Returned from Allschwil ...


... this night at 1:15 a.m. Since it was my very first Allschwil Meeting, I'll give you my impressions.

Short summary for the busy reader: Nearly 20 hardcore HP fans gathered, exchanging ideas and showing some *very* promising developments.

For those of you having a bit more time: For me, it all started on Friday night at 11 p.m. meeting Matthias, Meindert, Geir, and Diego for a short warm-up in the Hotel Schl├╝ssel until the place closed the restaurant at midnight. Next late morning we met again at Matthias' and Eva's brand new home, and more people flew in, bringing suitcases with interesting stuff and lots of European good food with them (IMO M & E will not need the Coop or Migros for some days ;)

We all got the chance to visit M's collection extensively. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, it's worth a detour (-> Michelin) for sure! I mean some people tell me crazy because I collect calculators, having a modest set of some 40 electronic devices -- but M's collection room beats all I can imagine. It contains some special mechanical calculators as well as the most complete set of HP-calc (!) related (!) stuff (!) possible on this planet. Take the chance to see it, else you won't believe it. BTW, when you are there, take a look to the old village center of Allschwil as well, it would be a pity to miss it.

Shortly after noon the whole flock moved to M's school and held the meeting in his classroom. For me as a lover of Helvetica this place offered quite some nice observations, too, but the main part, of course, were the presentations of the participants. A lot of bits and pieces, circuit and timing diagrams, interface protocols, and other tech details for the HW- and SW-engineers. It even included an outdoor presentation of an 41C-based surveying application. Summing up, IMHO the most interesting presentation covered the PIL-box, which was a topic in this forum recently, too. This could become a *very* useful box for many of us. Jean-Francois seemed to be a bit surprised about the interest created (or he's just a humble guy), but there were considerations on the spot to get this thing produced in quantities of some hundreds (kind of mass production for this community ;)

It all took the time till the evening easily. Though there was plenty of energy refilled during the meeting, Matthias had reserved a place at a very nice restaurant nearby, where the closing dinner took place. This also gave us the chance for two short walks, helping to distribute the Joules a bit. The first participants left shortly afterwards, many continued discussions at M's home again, some stayed in the area for another night.

Finally, I'd like to thank all fellow participants for sharing ideas, and special thanks to Matthias and Eva for their hospitality. Not everybody would let such a crowd in his/her new home. Anyway, I'm looking forward to Allschwil 2009, hoping for something useful having grown then out of the ideas seen now -- and maybe even a new HP calculator for the Sci-Tech community.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s.


P.S.: Thanks, George B., for missing me. I hope you got around alone for the day. At least you know where to look for good design ;)

Edited to modify a specification.

Edited: 2 Nov 2008, 6:43 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


Thanks for that, Walter!



I only wish I lived within twenty hours of such a gathering...

- Pauli



interesting to read. But are you sure your swiss host wants all the world to know about his collection? Any thief might be pleased to get free information...



anybody posting unprotected information on the www knows this information is PUBLIC (if (s)he doesn't know, it's too late anyway). Matthias has his own home page here. Think! Any further questions? Don't hesitate to ask, I'll do what I can ;)


Matthias has his own home page here.

Didn't know that. Then it should be ok for you to reveal what you've seen on your secret mission for MI5...


I joined the Allwschil meeting the first time, too, and I can fully share Walter's impression: It was simply amazing! I didn't see that many 41CY in one place before :-)

Meindert's improved MLDL 2000 prototype, JF's PIL Box prototype, Diego's new ideas, Peter's and Christoph G.'s and Andreas' programming wizardry, Christoph K.' new and very comprehensive 41 book, Walter's sophisticated keyboard layout and display design studies, Matthias' outstanding collection, the many interesting discussions, all the friendly people from different places (Norway, NYC, Canaries, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland), contributed to an unforgettable day.

