Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators? - Hewlett Packard

This is a discussion on Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators? - Hewlett Packard ; On Tue, 04 Dec 2007 08:04:14 -0600: > UserRPL is broken FORTH. > Hardly "popular", hardly "high level," hardly "useful" FORTH often gets a lot done with little input. Many "popular" things are unworthy of their popularity. Some "higher-level" things ...

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Thread: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

  1. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Tue, 04 Dec 2007 08:04:14 -0600:

    > UserRPL is broken FORTH.
    > Hardly "popular", hardly "high level," hardly "useful"


    FORTH often gets a lot done with little input.

    Many "popular" things are unworthy of their popularity.

    Some "higher-level" things have higher difficulty and effort
    (though it should be the opposite).

    "Usefulness" depends on what one has use for,
    and for tasks well suited to these calculators,
    even UserRPL has accomplished a great deal for me,
    often what others have thought they needed SysRPL/ML for.

    Remembering what HP set out to do,
    as its goal for this series:

    "The HP 48 calculator was designed to be
    a customizable mathematical scratchpad
    for use by students and professionals in technical fields."

    (first sentence of "RPL Programming Guide," file rplman.doc)
    http://www.hpcalc.org/search.php?query=rplman

    IMO, the goal was well met.

    -[ ]-

  2. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Tue, 04 Dec 2007 11:19:10 -0600, Dave Boyd wrote:

    > To be fair, the original BASIC, for the DecSystem-10, did have matrix
    > support -- that was part of the reason for its existence -- Professors
    > Kemeny and Kurtz at Dartmouth wanted computers to be accessible to non-
    > scientists and non-mathematicians. It also had user-definable functions.
    > It was pretty good at math for 1964, and much easier to program in than
    > Fortran (of that generation). Most of the built-in BASICs for 1980s
    > micros left those parts out.


    To be fair, the OP specifically said:

    > programming in language that is primitive even when compared
    > with GWBASIC or BASICA from 20 years ago.


    IIRC, those had all the specified parts left out
    (did "TI BASIC" restore them?) and the comparison
    was to a simple HP calculator language
    which definitely "includes them in."

    -[ ]-

  3. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    Some troll going by the moniker A.L. wrote:
    > UserRPL is broken FORTH. Hardly "popular", hardly "high level".
    > Hardly "usefull".


    User RPL isn't FORTH. It's not trying to be FORTH. It's a language
    specifically designed for calculators.

    It uses reverse polish notation, and uses threaded code, but that doesn't
    make it FORTH.

    Since it isn't FORTH at all, it certainly isn't "borken FORTH".

    I can't speak for popularity, but User RPL is definitely "high level"
    and useful.

  4. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    Dave Boyd wrote:
    > To be fair, the original BASIC, for the DecSystem-10, did have matrix
    > support -- that was part of the reason for its existence -- Professors
    > Kemeny and Kurtz at Dartmouth wanted computers to be accessible to non-
    > scientists and non-mathematicians.


    The original BASIC was *NOT* for the DECsystem-10. It ran on DTSS on
    GE computers.


  5. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    Eric Smith wrote in
    news:m3aboplh0s.fsf@donnybrook.brouhaha.com:

    > Dave Boyd wrote:
    >> To be fair, the original BASIC, for the DecSystem-10, did have matrix
    >> support -- that was part of the reason for its existence -- Professors
    >> Kemeny and Kurtz at Dartmouth wanted computers to be accessible to non-
    >> scientists and non-mathematicians.

    >
    > The original BASIC was *NOT* for the DECsystem-10. It ran on DTSS on
    > GE computers.


    Oops, yes -- I was thinking of where I first encountered it. Sorry.


    --
    Dave Boyd
    "If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall
    like a house of cards. Checkmate." -Capt. Zapp Brannigan, D.O.O.P.

  6. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Dec 5, 2:47 am, Eric Smith wrote:
    >...
    > The original BASIC was *NOT* for the DECsystem-10. It ran on DTSS on
    > GE computers.


    It's funny that this subject should arise, because one of the most
    bullet-proof implementations of BASIC was produced by -- Hewlett
    Packard. Their HP/2000E, HP/2000F, and HP/2000 Access systems were TSB
    (Time-Shared BASIC) running on their 2100 and 21MX processors. We used
    'em in high school in the mid-70s.

