Mensajes sobre el tema: hp50g

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Musings and comments about our common interest

 

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Notice about StreamSmart 410 and HP50g

I have received some questions from customers, regarding the capabilities of the Streamsmart 410. Can it interface with the HP50g?

The answer is yes, but...not as it is shipped.

It comes with two cables. One of them is a USB A to mini, and serves to link between the StreamSmart and a chargind device or a computer. The other is a USB mini to USB nano, which is used to interface with the HP Prime. However, the HP50g has also a mini plug, so what you really need is a mini to mini plug - which doesn't come in the package. Either you need an adapter of a mini to mini cable.

We will try to locate such cables, in case some of you want to use the Streamsmart with your 50g machines. 

 

 

 

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HP50g appreciation

DSC_7756smallAs you know, we have run out of Blue HP50g. It is a pity: it is a nice looking calculator, with a much better contrast lettering (which suits well many visually impaired users), and completely compatible with all software ever designed for the HP50g. (By the way, the amount of software for the HP50g is several orders of magnitude bigger than that for the Prime) But the good news is that the black HP50g is still availlable - although its termination date has already been set.

(By the way: some of you got knowledge of extremely good price for HP Primes in some distributors - be aware that they are offering the previous model, NW280AA, instead of the current G8X92AA. It is an excellent opportunity, should you have no interest in any interfacing for the future)

In the current days of retina displays, the quality of the HP50g screen may seem too basic - but if you compare with the displays of the old HP48 family, or even that of the HP42 or HP17 families, it is much better: both contrast and resolution. And you really have a professional tool. Even the keyboard feel looks more professional than that of the Prime.

The firmware of the HP50g is beyond proven; calculator crashes happen very, very seldom and are easily recoverable; there is a known programming language, one that has been learned by many of us and which is quite compact and logical; and the memory organisation in folders and files is more akin to what you find in your typical windows or unix-based machines. On the other hand, I have never fully bought into the app way of organizing information in the HP Prime (while certainly I have not devoted enough time for it). Plus, you can find many, many programs in places like hpcalc.org

If you wanted to get an HP50g, this is the moment! please hurry up, and you will not regret it.

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HP50g Blue no more!

No more HP50g blue!

As I have run out today of my last units of Hp50g blue, I have contacted my sources - only to discover that all stocks of any kind of HP50g have disappeared!

In a way, it has been a stupidity on our side not to build sufficient stock, now that it has been announced that the hp50g is going to be discontinued. All distributors are giving good prices on their black units - but apparently there are no more blue units.

Here you have a picture comparing both. While the black model has a more professional look, the blue had a much better contrast, and it was more in line with the style a student needs nowadays. From the functional point of view, both were exactly equal. I think that different versions of this model had different cases going with it - some in faux leather, some in different fabric qualities. I have one of each, but you cannot know it from the model number.

DSC_7756small

All of them could be connected (and can be connected, in the case of the black HP50g) with the StreamSmart 410 and its probes. I see this feature being advertised for the HP Prime, which is HP’s current interest - but there were other calculators that could use it, and which already had software developed for it.

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The HP50g as a financial tool (II)

Let’s continue with our aim to convert our powerful HP 50g in a FINANCIAL tool.

We ended last time introducing what would be our main tool: the CST (custom) menu. We proceeded them to fill the 3 first positions with off-the-shelf percentage functions: %, %ch and %T. In my experience, these are the most used financial-specific functions in your daily work.

{% %CH %T DDAYS DATE+ BUS IVA TOTAL CAMB MKP%}


In level 2, you put the number you will take the percentage from; or the initial value, if you want to calculate the percentage of change; or the total;

Secondly, there comes the date calculations, in order to know when payments are due, or to plan for maturities of investments. These are DDAYS and date+. Remember to set your preferred date format in the flag screen. It’s flag xx.

In DDAYS you write 2 dates in both levels, and it calculates the number of days in between; and in date+, you put a date and a number, and it will give you the date adding that number of days to the other date. It works with negative numbers as well.

Now for the other functions: the key BUS stores the following short program: << 79 menu >>. This one leads to a submenu with TVM functions, as shown:

screenshot.164.jpgscreenshot.165.jpg

screenshot.166.jpg


The use differs a little bit from the HP17 - HP19 menus. You need to enter a number and press the variable you want to store it; this is equal to the above calculators; however, to SOLVE for a given variable, you need to press left-arrow and the variable you want to calculate. Same behavior applies to all solvers below.

the IVA (called after the name for VAT in Spain) calculates a % mark up on cost; this is stored as the following program. The last part of it leads to a menu page, where you take the SOLVR option and enter into the soft menu screen.

screenshot.167.jpgscreenshot.168.jpg



TOTAL applies the formula below.

screenshot.169.jpg

CAMB is the Spanish word for Change. Same rules apply.

screenshot.170.jpg

Next day we will talk about the IRR calculation...