One of my personal highlights was Rainer's demonstration of his theodolit, which uses a 41CY (together with a 9114 floppy drive and a thinkjet printer) as a data logging and processing unit. He still uses this equipment in his work as surveyor. He said that the 41CY runs fine up to -15 degrees Celsius!

Many thanks to the meeting hosts and all the people who made this day a complete success! Hope to see you all next year.



Hello, thanks for the information!

A shame that I did not come to the meeting, it would have been 4 hours by car ...


What's a 41CY please? I'm guessing it is the 41 with the blank keys but I've never seen 41CY referenced before. Thanks...



A HP-41CY is an HP-41CX with internal RAMBOX and 2x Turbo-Mode (turned on and off by a red switch on the side of the calc). This modification was done by the German company W&W. It's kind of a holy grail for 41 fans. Today it is rare and hard to find. See Matthias web site, e.g.,

HIH, Juergen


Thanks Juergen. Is the entire 64K directly addressable? Could you write a 64K program with it?



One of my personal highlights was Rainer's demonstration of his theodolit, which uses a 41CY (together with a 9114 floppy drive and a thinkjet printer) as a data logging and processing unit. He still uses this equipment in his work as surveyor. He said that the 41CY runs fine up to -15 degrees Celsius!

Sounds very interesting. Can you or someone else shed some light on that as pictures, programs used, availability, hardware etc.? I remember Kern had HP-41CV interface for their instruments back then, is that something similar?



it was on a Kern instrument.


Thanks, Walter, I'm not gonna ask if it was DKM-2A (the best optico-mechanical theodolite in it's class IMO) or E1/E2 quite bulky electronic ones, let someone else (Rainer?) tell us that.


Here are two pictures. The wooden box contains the disk drive and the printer. On top of the box, there is the manual. Matthias took many more pictures, I'm sure he will publish some of them on his web site in the next days.


Thanks a lot, Juergen! I was close ;)
Best regards,


Many thanks to Matthias and his wife for their hospitality, although I live in Switzerland it was my first Allschwil meeting and I really enjoyed it.

I also took some picture of Mathias' collection to prove to my wife that I'm not the only crazy guy who collects old calculators and that some of them are even crazier than me ...

What struck me was all that enthusiasm and the fact that people are still developping new hardware & software for platforms that are sometimes almost 30 years old (hp-41) !


Thanks to all those who participated in this event. The times are few and far between when I can share my passion with a bunch of like-minded geeks without generating blank stares, shaking of heads, looks of pity or embarrassed giggling.

I am a big fan of Diego's creations, so I was pleased to finally meet him. Also, the PIL-box gave me great hopes for one of my projects; To have an HP-41 as a back-end to a web page where some important numbers (doesn't matter what numbers, really :-) are fed to the web page in real time and where the users can query the 41 via a web form. An idea for its 30th birthday next year.

Also, Meindert's creation with an MLDL w/SD card will be a future catch for me.

Matthias' collection is indeed a sight to behold.

For those who were there, see you next time. For those who weren't, see you, too.


TNX to Matthias for his organization and to all attendees of this meeting. I was glad to meet so many people personally.

Following the concept script of my demonstration.




Allschwil Meeting 2008
2 years gone, what's happen in last two years.

Of course the emulators got the normal bugfixes, so I will only pick up some highlights.

		Version 2004	Version 2006	Version 2008
Emu10 v0.92 v0.92
Emu32 v0.75 v0.77
Emu28 v1.05 v1.12 v1.16
Emu42 v1.01 v1.08 v1.10
Emu48 v1.35 v1.42 v1.47
Emu32PPC v0.18
Emu42PPC v1.01 v1.07 v1.09
Emu48PPC v1.00 v1.11 v1.16

1) In summer 2007 I changed my internet provider, because of this I was offline for some weeks. Because private homepages at the new provider had too many restrictions and I hadn't published some of my packages because of memory and bandwith limitations, I decided to order a web space package independent from my internet provider.

My new homepage is at [], the HP related stuff is at []. So all programs from my two provider hompages moved to this location. One homepage is dead now, on the other is only a forwarder to the new location. If not done so far, update your bookmarks please.

