was set to 100% size.

Manually fixing that up is certainly possible, but it would be work. I suppose you might be able to automate some of the process, at least within a particular source. Different scanning qualities, like you might get from sources scanned on different equipment by different people, would play havoc with automation, though.

Regards,
Howard


#19

The program of interest to me (16 Point Gaussian Quadrature from the High Level Math Book--the revision on the DVD is different from the listing Tony Duell contributed to the website) is 102 lines long. It took me a few minutes to type up the listing as a text file by hand, the original listing in Adobe on the left of my screen, Wordpad on the right. From there, hp41uc.exe allowed to create a RAW file (usable in Free42 and V41), from which I could readily create a PS barcode file. I print the latter out on my 4 year old Brother laser printer, which incidently needs a new toner cartridge. The barcode scans like a charm.

This path still requires typing up the program (though creating a text file on the computer is a lot easier and faster than keying the thing directly into the calculator), but the entire project in total took me under a half hour. I am sure I could spend a lot longer trying to clean up those DVD scans so the barcode is readable.

Les


#20

That definitely sounds like the right workflow, Les.

Shall we divide up the corpus on the DVD and start plugging away? (I can donate some of my spare time.)

It would be nice to add clean barcodes to the existing PDFs.

Regards,
Howard


#21

Les & Howard,


Quote:
It would be nice to add clean barcodes to the existing PDFs

I'm not sure I'd waste time trying to create PDF's of the barcodes. I tried several methods of creating PDF barcode listings and could never get a printout (on a laserjet) to be 100% readable. I think there are too many variables on how PDF's are printed.

I suggest we divide up the work of entering all the programs into text files and converting to raw files for use with the emulators. Then anyone could use the 41UC utility to generate barcodes from the Raw files as required. The Raw files are much more useful.

I'll take a look at the few solution books I have and see if the Raw files have already been done. If not, then I can type them in.

We may want to keep track of which version of the solotion book that the listing came from.

Bill


#22

I use a freeware utility called PDFCreator to make PDF files from just about any program that can print.

I should note that the printed out barcode I scanned was actually a PDF made from the PS file with PDFCreator. The trick to printing out the hard copy in Adobe Reader is to make sure that there is not monkey business with scaling--the default is "Fit to Printable Area" and this needs to be turned off. That keeps the size of the bars correct, it seems.

Les

#23

This links into some queries I had in a different but related thread.

At the following link it looks as though many if not most of the Users' Solution books' programs have been contributed by Tony Duell, most with links to files in RAW and other formats. This material (at least an earlier version of it) is also replicated in static form on the DVD via the link that takes you to the version of the website as it existed at the time the DVD was compiled. All of the RAW files are there, and indeed I believe the 466 RAW files to be found with V41 from TOS are the very same ones--I don't know if Warren got the files from here or vice versa, or if the material was pooled.

However, it has come to light that in many cases there exists more than one edition of the solution books--the High Level Math book which interests me is a case in point. Consequently, in some cases there is a mismatch between the listings Tony Duell has contributed and the versions of the solution book offered on the DVD. Trying to coordinate Solution Book documentation, RAW files, and barcode is a worthy project if there is really any interest out there. One solution would be to ensure that all extant versions of the solution books are on the next DVD. Another solution is to do what is proposed here--review the programs in the solution books already on the DVD and create RAW and barcode files by hand.

The latter option is potentially time consuming but it would make the various files more useful since they would be coordinated. It would also complete the contents of the DVD set--some Solution Books, like the Applied Stats 1 and 2 and Business Stats books, aren't even on the DVD, though the programs are to be found on the website, so scans of books like that would need to find their way to the DVD.

Just food for thought. I for one would have no trouble at all creating RAW and barcode files for the listings in the High Level Math Book (the versions are different that Tony's contributions so this would not duplicate work) provided no one wants them quickly!

Les


Edited: 12 Jan 2007, 9:43 p.m.


#24

Les,
Try one of these tiff at 300 and 600 dpi. That may answer the resolution question. Zipped to save download time. Cheers,
al
http://www.enterhp.com/images/bar_codes.zip

#25

Quote:
I for one would have no trouble at all creating RAW and barcode files for the listings in the High Level Math Book (the versions are different that Tony's contributions so this would not duplicate work) provided no one wants them quickly!

So far I have created RAW files and PS barcode, which works, for 3 of the shorter routines of the 9 in the book--Gamma Function, 16 Point Gaussian Quadrature, and Sine/Cosine/Exp Integrals. I will next take on the Bessel/Error Function routine, which is a bit longer, and the orthogonal polynomial program, which is longer still. The remaining four programs are rather large matrix and eigenvalue things that will take quite a bit more time.

I repeat, perhaps excessively, that these routines are from the revision of the High Level Math Book presently on the MoHPC DVD and as such are different, sometimes substantially so, from the HP41C Software Library contributions already made by Tony Duell. It appears that Tony ported older or just plain different versions of these programs.

If anyone wants any of this work in progress from me, let me know.

Les

#26

Howard,

This bar code would be difficult to clean up. I tried applying a threshold, and a lot of the grays went away, and the intercharacter spacings are cleaner, but the spacing looks rather variable. I don't have a wand, so I have no idea how it would scan. I'd be glad to send the cleaned up file to anybody who wants to try it. Conversely, could you send me the original PDF to play with? Thanks.

It looks to me like the original scanning resolution was just not enough. Plus, for something that is intrinsically black and white, the scan product should also be black and white (AND NOT JPEG!! jpeg images have fuzzy stuff all over them, even if they started out as black and whites!)

Perhaps before there is more scanning of bar codes for future DVDs, there should be some trials, with trial distributions in whatever format is likely to be the final, so that wand users can give them a try. Although the files may be larger, I recommend that graphics files for purposes like this be in a non-lossy format. GIF, BMP, PNG, TIFF (gigantic files may result, though), PCX are all acceptable (but some are not very "modern" anymore, such as my favorite PCX). Note also, that conversion to PDF results in losses. Bar code files should probably stay in their original grpahics format and not be converted to PDF. Doesn't everyone have graphics viewers and printers? If not, I could suggest a very nice shareware program.


#27

I believe if I use the clean barcode in PS format like Les did and make a PDF of that it would scan well.


#28

Almost anytime you make a PDF, there are trade-offs. If you have a high-resolution graphic, the resulting PDF is quite likely to have worse resolution and/or "noise" in the output.

I have Acrobat 5, and when you "print" to it, there are a host of options, in particular, the "Adobe PDF Settings" such as eBook, Press, Print, Screen - all of which have dpi settings and other things (such as "compression" using, perhaps, "Bicubic downsampling" - what is that?) which affect what you get as the final product.

So, again, I urge that if you ALREADY have a good graphics file, DON'T DO ANYTHING TO IT other than print it (at the best resolution possible from your printer). Any conversions you perform will not make it better, and will probably make it worse.


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