Favorite 48GX Program



#8

Hello:

I've been to dsome of the HP 48 download sites. Can you folks chime in & tell me your favorite downloaded routines?

I'm new to the 48 environment.

John Kercheval


#9

Hi;

is there any particular subject that you're interested on?

You can try something at this site. Many programs can be found there.

Is that what you are talking about? Hope it is of help.

Best regards.


#10

Yes, I went there. I was asking for members' favorites on this board. There are many programs at hpcalc.org.

JK


#11

Hi;

You know, you touched a very sensitive point. I really like programming the HP48/49, S/G series, and any other RPN/RPL Hewpack. What I miss is the needing for that kind of activity nowadays. I see people walking around with PDA´s, Palms, Notes and the like, as we, in our golden HewPack time, could walk with our HP41, 71, 67, 97, 34, 15C, 16C, and the like. Now, having an HP48 full of programs has no such glamour (not among us here, of course, who will die with our precious in hand), and I would like to know if people (Carly included) no longer understands it or their place (calculator´s place) in tech society has been filled with other kind of portable (mentioned above).

I do not substitute any of my 10 Hewpack calcs for a new equipment. I have my laptop, my 5 desktops and I work with them (I´m a teacher), and enjoy my vacancy time with the calcs (my shrink says it is fine... for now), and my family, of course.

All of this to ask: will we be happy to see calculators being used again? Does HP know something we don´t? I´ll keep my calcs and use them as long as any math/scientific procedure can be programmed on them.

Oh, yes, the best 48 program. I´m not sure it exists, but I would like seeing a good, machine coded file browser, that would ADD easy-to-use features, instead of adding features. Something better than 49´s FILES.

Cheers (sorry writing that much).


#12

Excellent post. Long live Brazil!!

JK

#13

Hi,

did you try Filer48 from Raul Del Cid Lopez?

IMHO it's the best file browser around.

It looks similar to the MK or 49G filer,
but the best point is you don't need the MK to run it.

BTW it's my favourite program from another author.
Ok, the other one is JAZZ, of course;-)

Regards,

Raymond

#14

The subject of "numbers and how to use them" is foreign to most people so a calculator (beyond a four-banger) is fairly useless to them (remember the thread about "funny looks" from people who see our collections?). My current favorite example is a TV ad for a local furniture store which starts with, "You work hard all year for your income tax refund!" (In the U.S., we tell our employer how much tax to take out of our pay. If you do it right, they take out just enough. A large number of people in the U.S. believe that if they get a refund at the end of the year, they are not paying any taxes, and the bigger the refund [read: the worse the information they gave their employer], the more Uncle Sam [the government] likes them!) My point is that many people refuse to deal with numbers even when it is in their own best interest.

A PDA is like a cell phone, most people can see some use for it. The only thing I have like a PDA is the early Psion Organizer with the sliding case, two-line LCD, and EPROM cartridge storage. It has an interesting user programming language. Do modern PDAs come with a user programming capability? I've heard about the calculator emulators, but I'm talking about something that ships with the unit.

I got interested in the Macintosh when Windows 95 came out, since everyone was saying Win95 was a poor copy of the Mac OS. I was most surprised to find that the Mac OS doesn't come with any kind of programming language. Other than the software development system, the only thing Apple customer service had to recommend was the Resource Editor, which lets you change some things in existing programs. I can appreciate Apple's point of view that since they provided the ClarisWorks integrated utility, a user who needed to automate some calculations could do it with the spreadsheet. (I'm talking about the System 7 era, I don't know what the state of things Mac is today.)

I suppose the same can be said of Windows, since the old Basic interpreter (if it is still there at all) is only supported as a "legacy app" in a DOS box. But Microsoft does provide a wide range of programming environments for Windows. A beginner can do a lot with Visual Basic without having to learn to be a system programmer. I'm going to take a chance of drawing flames by speaking in defense of Bill Gates. I honestly believe he is a guy who loves programming and thinks a lot of people with different levels of ability can benefit from programming and that is why Microsoft sells a wide range of programming systems. I believe the official legend that Microsoft only jumped on the chance to provide DOS to IBM (when Digital Research told IBM to go away) because they didn't want to lose their deal to sell IBM the Basic interpreter. I've been listening to people blast Bill Gates for wanting to get paid for that thing since the late 70's, but I think that argument is in the same class with the belief that we are all entitled to any music we want through Napster (Nabster?) or the complaint that all HP manuals aren't available on-line.

