Musings and comments about our common interest
Today I would like to draw your attention to a small HP Prime site. Small but very well thought out. I could find elsewhere all that information, but it is very well organized.
The site is:
(There is a Russian version too, but 95% of our readers would feel better with the English one)
It has a very good command reference tool. In the DOCs area, apart from the manuals that you can find here, with their latest versions (by the way, I have updated the versions in our site too, to the 2015 versions), you can find all commands, both one by one or in a long list. It takes you to a very good command definition, where you can even post comments. This is the part I am now using most. Far better than perusing the long manuals!
There is also an area with customer apps. There are many games - I will have to put some in my children’s calls to get them interested. Some of them were from when we were young - very young. It will be also a good way to learn Prime programming.
There is also a software area, where the most recent firmware, communication tool and emulator are posted. For us Mac users, there is also a calculator for MacOs, based on Wine. I am now opening it and downloading the latest firmware upgrade. I’ll tell you how it works!
I have been the last week on holidays, far far north, and I have been quite disconnected from the HP world for the period.
Well, there is a new firmware available. It was issued on June 17th, nd its release number is 8151. It also includes a new connectivity kit and virtual calculator too. It doesn’t offer substantially improved functionality, since it is mostly oriented to clear bugs and inconsistent behavior of the different apps, both in CAS and home modes.
You need to use you connectivity kit. Normally, you will be prompted to upgrade the firmware of the connected calculators, but if not, you can do it through the right button click on the calculator identifier in the Comms kit.
In my case, the download was started without prompting, and it takes 54 MB. There have been stories about slow HP server, even with fast connections - and it seemed to me slower than most downloads, although not too much.
I have been a little bit late in informing our dear customers that there is a new revision of the HP Prime firmware. You just need to use the connectivity kit, and when the machine using it is connected to internet, it will prompt you to update both the connectivity kit and any calculator attached to it. The firmware version number is 7820. It improves stability a lot. There are other improvements that you can find here:
http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread–3823.htmlThe high level information:
Better horizontal and vertical pinch zoom functionality.
Better statistics calculations and functionality.
Touch screen curve sketching and automatic recognition of curve type and equation fitting.
Improved help throughout the system.
Quality and reliability improvements.
Better support for USB 3.0 system update connectivity.
I am now working with the new release of the hp Prime firmware. After a couple of hiccups installing it (due to my using an old operating system in my Parallels session in Macintosh), I finally did. Despite having made a back up of all files and programs, and all literature having warned that data would be lost, the machine still kept my programs when restarting.
Of course, I am not as experienced as other professors, so I am not pushing the device to its limits; and I could not tell a bug from a syntax error; but the machine feels more responsive, seems to scroll better, navigates better through menus, and is in general a better device. Does it feel like an iPhone? Er-no. But it is improving!
The unit that I updated is a G8X92AA, not one of the old NW280AA machines; but the updates are equally valid for both models. You don’t need to change your machine if you’re not going to make use of the Smartstream applications and devices.
The feeling is tha CAS continues to evolve and improve, with the help of Bernard Parisse. I look forward to go through more advanced maths together with my son, when the need comes (last week we had our first attempt to equation systems - a 2x2 very simple case. I don’t want the machine to solve the problems for him -Ci just want him to be able to check the results for now.)
The machine has not restarted a single time since the firmware change. I am now taking it to an extended trip instead of my 41cl. With the initial models and firmware, it crashed several times a day. Over time, it moved to once a week, and now the software seems much more stable.
I need to refer you to the HP site again. I will not keep the newest version in our site, since we cannot ensure that we have the latest software all the time; what we’ll try to guarantee is that the link to the newest firmware remains current.
For us Europeans, there are still things that can be improved. The programs are dependent on the separation character used when writing it. We in center Europe tend to use the decimal comma, and therefore the list and argument separator is the semicolon; but if the program has been written with decimal point, it won’t work and claim syntax error, even though you have been using it in the past. So let’s keep it at decimal point and stay with it. No big deal, but one has to be warned.
The problems existing in some solver apps when using number formats including thousand separators, even with spaces, have not appeared so far -or I haven’t been able to replicate them.
