What happened to William Wickes?



#11

As I learn to program in System RPL, I see William Wickes's name all over everything, but a google search doesn't show him. Does anyone know what happened to Dr. Wickes?

Dave


#12

Hi Dave

William Wickes, also known as Bill Wickes, is fortunately AFAIK alive, well and still going strong.

Please correct me if I'm wrong: I have read in the HPCC magazine "Datafile" that William has been working for Hewlett Packard on a video conference system called HALO.

I don't know if Bill reads this. It could be interesting to have an update on what he is working on at the time. As you write he really is a key (!) person on HP calculator history indeed.

Regards from denmark

Johnny Bjoern Rasmussen

Edited: 19 Feb 2009, 3:14 p.m.


#13

Hi,

I met Bill Wicks in 1980 when he was a professor of physics at the University of Maryland (College Park). I was well aware of his involvement in synthetic programming since the HP-41C came out. Jim De Arras and I would drive from Richmond, Virginia, to College Park to attend the Maryland chapter of the PPC. The meetings usually ended by midnight and we were home by 2 or 2:30 am! So I got to see Bill frequently. I am impressed that someone like Bill Wicks went from a customer of HP calculator to someone who influenced their design as a member of HP.

Namir

#14

Hi,

It was Bill who arranged for us to hold our HHC2008 HP Handhelds Conference in the HP Corvallis facility back in September. It also turned out that he would have attended the conference, had it not been that he had a family committment that weekend and had to be out of town. Bill has been in charge of the R&D for the HP Halo "telepresence" devices and in fact, 15 months ago, a few of us got to sneak away from the HHC2007 conference in San Diego and use the local Halo system to conference with Bill up in Corvallis for around 90 minutes. Here is an image of Bill in Corvallis from 2007 when we communicated with him from inside the San Diego Halo:

Perhaps we can convince Bill to participate in HHC2009 on October 3-4th at the HP facility in Vancouver, Washington when we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the HP41.

Jake Schwartz


#15

Hello,

Bill still works for HP and lives in Corvallis. His famous green book on HP-41 Synthetic Programming (self published in several languages) is probably one of the few books that actually made money. Bill promised a trilogy of books covering the transition of 41 to 48, but he didn't finish the third volume, if memory serves. By that time, early 90's, the market for books was drying up and he wasn't sure it it would be worth the effort. If his son went away to college he would finish the manuscript, if he stayed home, he would not. His son stayed home. I discussed that with Bill as New product Manager at EduCALC at the time.

I remember when Bill called me at home one evening saying that he had been offered a job at HP. He was seriously debating making the move from Academia to Industry. Long after he accepted the HP offer he commented to me that he paid more in taxes working for HP than he earned as a physics professor.

As Halo R&D manager he has the claim of working on the smallest HP consumer product AND the largest HP consumer product.

X < > Y,
Richard


#16

My brother-in-law works for HP in Corvallis (large format printer applications?). He has a few older HP calculators and a while ago he happened to mention there was an employee that worked near the office he was in that was involved with HP calculators in the past. I asked what his name was and he said Bill Wickes! Small world.

Thank you for the update Richard.
And thank you for verifying that the ROM was the latest version before selling me my HP-48SX in 1991. I use it every day and it still works great.

#17

There was "HP 41/HP 48 Transitions" published in 1990, "HP 48 Insights Part I: Principles and Programming" in 1991, and "HP 48 Insights Part II: Problem-Solving Resources" in 1992. I count that as three books. (One could argue that the "Insights" are two volumes of the same book.) I can't imagine there was much left to say after Part II (parts I and II total 718 pages).


#18

Quote:
There was "HP 41/HP 48 Transitions" published in 1990, "HP 48 Insights Part I: Principles and Programming" in 1991, and "HP 48 Insights Part II: Problem-Solving Resources" in 1992. I count that as three books. (One could argue that the "Insights" are two volumes of the same book.) I can't imagine there was much left to say after Part II (parts I and II total 718 pages).

However, when Bill began updating the Insights books for the G series, he only did the first volume and stopped before redoing the second one. I think that may be what Richard meant.

Jake

#19

Thanks Jake about mentioning teh dates and location for HHC2009. I did not know that info, I will mark it down and plan to be there!

Merci beaucoup

Namir


#20

Thanks for the update everyone.

Dave


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