|Re: Sharp pocket computers (and other topics)|
Message #77 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 7 Nov 2005, 6:36 a.m.,
in response to message #76 by Karl Schneider
Hi again, Karl:
"If the prices are reasonable, I might even get one or two, in order to have an example of a high-end non-HP product."
By all means do, but I'd suggest you get first one of the models I mentioned. They're the more likely to make a positive impression on you, and we all know that first impressions are what counts.
"I once summarized the main differences between the 28C and 28S was the RAM (2 kB vs. 32 kB) [...]"
The ratio is even worse, because 1/4 of those meager 2 Kb were permanently reserved for the operating system, thus leaving no more than 1.5 Kb for the user, which was absolutely insufficient. Mr. Wicked himself said that its RAM resources would compare to a bare bones 41C with no extra RAM at all, and that was insufficient to run most complex HP-67 programs.
"Hmm, I dunno. No RPN? "
You can easily search for my opinion on RPN in the MoHP's Archives so no need to repeat it here. Among my frequent posts, the one discussing HP's "Mach's number example" is the best summarization of my views.
"Also, I'd be real surprised if the quality of their mechanica engineering and ergononomics matches that of the HP's from
the 1980's. Long-term durability and repairability is an issue now, given the age of these devices."
Don't be so surprised. SHARP have been pioneers in electronics since old, and theirs are the very first LCD displays. Their first handheld 'computer', the venerable SHARP PC-1211, was offering a 24-character alphanumeric, dot matrix LCD display and BASIC in ROM in a slim, metallic body, with full I/O to mass storage and printer integrated back in 1980+, at a time where the HP-41C did with a 12-character, segmented LCD display and RPN in a plastic body, with I/O to mass storage and printer requiring expensive accessories with their own external ROMs. Not that I would compare both products or suggest that one is better than the other, they're simply in different leagues, but the SHARP's model hardware and build quality are perfectly comparable or even surpass the HP model.
As for durability and repairability, all my SHARPS do work perfectly, keyboards and all, despite being 15, 20, 25 years old. Still shiny as new, as well. You can open them up by simply unscrewing some perfectly normal screws, you can peek at the insides and even do your own things there, if you want to, such as internally wiring more RAM, etc, as long as you know what you're doing. They mostly use standard components.
"And, I'd be absolutely stunned if the
documentation measured up to that of the 71B, 71B Math ROM, HP-41, HP-15... "
The documentation is perfectly good. The SHARP PC-1211, for instance, came with a big User Manual, full of detailed examples, plus another big book with *over a hundred* programs
in all cathegories, mainly engineering, maths, statistics, etc, many of them suitably long and well written. After having a look at the dismayingly *bad* and insufficient "Standard Pac" which came with my newly acquired HP-41C, I was more than delighted with the SHARP PC-1211's equivalent, which would run rings around HP's offering both in terms of sheer number of programs featured and their quality and documentation. Not only would you learn from them, you'd actually *use* them (for instance, there was a program to solve linear systems up to 11x11).
You can see the quality and thoroughness of their documentation for yourself by having a look at this, which is the whole manual for one of the models I heartily recommended (SHARP PC-E500, the 'engineering' model) in English language, PDF format (6 Mb approx.):
SHARP PC-E500 Operation Manual
I think you'll agree with me it's perfectly good, adequate and comprehensive documentation for this superb machine.
"I do enjoy studying and reading your challenges and detailed answers, but generally leave the "doing" to others (some of whom have already accomplished them by the time I read them...) "
Well, I suppose doing so has its advantages as well, though you'll miss the fun of confronting an interesting problem and actually finding a solution.
Thanks for your kind opinions and
Best regards from V.