In the interest of "fairness", I thought I would add that I understand and appreciate the argument that says "why should I have to pay for Windows just to buy a computer?" and I guess by extension "why should I have to pay for Basic just because I want to buy DOS". Then I realized this is the same argument people make for Nap(b)ster: "why should I have to buy an album when all I want is one song!" Does anybody remember Sams Photofacts TV repair manuals? You had to buy them in sets that included some off-the-wall models and a popular model.


#15

> Do modern PDAs come with a user programming capability? I've heard about the calculator emulators, but I'm talking about something that ships with the unit.

No, they don't -- and for some very good reasons. But, to the best of my knowledge, all of them do have development environments available commercially. Most have at least some tools available for free. After all, the vast majority of people who bought calculators didn't buy programmables, and those who did paid a premium. I don't see that much has changed, really.


>I was most surprised to find that the Mac OS doesn't come with any kind of programming language.

I'm not sure why this came as a surprise to you, since I can't think of another commercial OS sold during that time that did (was MS still shipping qbasic with Win95?). Now, I'm not sure how you're defining "user programming language" but if it includes scripting languages, then the version of System 7 that was shipping at the time (7.5 IIRC) did come with AppleScript, a fairly powerful -- if poorly documented -- object-oriented scripting language. It should have been in the "CD Extras" folder of the System 7 CD.


> Microsoft does provide a wide range of programming environments for Windows.

Yes, it does. So do most OS vendors, including Apple. At the time, they were pretty much giving away MPW, though most people were using CodeWarrior by Metrowerks. Today, Apple ships OS X with a fairly complete GNU development set, plus an additional CD of development tools that includes a full IDE.

> I believe the official legend that Microsoft only jumped on the chance to provide DOS to IBM (when Digital Research told IBM to go away) because they didn't want to lose their deal to sell IBM the Basic interpreter.

Yup, that's pretty much exactly how it happened. IBM wanted to license BASIC (and, as I recall, the Pascal and FORTRAN compilers that Microsoft was developing) for their new "Personal Computer". After DR dropped the ball with CP/M, Microsoft bought QDOS, polished it up a little, and offered it to IBM as MS-DOS in order to save their language contract. Arguably the best deal ever made in the industry -- from Microsoft's point of view.


Maybe it's just me, but I'm not exactly sure what your point is. Are you arguing for or against programmability? Or, perhaps, some other sublimely subtle point which I've obviously missed...? :^)


#16

I'm for programmability. I see your point, that most people didn't buy programmable calculators. I've got a TI-57 manual that says one reason to learn to use a programmable calculator is because "In the future you'll be seeing more and more 'programmable' things - from microwave ovens to home computers." That was written in 1977. Today a common programmable device is a VCR, with which apparently most people can't set the time let alone program the timer (of course, you've got to do one before the other will work). Regarding the cost premium for a programmable calculator, I wonder what cost was added to the Apple II, the TRS-80, the IBM PC to have Basic in ROM? Or to include Basic with MS-DOS? Back when people were sharing Microsoft Basic for CP/M, what was Microsoft charging for it? I understand that Basic was more important then, since there weren't many applications and most early adopters probably wanted to write their own programs.

I just verified that my other PC, which came with WinME, has a copy of QBasic I must have copied from this, Win95 Upgrade system (the files are stamped 1995) and the Help system has no mention of Basic or Programming. I was also surprised and pleased to see that WinME comes with Debug. Most of the programming I have done has been assembly language in Z80 and 8086. I've used the Debug one-line assembler a lot to write short programs and have my own convention for writing and naming programs to be run from Debug. I like to say I think of Debug as an environment.

I'm not familiar with AppleScript, is it something like MS-DOS batch files or Unix shell scripts? While that is also very good to have, I think it is more an adjunct than an alternative to a programming language.

I started out responding to, and sympathizing with, Luiz's remarks. I like programming but I think I understand why it isn't a more popular activity. I think any computer should come standard with some provision for the user to write his own program, in case he finds he needs to do something that the available functions won't do. Basic with MS-DOS is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. It's always there (if it doesn't come with Windows anymore, I think you can install it from your old DOS diskettes), it gives you a good set of program control statements, lets you do I/O pretty well - it's fairly complete and easy to use. It doesn't necessarily support or enforce the best programming rules - you can write as messy a program as you want - but with good programming practices you can get very good results. The same things can be said about a good programmable calculator.