Every Prime user should be aware that there is a new version of firmware. The new version applies to both emulator and calculator itself. For what I can see so far, all the bugs that I knew of have been removed. And CAS features have greatly expanded. You can either download the frirmware upgrade through the update functions in the virtual calculator or the connectivity kit. alternatively, you can download it directly from here:
Here you can find the log of the changes:
Date Released: 2014/12/03
Firmware Version: 2014 12 03 (6975)
Virtual Calculator Version: 2014 12 03 (6975)
Connectivity Kit: 2014 12 03 (6975)
This release of the Prime Calculator firmware and associated PC software delivers significant new features and fixes outstanding issues. This document is not a complete list of all changes, but highlights specific items. All users of the HP Prime calculator are encouraged to upgrade for the best possible experience.
Primary focus in this release was enhancements to communication and wireless.
User interface refined and improved.
Much more reliable and capable communication.
Multiple antennas supported for wireless communication.
Progress bars are now shown for individual units during transfer data transfer.
Much nicer “firmware update” window - adds support for detection of multiple units and more ways to receive prompts for updating units.
Now possible to send a single item from one unit to everyone in the class in a single step.
Improvements to screen monitoring.
Added lower/upper optional inputs in cumulative probability functions. Binomial arguments now consistently ordered.
Add ability to mix and edit CAS functions inline as part of larger programs - #cas to start a block, and #end to end it.
New variables Notes and Programs created to allow programatic access.
Geometry variables Instruction and DelInstruction provide programatic access to geometry constructions.
Much faster scrolling in large notes, programs and equations.
There is now an “Info” menu key in the memory manager. It reports free ram and available storage.
VARS menu now has a “system” group which contains general system variables.
TOff variable introduced. It is a millisecond value with minimum of 5s.
TIME was renamed to TEVAL to avoid confusion with Time variable. Also now shows up in the catalog.
SERIAL and VERSION commands introduced.
Added an implicit_diff command to simplify implicit differentiation steps.
Improved help throughout system and connected it in more places.
Japanese user interface turned on for menus.
There is now an “Info” menu key in the memory manager. It reports used ram and available storage.
First recommendation before you continue reading - don't do it before reading the hpmuseum.org forum and check that is fine to do it!
I have given information about the last firmware update, that was made available on May 28. I did it that same day.
The day after I found the calculator dead. I mean, all the battery had been drained, and it needed to be connected to USB to work. Looking into the hpmuseum website, I found that the first release of e firmware upgrade had a problem with power management. The calculator entered into a high power consumption mode until the battery was off - independently of it being switched on or off. HP's recommendation was to immediately upgrade it to a yet newer firmware.
This second upgrade was not easy. The system continued believing that the calculator didn't need an upgrade (“there are no updates”), and going through the forum helped me to know that I had to delete the previous files from specific folders in the HP connectivity kit, so that the system was made to think that there had been no upgrade.
Somehow, I did something wrong along the way, probably an incomplete update (the USB connection is known to stutter sometimes in the Prime), and my system could not start up before crashing in 5 minutes. It showed the HP logo, the known “x2+y2=1” and the circle around it, and then it crashed again. There was no way of exiting that loop. Thanks to members of that forum, I was able to put it in “recovery mode”, but then I needed to upgrade it with a manual method (the “upgrade.exe” program), since the hp connectivity kit did not see it. And there is where I failed. I should probably been conservative and enter a prior firmware - instead I entered the very latest one, and completely blocked the machine. Now it won't start at any rate. Even taking out and back in the battery pack. Dead for all practical purposes. Let's see tonight what the forum gurus say on how to revive it.
I know for a fact that another customer of us has fallen in he very same trap. So, I end as I started this blog entry: don't upgrade yet!
Here's the new firmware for the HP Prime!
If you already have your HP Prime, you can use the HP Connectivity Kit to download the upgrade to it, the upgrade to the virtual calculator and the upgrade for your own prime. It is much better than searching the web to get the proper file. In fact, the file is so big that I need to do some special programming in my website to handle files that big. Keep to the standard updating features of your software and you'll be fine.
While it has worked as a charm with Windows 7, I had more problems to do the downloading from my Mac-installed Windows XP. Yes, I know that it is old and not maintained, but works like a charm with Mac, is stable (never got the blue screen of death in my Mac) and I don't need to spend more money to run it.