    BASIC as a language, and as implemented by HP (single-character
    variable names only!) was torturous to use yet quite capable. I
    maintained, enhanced, and rewrote an email-slash-bulletin board system
    in it that we used county-wide, along with an HP/25 program
    development system (editor, assembler, emulator). I'm glad I don't
    have to use it any more, yet it took me a far distance!

    The programming language of TI calculators may share the name, but
    "Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code" it definitely
    isn't, nor is it functionally or stylistically a descendent of either
    Dartmouth or HP BASIC.

    Nor is it as expressive and suitable for small-device programming as
    HP UserRPL. RPL may not be the "best" programming language, and it
    certainly isn't easy to "read" programs written in, but it is
    enormously expressive as both a computational tool and a customization
    language for small devices, suiting both their displays and their
    keyboards. In the hands of an experienced user (and as JHM alluded,
    these were a definite "target" of the HP calc designers), the
    environment it provides is just short of miraculous.

    I certainly don't expect A.L. or people of his (her?) ilk to
    understand or appreciate this, but then that's why TI and Casio make
    calculators as well.

    -^-rdj-^-

  7. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Nov 29, 7:11 pm, aplnub wrote:
    > Just as the title states. Is the present the future with little or
    > not changes in technology?


    Far from being at a "dead end", there is so much yet to come in
    calculator capability! Look at the work JYA reports in graphic
    sophistication, for example.

    The primary advances are, in my mind, likely to come in the form of
    changing the way calculators perform computations. There is a trend.
    Slide rules operated in very limited precision (3 or 4 significant
    figures). FIrst-generation calculators extended that with 10-14 digits
    of precision and scientific notation. Then specification and
    preservation of units was introduced. Now we have devices that can
    give us "exact" solutions. What's next?

    (Along the way, we lost something: using a slide rule required much
    more thought to go into the problem being solved as far as the
    expected magnitudes of the results. Now we just copy down the numbers
    and ask no questions...)

    Wouldn't it be extraordinary to have a calculator that embraces
    preservation of accuracy, one that dynamically adjusts its precision
    so that it doesn't pretend to exceed that of the original data? Or one
    that embraces uncertainty -- if you can quantify the uncertainty of
    various stages of a computation, why not have the calculator help you
    keep track of it?

    There is already work going on in these areas. It's definitely do-
    able, but we don't have it yet, and it certainly isn't available as
    part of a fully-integrated calculator environment.

    So, the "next generation" of HP calculators should address some
    functional concerns -- quality, expandability, sanity -- while taking
    us to the next level of computation through incorporation of some
    combination of numerical methods and, as it applies, statistical
    analysis which address the "blind faith" we seem to have developed
    over the decades in calculated numeric results.

    And oh, please god! Do not waste the utility and precious resources of
    our devices by bolting bags on the side such as playing music (or
    movies) or adding spreadsheets or PIM functions as built-in
    capabilities. Not every device needs to do everything -- let the
    phones and PDAs slay away for the consumers' attention, and just give
    the true computing machines around which we congregate!

  8. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Dec 5, 11:42 am, rdj wrote:
    > ...single-character variable names only!...


    Correction: two-character. You could use a letter, A-Z, followed by an
    optional digit, 0-9, hence A, A0, A9, C$ (for a string), C2$, etc.

    HP/2000 TSB allowed only single-statement functions named along the
    lines of variables (DEF FNA, DEF FNB, etc.). The HP/3000 MPE
    implementation of HP BASIC allowed multi-ilne functions (wow!), but I
    don't recall to what extent it might have relaxed variable naming.

    BASIC on the 3K wasn't nearly as "fun" as on the 2K machines!

    -^-rdj-^-

  9. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Wed, 5 Dec 2007 08:42:36 -0800 (PST), rdj wrote:

    >
    >
    >I certainly don't expect A.L. or people of his (her?) ilk to
    >understand or appreciate this, but then that's why TI and Casio make
    >calculators as well.


    Well.. My first compute was on vacuum tubes. Then, in Z80
    microprocessor era, when book "Threaded Programming languages" was
    published, with almost complete FORTH implementation for Z80) I became
    FORTH enthusiast. I implemented FORTH on many gadgets, only to
    conclude that this is the most inconvenient way to represent human
    ideas in computing, especially in numerics.