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HP50g for finance - an engineer lost in a world of hp12cs!

The HP 50g as an everyday financial tool.

As promised in a previous blog, we’ll elaborate a little bit on the HP 50g as a financial tool.

There is a significant number of engineers that end up in financial positions. Finance has some times a strong math content, and engineers are well suited for these tasks. Nearly 40% of my MBA class had engineer training like me. And most of them were using HP scientific calcs. At the time (beginning of the nineties), there were basically hp41c and 48sx calcs. I don’t remember to have seen any 42s at the time.

Most of them, being well-heeled, refrained from adapting their tools to the task and acquired a dedicated tool. In most cases, that was an HP 19bII; seldom an HP 17bII; never saw an student buying an HP 12c, although many of the professors had one and looked at the users of more advanced calcs with the same eyes you would use now with smartphone geeks.

The fact is that most of the technical calcs at the time ended up in drawers, when they were fully capable for the task- with just a little effort.

Well, it’s been several paragraphs and I have not entered into the matter yet!

Well, let's start with the basic tools yet. The most important is the custom menu. Although you can program any key in the calculator, the basic way of customizing it, is though the use of the 6 function keys on top. The system has a way of defining them, through a variable called CST. This variable is a list where you can store the functions, programs or variables that you want to assign to the function keys. The length of the list is not limited to 6: you can have several screens, and jump from one to the other via the "nxt" and "prev" buttons. So you are not limited to 6 financial functions!

You just need to activate these menu keys by executing CST in the keyboard.

Mine reads like this:

{% %CH %T DDAYS DATE+ BUS VAT TOTAL CAMB MKP%}

The 5 first are pure calculator functions; let's talk about the rest next day!

 

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Back from Holidays

I have been on holidays like many of you, and with two young kids, I had very little time to spare for my hobbies (currently audio and calculators). So it is with a smile that I am coming back to work.

I have been using the HP39GII for some time. The programming model is good! It will covert many more people to our loved brand than RPL. If you think about it, RPL is elegant, a direct extension of what RPN was, and powerful; but at the same time, it is even less readable than RPN (to my taste - YMMV), and nothing compared with BASIC or any structured language, including C. (libraries management is what always made C unbearable for anything made for pleasure and not for money)

4509629.jpg

This calculator is the ideal companion for a kid learning maths. It can help him to see what if, changing equations, immediately seeing the graph (in a much friendlier way than the 50g), and it is easily programmable. It does not have the steep learning curve of RPL.

I look forward this term to teach my elder kid (9 years old) some math concepts with the HP39GII. It will be a much easier job than with the HP50g.

HP will release the HP50g replacement most likely next year. I hope it is built on the same concept - of course, keeping the RPL programming model AND adding the programming language introduced by the HPgII at the same time. Let's agree that the HPGCC, while being an incredible tool to do whatever you want for your calculator, it's for us nerds, and not for the laymen engineers that are the normal customers for this calculators. The current HP50g has the mathematicians' and physicists' side covered with its current feature set. Let's add the market of the engineers that just want to use it as a tool to solve their day-to-day problems with very limited time expenditure. The HPGII has opened the way - let's hope HP follows suit!

All distributors seem to be getting rid of their blue HP50g - take the opportunity and complete your collection!

 

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The HP48SX


I have now besides me a mint unit. No box, slightly used pouch, but absolutely mint body, screen and keyboard. As you can imagine, I have a quite good supply of HP calculators, and I have to say that the initial models of the HP48 family were probably the most beautiful, highest quality calculators HP ever did. Later green-based models were not as beautiful for my taste (plain ugly, I would say), and keyboard quality would be worse in some later models (I would say the latest G/GX versions, not the prior ones)

