Old Software found - OT



#31

In cleaning the basement, I found a box of old software, primarily for the IBM/PC family of computers. It is probably 12-15 years old.

These include DOS 5, Win 3.0, Lotus 123, Word, Excel, PCTools, and a graphics package. I also found some PC games like SimCity, SimEarth, Jeopardy, and a couple of fantasy/role-playing games. Several of the productivity packages are still shrinkwrapped.

I really don't know whether there is a place to advertise these or if there is an audience out there that might want these, or not. I thought I would start here, since we are all collecting dated material as well.

Is there a classic computer forum or audience similar to this one that might be interested in this "find" ?


#32

Good find Bob!

There are some sites on the 'net for abandoned software but they exist mostly for games. (for example, abandonia.com and they have links to others). They have zipped versions of the original games, with authors blessing if the company that originally published it is defunct.

Whether or not there is any money in them is another thing. There are some Commodore/Amiga and Atari personal computer sites, but I don't know of any classic windows/DOS sites.

12345


#33

Thanks. Yeah, it was sort of cool, opening the sealed box and seeing all of those packages packed neatly together.

I lost track of these years ago and didn't even know I still had them.

#34

Sounds like you were rummaging around in MY basement! (I still use DOS 5.0 for the DOS side of my multi-boot PC.)

Put 'em on E-bay and see who bites. Even if you get 50 cents, as long as they pay the postage, you are ahead. I find that the distaff half of the household is amazingly happy when old stuff like this disappears!

#35

Hee hee hee...

... not to sound offensive or evil or anything, but I recently revived an old 80486 to run a spectrometer. Along with it I found similar old software, WordStar, DOS 5, Quattro Pro, Ami Pro... no games, however :( .

But hey, we gleefully cackle over all sorts of antique HP calculators, so every now and then, why not post about your old PCs?


#36

Ed,

What kind of spectrometer are you running with the PC? (Feel free to reply directly via e-mail if you think we are boring the rest of the inhabitants!)

By the way, QuattroPro (for DOS) is my favorite spreadsheet, but I think WordStar fully deserves whatever death it has been administered! And, WordPerfect (DOS or Windoze) is so far superior to Word that it hardly has to be discussed.

Now those claims should raise some hackles! It's like claiming that an 11C is better than a 65, or a 42S is better than a 32S(II), or .....


#37

Dave,
The 32s(II) is much better than the 42s!! ;)

you prophesized..

(btw, I love both)
Eric


#38

Quote:
The 32s(II) is much better than the 42s!! ;)

Had the 32sii at least 2KB RAM, matrix operations and a decent complex mode, local numeric labels and shared numeric registers in addition to the 26 alpha variables it would be close to perfection. One could say the 32sii is better than the 42s only if these features aren't required.

Edited: 4 Apr 2005, 11:44 p.m.


#39

GWB posted,

Quote:
Had the 32sii at least 2KB RAM, matrix operations and a decent complex mode, local numeric labels and shared numeric registers in addition to the 26 alpha variables it would be close to perfection.

My thoughts exactly. I think a 32SII with the following:

  • better organization
  • adequate RAM
  • the missing 15C functionality (matrices, solve w/integ)
  • more scratch registers and local labels
  • real good complex number support (better than the 15C, 42S, or 48G)

would be the ideal target for the OpenRPN initiative.

For much more functionality than that, the PDA might be the industry-preferred platform.

-- KS


#40

Karl Schneider suggested:

Quote:
-better organization

-adequate RAM

-the missing 15C functionality (matrices, solve w/integ)

-more scratch registers and local labels

-real good complex number support (better than the 15C, 42S, or 48G)


HP has implemented only the second suggestion on the praised 33S, actually the easiest one to do. Why have other obvious improvements not been made? Lack of skill or just marketing reasons?

Regards,

Gerson.