    When I say that UsrRPN 'is "broken FORTH", I don't think that this is
    really FORTH. However, I don't believe (knowing both FORTH and UsrRPL)
    that there was mo influence of FPRTH on UsrRPL - FORTH was the only
    language based on explicit stack and RPN.

    From this time I have a lot of programs (on paper - 5 in diskettes are
    long gone) that share the same property: I know what these programs do
    (there are some comments) but have no clue how they do this. I am
    quite impressed that I ever implemented this sort of crap.

    Somebody clever told that we write programs for computers, but first
    of all for other people. The main advantage of UsrRPL is that it is
    possible to write program that is impossible to decipher without
    extensive studies. For this reason, I put UsrRPL to the same box
    labeled "crap" where I also keep FORTH and some other mistakes of
    computer evolution.

    A.L.

    P.S. "A.L." is "he"

  10. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Wed, 05 Dec 2007 12:58:20 -0600:

    > When I say that UsrRPN 'is "broken FORTH", I don't think that this is
    > really FORTH. However, I don't believe (knowing both FORTH and UsrRPL)
    > that there was no influence of FPRTH on UsrRPL - FORTH was the only
    > language based on explicit stack and RPN.


    You are correct; another quote from the same HP document
    ("RPL Programming Guide" - RPLman.doc):

    Several existing operating systems and languages were
    considered, but none could meet all of the design
    objectives. A new system was therefore developed, which
    merges the threaded interpretation of Forth with the
    functional approach of Lisp. The resulting operating
    system, known unofficially as RPL (for Reverse-Polish Lisp),
    made its first public appearance in June of 1986 in the HP-
    18C Business Consultant calculator. Subsequently, RPL has
    been the basis for the HP-17B, HP-19B, HP-27S, HP-28C and
    HP-28S, and HP 48S and HP 48SX calculators. The HP-17B,
    18C, and 19B are designed for business applications; they
    and the HP-27S scientific calculator offer an 'algebraic'
    calculating logic, and the underlying operating system is
    invisible to the user. The HP 28/HP 48 families of
    scientific calculators use an RPN logic, and many of the
    facilities of operating system are directly available as
    calculator commands.

    > Somebody clever told that we write programs for computers, but first
    > of all for other people. The main advantage of UsrRPL is that it is
    > possible to write program that is impossible to decipher without
    > extensive studies. For this reason, I put UsrRPL to the same box
    > labeled "crap" where I also keep FORTH and some other mistakes of
    > computer evolution.


    You may not have noticed, but the built-in decompiler/editor
    automatically provides "indentation" to make the (actually
    fairly obvious) logical language even more obvious.

    Most programming languages (including BASIC)
    share the obfuscatory capability you describe, however;
    indeed, even "plain speech" is often exactly the same

    How about COBOL ?

    Sample program:
    http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infoce...eqa7cu0252.htm

    Sample job ("JCL") to compile a COBOL program ;-)
    http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infoce...ceu4mst248.htm

    Find more COBOL examples:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=cobol+example

    COBOL example for HP 3000:
    http://docs.hp.com/cgi-bin/doc3k/B3242490002.10134/43

    COBOL history:
    http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=960120.808378

    The "Mother of all languages" (or at least of COBOL)
    http://www.google.com/search?q=grace+hopper+cobol

    Why was 1999 a good year for employment in COBOL? ;-)

    [r->] [OFF]

  11. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    rdj wrote:

    > Not every device needs to do everything


    This should be made illegal,
    so that human beings will still have some use

    -=-=-=-

  12. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Dec 5, 1:58 pm, A.L. wrote:

    > Well.. My first compute was on vacuum tubes. Then, in Z80 microprocessor
    > era, when book "Threaded Programming languages" was published, with almost
    > complete FORTH implementation for Z80) I became FORTH enthusiast. I
    > implemented FORTH on many gadgets, only to conclude that this is the most
    > inconvenient way to represent human ideas in computing, especially in
    > numerics.


    By "implemented FORTH on many gadgets", I assume you meant to say,
    "implemented programs in the FORTH language on many gadgets", not that
    you
    created new FORTH interpreters for those gadgets.