2) Emu48 got an improved serial device selector. Versions before v1.44 could only use COM1 to COM255, actual versions can use any device name. In past ist was very difficult to load program on emulated HP38/39/40 calculators. You needed two PC's with one COM port or one PC with two COM ports and a Null-Modem cable. Or a commercial Null-Modem driver. Since 2005 there's the freeware solution com0com which works perfect in combination with Emu48.

Another big improvement was adding a MRU file list, which makes it easier to handle different state files. With this revision I changed the behavior of the LastDocument saving. Now it works like most one expected saving the name of the last state file at program exit.

3) I published a small document about the Emu48 settings at which also discribe some hidden features.

4) In 2007 was the 10th anniversary of Emu48. I made a page on my HP website at [] describing some highlights of the last ten years of development.

5) In fall 2007 Emu48 for Pocket PC won a software award from pocketpcmag for the best calculator emulator on a Pocket PC. Emu42 for Pocket PC was on the second place. I was very astonished by this, because the installation of Emu48 for Pocket v1.15 and earlier was more than cruel for a beginner. So I decided in fall 2007 to create an installer version of Emu48 for Pocket PC. I divided the work into three steps.

a) Looking and sorting the KML files of Emu48CE for usability. I adjusted and optimized them for the use on Emu48 for Pocket PC. To safe memory on the mobile device I converted all 256 color and below bitmaps into a compressed one. Last I the created the packaging with old ond new KML files and the configuration files for the cabinet file builder.

b) To safe maximum memory I wanted to use packed ROM image files. On the calculator emulation with a real ROM this worked quite a long time before, but the flash ROM of the HP49G had to be in the unpacked file format. I rewrote the ROM image loader code. Another positive side effect on the HP49G is, that the emulator program start time emulating a HP49G shrinked from 2.5 to 1.5 seconds. But don't ask me why, I haven't planned this. Emu48 for Pocket PC v1.16 is also working with StrongARM Pocket PC 2000 devices. I know that it's working but the official compatibility support begins with Pocket PC 2002.

c) I generated the installer script base on my Emu42 for Pocket PC one, but with some minor improvements.

I publish the new mobile version on spring 2008. BTW, Emu48 for PPC won the same award in 2008, Emu42 for PPC was on second. But this year only four programs where nominated. :(

6) In summer this year I thought about a RPL debugger in my emulator family. One basic for this a working RPL object decoder. For a successful decoding you must have an entry point table translating the object pointer into a name.

Here a big thank to J.-F. Garnier for his HP28S entry point list from Dec. 1996. His list has had ~780 entries which was a great base for my addition. My current published one from Sep. 2008 has ~1630 entries and the actual one I'm using in the following demonstration has ~1930 entries. The big step forwards in the last month mainly base on the following work.

a) First I made some thoughts about the format of the entry point table. We have more or less three possibilties. First we could use the original assembler file. The disadvantage is, that such file could contain relative addresses which can point to another relatives which finally point to an absolute address. Calculating the absolute for each relative address is normally done by the assembler of the HPTOOLS package. When using this file format my application had to do this work. The Debug4x application (development system for the HP48/49) solved this by it's own way. Debug4x use a "Cross Reference Table" ASCII file, which is an additional output file from the assembler run of the assembler source file. I used a third way, why not use the resulting object file from the assembler run directly. I have these object files already on my computer, because I need them to write own programs for the calculators on my PC. The disadvantages of this format are, you can't easily modify them for example for eliminating additional names of the same object and the output format of the assembler is version and manufacturer specific. My first version of loading such a file and searching for the name of an address was too slow in some cases. Meanwhile I'm using an improved version which i much faster.

b) The next step was creating an object decoder. RPL programs consists of objects. Each object has normally a length of 5 nibbles (20 bit). Some of these objects are a prologue of a data type. Valid data types are Real Number, Complex Number, Array, String, Binary Integer, List, ...

