Upgraded iPhone Simulators in App Store today


RLM's 12C Classic v. 3.0 is OS 3.0 ready, has a lot more options (my favourite is the option to turn off the annoying auto orientation feature), and just downright looks and responds better.

Byron Fosters 42S is in v. 2.1 and has incorporated some changes, my personal favourite is the automatic exportation of the printer output as a text file. Getting at this text file is not clearly documented, but it is there--one logs into the web server over wifi at the given URL as one does to import or export programs, and the file is simply print.txt in the root directory and can be easily viewed in the web browser, saved to desktop, etc.

I think both of these upgrades are OS 3.0 dependent, so if you haven't splurged the ten bucks for the upgrade I don't think you can use them.

Antonio Lagana recently advised me that i41cx+ v. 2.3 has been submitted, but the approval turnaround time has been slow. The fix here that I am interested in is synchronization with the iPhone clock. This feature was broken with OS 3.0 and a workaround had to be implemented.

Hope this is of interest.



With T-mobile and other claims that more than a Million G1/Android Phones already on the market, do you forsee enough demand for 20b/42s/41c/12c emulators compatible for the Andriod?


I do know that here in Canada Rogers Wireless is marketing the new HTC phone up the ying yang, ostensibly as an alternative to iPhone and BlackBerry. I don't know much about the interface or developement issues, but it would be interesting to ask someone like Eric Smith or Thomas Okken whether they see it worthwhile porting their work to that platform.


When it comes to calculator emulators/simulators for the new mobile platforms, I can only comment on Free42; here are my thoughts:

Regarding Android, the last time I checked (admittedly, a while ago), that platform only supported Java for application development. I like Java a lot, but when it comes to porting Free42, being limited to *only* Java is a big problem; Free42 relies heavily on C++ operator overloading (for the Decimal version only), and, to a lesser but still significant degree, on C unions (for both the Decimal and Binary versions); neither of these features are available in Java, and working around that would be a major effort -- read, hundreds of hours.

More recently, I have heard rumors that support for C/C++ application development for Android is in the works; maybe it is even available already. If so, that would remove the major stumbling blocks.

Having said all that, the other major issue when porting something as nontrivial as Free42 is motivation. The reasons I wrote Free42 for Unix/X11/Motif, PalmOS, and Windows, are (1) I like the HP-42S enough to make the effort, and (2) I was using those 3 target platforms regularly myself.

The Free42 ports I did for Unix/X11/GTK, PalmOS/ARM, and Pocket PC, were not motivated by my own needs; I did those in response to requests from users, *and* I agreed to do them because they weren't terribly hard to do. The GTK port was easy because almost everything Motif allows you to do, GTK lets you do more easily; the PalmOS ARM port was easy because all I had to do was deal with the nasty details of compiling and integrating ARM code in a PalmOS application; and the Pocket PC port was easy to do because that environment has APIs that are mostly identical to those of Windows.

The first major port to a *completely* new environment was the iPhone port, which was something I wasn't particularly interested in at all... but others were, specifically, Byron Foster and Susan Mackay both created initial basic iPhone ports, and Byron's port has since matured into a very nearly complete one (and in some ways even better than any of my own versions). I'm cooperating with Byron, but he has done almost all of the heavy lifting, while I have contributed mainly suggestions, bug fixes, and only a small part of actual functionality (i.e. the HTTP server for program import and export).

While I still enjoy the results of all of these porting efforts, it is getting to be harder and harder to justify all the time and effort that it takes. There is not a lot of money in the calculator emulator/simulator business; you may be able to make some money from it, through donations, or iPhone App Store revenues, but it is *not* a living; if I divide my income from Free42 by the hours I have spent on it, I arrive at something like Chinese sweatshop wages -- which would be OK if I were living in China, but with the cost of living in New Jersey, it's a different story.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining! I have enjoyed writing Free42, and porting it (and helping port it) to several platforms in addition to the original three, and I still get a big kick out of all the feedback I get; not just the compliments, donations and iTunes payments, but also the complaints, bug reports, and suggestions; *all* of these kinds of feedback, positive *and* negative, tell me that there are people out there who are actually using Free42, or just having fun with it, and that is perhaps the greatest reward of all.