    Anyway, I disagree that it's the most inconvenient way to represent
    ideas in
    computing. The HP-25, for example, uses absolute statement addressing
    for
    jumps, and it is not possible to "insert" an instruction -- one must
    re-enter the remainder of the program from that point forward
    (renumbering
    jumps as necessary) or include a "patch" using a pair of jumps. Now
    *that's*
    inconvenient!

    Convenience is subject to one's interpretation. Suppose we had to
    write
    programs on the HP-50g in Java. Even a small, simple program would
    require a
    lot of typing! One convenience that languages such as FORTH, LISP, and
    RPL
    have have over others is that their economical syntax makes it
    possible to
    express a lot of process in very little space.

    > When I say that UsrRPN 'is "broken FORTH", I don't think that this is really
    > FORTH. However, I don't believe (knowing both FORTH and UsrRPL) that there
    > was mo influence of FPRTH on UsrRPL - FORTH was the only language based on
    > explicit stack and RPN.


    Not entirely (and it's "UserRPL", not "UserRPN" -- "RPN" refers to the
    math
    syntax, not the programming language)... an interesting counter-
    example is
    HP's own HP/3000, its MPE operating system, and its SPL ("Systems
    Programming Language"). (See
    http://www.robelle.com/library/smugbook/classic.html and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_3000 for more info.) The
    "Classic" (pre-RISC) HP/3000 was a minicomputer with a stack-oriented
    architecture with segmented, virtual addressing.

    SPL was a "low" high-level language sporting primarily an Algol-like
    sytax
    but allowing the programmer to "descend" at arbitrary points into the
    assembly language where one could directly operate upon the stack.
    (Perhaps
    this is the genesis of a philosophy underlying the "split" between
    UserRPL
    and SystemRPL in late-model HP calculators?)

    (SPL was a joy to use in writing "clean" software, incidentally, at a
    time
    when RATFOR was a rather weak but workable consolation for the general
    unavailability of C outside ivory towers.)

    > From this time I have a lot of programs (on paper - 5 in diskettes are long
    > gone) that share the same property: I know what these programs do (there are
    > some comments) but have no clue how they do this. I am quite impressed that
    > I ever implemented this sort of crap.


    It may not be a bad thing that you have undecipherable programs from
    the
    days of 5 1/4" floppies. (Translation to my timeframe would likely be
    programs on punch cards, punched paper tape, and 8" floppies.) I don't
    know
    about you, but my programming technique and sophistication have
    improved
    markedly since then!

    In any event, it is possible to write clear or obfuscatory programs in
    any programming language. It's a matter of style.

    > Somebody clever told that we write programs for computers, but first of all
    > for other people. The main advantage of UsrRPL is that it is possible to
    > write program that is impossible to decipher without extensive studies. For
    > this reason, I put UsrRPL to the same box labeled "crap" where I also keep
    > FORTH and some other mistakes of computer evolution.


    Depends on what you mean by "other people". The basis of COBOL was
    supposed
    to be that it would bring programmers closer to their managers by
    allowing
    programmers to write programs in a language closer to English. Guess
    they
    didn't realize until too late that managers don't understand English
    too
    well, either.

    I don't begrudge your feelings about FORTH, however, I would point out
    that
    without FORTH, it would have been rather difficult to boot Sun Unix
    systems,
    Unix would not have grabbed its commercial foothold, and we'd all
    probably
    be running Windows.

    In that case, even the smallest HP-50g program would require 2.7MB of
    storage and a month or two to write and debug. :-) No, thanks!

    > A.L.
    > P.S. "A.L." is "he"


    Thank you for the clarification!


  13. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    > This should be made illegal,
    > so that human beings will still have some use


    You are probably not aware how right you are !

    --
    manjo
    http://fly.srk.fer.hr/~manjo/openfire
    | 49G+ | ROM 2.09 | hw serial:CN40213309 | sw serial:CN40701165 |



  14. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Dec 6, 10:15 am, "manjo" wrote:
    > > This should be made illegal,
    > > so that human beings will still have some use

    >
    > You are probably not aware how right you are !
    >
    > --
    > manjohttp://fly.srk.fer.hr/~manjo/openfire
    > | 49G+ | ROM 2.09 | hw serial:CN40213309 | sw serial:CN40701165 |


    We will still need the humans to apply the "wiggle fix" to the
    keyboard and to work on the power consumption battery problems that
    come with the device (at no extra cost!).

