[WP34s] suggestions



#2

The more I use the WP34s, the more I love it. Nice work! It's really worthy!

Here are some suggestions that I have that could improve it a bit for me:

1)

Display less annunciators by default. By default the following ones are lit:

360 RPN BEG

The problem with this is, the display looks quite busy with lots of information while it isn't really needed.

I think the RPN one can be left unlit without problems, it's always on so it gives no information at all. It looks like the RPN symbol goes off while it calculates something. Maybe it can be inverted: It's off when not busy, and briefly turns on when the calculator is busy.

The 360 one isn't needed either. There's already a RAD symbol for radians, and the 'g' for gradians. So it's not needed to display another annunciator for degrees. You know it's in degrees if RAD nor 'g' are shown.

The BEG one is annoying. It indicates that the program pointer is at 000, but why do I need to see a BEG symbol forever in the screen for that even when not running programs? And doesn't the XEQ button already start running things from the start of a label? If you write all your things with a label, is the info where the program pointer is useful at all?

2)

In addition to combination and permutation, add Stirling numbers of the second kind. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_numbers_of_the_second_kind)

3)

Add prime factorization. This doesn't have to return all prime factors: Instead it could return two numbers, the lowest (or highest) prime factor, and the input number divided through that prime factor. By repeated application you can get all prime factors this way.

4)

In the manual, add more tables. It's easier to look certain things up in tables than plain text:

-A tabular listing of the meaning of each annunciator

-A tabular listing of each keyboard key (including the f, g, h functions of course) with a short description of its function and PDF link to the page where it is explained in more detail.

-In the section about display and modes, also have a table of the modes and a short description of their meaning, in the same order as they appear in the mode menu. E.g. if the short description of 2COMPL would just say "2's complement", I would already immediately know what it does, and know that it does not mean "complex number notation somehow involving a 2".

5)

In the manual, under complex operations, say that you enter imaginary part, then ENTER, then real part. Currently, the manual says

"The key CPX is employed as a prefix for calling complex functions. E.g. CPX COS calls the complex cosine, and it is displayed and listed as CCOS"

It would be good if it said how to enter and read complex numbers somewhere at that point.

6)

If you enter 1..2, have "1/2" instead of "1 0/1". I don't think anyone ever needs to enter a fraction of '0/1', so it's a bit of a wasted shortcut now :). I already know that .1.2 gives 1/2.

7)

Why does it bother adding 0/1 or /1 behind integers when in fraction modes?

8)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there doesn't seem to be a button to toggle between fractional and decimal point notation? If the screen is displaying 1/2, is there no button to show it as 0.5? Maybe I'm just missing it. But going to the 'mode' for this is an overly long procedure in any case. The quickest way I discovered is pressing './,' twice in a row, but it's weird that changing an international setting would be the interface to this, and the button to switch to fractional again is on the opposite side of the calculator (the ab/c at the top).

The HP35s has the FDISP button to toggle between fractional and decimal. Some Ti's have an 'F<>D' button for this.

Also:

If you enter a fraction, it goes to fraction display mode.
If you enter a decimal value, it doesn't go back to decimal display mode.
I think your choice of display mode should be independent of how you enter numbers... If you're in decimal display mode and enter 1/2, it could be displayed as 0.5, since you didn't ask it to switch to fraction mode. The opposite is already true now: if you enter 0.5 while in fraction mode, it displays it as 1/2 instead of as what you entered.

9)

Entering binary base mode seems easy. Going back to scientific numbers appears to be a lot harder though, going to the mode menu, choosing base there, and guessing that entering 0 there will make things normal again. Maybe if you press the '2' button while already in base 2, or the 8 button when already in 8, and so on, could toggle this off and go back to floating point numbers?

Or maybe it's already possible with some easy way, in that case I missed it, sorry.

10)

loggamma function.

11)

Examples in the manual could be nice!

12)

The following are huge feature requests and I guess they aren't there for a reason (limitations etc...): numerical differentiation, matrix and vector math (multiply, determinant, invert, cross product, ...), solvers like linear equations, quartic function, ...

As you can see, the suggestions are for things that are way less worse than the problems of the 35s, so this means I find the 34s really really good. Thanks for all the work put into this!


Edited: 28 Aug 2011, 6:12 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#3

For points 8) and 9): yo can go back to normal, floating point mode, pressing [f]RCL. The label "H .d" means "go back to normal mode"... I agree it's not intuitive but it works.

I agree with your other points, especially about the display, fraction mode, and manual! :)

Cristian

#4

The big applications (matrix and such) will appear as libraries written in user code. Gene has already started porting stuff from the PPC ROM. The libraries can be installed via the serial interface.