You need to backup your calculator before. This is not a "best practice" standard warning - you will lose some settings and variables in the move. You will keep the apps you had created, though - but there are unexpected things that may happen. In my case, I had several apps using solver functions and using already created variables, like EBIT or COST. Next time I opened the solver app I had created, the formulae that used said variables had been changed to E*B*I*T and C*O*S*T. So, beware!
Finally I got the Connectivity Kit and the new Virtual Calculator up and running on the Mac. The upgrade to the Prime had already been done in the Win7 machine.
There is a new list of things fixed in the new release. I must say that the tactile screen feels much more responsive with the new firmware than with the old. I need to get more experience with the new firmware, but for now I will focus on the basics: the number format.
If you have any kind of business/accounting sensibility, numbers' magnitude matters. It is not the same working with millions than hundreds of thousands - and you want to see it at first sight in your screen. You can see below the options.
I have selected the one with spaces between each three digits, and decimal comma instead of decimal point. Now you can check your numbers much faster, and find out at first sight if your result is right or wrong.
Also, the aspect of the connectivity has improved much. There was a long time since I used it last, so I don't know if these features were already existing:
Here is a list of all changes:
New Functionality (Connectivity Kit)
1. Application has had major improvements to the user interface. Please refer to the included connectivity kit User's Guide for instructions and details.
2. Support for the HP Wireless Classroom network has been introduced. Please see http://www.hp.com/calculators/ for details on the Wireless Classroom kit.
3. Greatly enhanced communication speed over USB link to calculator.
New Functionality (Calculator Software)
1. Improved touch support throughout system. This includes pinch to zoom support in graphing applications, and kinetic scrolling.
2. Pressing HELP in an open command line will attempt to find the name of a command based on the prior input up to the cursor position to display system help for that command.
3. Includes Edition 2 of the on calculator help files (English only in this release).
4. Greatly enhanced robustness and capability of the Statistics 2Var logistic fit.
5. Wireless support for capable units turned on. Wireless icon will appear in the right top corner menu for units that can support the HP Prime Wireless Kit.
6. Calculator unit-to-unit communications has now been enabled on units that can support it.
7. Numerical values now can be displayed with digit groupings. Examples include: 1,234.567 1 234.567 and 1’234,567
8. Two new numerical display formats have been introduced. These are “floating” which only displays up to a specified number of digits, and “rounded” which is similar to the “fixed” format except trailing zeros are suppressed.
9. Decimal fractions now appear with a zero, as in 0.25.
10. Vectors are now displayed as a single line object until they become a matrix. This aids in distinguishing vectors and matrices.
11. User selectable first day of week setting for use through the system.
12. First boot unlock and settings wizard. User will be asked to confirm language selection and some initial settings.
13. Inference application now can do Chi-Square calculations and Linear Regression T calculations.
14. Geometry application has been completely redone and is much faster, consistent, and capable than before.
15. Enhanced color pickers allow a greater range of color selection.
16. Pressing ENTER will now open chooser in a dialog or toggle checkbox.
17. Enhanced unit object display to ensure a more standard form with complex units.
18. TRIANGLE, FILLPOLY and LINE commands can now draw multiple objects in a consistent way with each other. Useful for very complicated 3D drawing in user programs.
19. INPUT command can now create multi-page dialogs and contain choose boxes, check boxes and grouped check boxes. It can also allow specific item types and gives control of parsing behavior for input. It also supports size and position control.
New Functionality (Virtual Calculator)
1. A horizontal skin has been included for use with monitors that are restricted in the vertical pixel range.
Resolved issues and changes excluding CAS
1. Resolved issue with statistics 2 variable trig fit causing poor curve fit.
2. Resolved issue with removing last row or column from a CAS matrix in the matrix editor.
3. Resolved issue with .^ and ./ function calculations.
4. Resolved issue with EDITLIST/EDITMAT commands not working in RPN mode.
5. Resolved issue with BLIT command when specified destination was a zero sized region.
6. Resolved several issues with fraction key in home to make behavior more consistent.
7. Resolved issue in 2D integral template where EEX key would always add a 1 before the E in the evaluation limit locations.