  15. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Thu, 6 Dec 2007 16:15:32 +0100, "manjo"
    wrote:

    >> This should be made illegal,
    >> so that human beings will still have some use

    >
    >You are probably not aware how right you are !


    Saturn rising (as he calls himself these days) is actually a rather aware
    type of fellow! He's spent most of his life being aware.


  16. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    A.L. wrote:
    > When I say that UsrRPN 'is "broken FORTH", I don't think that this is
    > really FORTH. However, I don't believe (knowing both FORTH and UsrRPL)
    > that there was mo influence of FPRTH on UsrRPL


    Of course FORTH had an influence on RPL. No one disputes that.

    Fortran had an influence on Algol, too, but that doesn't make
    Algol a "broken Fortran", or any other kind of Fortran.

    > FORTH was the only language based on explicit stack and RPN.


    No, it wasn't the only language based on either of those concepts.

  17. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    "The Phantom" (as he calls himself these days) wrote:

    > He's spent most of his life being aware.


    Logically, that would mean some of his life
    was spent not being aware; does that mean
    that he was alive before ever being aware,
    like when he was just a few... "stem cells"?

    Was that, in disguise, a so-called "pro-life" statement?

    Should one be allowed to kill a carrot,
    because it is alive,
    even though it does not seem very aware, to us?

    How does one solve that, algebraically?

    Or can this only be answered
    "Not reducible to a rational expression" ?

    It *is* the end for advanced calculators,
    because they can't think, therefore they aren't

    -=-=-=-

  18. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Wed, 5 Dec 2007 09:13:54 -0800 (PST), rdj wrote:


    >And oh, please god! Do not waste the utility and precious resources of
    >our devices by bolting bags on the side such as playing music (or
    >movies) or adding spreadsheets or PIM functions as built-in
    >capabilities.


    Too late.... TI has spreadsheet and PIM, Casio has spreadsheet...

    A.L.

  19. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    On Dec 7, 11:26 pm, A.L. wrote:
    > On Wed, 5 Dec 2007 09:13:54 -0800 (PST), rdj wrote:
    > >And oh, please god! Do not waste the utility and precious resources of
    > >our devices by bolting bags on the side such as playing music (or
    > >movies) or adding spreadsheets or PIM functions as built-in
    > >capabilities.

    >
    > Too late.... TI has spreadsheet and PIM, Casio has spreadsheet...
    >
    > A.L.


    IMHO, a spreadsheet on a calculator is useless. The limited screen
    space of a handheld calculator allows you to see only about 4x5 cells,
    depending on the size of the text. Why not use something like Excel
    for that, which has hundreds of formulas to boot?

    If you need a spreadsheet, then use a computer, not a calculator. I
    had a TI-89 Titanium (no longer) and it had the spreadsheet and
    calendar. I never used either of those features because they were so
    limiting.

    To be honest, I am probably most satisfied by the Casio fx-260 that I
    bought for $9 several years ago. It is a basic one-line scientific
    that does everything that I don't want to turn on a computer for.
    Being a one-line display, it also forces the user to think a bit more
    rather than just dumping the whole equation onto the calculator. This
    is good because it keeps your brain in check.

    I don't know what PIM stands for (is it some messenging program?) but
    it sure doesn't sound like it belongs on a calculator.

    S.C.

  20. Re: Is the 50g the end of the line for advanced calculators?

    sc_usenet@hotmail.com wrote:

    > IMHO, a spreadsheet on a calculator is useless.
    > The limited screen space of a handheld calculator
    > allows you to see only about 4x5 cells,
    > depending on the size of the text.


    And the same for a matrix, for that matter,
    especially if it contains symbolic elements

    > If you need a spreadsheet, then use a computer, not a calculator.


    Or a matrix (adding the spreadsheet seems a natural extension).

    http://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/apps/matrix/
    http://www.hpcalc.org/hp49/apps/matrix/

    > I don't know what PIM stands for.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona...mation_manager
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ation_managers

    Or simulators of these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_organizer
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_digital_assistant

    > it sure doesn't sound like it belongs on a calculator.


    Which I guess is why there are 93 of these:

    http://www.hpcalc.org/hp48/apps/pims/
    http://www.hpcalc.org/hp49/apps/pims/

    -=-=-=-

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