Hypothetical calculator with USB ports



#2

I wonder why HP, or other calculator makers, don't make calculators with USB ports.

It would seem logical and I would imagine that it would be a hit...


#3

The 50g features an USB port...

If it only had a better keyboard layout, that would be a hit;-)


#4

Quote:
The 50g features an USB port...

If it only had a better keyboard layout, that would be a hit;-)


Yes, a 50G with a keyboard layout design simliar to the 48GX and the same perfect feel to the keys would be a STUNNING calculator. It almost makes me weep to see all the superb enhancements on the 50G but coupled with a keyboard layout that just doesn't suit RPN/RPL. Why can't HP realise this and do something about it?!?!?!?

Mark


#5

I have been reluctant to buy a 49G+ or a 50 G for several years, using primarly an 48GX (and a 49G ...). The main reason why I did so were all those negative descriptions I heard here and there.

Sure, in comparision to an 48, the calculator feels cheap, but, it is a pleasure to use it !!!

The keyboard is much, much better than I expected, the screen is wonderful and with the SD-port, no more playing around with annoying file transfers over RS-232 plus USB adapter and those annoying 128kb memory cards ... .

There are certainly things to improve, but believe me, I do regret that I did not buy that 50G earlier.

#6

I think an SD card slot is more useful than an USB port.


#7

The 50G features both, USB and SD d:)

The only drawbacks are its RPL and too large for a pocket calc.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43S.

Walter


#8

Maybe Hecube was thinking to calculators with USB host capability, to access USB keys, instruments, etc... Personnaly, I would like it very much!

J-F


#9

Exactly.


#10

Don't any of the top TI calcs offer USB support for measuring/data acquisition? I just had it in the back of my mind that they offer an add-on system for this.

Personally, just for the fun of it, I'd like HP-IL or HP-IB on the back of any of the RPL calcs to conncect disk drives, printers and stuff. Unfortunately, I suppose that both these interfaces are pretty well dead and I'm not even sure a PCI card exists for either type for PC use.

Mark


#11

Yes, the TI-83 and 84 series have an interface to a data acquisition system. I've seen it used in the classroom before. I'm not sure it is USB but it might be because the cable that connects these calcs to the PC is mini-usb on the calc side and regular usb on the computer side.


#12

Casio offers this too, the EA-200, it interfaces to several of their high-end calcs and the latest fx-9860g has a built-in app that makes using this device easy. However, even though the fx-9860g has a USB port I think that EA-200 uses the custom serial port on the calculator instead.

Actually, HP offers something similar as well, the StreamSmart 400, but it only interfaces with the HP-39gs and HP-40gs. Which is probably why it's never discussed on this forum.


#13

50g as well. And HP's graphing emulator software.

TW


#14

I didn't know that. You should change your documentation to say that:

StreamSmart 400 Data Sheet

#15

But only after firmware version 2.15 has been installed. And only if you can find some place selling the StreamSmart box and accessories.

#16

Quote:
Personally, just for the fun of it, I'd like HP-IL or HP-IB on the back of any of the RPL calcs to conncect disk drives, printers and stuff. Unfortunately, I suppose that both these interfaces are pretty well dead and I'm not even sure a PCI card exists for either type for PC use.

It's not dead yet. JFG above has created the PILBox, an USB to HP-IL gateway for modern computers. The PILBox can changed to serial as well. Since the 50g has a serial port, it should be possible to create the solution you are looking for with a little bit of effort.

HrastProgrammer has done complete HP-IL implementations for the 48 series. It would not take much to port to the 50g serial port.

All of the pieces are there. Someone just has to want it enough to do something about it.

#17

hello,

the problem is not to offer USB Host capability... that is easy...
the problem is to have the drivers and applications to support that capability... I would doubt that USB gizmo makers will be creating drivers and apps for HP calculators for their stuff... I mean, they most of the time don't even do it for macs... so, you would end up with a great host capability that is unusable :-(

cyrille

#18

I remember long time ago Cyrille saying that one of the problem would be that to comply to USB specs, the calc would have to be able to provide quite a lot of current to the USB interface.

Arnaud

Edited: 4 Aug 2009, 3:29 a.m.

#19

I think all of the programmables should have access to external storage - either via USB or a memory card. The lack of this I/O is what prevents me from getting a 35S. After all, who wants to have to key in every program??

I think HP would do a lot better if they went back to expandable calculators. Get the customer into the calculator and then get them to purchase the add-ons. This worked great with the 41's, at least it did for me (I bought memory cards, printer, card reader, modules, oops, time to upgrade from 41C to 41CV...)

Finally, I think that with high-end calculators so complex these days, they really should have keyboard overlays available. User mode isn't helpful when there's no simple way to know what function is assigned to what key. Since most people will use a small fraction of the capabilities most of the time, I think they'd be happy to reassign the keys so that the functions they use most were easily accessible. It would greatly improve the usability.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Dave


#20

I think you nailed the unwritten assumption of my first post. For my life, I can't understand all the hoopla about the HP-42S because information can not be easily transferred back and forth.