I think I know what MPW is - Apple's Mac software development system? - and I recognize the third party products you named, but those aren't for the casual user. Also they are too big to just include with the machine. I understand the reason they are so big and complicated is that they support GUI programming.

To draw a parallel to using Basic in a DOS box, I guess I'm saying that no matter how powerful the operating system is, it should come with an easy to use, text oriented programming language. I understand most people will never use it, that's why it has to be small and inexpensive. But if it is there, some people will use it, and then other people who would never write their own programs would use already written programs and possible modify them a little. I think that's how people get interested in programming. But if there isn't a simple programming environment in every system, that cross-pollination never occurs.

Just because I learned to use computers before GUI OS's,I guess I shouldn't assume that anyone would find a command line interface easy to use. I remember back in the Windows 3.1 days, a summer intern who had his system set up to go straight to Windows, he didn't know how to format a floppy from DOS - and I didn't know how to do it from Windows! But I assume programming requires a little initiative, and providing by default only a simple, text-based programming system is a practical solution to my concern that some programmability should always be available.

And while I continue to dwell in the past, I understand a lot of people are learning to program in Java in web pages.


#17

[NB: Most of this is way off topic, so if that kind of thing bothers you, skip this post.]

> Regarding the cost premium for a programmable calculator, I wonder what cost was added to the Apple II, the TRS-80, the IBM PC to have Basic in ROM? Or to include Basic with MS-DOS? Back when people were sharing Microsoft Basic for CP/M, what was Microsoft charging for it?

My comment on the price premium was actually in reference to PDAs, but with a little fudging, it's still true for PCs. As I recall, when Microsoft first started selling their basic interpreter, they charged about $50 for the casette tape version (paper tape was, I believe, a little cheaper). I really don't know where Tandy got their BASIC, but I'm pretty sure Apple developed their version in-house, so it probably didn't cost them too much on a per-unit basis. I seem to recall that the license fee paid by IBM was in the $20-30 range per unit, plus some additional up-front development costs and an annual base fee to cover on-going development and support. It's hard to say with any authority.

Still, these were high-buck machines in their day ($1000-$2500) so the purchaser had already paid the premium for programmability -- even if it was never used. At that time, a decent scientific non-programmable was in the $30-50 range with programmables about running anywhere from $150 to $300. In terms of price premium as a percentage, programming languages were dirt cheap on the early home computers. Of course, this was in a day when the idea of selling software -- let alone an entire industry devoted to doing so -- sounded just a bit odd. After all, the real money is in the hardware, right? :^)

> I'm not familiar with AppleScript, is it something like MS-DOS batch files or Unix shell scripts? While that is also very good to have, I think it is more an adjunct than an alternative to a programming language.

It's really hard to describe AS without getting into the nuts and bolts of Mac OS interprocess communication. The closest thing I can think of is Tcl/Tk, but even that's not an exact fit. It is possible to create entire applications in AppleScript with full-featured GUIs and help systems, but I'm not sure why anyone would. If you're curious, you may want to take a look at Apple's AS page. In particular, the "Overview of AppleScript" section of the Language Guide contains a pretty good shotgun intro.

> I like to say I think of Debug as an environment.

Yeah, baby! Bare iron. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Structured programming is for wimps. ;^)

> I'm saying that no matter how powerful the operating system is, it should come with an easy to use, text oriented programming language. I understand most people will never use it, that's why it has to be small and inexpensive.

I agree. I also think that Ferrari and BMW should make inexpensive, easy to own sports cars. I'd order two. :^)

In all seriousness though, it would seem that they do. As you pointed out, QBasic is still available for Windows and every other OS that I can think of off the top of my head contains at least some form of scripting ability (and several contain full-blown IDEs with a serious set of tools) which might whet the appetite of a lucky few to explore further.

Unfortunately, as you point out, modern operating systems are complex and, if one wishes to write anything other than trivial code, a certain level of understanding must be achieved in the OS's run-time environment. There is just no way around it. Some RAD environments come close. Those are generally a good, low-impact way to start, but they tend to be a little to spendy to satisfy simple curiosity.

Ultimately, it comes down to money. Since the vast majority of owners will never, ever have the slightest inclination to program their systems, the folks who sell them don't feel particularly inclined to include a development system. Even basic, text-oriented environments require maintenance and at least some level of support. And "simple" and "easy-to-use" often translates into "complicated" and "maintenance-intensive" when it comes to creating a devlopment environment. Which translates directly into money. And every year the personal computer industry becomes more and more like a commodity industry -- the cheapest wins and quality takes a back seat to price.


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