DSC_9416.jpg

I don't know why HP departed from the brown color of this 48SX. The orange, white and blue colors of the additional key functions are very readable (less so the blue than the others, but still very much), and the matt tone of the background makes a pleasure to work with this calculator on the heave light of many offices or classes.
The only bad point compared with what HP is capable is the screen. The blue color LDC is much more difficult to read than the current LDC screens of the HP50g or the newest HP39GII. Now it seems uncomfortable - but I have the same sensation when I start working again with the acknowledged top of RPN calculators - the mighty HP42s. Contrast in that screen is minimal, when compared with the newer HP17bII or the old HP15c. Nevertheless it remains the calculator of choice for many things, since it fits perfectly in the jacket pocket.
The keyboard in the HP48SX has the same feel of the Pioneer family. It is one of the best HP has produced, but still after the HP41c family, which for many were the best keyboards HP produced. (While it may seem blasphemy, I think that the keyboard feel of the current silver HP17bII+ is excellent, and it is my every day office calculator. As it is thicker both in body and in its pouch than the Pioneer series, it does not fit comfortably in a jacket pocket - I carry there a new HP15c LE)
I see that today I am diverting too much from the original aim of today's blog: the HP48SX. Coming back to what I was elaborating. The keyboard visibility is higher than today's graphical models, with the exception of the HP50g Blue; the keyboard organization seems better to me; the color scheme is unsurpassed to date, in the HP48 series or in any other series, for that matter, save for the voyager series; and the keyboard feel remains among the best.
It is just that it does not make sense to me to get accustomed to a 20-years old system that has been superseded by more modern and complete models like the HP50g. If it was instead RPN, I could live with that; I have hard time to make more than very basic programs in RPL; my mind is wired in either basic-like languages or RPN; but RPL, despite being very close to RPN, is substantially more complex to follow than RPN. YMMV, of course.
Please take a look to the article of Mr. Wickes, one of the creators of the RPL concept. It is in the HP journal of June, 1991. You can find it in the url below:
http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/pdfs/IssuePDFs/1991-06.pdf
(By the way, there are many articles worth looking at in this journal series. It is a testimony of the HP quality of that time, that resources were allocated to create interesting, well documented and produced company newspapers like that. 
To find a list of articles in the series, in order to look for a particular subject, go to this link: 
http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/pdfs/HPJ_catalog.xls
All the Journals were digitized from 2006 onwardsI have now besides me a mint unit. No box, slightly used pouch, but absolutely mint body, screen and keyboard. As you can imagine, I have a quite good supply of HP calculators, and I have to say that the initial models of the HP48 family were probably the most beautiful, highest quality calculators HP ever did. Later green-based models were not as beautiful for my taste (plain ugly, I would say), and keyboard quality would be worse in some later models (I would say the latest G/GX versions, not the prior ones)

I don't know why HP departed from the brown color of this 48SX. The orange, white and blue colors of the additional key functions are very readable (less so the blue than the others, but still very much), and the matt tone of the background makes a pleasure to work with this calculator on the heave light of many offices or classes.

 

DSC_9417.jpg

 

The only bad point compared with what HP is capable is the screen. The blue color LDC is much more difficult to read than the current LDC screens of the HP50g or the newest HP39GII. Now it seems uncomfortable - but I have the same sensation when I start working again with the acknowledged top of RPN calculators - the mighty HP42s. Contrast in that screen is minimal, when compared with the newer HP17bII or the old HP15c. Nevertheless it remains the calculator of choice for many things, since it fits perfectly in the jacket pocket.

 

DSC_9418.jpg

 

The keyboard in the HP48SX has the same feel of the Pioneer family. It is one of the best HP has produced, but still after the HP41c family, which for many were the best keyboards HP produced. (While it may seem blasphemy, I think that the keyboard feel of the current silver HP17bII+ is excellent, and it is my every day office calculator. As it is thicker both in body and in its pouch than the Pioneer series, it does not fit comfortably in a jacket pocket - I carry there a new HP15c LE)

 

DSC_9419.jpg

 

I see that today I am diverting too much from the original aim of today's blog: the HP48SX. Coming back to what I was elaborating: The keyboard visibility is higher than today's graphical models, with the exception of the HP50g Blue; the keyboard organization seems better to me; the color scheme is unsurpassed to date, in the HP48 series or in any other series, for that matter, save for the voyager series; and the keyboard feel remains among the best.

 

It is just that it does not make sense to me to get accustomed to a 20-years old system that has been superseded by more modern and complete models like the HP50g. If it was instead RPN, I could live with that; I have hard time to make more than very basic programs in RPL; my mind is wired in either basic-like languages or RPN; but RPL, despite being very close to RPN, is substantially more complex to follow than RPN. YMMV, of course.

 

Please take a look to the article of Mr. Wickes, one of the creators of the RPL concept. It is in the HP journal of June, 1991. You can find it in the url below:

 

http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/pdfs/IssuePDFs/1991-06.pdf

 

(By the way, there are many articles worth looking at in this journal series. It is a testimony of the HP quality of that time, that resources were allocated to create interesting, well documented and produced company newspapers like that. 