There's a reason why the HP-65, 67, 41 and 71 were successful: you could exchange information rapidly from machine to machine.


#21

Quote:
For my life, I can't understand all the hoopla about the HP-42S because information can not be easily transferred back and forth.

I would say that the hoopla is because of all the significant extensions to the 41 programming language which the 42 provided with soft keys, alpha variables, multi-line display, etc. It is simply a shame that this level of advanced RPN programming was not ported to a box with I/O and/or a memory card. There is still an opportunity, if HP can be convinced that enough would sell to make such a box profitable.

Jake

P.S. - See you at the HHC2009 conference on 10/3-4/09 in Fort Collins, CO. For more info on HHC2009, see http://holyjoe.net/hhc2009/.


#22

Three great ideas, all of which need to meet in one calculator.

Four SDHD slots (#0 of which is the calculator's personality ROM), keyboard overlays (the base and keytop labels are for a "no personality", basic RPN machine), and both USB device and USB host ports (so that the calculator can read/write flash drives, etc, and also be read and written as one.) Bluetooth could be accessed via an SD card plugin, as could wireless b/g.

#23

Quote:

I would say that the hoopla is because of all the significant extensions to the 41 programming language which the 42 provided ..


Yes! The 42S represented the highest level RPN keystroke programming ever reached. I view the 32S as a step backward, jettisoning alpha, matrices and much else. But the 32S is the line that went forward.

I recognize that what I want is to turn back the clock. The Pioneer series represented a turning away from calculator-as-computer. The 41C was the last complete calculator/computer system HP produced. The later 48 machines pushed a lot of the systems features back onto the PC. And of course, the rise of the PC is why the Pioneer series made the turn toward calculator-as-appliance.

What I want is the history that never happened. You know that history, the one where the PC never came to dominate general purpose computing. I want the machine that was produced by 20 years of development of calculator-as-computer beyond the 41C. In my dreams, this machine's RPN keystroke programming would be advanced in surprising and original ways, but it would have followed the sign posts past the 42S on its way to fantasy modernity.

I'll never get that, of course. So what I'll settle for, if I get the chance, is a RPN machine at least as capable as the 42S, using similar or identical keystroke programming (but feel free to improve that) and with I/O so I can store and load programs. A large memory that can store lots of these programs, which I'll undoubtedly crib from my fellow enthusiasts, or write myself, would be nice too. A faster processor would be fine, but that's less important to me than battery life. Simple.

I just don't get why HP doesn't wave a wand and create my dream machine.

:)

Regards,
Howard

Edited: 3 Aug 2009, 7:59 p.m.


#24

Quote:
So what I'll settle for, if I get the chance, is a RPN machine at least as capable as the 42S, using similar or identical keystroke programming (but feel free to improve that) and with I/O so I can store and load programs. A large memory that can store lots of these programs, .... A faster processor would be fine, but that's less important to me than battery life. Simple.

I just don't get why HP doesn't wave a wand and create my dream machine.

:)

Regards,
Howard


Sounds just like Walter's 43s...

#25

I'm sure there's a market for an instant-on programmable scientific/programmable calculator. The problem is that HP does too well with their other businesses to care.

The calculator business should have been spun-off with Agilent.

#26

There are plenty of calculators with USB capabilities. If you're asking about function as a USB host, that's another story. USB devices tend to be somewhat power-hungry, at least from a portable device standpoint, and they require drivers for the host device. So if HP wanted to make a bunch of USB devices they could certainly do it, but who wants to carry around a lead-acid battery backpack to keep the thing running all day? (only a sight exaggeration)


#27

So they just need to bring back HPIL and the various interface converters. The new version would be much faster, but same idea.

USB is also a misnomer. It's not a true bus, in that you can't connect one port to lots of devices simultaneously unless you have an external hub. HPIL could go to 31 devices with primary-only addressing, and over 900 with secondary addressing.

Edited: 5 Aug 2009, 2:43 a.m.

#28

I'll try to answer a few posts in one shot here:

USB device connectivity is useful for data exchange with the PC. USB host connectivity might help with a few standard devices like memory sticks, keyboards, data aquisition units and, most important, a companion calc of the same or similar bread for data exchange. The later can be accomplished with a hybrid port that can switch to host mode if neccessary. AFAIK, this exists and is called USB-to-go or something similar. Modern TIs can connect this way vie their USB ports.

TI's data aquisition with the CBL (calculator based laboratory) is via a serial custom connection, the same that is used for calc-to-calc and calc-to-PC transfers. It's a little like I2C. I've just bought a Vernier Lab Pro (a "super CBL" by the original manufacturer) with USB connetivity. I've yet to find out what it offers more then a standard CBL.

For a portable device that stores some valuable information (be it telephone numbers or programs) removable storage is the key. In order to ease data transfers, Bluetooth seems to be a viable option.


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