The basic problem I had is, that these prologue addresses are calculator specific. So I can't use the same prologue address for a Real Number object in the HP28 and in the HP48. This is a problem why it's so difficult or impossible to use Voyager from Derek S. Nickel or SAD/SADHP from Jan Brittenson for decoding a HP28 ROM. I solved this by using the object prologue name from the entry point table. So I can use the same RPL decoder for each calculator where I have a entry point table from. These names are constant, because the are hard coded in the RPLCOMP compiler of HP.

I recently published the RPL viewer engine in a seperate program. The progam UNRPL can be found at

The viewer is at the moment part of an Alpha version of Emu42. At the moment I don't know if the viewer get part of a normal distribution.

c) Third I made a derivation of the work on the RPL object viewer. The disassember in the debugger don't know symbolic names, but with integrating the entry point table this information is now available. So on first step, I prepared the disassembler engine by integrating symbolic names for known entries. Because the debugger windows isn't wide enough I can show only the symbolic name and not the absolut address. To minimize this problem, the context help items "Go to address..." in the code and memory view accept sybolic entry names also now. With the modification of the disassembler engine the difference long/show view output between the external disassember and the debugger has gone. There's only the short view output any more. There's one side effect where I don't know if I fix it. The entry points are only known when the debugger is open, so the external disassembler works only in symbolic mode when debugger window is open and the symbol view is activated. If the debugger window is closed, the external disassembler works only in the numeric mode.

At adding also symbol labels to the debugger code view I realized that it make sense to decode PCO (Primitive Code Objects) in the debugger. In the current distributions PCO's are decoded as normal CPU opcode, so the following disassembly is always wrong. By detecting PCO code the following disassembly is also correct now. Only in some rare cases it might be possible I show a PCO instead of a correct CPU opcode.

The symbolic debugger extentions are part of all emulators in beta stage. So new versions of the IA32 emulators will contain this feature.


As I got very busy today I do not have time to write a long post, I'm sorry.
Nevertheless I would like all attenders to come to Allschwil. Some of you had a *really* long way and anyhow you thought it was worth. I hope it was. Do me it was a great pleasure to meet you all (again [for some of you]).

For the forum: here is a picture of all attenders:

Upper row from left to right:

Juergen Keller (CH),
Jean-Francois Garnier (FRA),
Peter Platzer (USA),
Diego Diaz (ESP),
Walter B. (GER),
Meindert Kuipers (NED),
Christoph Gieselink (GER),
Geir Isene (NOR),
Patrice Torchet (FRA),
Andreas Moeller (GER)

Lower row from left to right:

Thomas Klemm (CH),
Stefan Mettauer (CH),
Christoph Klug (GER),
Matthias Wehrli (CH),
Michael Franz Dietz (GER),
Pascal Gervaix (CH),
Michael Faulhaber (GER),
Raymond Del Tondo (GER),
Rainer Meng (CH)



All I can say is that it was most definitely worth the trip, even though it was a bit crazy to fly from NY to Allschwil for 2 days. First and foremost, Matthias and his wife were most gracious hosts to the whole lot of us and then in particular to me.

Second, meeting all the great geniuses behind the recent as well as long ago developments of the 41/71 in particular was a most special event and treat for me. As many before have said already, it felt good to be among so many people that share a similar passion and bring their creativity to bear. I'm definitely a late comer to this party and a much larger consumer than contributor and hence very thankful to the generosity of the community to help others along.

Last but not least, it was a very special treat to see Matthias' collection. And I was not only impressed by the vast amount of HP calculators and related articles, that was almost expected. What I did not expect was the meticulous organisation and presentation of his collection. Everything has its place and is kept in a save but also easy to view and enjoy way. And yes, there is always one more prototype or 'I think there are only two known pieces' that he pulls out and shares.

Thanks again and I really do hope to see many of you again.




Finally the pictures from the meeting in Allschwil are online. You can download the full package of 56 pictures here:


MatthiasAllschwil Meeting 2008

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