8. Resolved several issues where integer only settings fields would display using the current display setting.
9. Resolved issue where auto power off did not function in graphing applications.
10. Resolved issue with commands EDITLIST and EDITMAT using user defined variables.
11. Resolved issue with key buffer not being cleared when the user aborts a running program.
12. Resolved issue with auto off timer in plot gallery not being reset on user touch.
13. Resolved issue with auto-off timer in plot gallery not being reset on user input.
14. Resolved issue with copy and paste in spreadsheet.
15. Resolved issue with sigma character in command names not being consistent through entire system.
16. Resolved issue with RETURN call inside repeating loop in a user program.
17. Resolved issue with object printing in debugging interface causing unpredictable behavior.
18. Resolved problem with integration calling ABS(F1(X))
19. Resolved issue with G0-G9 in user programs while spreadsheet was active application.
20. Resolved issue with 10 second periodic wakeup during sleep reducing long term shelf life.
21. Resolved issue with KWh in menu needing to be named kWh to function properly.
22. Resolved issue where storing a number to a vector padded with too many zeros.
23. Resolved issue with clicking EDIT menu after deleting last CAS object from memory manager catalog.
24. Resolved issue with negative and STO conversion shortcut.
25. Resolved issue where tapping an item in Advanced Grapher Symbolic view behaved differently then tapping edit menu key.
26. Resolved issue where calculating integration with boundary at 0 appeared to fail.
27. Resolved issue with case sensitivity in note and program catalog.
28. Resolved issue where changing font size could cause strange artifacts in 2d equation display in Symbolic view.
29. Resolved problem where copying .+ or .- operators would not insert space before commands.
30. Resolved issue with ΣLIST and a vector argument.
31. Resolved some issues with F1 and CAS interaction.
32. Resolved issue with the UNITS -> TOOLS menu commands not evaluating immediately in RPN mode.
33. Resolved issue with eigenvectors of diagonal matrices in home.
34. Resolved issue where DMS toggle on home screen did not work with certain numbers.
35. Resolved issue with RPN stack not being cleared by a clear in memory manager.
36. Resolved issue where changing HEX or other similar settings did not update stack display immediately.
37. Resolved issue where clearing memory from catalog did not clear Ans variables.
38. Resolved issue where pressing BKSP on a CAS variable from chooser did not delete it.
39. Resolved issue where CAS screen would have left/right alignments disrupted after a power cycle.
40. Resolved issue with logb and very tiny values.
Resolved issues and changes in CAS
1. Resolved issue with for desolve([y'=sqrt(y),y(1)=1],x,y)
2. Resolved issue with units in approx mode and auto simplification on units
3. Added check for real matrix in SVD
4. Resolved issue with tlin(cos(a)*cos(b)) and with plot(exp(-x^2))
5. Resolved issue with odesolve in reverse time direction
6. Desolve now handles linear system with constant coefficients; for example, desolve([y'=[[1,2],[2,1]]*y+[x,x+1],y(0)=[1,2]]);
7. Resolved issue with int(surd(2x,3),x,0,4), and with simplify(sin^2+cos^2)
8. Improved display for some sqrt results like sqrt(2+sqrt(3)) as sqrt(2)/2+sqrt(6)/2
9. Resolved issue with speed of int(x*exp(-x^2),x,0,100)
10. Resolved issue with derivative of composition e.g. (g(x^2))'
11. Resolved issue with desolve([y''-2*y'/x+(9+2/x^2)*y=x*exp(x),y(pi/6)=0,y(pi/3)=0],y)
12. Make SVD (SVL) work on rectangular matrices.
13. Change interpretation of A/B where B is a square matrix to inv(B)*A with a warning
14. Resolved issue with integer factorization.
15. Make limit(1/x^2,x,0) return +infinity instead of unsigned infinity
16. Resolved issue with laplace(exp(a*x),x,t)
17. Resolved issue with ilaplace(exp(-3x))
18. Resolved issue with sigma notation
19. Resolved issue with sign (-> also fixes laplace(x))
20. Make ifactor return an error if number too large
21. Resolved issue with recursion issue in geometry objects evaluation
22. Resolved issue with inv((5.+8i)^200)
23. Resolved issue with tan(54) in degree mode
24. Resolved issue with matrix/vector * object, if one arg to * is approx, evalf the other one with current context modes (instead of null context).