#41

I suspect that Hp found out the limitations and direction of this agency and then beefed up their Hp32sii to that ceiling without going over. Any long variable names were out (to close to text editing I suspect for the NCEES). That matrix features were left out is because it may open all sorts of problems and bugs that Hp did not want to address if they tried to shoehorn these features into an Hp32sii. I/O was definitly out if you want NCEES approval.

Since this is a very important exam, Hp wanted a compliant calculator (and now that the NCEES now specifically allows only listed 6 calculators) and we have the Hp33s as a result/compromise.

#42

My thoughts exactly. I think a 32SII with [...] real good complex number support (better than the 15C, 42S, or 48G) would be the ideal target for the OpenRPN initiative.

How would you wish to improve the 42S's complex number support? For Free42, I have received some interesting suggestions, like allowing polar entry while in rectangular mode, or adding a 'mixed' mode where a complex number's representation becomes a property of the number, rather than a global setting. Those features may make it into Free42 eventually (if I can still stand the sight of the $#*^%(* thing once I'm done with BCD support...). I'm interested in hearing what other suggestions for improvement people might have -- not promising to implement any of them; partly I'm just curious, because I, personally, have always felt 100% happy with the way the HP-42S does complex numbers.

If the OpenRPN hardware will support flash programming, it will probably be an easy matter to port Free42 to run on it. The perfect non-RPL calculator may yet come to be one day!

- Thomas


#43

Add quarternions, please!

THey are very useful in many areas

They can replace matrices when describing rotations

The accumulated error may change a matrix so that it no longer represents a rotation.

That will not happen with quarternions.

Also the space savings and calculations time savings are big.

[VPN]


#44

Add quarternions, please!
They are very useful in many areas
They can replace matrices when describing rotations
The accumulated error may change a matrix so that it no longer represents a rotation.
That will not happen with quarternions.
Also the space savings and calculations time savings are big.

Interesting! I never knew anyone still used quaternions -- from what I remember from college, they were only mentioned as a historical curiosity (and as an example of non-commutative multiplication, I think).


Could you point me to any good references about quaternions and their applications?


#45

I've mostly heard of quaternions being applied in physics and aerospace engineering.

#46

Thomas,

I have made some suggestions directly to you, but for the benefit of others and to solicit opinions, I'll repeat them here. The way the 42S handles complex numbers is very good, by far the best of any hp calculator. However, if I could, I would enhance the way complex numbers are entered, displayed, and converted back and forth between rectangular and polar form. To make entry more natural, I propose that a key labelled "i" be included on the keyboard. This would be the label on the face of the key for the primary function, not a shifted function. When entering a complex number in rectangular form, one would merely key in the real part, then press "i" to terminate entry of the real part and begin entering the imaginary part. When done, you would press ENTER or any other operation as usual after keying in any number. Both the real and imaginary parts of the number would be displayed on one line in the display in the same way the 42S does it (NOT the way the 28, 48 and 49 display complex numbers). To key in a number in polar form, one would not need to switch to polar display mode. Either there would be a separate key, or the "i" key would have a shifted function, labelled with the angle symbol. To enter a number in polar form, you would merely enter the magnitude, then press the angle key (or shift "i"), then enter the angle. The number would be displayed on one line in the display in polar form, again exactly as the 42S does. Complex numbers in rectangular form and complex numbers in polar form would be allowed to exist in the stack and/or any memory registers at the same time. You could key in a rectangular form number, press enter, key in a polar form number, press multiply, divide, etc. and get your answer immediately with no worry about being in polar display mode or rectangular display mode. The answer would by default be displayed in the format of the number in the X register. As I see things, there would be no real need for "polar" or "rectangular" display modes. There should be keys with rectangular to polar and polar to rectangular conversion functions. (Please label them as ->R and ->P, not the ->phi,r and ->y,x labelling of the 33S.) These keys would function as they do on the 42S. If the displayed number is complex and displayed in polar form and you press the ->R key, it takes the two components, treats them as magnitude and angle and converts and displays them in rectangular form. If the displayed number is complex and displayed in rectangular form and you press the ->P key, it takes the two components, treats them as real and imaginary components and converts and displays them in polar form. (If you try to convert a polar form number to polar form or convert a rectangular form number to rectangular form, nothing would happen.) If the X-register contains a real number, it takes the numbers in the X and Y registers and converts and displays them accordingly. In a complex functions menu, there would be a global command to convert all numbers currently stored in the calculator to either polar or rectangular display. In this case, it would not alter numbers already in rectangular form when converting all to rectangular, and would not alter numbers already in polar form when converting to polar. As an alternative, the “mixed” display mode described above could be an optional mode, along with all polar and all rectangular. If rectangular and polar display modes are available, you could still enter a polar form number directly using the “angle” key when in rectangular mode. The number would be converted to rectangular form when you press ENTER.
That summarizes my ideas on the perfect complex number support system. I will readily note that similar ideas were expressed by Karl Schneider in this post a while back. I think I had thought of having the “i” key and some of the other ideas before then, but I’ll be happy to share credit with Karl :-)