My problem lies in the diversity of *mobile* platforms. When it comes to computers, there's really only Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (and other Unixes) to worry about; in the mobile arena, on the other hand, there's PalmOS, Pocket PC (or Windows CE), Symbian, BlackBerry, Java ME, Android, iPhone, and WebOS, and maybe others as well. Making *everybody* happy would be awesome, but life is too short support all those platforms in my spare time... and doing these kinds of ports *commercially* does not appear to be feasible because calculator emulators/simulators just aren't much of a market. HP-12C clones, maybe; HP-42S clones, no.

I would love for the mobile arena to settle on just one or two OSes, and if those platforms support C++ application development, I'll be happy to port Free42 to them... But until them, trying to support everything is a lot like fighting the Hydra.

So, my plans for the future of Free42 are: once I'm happy with the state of Free42 on the iPhone (meaning, Byron's and/or my own port) and the Mac (my own port which is one or two weeks from completion), I am going to stop creating any new ports, and focus only on maintaining the existing ones. Between the Windows, Pocket PC, PalmOS, PalmOS ARM, Unix/X11/Motif, Unix/X11/GTK, iPhone, Mac OS X, and Mac OS X Dasboard versions, there's enough there to keep me occupied.

I'll be happy to collaborate with anyone who wants to port Free42 to a new platform, but I am reluctant to commit to taking the lead in any such ports.

For a project I do just for the love of it, this is becoming too much work, and for something I'd do for a living, there's not enough demand for it to pay my bills.

I'm still glad I did this project, still happy to support it, but I just don't have the time or energy to expand the scope of the project any further, at least not any time soon.

Edited: 5 July 2009, 4:01 a.m.


Thanks for Free42 and all its versions, and thanks for making it open source so that others can contribute.


Thomas, I do think it is more than fair for you to draw a firm line about taking the lead in expanding the project to accommodate every handheld operating environment that keeps popping up.

I am primarily a BB user as my handheld communication device--phone, SMS, email--and after weeks of careful experimentation, research, and deliberation I chose it over the iPhone. But I still tote around my first gen. iPod touch, now getting dinged and scratched, as my media player of choice and a handheld computational machine loaded up with all of the finest--Foster's 42S, i41cx+, SCI-15C, RLM's 12C classic. I recall that in my pre-BB days I would have no problem toting around two handheld devices (usually a simple cell phone and my Palm TX for calendar, address book, and Free42), so this is no more cumbersome, and actually gives me more handheld gizmo power in my pockets or bag or on my belt.

I can appreciate the BB Storm or Android user yearning for the all inclusive one device experience of the iPhone user, but so far my arrangement keeps me content. I don't think there is yet an ideal "do it all" handheld system out there. Some may argue that the iPhone 3GS comes close, but I have tried one and for the life of me I can type nearly as quickly on the touch screen as I can on the real QWERTY of my 8900 Curve.

I know many cannot justify the expense, but for those willing to splurge I have no trouble suggesting to the BB, Symbian, or Android user that picking up at least the entry level iPod touch is a much faster, effective, and gratifying way of accessing all of these great simulators and emulators than waiting around for a port to their handheld OS of choice.



Byron Fosters 42S is in v. 2.1 and has incorporated some changes, my personal favourite is the automatic exportation of the printer output as a text file. Getting at this text file is not clearly documented, but it is there--one logs into the web server over wifi at the given URL as one does to import or export programs, and the file is simply print.txt in the root directory and can be easily viewed in the web browser, saved to desktop, etc.

Copy was also added. Double tap to copy X or X,Y,Z,T or printout to clipboard.

Key click was also fixed.


I like what RLM did on the 12C with highlighting the label keys when active. I think it's an effective use of the iPhone interface. I also like how the portrait mode is full featured with all the buttons. I may be biased, but I bet portrait mode will become the mode of choice among most users of RLM's 12c.

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