25. Extend cholesky to hermitian complex matrices
26. Resolved issue with ifactor(nextprime(alog10(17))*nextprime(alog10(19)));
27. Resolved issue with collect(sqrt(4x^2)) and for solve(-x+1=surd(-x^3+7,3));
28. Resolved issue with int(int(sqrt(x+y),x,0,1),y,0,1)
29. pa2b2(2) now returns [1,1]
30. legendre_symbol and jacobi_symbol now accept negative first argument
31. Resolved issue with algebraic extension with i inside
32. op added to list of non auto simplified operators + dichotomic search
33. Default interval changed for parabola
34. Make left and right accept an integer represented as a double as 2nd argument
35. Set max list size to 10 000 and compute factorial exactly up to 1000 on hardware
36. Resolved issue with hadamard on numeric matrices
37. Size limit check added for $, Ans support for SCALE/SCALEADD/...
38. Resolved issue with re/im/abs e.g. im(sqrt(x)+1)
39. Size check added for JordanBlock, fix for solve with fractional powers,
40. Resolved issue with iPart with neg argument
41. element added to the list of functions that should not be auto simplified
42. RANDMAT with one argument accepted.
43. Changes for triple matrix norm (l1norm, l2norm, linfnorm)
44. Resolved issue with resultant with num coeffs
45. mat2list sets HP list subtype for the result.
46. Resolved issue with plotfunc(normald(x))
47. area now accepts a function plot as first argument, 2nd argument a..b, or 2nd argument a, 3rd argument b, returns area under curve. For a parametric plot, a and b are the parameter range.
48. ifactor check added for qsieve failure
49. Resolved issue with ARG in degree
50. Resolved issue with fPart/iPart for negative/complex arguments
51. Resolved issue with asin(sin(pi))) and acos(cos(pi)) in degree
52. Change for  in CAS: start at 1
53. Resolved issue with definite integral with inf boundary in degree mode
54. Replace warning by error for recursive definition except for when/ifte/program
55. Improve non-directional limit, e.g. limit(1/abs(x),x,0)
56. Enable for and if as lowercase synonyms for FOR and IF in the CAS.
57. Make REDIM and REPLACE (CAS version) accept a matrix instead of a variable name as 1st arg.
58. Resolved issue with regroup(inf) and for FP
59. Resolved issue with poisson_cdf with 3 arguments
60. Resolved issue with circle tangent, using relative error instead of absolute error.
61. Handling of inequalities with approximate coefficients using an exact conversion
62. jordan for numeric matrix with exact coefficients but no exact eigenvalue converting to approx.
63. Resolved issue with assume(s<0); sign(s)
64. Tangent for conics now use rational parametric equation
65. Resolved issue with a%%b if b is not an integer
66. Resolved issue with locus, fix for table print/parse
67. Resolved issue with l2norm
68. Re-set angle mode in isopolygon.
69. Leave propfrac unsimplified
70. Make sum eval approx if exact mode is not checked
71. Boolean operators now return 1/0
72. Resolved issue with col, suppress and makemat (indices starting at 1)
73. Better handling for some 4th order equations.
74. Set complex_variables to false in arcLen so that arcLen(x^2,x,0,1) works if Complex is checked.
75. Additional check for duplicate argument name in CAS program exit.
I will continue explorin the features in the next entries of the blog.
I have received news that a new firmware for HP Prime is coming! Klaas Kuperus gave the information below in his website:
New Functionality (Connectivity Kit)
1. A horizontal skin has been included for use with monitors that are restricted in the vertical pixel range.est
Today I have received a USB to com adaptor. Since most of our computers are laptops and quite new, we did not have serial adapters. I have then proceeded to update a 12c+ with the latest available software. In this particular case, it did not increase speed (it was already 150 times faster, so I am not deceived), but it corrected a number of issues compared with the original firmware.
We have decided to offer firmware flashing as a service for our purchases of a calculator. It will have a 10 € charge. The rules:
One of the most exciting projects is the repurposing of the hp20b and hp30b financial calculators with ultra-slick scientific firmware. The project is called wp34s and is run by Marcus von Cube, Walter Bonin and Paul Dale (in no specific order!).
You can find it on http://wp34s.sourceforge.net/
There have been a number of releases (build number was 800 at the time of writing), and you can check whether you like the software by running the included .exe file and testing the features. The .exe file has the advantage of having the right labels on the keys!
I have not yet tested the flasher cable and software on a HP30b but I plan to do it shortly. I will then report on the results!