#5

Is there enough user memory, and is it fast enough that way, for good such libraries?


#6

We have 8 program regions for libraries, each good for more then 500 steps. User programs are very compact in nature so you can expect quite some functionality from these libraries to come. Adding functions in native code is more demanding on flash space. So if the extended internal precision is not needed, user code is the better choice.

#7

Quote:
Here are some suggestions that I have that could improve it a bit for me:

Feel free to offer patches implementing some of these :-)


Quote:
In addition to combination and permutation, add Stirling numbers of the second kind. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_numbers_of_the_second_kind)

I did seriously investigate implementing these. Unfortunately, they are not worth the space it would consume to do so natively -- flash is too full. A user program to calculate them could be put into one of the user flash segments and run from there. I'd probably rework the formula to calculate log of the Stirling number and take the exponential at the end (and perhaps round to integer) to avoid overflow issues but apart from that it won't be difficult.


Quote:
Add prime factorization. This doesn't have to return all prime factors: Instead it could return two numbers, the lowest (or highest) prime factor, and the input number divided through that prime factor. By repeated application you can get all prime factors this way.

We have code to find the smallest prime factor of a number but it isn't complied in (about half a kilobyte of flash to include it). It is top of the list of new features to go in if flash space magically appears. A user mode program to do this would be possible of course. We do, however, have a next prime function which can be used to factorise numbers.


Quote:
loggamma function.

This is there. Look in the manual or the X.FCN catagloue (real, complex or program modes only). Supported for real and complex numbers. This is used very heavily internally so exposing it cost us a dozen or two bytes in total and it is quite useful in of itself.

Digamma is implemented but not included for space reasons (a bit over 1k bytes for this natively).


Quote:
The following are huge feature requests and I guess they aren't there for a reason (limitations etc...): numerical differentiation, matrix and vector math (multiply, determinant, invert, cross product, ...), solvers like linear equations, quartic function, ...

  • Numerical differentiation is present already -- look up f' and f" in the manual for a description.
  • Vector maths is in a user code library 3D only.
  • Matrix maths in user code is being worked on.

Finally, just about any HP-41 program will run almost unchanged on the 34S so missing pieces of functionality are often easy to find and port. Many of the above feature requests are already available from the Museum's library or other Internet sources.


- Pauli

#8

Thanks for your remarks. That's a long list. In addition to what Pauli and Marcus did tell you already, you'll get an answer from me as well, especially regarding the documentation points. But it's past midnight here, so I ask for your patience.

Good night!

Walter

#9

Got some more suggestions in the meantime :)

1)

In the MODE menu, show some selector symbol next to the currently active modes!

2)

I find E3 in E3ON and E3OFF a really strange name for thousand separator... Would SEPON and SEPOFF make sense? I would have been able to guess what it was with such names!

3)

Is 1e384 the highest possible number you can enter? A search for "largest", "biggest", "highest", "represent" and "up to" did not return anything related to this in the manual. And even the section about out of range error didn't say it!

4)

Someone reading the manual but not frequenting this forum, will never know what the special cable is, not even when opening the linked PDF by Tim Wessman (except the photos of it).

The Index of Operations in the manual is really handy by the way, thanks!


Edited: 28 Aug 2011, 2:11 p.m.


#10

Quote:
In the MODE menu, show some selector symbol next to the currently active modes!

This one won't be small to implement but would be possible. pretty much all the catalogue code is common. There are extras to check for constants and conversions and display the bottom line appropriately. These apply to the entire catalogue. Doing this will require decoding and checking every entry in the MODE catalogue -- i.e. more code that I'd be willing to commit to.


Quote:
Is 1e384 the highest possible number you can enter? A search for "largest", "biggest", "highest", "represent" and "up to" did not return anything related to this in the manual. And even the section about out of range error didn't say it!

Yes. We use the decimal64 format for numbers and this is limited to that maximum exponent.


- Pauli

#11

Quote:
I find E3 in E3ON and E3OFF a really strange name for thousand separator... Would SEPON and SEPOFF make sense? I would have been able to guess what it was with such names!
No need for guessing - please look at the index whenever you find a command name you don't know at least.

Walter


#12

Ok, in the meantime I found indeed that the big table is the place to look for any unknown function. I'm better trained at both finding my way around the manual, and using the calculator, now.

