|Re: S&SMC#9-Question to Valentin|
Message #2 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 23 May 2005, 9:55 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Bill (Smithville, NJ)
"I feel I must gently chastise you a little bit - hopefully in good humor. :)"
Be my guest, let's see ...
"When I initially read your description of the challenge and the rules you laid down I thought I'd get to see another one of your well thought out and documented RPN
calculator solutions [...] The word calculator was underlined to stress that you were looking for calculator solutions."
"I realize that you view the HP-71B as a "calculator" but I would view it more as a "computer" since it uses Basic."
Yes, it's the same old problem discussed many times before of the exact definition of "calculator" vs. "computer". The extreme cases are obvious, but there's a certain blurred line where you can't assign a clear classification. For some, the HP-71B is a computer, while the HP-41C is a calculator. Yet both are the central unit of complete systems, do have CPU, display, RAM, ROM, peripherals, system extensions, you name it. Why should one be considered a "calculator" and the other a "computer" ? No reason at all. Even HP themselves called the 41C a "computer" in a lot of marketing adds and materials.
Of course, I could clarify by giving a large list of allowed machines, but that's nonsensical. We all know what kind of machines we're talking about. An HP-25 ? Yes. HP-41C ? Yes. HP-71B ? Yes. HP-48/49 (much more powerful than the 71B) ? Yes. SHARP PC-1211 ? Yes. TI-59 ? Yes.
A Pentium-based PC compatible ? No. Some mainframe ? No. An ancient Apple II running BASIC ? No. A Sinclair ZX Spectrum ? No. Some PDA ? No. I hope you get the point.
"I could easily use Basic on my PC and then
translate it to the HP-71B or one of the Sharp versions of Basic."
By all means do. And don't forget to post the resulting program.
"But wouldn't you say that would defeat the purpose of a HP "calculator" challenge."
No. As long as the resulting program runs in one of 'approved' models, be it an HP-41, HP-71, or HP-48, say, I don't mind how it came into existence, be it as a translation from a Cray-1 program, or because you channeled some alien in Omicron Persei 8.
"Please take my comments as a gentle nudge - I always enjoy seeing your HP-71B solutions, BUT I much more enjoy the RPN solutions."
Then submit one yourself, so that everyone can see how it's done.
"Fortunately there was one
RPN solution but it would have been great to see yours also."
Thanks a lot for your interest and kind words, but giving MY solutions for the HP-71B instead of for some RPN (or RPL) model has a number of important advantages, among them:
- Everyone can try out a solution for the HP-71B, as there is a perfect emulator, Emu-71, which everyone can download and use for free, to test my solutions, or to develop their owns. Should I give a solution for other machines, there may or may not exist a free emulator (including free ROMs) for that machine, or people may not have that physical model.
- HP-71B's BASIC is powerful enough that a solution can be given in a (very) few lines, and being BASIC, it's easy to understand the code, and thus easy to translate to other calculator languages. An RPN solution would typically required a hundred steps or more, and it's much more cryptic and difficult to understand, let alone translate it to run in other machines, even if RPN.
- It's very easy for me to copy-paste the program listing and results from Emu71. Doing it from a physical machine or other emulators would be a lot more work and error prone, and designing these challenges and creating the solutions already requires more free time that I can reasonable allocate to this, so the less unnecessary work involved, the better.
... and there are more reasons, but I think these three make my point clear.
"I'm afraid I didn't have much luck with this particular challenge, but enjoyed it anyway. I'm looking forward to trying my luck with your next challenge."
... and I'm looking forward for your next contribution, be it an RPN program or some IBM PC Basic program you translated to HP-71B BASIC (or RPL, for that matter). And of course, submitting an untranslated program would be utterly unacceptable. :-)
Thanks a lot for your interest and comments, and
Best regards from V.