#47

R->P and P->R

as there might be other functions, like R->D, D->R
(Radians to Degrees & vv)

which are too similar thus a possibility for misunderstanding.

[VPN]

#48

Jeff's posted ended with --

Quote:
I will readily note that similar ideas were expressed by Karl Schneider in this post a while back. I think I had thought of having the “i” key and some of the other ideas before then, but I’ll be happy to share credit with Karl :-)

Thanks! I was wondering how you expressed my thoughts almost exactly. :-) I was going to dig up that post as a response to Thomas, but you saved me the trouble.

I would differ on only several points:

Quote:
The answer would by default be displayed in the format of the number in the X register. As I see things, there would be no real need for "polar" or "rectangular" display modes.

No -- I think there should be a user-specified display mode for complex-valued results. For certain applications, either a polar representation or a rectanglular representation might not be meaningful.

My "inspriration" for this was complex-valued calculation for AC power systems. AC voltage and current phasors are usually given in polar form; impedance, admittance, and complex power are usually given in rectangular form.

For example, complex power injected into a short line with impedance Z = R + jX between voltages V1@ang1 and V2@ang2:

S = P + jQ =  V1@ang1 * conj(I)
= V1@ang1 * conj[(V1@ang1 - V2@ang2) / Z]
= [V1@ang1 * conj(V1@ang1) - V1@ang1 * conj(V2@ang2)] / conj (R + jX)
= [V1^2 - V1*V2@(ang1-ang2)] / (R - jX)

The user would enter V1 and V2 in polar form, Z in rectangular form, and view the result S in rectangular form.

Or,

I = (V1@ang1 - V2@ang2) / Z
= (V1@ang1 - V2@ang2) / (R + jX)

The user would enter V1 and V2 in polar form, Z in rectangular form, and view the result I (phasor current) in polar form.

-- KS

Edited: 8 Apr 2005, 2:11 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


#49

Complex display mode: Rectangle; Polar; follow X; Last entered (default);

I'd back up and have everything carry its "mode" about, especially since I want to have some of the 16c functions. One's compliment, Two's complement, Sign-Magnitude, Unsigned for bitstrings. Big-endian and small-endian tracking.

(the list gets very large, I'll stop.)

#50

Karl,

You and I are obviously pretty close on this. We use complex numbers for the same thing, AC power system analysis. I'd have no problem with having the ability to force the results of calculations involving two complex numbers in different display formats to either polar or rectangular form. I think we would both be happy with the entry and display method described in our posts (using "i" and angle keys), and the following mode settings:


General entry and display of complex numbers modes:

1. preserve entered format

2. convert to polar upon entry regardless of entry format

3. convert to rectangular upon entry regardless of entry format


Display mode for results of calculations involving two complex numbers of differing display formats:

1. match X value

2. force polar

3. force rectangular


Obviously, you would only need to choose the results display format if you choose entry and display mode 1.