So consider some of the suggestions to be things a new user may encounter :)

The reason I never read through the complete manual, is I never printed it out. I've used it more to look up things when I needed them. The first thing I wanted to do just after I flashed the calculator, was set the modes to my liking, so I ended up in the modes section of the manual without knowing the large table covered every single command!

Too bad that it won't do the fractions like HP-32SII :(
Is it possible that in some locales, fractions are always written as a mixed number, even if the integer is 0, hence the input method favoring that way? I almost never enter a fraction in mixed mode, I expect the calculator to convert it to that for me :) Typing two dots in a row could be a shortcut for the fraction symbol... It's not *that* inconsistent imho...


Edited: 28 Aug 2011, 8:13 p.m.


#13

Why don't you simply key in .127.4 ENTER ? The WP 34S will do what you want :-)

BTW, if we'd copy the errors of our ancestors always, there will be no progress ever ;-)

Walter

Edited: 29 Aug 2011, 1:24 a.m.

#14

OK Lode, here we go:

Quote:
1) Display less annunciators by default. ...

I think the RPN one can be left unlit without problems, it's always on so it gives no information at all. It looks like the RPN symbol goes off while it calculates something. Maybe it can be inverted: It's off when not busy, and briefly turns on when the calculator is busy.


Good idea. We'll think about it. For running programs, we employed RCL flashing already.
Quote:
The 360 one isn't needed either. There's already a RAD symbol for radians, and the 'g' for gradians. So it's not needed to display another annunciator for degrees. You know it's in degrees if RAD nor 'g' are shown.
Here I disagree. It's present and we show it.
Quote:
The BEG one is annoying. ...
I understand your intention. Personally, I don't need BEG. We'll check.

Your suggestions 2 & 3 were answered already.

Quote:
4) In the manual, add more tables. ...

-A tabular listing of the meaning of each annunciator


... is found at the bottom of page 21, plus some text at the top of page 22.
Quote:
-A tabular listing of each keyboard key (including the f, g, h functions of course) with a short description of its function and PDF link to the page where it is explained in more detail.
Sounds like the index reverted. More work than I can afford spending in next weeks. And I will definitively not implement some 500 additional links, I still presume people know the alphabet. Please also remember I've got a regular job to do as well.
Quote:
-In the section about display and modes, also have a table of the modes and a short description of their meaning, in the same order as they appear in the mode menu. E.g. if the short description of 2COMPL would just say "2's complement", I would already immediately know what it does, and know that it does not mean "complex number notation somehow involving a 2".

Come on, you find the information in the index. That's what it's for.
Quote:
5)In the manual, under complex operations, say that you enter imaginary part, then ENTER, then real part. Currently, the manual says "The key CPX is employed as a prefix for calling complex functions. E.g. CPX COS calls the complex cosine, and it is displayed and listed as CCOS"
It would be good if it said how to enter and read complex numbers somewhere at that point.
It's explained there just a few lines below, and there's a link to the stack mechanics tables as well.
Quote:
6) If you enter 1..2, have "1/2" instead of "1 0/1". I don't think anyone ever needs to enter a fraction of '0/1', so it's a bit of a wasted shortcut now :). I already know that .1.2 gives 1/2.
This example is mainly included since it highlights an improvement compared to the 35S. You'll understand it looking to the text next to it as well.
Quote:
7) Why does it bother adding 0/1 or /1 behind integers when in fraction modes?
Else you can't see you're in that mode.
Quote:
8) Correct me if I'm wrong, but there doesn't seem to be a button to toggle between fractional and decimal point notation?
Press [f] [.d] for decimals. Return to proper fractions via [f] [a b/c].
Quote:
If you enter a fraction, it goes to fraction display mode.
If you enter a decimal value, it doesn't go back to decimal display mode.
I think your choice of display mode should be independent of how you enter numbers... If you're in decimal display mode and enter 1/2, it could be displayed as 0.5, since you didn't ask it to switch to fraction mode. The opposite is already true now: if you enter 0.5 while in fraction mode, it displays it as 1/2 instead of as what you entered.
We took this special entry to fraction mode from the 32SII and it's successors. You're right, it's asymmetric. But such is life ;-) I don't want to change that.
Quote:
9) Entering binary base mode seems easy. Going back to scientific numbers appears to be a lot harder though, going to the mode menu ...
Simply enter [f] [.d]. That's all :-)

Your suggestion 10 was answered already.

Quote:
11) Examples in the manual could be nice!
There are a few. I agree on more would be better, but please look at answer 4 above. Feel free, however, to send me some examples if you've got nice ones, and I'll try to implement them in due course.

Your suggestion 12 was answered already.

HTH at least a bit.

Walter


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