|Re: USB vs 232|
Message #12 Posted by Howard Owen on 14 Sept 2005, 12:05 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by don wallace
I now have two of the HP-IL/Cat-5 cables. I use both on a daily basis and they work great.
As to what I actually do with all this stuff, I'd first like to point out that getting anything accomplished with a hobby is optional, in theory anyhow.
But truth be told, I am pursuing several goals with all my HP-IL equipment. The main high-level goal is to make as much old software for the HP-41, HP-71 and HP-75 accessible to current enthusiasts as possible. That means developing or reviving systems to connect the old storage media to the 21st century Internet. It also means trying to scrape together documentation for all the old stuff that lacks it. The lack may be due to loss of original hardcopy, or perhaps because the documentation is buried in old PPC or other club journals. In either case I need to load the software onto a real machine or an emulator, figure out what it does, then try to match it up with other information sources. This is an enormous task, which I will never complete on my own. But it's pleasant to pursue at my leisure because it requires playing with the old machines and reading the old journals, which are both activities I enjoy.
In a closely related goal, I'd also like to collect and conserve as much old software and printed matter as I can. I'm standing on the shoulders of giants here, for which fact I am profoundly grateful. But I do occasionally run across old programs that aren't in any online repository I know about. I have several user library programs that fit this description. The user library probably perished in a landfill after the Corvallis division moved to Singapore, according to several threads in the museum archives. It seems to me to be worthwhile to try and reconstruct as much of it as we can from the materials that were distributed by the library over the years.
I'm also interested in writing a Linux HP-IL driver. I got some way down this path before I realized I could run EMU41 and drive Cristoph Klug's ISA card under Linux without a driver. That removed a lot of the incentive to write the native driver. So I've been lazy about that.
And generally, I have fun with systems. The HP-41 is an open system, rather than a closed box. I didn't know that when I bought my first one from tutoring money in Junior College, but that's what it was, and is. The other machine I got introduced to then was the Apple II, another open system. Those two open platforms were products of the accelerating advance of microelectronics that swept through the last third of the 20th century. And they were my entry point into that tide of change and progress. So being able to connect them to the 21st century isn't just a cute trick in my opinion. It's really a profound reflection on the nature of open systems, as well as a personal journey through my own history.