Message #7 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 21 Nov 2003, 4:29 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Pierre Brial
Here in my country (Spain) there are still a number of
BASIC language handhelds (calculators) available for sale
at department stores, mainly CASIOs.
But if I were you, I'd try and get an HP-71B in eBay or
using the Classified section in this very site. You can
get decent ones for low prices, from $50 to $100 in
most cases. That is cheaper than main street prices for CASIOs,
and it goes without saying that HP-71B's BASIC is several
orders or magnitude better than most any other handheld
BASICs available now or ever.
For instance, you'll get full I/O and device control abilities, recursive subprograms with parameter passing and local variables (and environment), multi-line user-defined functions (also recursive and multi-parameter), passing parameters by value or reference, full file system in RAM with multiple, independent programs, and inmense expandability: external ROMs such as the Math ROM, the FORTH/Assembler ROM (write your own machine-language subprograms and extend the built-in BASIC language with new keywords created by yourself), the HP-41C/FORTH ROM, the Text Editor ROM, the HP-IL ROM, ... and RAM modules which can be used to extend internal RAM to in excess of 400 Kb, plus last but not least, a manual CALCulator mode which will show intermediate results, automatically open and close parentheses, and can backtrack any calculation (for instance, after 3+4*5 has partially evaluated first to 3+20, then to 23, you can still go back ("undo") to 3+20, then to 3+4*5). Most features from the above list can't be found in any other BASIC handheld, none really compares.
While at it, you should
also consider getting its Math ROM, if possible. It extends
the BASIC language with lots of new BASIC keywords implementing a great many math commands and
extra functionality (complex numbers, matrix operations,
root finding, integration, polynomial roots, Fourier transforms, gamma function, hyperbolics, base conversions, utility keywords, etc)
Best regards from V.
Edited: 21 Nov 2003, 4:34 a.m.