New update of my calc website


Hi, all:

    I've just updated (well, Laura did it) my calc website with some new items freely available for download should you feel interested, namely:

    1. A new PDF article: "Know Thy Foe: A New Contender"

        This is a 12-page article in PDF format which confronts two great contemporary, ground-breaking machines of the early 80's: The HP-41C versus the SHAP PC-1211 !

        The article includes six excellent side-to-side pictures comparing specific key design features of both models, and a thorough description of their differences, as well as two test-case programs, each of them written for both models, to better see them in action while attacking the very same task using their unique programming paradigms.

        Finally, no less than four additional sample programs for the SHARP PC-1211 are featured, all of them less than 10 lines long, yet successfully dealing with fairly complex tasks with ease.

    2. A new image for the Gallery: HP-16C

        A great 1024 x 768 image of one of the

        in my collection, in splendid frontal view. It's really mint and it shows !

    3. Mystery Extra Goodies: !?

        You'll have to see by yourself, please don't ask (and I mean it).

    Hope you'll like them. Thanks for your interest and

Best regards from V.


Wow! What can I say?

¡Muchas gracias Valentín!

(From a real fan :-))


¡ De nada, Miguel ! :-) { i.e.: "you're welcome !"}

Thanks for your kind appreciation, I'm glad you find
them interesting/useful.

Best regards from V.


I think the observation about being able to see the entire equation on the screen versus what you last typed in regards to an AOS is spot on.

In an involved calculation, an AOS style calculation was almost guess work, especially when the key being hit doesn't change the display (like a open perentheses on a TI-58/9).

But when you can type out the entire equation "just like in the book", the dynamic changes completely, and the ease of straightfoward translation makes the machine very intuitive and easy to use.

Another thing you sort of mention regarding the SHARP was the fact that it was sold by Radio Shack. You really can't discount the effect Radio Shack had on the computer market of the day, and the visibility of having something like the SHARP in their catalog, or at a neighborhood store is quite important vs the smaller market and distribution of HP. (And personally, their Model 100 is simply one of the finest machines of its type ever made.)

My father had I think all 3 of the "Pocket Computer" models from Radio Shack. I had to snicker when I saw expresions like "AA" and "AAA" in your SHARP examples. It reminded me of one of the frustrations my father had with normal BASIC. In normal MS-BASIC, obviously AA doesn't mean "A*A", rather it's the variable AA.

But my father commented on how he had problems with his programs because he'd "run out of variables" in MS-BASIC. He'd use A, then AA, then AAA. In MS-BASIC, only the first two letters mattered -- so AA == AAA.

But you can imagine what the code looked like (especially by todays standards) being scattered with essentially meaningles variable names like A AA B BB CC Q XX etc.


A new PDF article: "Know Thy Foe: A New Contender"
Fantastic. Great comparison


Hi, Gileno:

    Thanks a lot for your kind feedback, much appreciated.

    I'm glad you like it, stay tuned for more 'historical' articles like this as well as 'cutting-edge' ones dealing with the new, awesome HP35s.

Best regards from V.


Which the difference between PC1211 and PC1212. I have them but I don't have the manuals


Hi, Gileno:

Gileno posted:

    "Which the difference between PC1211 and PC1212. I have them but I don't have the manuals"

      There's no difference at all as far as their capabilities are concerned, both have the same RAM, ROM, and most of their specificationsa are exactly the same. The only difference is the dot-matrix LCD display technology: the pioneering PC-1211 has a yellow-type LCD display, which is less durable and has a tendency to permanently blacken-out, most specially if exposed to sunlight.

      So, when the technology improved, SHARP issued a new version, the PC-1212, this time featuring a new grey-type LCD display, which is less sensitive to sunlight and to blackening. This kind of display was then used for all subsequent models and the yellow-type one was abandoned for good.

      However, I find the yellow display very pleasing aesthetically, and if properly stored and kept away from sunlight, it will last for decades without noticeable blackening.

Best regards from V.

My father had I think all 3 of the "Pocket Computer" models from Radio Shack

All three of the eight models, PC-1 through PC-8?


Hi, Will:

Will posted:

    "My father had I think all 3 of the "Pocket Computer" models from Radio Shack."

      First of all, thanks for your appreciation of my article and your comments, they're most welcome.

      Radio Shack actually produced 8 "Pocket Computer" models, but only 3 of them were exact SHAP clones, the rest being Casio's.

    "In MS-BASIC, only the first two letters mattered -- so AA == AAA."

      That's the case with SHARP's subsequent BASIC dialects, they did allow for long name variables (say PRICE) but only the first two characters were 'significant' (so PRICE and PRICE2 would be considered the same variable). Further, the name should not coincide with or include as part of it any of the BASIC reserved words and identificators, which forced you to carefully select your names and be aware of this limitation, lest you would then afterwards be very puzzled as to why some seemingly correct program line was resulting in a wholly unexpected syntax error at execution time.

    "But you can imagine what the code looked like (especially by todays standards) being scattered with essentially meaningles variable names like A AA B BB CC Q XX etc."

      Yes, I can imagine it and I've actually seen it at the time, but you have to consider the expectations back them. I mean, if you're used to 2007's high-level languages which all of them allow identifiers such as "Article.Cost_of_production.Pounds", you're bound to find "AA", "QX", and "C7" quite unacceptable.

      But if you were in the late 70's and early 80's, having to program your variables as registers 00, 08, 23, 14, 87, etc., then the ability of mnemonically calling them I for index and P for Price, say, or even PRICE and TOTALPRICE later, was a real godsend which made source code immensely more readable as compared to the numeric-only register addresses, not the nuisance it seems now.

      Everything's relative and oftentimes seemingly preposterous practices come to be much more understandable when put in context.

Best regards from V.

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