How does that sound?


#51

Jeff --

I'd say that your complex-number display format options make things a bit complicated.

As a general principle, I'd prefer that the calculator not change the format of a displayed number unless I request it. Hence, I would not favor options 2 or 3 of display. (That's what bugs me about the 48: The user can enter a complex value in either mode, but it will be displayed in the set mode after entry, as will all other complex numbers in the stack.)

Regarding, "3. match X value", I also would have qualms about forcing the format of a complex-valued result to match that of the "Last x" value. Obviously, it would not apply if a real number were in the x-reg. What's special about the x-input? In my example where I is calculated by V/Z, I would be displayed in rectangular format if Z were, which is probably not what the user wanted.

In essence, I'd want only option 1 for display of entries, and option 2 or 3 for display of results.

Additionally, I would prefer that the user be allowed to attach a unit of measurement for every angle -- degree, radian, or gradient. If a scalar and an angle are assembled to produce a complex number (using "R->C"), then that number is in polar form. If two scalars are assembled, "R->C" produces a rectangular-form number.

This would come in handy for trigonometric calculations: cos-1 0.6 would display 53.13o in DEG mode.


#52

Quote:
I'd say that your complex-number display format options make things a bit complicated.
You are not the first person to accuse me of making things overly complicated. I prefer to think of it as covering all of the bases.
Quote:
As a general principle, I'd prefer that the calculator not change the format of a displayed number unless I request it....(That's what bugs me about the 48...)
I agree completely. I would include those modes only in case someone else might actually prefer them.
Quote:
I also would have qualms about forcing the format of a complex-valued result to match that of the "Last x" value. Obviously, it would not apply if a real number were in the x-reg. What's special about the x-input?
There's nothing special about the x-input. If we allow mixed format display, there obviously would have to be some rule to handle the situation. I was just suggesting another method. Actually I guess you could also have a "match y-value", but that really would be overly complicated. Also, if the x-value is a real number, the result would automatically default to the y-value's format.
Your suggestion for tagging angle values with a degree, rad or grad unit sounds good to me.

#53

I goofed that up big time. I thought that there were two other cases (than rect and polar), but there are three.

R) Rectangular (result always in R)

P) Polar (result always in P)

L) Last complex entry (result in whichever, R, or P, was used as a complex entry; use that format, changing when an entry -- not a result -- is made in the other) (default)

O) Other than complex entry (result in whichever, R or P, that the entry wasn't. "Last", only with a flip of the result, for when you're doing a series of things that start with R entries and you want the result in P, or vice versa.)

D) Displayed as x is (result comes back R or P, whichever most recent x, result or entry, was)


#54

Personally, I like Jeff's original proposal better, because it adds a lot of convenience while adding minimal complexity to the user interface. It's possible to cover more scenarios, but the additional modes or keystrokes could easily become confusing and hard to remember.

I think there's always a danger, when trying to design improvements to classics like the 32SII or 42S, of turning them into something too complex to use (like the 48G -- I bought one recently so I could run INPRT, and then I tried playing with it, just for fun, and as usual, I end up tearing my hair out).

#55

Flash is a major design requirement for OpenRPN. I'm personally looking forward to seeing what software and emulators end up being developed/ported for our hardware. My guess is that many more re-implimentations similar to free42 will appear.

#56

Dave,

Dems fightin' woids!

But (Lotus') Ami Pro for Windows was better than both WP or WordStar... or even Word... especially WS for Windows, which really stunk.

As to the 80486, in the lab, we have an old SPEX fluorescence spectrometer controlled by a 486 proprietarily modified to control the grating positioning and shutters. The slits are manual, of course. Now, the data that comes out of the spectrometer is fed to a second 486 that runs proprietary SPEX data collection software in DOS. This latter one actually was a 486 DX4, running, for those days, at an incredibly blazing rate of 100 MHz.