 

To find a list of articles in the series, in order to look for a particular subject, go to this link: 

 

http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/pdfs/HPJ_catalog.xls

 

All the Journals were digitized from 2006 onwards)

 

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Yet another Easter egg in the HP50g

There is yet another Easter Egg in the HP50g. Apparently, the one shown in the previous blog page is the latest, appearing only in ROM versions over 1.18. This one apparently appears in all versions, but looks as a more primitive version of the game. 

You need to write "HpMad", between inverted commas and within an entry field in any form - even the beep "tick" of the modes menu works. See the screenshot below:

screenshot.65.jpg

You then will get a tetris screen in landscape format. (if you use the computer emulator, it is exceedingly fast and not fun at all to play with). The pieces are much more elementary, and the aspect is rougher than in the other Easter Egg. I am putting both here for comparison. You'll choose which one to use!

screenshot.67.jpg screenshot.63.jpg

When you finish the game, you will be rewarded with your score in the same command line you abandoned shortly ago:

screenshot.66.jpg

(I told you that the screen was moving too fast for my slow fingers - I was not able to score a single line!)

There is another easter egg in this calculator. This time is a little bit less useful: it just show a puzzle with the names of the developers of the HP49g calculator - at the time it was under Australian Calculator operation (ACO) team. You need to write RULES and press enter, and you will see this acreen:

screenshot.68.jpg

 

Easter eggs seem to appear with some frequency in mainstream software. In some programmer ambients, you cannot possibly release a significant piece of software without including these.

In a previous blog installment, we incuded a video with a chronometer in an HP45. The Easter eggs in HP calculators seem to have existed since very early in their history!

Googling for HP Calculator Easter Eggs will give you 480.000 results. It seems that this is not only existing, but as well interesting enough for many of us! Not only calculators, but also the HP 54600B oscilloscope has a Tetris inside. 

In the company I work in, the AS/400 software development is under my responsibility area (although I am not directly related with programming or analysis. We are not a software company, just a AS/400 user with volume enough to do our own developments). I wonder if our developers are playing that kind of games in our much more serious business software...

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Tetris in the HP50g

This is one of the times you feel stupid. You think you know quite well what you have, and there comes someone that shows you know nothing. 

Today, at work, I was using my HP50g, and a companion said to me: "wow, that's the calculator that comes with Tetris". 

"You mean you can load games, do you? of course you can find a lot of games for it", I replied.

"No, I mean that it comes with Tetris in its software", he said.

"I don't think so".

"Try this: open the formula editor (right arrow + EQW), set alpha, and write MINEISBETTER".

screenshot.61.jpg

"Now, select it:"

screenshot.62.jpg

"and now, de-select alpha and press "SIMP" (F6). Voilà!!"

screenshot.63.jpg

You play it with the keys 2, 4 and 6 for movement across the screen, and 5 to rotate. Backspace to stop it.

Again: all the time in front of my nose, and I did not know!!

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Back from holidays...

Just returned from holidays and still no news on pricing o0n the long-awaited new products. The in-tray is filled with enquiries on one of them - guess which.
Some of the incoming email suggests some ideas for the website. Some of them have been implemented, some of them interesting and worth trying. 
One of them is intriguing and I would like to ask the readers whether is a way to go or not. It is about upgrading to higher models.
Of course, the malfunctioning units would have no room in the system. I am thinking on getting discontinued calculators in exchange for new ones (+ some money to discuss, depending on age, state and model). This would be limited to top models (one of the new coming models, the 50g and the 17bII - maybe as well for the upgraded wp34s)
What do you think? please email to jose@thecalculatorstore.com with your comments!

Just returned from holidays and still no news on pricing o0n the long-awaited new products. The in-tray is filled with enquiries on one of them - guess which.

Some of the incoming email suggests some ideas for the website. Some of them have been implemented, some of them interesting and worth trying. 

One of them is intriguing and I would like to ask the readers whether is a way to go or not. It is about upgrading to higher models.

Of course, the malfunctioning units would have no room in the system. I am thinking on getting discontinued calculators in exchange for new ones (+ some money to discuss, depending on age, state and model). This would be limited to top models (one of the new coming models, the 50g and the 17bII - maybe as well for the upgraded wp34s)

DSC_7894.JPG

What do you think? please email to jose@thecalculatorstore.com with your comments!

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