Musings and comments about our common interest
There have been some messages in www.hpmuseum.org about the HP39gII and its collectability. Apparently, there is not a lot of effort put by HP on promoting this calculator in Europe. I was told at the beginning that this was a calculator specially designed for Asia - and in particular, mainland China. It had been designed while talking with the Chinese educations responsible officers. As such, it does not include CAS; but apart from that, is a quite economic quasi-clone of the mighty HP Prime.
It shares the programming system, and it has a quite good screen with 16 grey levels and good resolution. It cuts corners by not having a mobile phone battery, a tactile screen or color. On the other hand, is quite as fast as the prime, and it lasts longer than other calculators. A curiosity is that the batteries are connected in parallel, not in series: the voltage required to make it work is extremely low. In an emergency, it can even work with a single battery! It also has connectivity via USB, and therefore can be programmed off-calculator and run within it.
It is not as sexy as the Prime - but then the price is very different too - you can buy it for 60€, delivery included in most of Europe. And you get most of the features of the Prime, excluding CAS (which cannot be used in some countries’ schools anyway)
Key feel is good, while not at hp41c levels. You can find it here:
In current HP's calculator roster, the HP39GII is a little been overlooked. It is not as professional as the HP50g, and not as fancy as the HP Prime, with its colour tactile screen. If you're an engineer that wants to use the huge number of programs that have been written in RPL for the HP50g; on the other hand, all software development nowadays is concentrated on the HP Prime. However, the HP39GII shares the same programming model as the HP Prime. Of course, the screen is much better than the HP50's, with several grey levels as opposed to a single yes/no for the HP50g.
Of course, both the HP40gs and HP39gs belong to a different universe...both are very far from the above calculators - and they never were too popular among HP cognoscenti.
Many of you are collectors of HP calculators. For those, we have prepared a nice offer: you can get the HP39GII for 59,99, shipment included. And you can see what the fuzz is about!
When discussing the HP Prime with HP officers, it seems that it belongs to a long range strategy to recover the educational market.
You may have heard that there will be some kind of wireless connection. What for? Could it be cause for schools forbidding its use? Nothing further from the truth.
This wireless connection will be just with the professor’s dongle on his computer. Everything will be managed from the HP Classroom Manager, an already existing software that takes care of everything that exists in the class, and that allows the professor to remotely manage all computers in class. This software can link and manage the new calculators, too.
By the way, I saw a demo of it with computers, and it was impressive. You can block keyboard, and/or mouse, and/or screens of a single or several members of the class. You can start the presentations, manage the speed they run on each computer, run tests and exams and see in real time how everyone’s doing, etc.
A class full of computers is far from what I find desirable, but with calculators, it is a completely different thing. Unobtrusive, powerful, compatible with a writing pad on the table, it can really be the way to teach and learn maths.
As well, the wifi is one way: you just can connect with the professor computer dongle - no way to intercommunicate with other peers. It is just one way (or master and servant, in old computer parlance). I will forward the information to my children’s school.
Here is a short video about it. Tell me what you think about it:
For those that already have the fast HP39gII, there is a connectivity kit available. You will find it in the corresponding product page. It allows you to connect your machine to the Windows-based computer and transfer applets and matrices.
But it also comes with a boon: it enclose the latest published ROM, dated September 4th. You can use it to upgrade the machine. It solves many of the bugs that came with the firmware issued in July.
You can develop the programs you need with the convenience of a laptop computer, using a big keyboard, and port them to your unit for exams or daily work. Neat!
Finally, there is an official Windows emulator for the HP39gII (there was an unofficial one before - you might have seen it in these pages). You can download it by clicking in the link below
I am running it in my Mac in the Parallels Windows session - and works flawlessly!
You can see the different skins - some of them are very nice - in particular the bigger one, that happens to be landscape:
The quality of the picture is excellent!
Now, for the biggest of them all, in landscape format:
And now the compact one, that comes as default:
This occupies a small spot even in my puny MacBook air. With Parallels in coherence mode, I can call it as a Mac application all the way.
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)
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!
The HP39gII is coming our way now.
Many of our current customers have asked for it. while it is not RPN, it is really HP - much more that many of the external jobs contracted by HP in the last years.
The firmware has been designed from scratch by the HP team - unlike many other calculators from several years ago, like the HP 35s and the HP 17bII, which wre developed outside onder HP specification. This can be seen in features like the unsolved bugs of the hp35s, or the poor implementation of the HP 17bII+ solver, applying brute force techniques, compared with the original hp17bII "pseudo-symbolic" 2-pass solver). It is worth noting that the last generation of HP calculators is again "pure HP" in its conception and development: the 20b and 30b on one hand, the new voyagers (12c and 15c based on an ARN core as well) and the latest HP10bII+.
According to the development team, the HP38gII is the start of a platform-independent codebase for future HP graphical calculators. Having Cyrille and Tim in the team, we know that the HP heritage will at least be respected, even if marketing decisions do not allow them to include RPN in all products (apparently, there are products where marketing forbud to include RPN as an option, even a hidden undocumented feature !!)
Fortunately, RPN is still offered on most calculators, albeit as an option (with the exception of the true "oldies" of the line, the hp12c and the hp15c, where it is the _only_ option)
The work performed by HP with the voyagers helped them to create ARM-based products that do not swallow batteries. While it was close to impossible to achieve the original Voyagers' battery performance (some units have been known to hold their charge for over 15 years), they are by far much better than other current calculators like the hp50g in battery life. My HP15 is approaching 6 months of intense use without any hint of battery exhaustion, while batterioes never lasted more than two months of use for my 50g.
This good energy management is shown in the new calculator. According to Tim Wessman, the 4 AAA batteries are working in parallel, not in series, and the calculator can run with just one in an emergency. He claims to have tested units over 500 hours of continuous use with a single set of batteries.
As soon as I receive my sample, I will test it and you'll be the second to see the results - the first will be the subscribers to our newsletter (to receive it, you just need to register as user) And stay tuned: as soon as the financials are set, I will put the machine on sale!