Unfortunately, much less than a year ago the DX4 bought the far... uh, foundry and everyone was affected. Then I remembered I had in by basement an old Gateway 486, with a clock speed of 66 MHz. It still ran and sported a combo 5.25" and 3.5" floppy drive (in one unit!!) and two hard drives, again, for those days, a fairly generous 420 Mb each. I dusted it off and carted into the lab and there is still is processing our data. Now, the coolest part is that in doing so, I found my old DOS based software, my old Win 3.11 software. I do have a soft spot for WordStar DOS; I think sometimes I still silently mouth the key sequences for bold, italic, superscript, cut, paste, etc. I think I also ran Star Trek: Judgment Rites and EGATrek on it!

I miss using Quattro Pro. I think it was (emphasis on past tense) superior to Excel. Unfortunately, some guy on the West Coast made it so that competitors' products either couldn't run or ran poorly in Windows...

... what to do with a (still functioning) Toshiba P321 dot matrix printer?!

Finally, apologies for this totally OT and potentially HP calc fan boring post.

Thanks for the memory stimulation, Dave, though!


#57

what to do with a (still functioning) Toshiba P321 dot matrix printer?!

I once wondered the same thing about an ancient but indestructible Apple Imagewriter printer. I hacked up something that converted PBM bitmaps to ImageWriter graphics escapes, and by using ghostscript's pbm driver, I managed to configure it all so that you could 'lpr' PostScript files to it, from a Sun SPARCstation IPC, like any old (or new!) laser printer.


Pretty neat, I thought, if a wee bit slow...

#58

Dave posts an interesting challenge. Why is Word Perfect, Word Star, or Word (or Apple's new Pages) better than any other? Here are some attributes of a winning word processor:

  • WYSIWYG - it's easy to see an accurate representation on-screen of what will appear on paper, and this accurate representation is manipulable. (as opposed to those word processors that ask you to switch between editing mode and accurate-view mode.)
  • Rich formatting power - it is possible to control placement of text and graphics throughout a document, with various styles of text. It should be possible to produce a high-quality book using the tool. Documents can have one or more columns per page. Left/right pages can be formatted differently. Alternate text threads can be accomodated (e.g., a main flow and a running commentary in the margin.) Complex tables that span pages, with column headings that repeat.
  • Ability to apply standards - designers should be able to specify layouts and formatting, to be easily applied by writers. Writers should be able to specify conceptual ideas such as Chapter Titles, Footnotes, and designers should specify how they look. This makes it possible to have consistent style throughout a document, and keeps the writer from having to learn arcane formatting techniques. A library of templates helps with this concept.
  • Ease of use - Mouse and keyboard should work together to make it easy to get the job done in a natural manner. Users familiar with a particular command set should be able to map keystrokes to functions to emulate a past environment. Most mouse operations should be achievable from the keyboard.
  • Support for beyond English text - Ability to work in other languages, with other character sets and fonts. Ability to integrate graphics, as either glyphs (artificial characters laid out in-line with text) or as illustrations.
  • Robustness - as a software program, the application should be fast and reliable. It should leave documents intact, minimizing document corruption. It should support reversal of mistakes ("undo"), importation from industry-standard formats, and exportation to industry standard formats.
  • Labor saving - it should offer, perhaps optionally, or through user programming, features that work with traditional word processing, such as mail-merging or web page design. Users should be able to extend the capabilities through a macro or other programming language, to reduce complex repetitive tasks.

Are there other attributes of a "good" word processor?
How does yours fare against this checklist?


#59

Quote - "Are there other attributes of a "good" word processor? How does yours fare against this checklist? "

I have always been a big fan of "inexpensive" or "affordable" as attributes in my WP. :-)

#60

Quote:
Is there a classic computer forum or audience similar to this one that might be interested in this "find" ?

Try the "Vintage Computing" forum on CompuServe:

http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?webtag=ws-vintagecomp

You can browse as a guest. To post you need to join but that's free.


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