|Right on, Ron! [OpenRPN]|
Message #26 Posted by Karl Schneider on 27 Feb 2006, 3:24 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by Ron Ross
Hi, Ron --
Admittedly, another meaningless rant by me!
Far from it. I think that yours is one of the most insightful short essays to date about this topic in the Forum.
As far as I'm concerned, there are two substantial unfilled niches for RPN-based scientific calculators:
What the HP-33S ought to have been
The HP-33S should have been a "synergistic melding" of the HP-32SII and the HP-15C, with a one-line, easy-to-read dot-matrix display. Other attributes would include increased computational speed, ample RAM, an improved equation editor, and solid integrated functionality for matrix and complex-number calculations.
I think that such a project would have genuine value, but it would not be easy. Much effort went into the development of source code for the HP-15C and HP-42S, and what is still available might no longer be applicable to today's hardware.
What the original HP-48S/SX ought to have been
The HP-48S/SX should have been a "Super 42S", with RPN instead of obfuscated RPL, limited but easy-to-use graphics, and HP-71B BASIC for advanced programming (if necessary).
Nowadays, I would question whether such an ambitious project would be warranted. Advanced programs could be entered via downloadable binaries or plug-in chips. Multi-color LCD's would aid graphics, but that begs the question of, "Why not just use a PDA platform, when they become suitable?".
My own desires are for an Hp42s type calculator with RAM and I/O.
That is indeed the desire of many. I believe that bidirectional infrared and hardwire I/O should be present -- as it was on the 48S/SX -- before large RAM is supplied to the user. (It would be interesting to know what HP had in mind by making the 42S ROM capable of supporting 32 kB of RAM.) However, I also question whether adding full I/O to the compact Pioneer-series package would have been practical or feasible, given the limitations of space and battery capacity.
I liked the idea of OpenRPN, but when it became apparent that they were trying to please too big and varied a market, I felt they were off track.
As far the OpenRPN effort, I must admit that I haven't visited the site recently. I believe that the most useful efforts would be directed to the development of a thorough functional specification for the model(s) they would like to have developed: That is, list and describe all the functions, and specify in sufficient detail how they are to perform.
The issues of internal hardware and package design are best left to real manufacturers with the resources to deal with them. A functional spec could provide a good road map to KinHPo that would allow them to escape their wilderness of misguided marketing-driven product design.
Any independent product-development effort utilizing KinHPo 49G+ firmware is a lost cause. The proprietary and over-complicated 49G+ is already available, and it's based on that dreadful "Leisure suit" RPL.
Edited: 27 Feb 2006, 7:54 p.m.