|Long live Sharp ! :-)|
Message #1 Posted by Vincent Weber on 2 Mar 2006, 11:31 a.m.
Just to say that Valentin is not the only one to support Sharp's past glory - I now got converted ! :-)
I purchased from Ebay various Sharp Basic machines. I especially fell in love for the PC-1262. Why? It is not a super-powerful machine, but it has the best ratio power/volume (or weight) that I have ever seen, and is soooo cute. Its characteristics are quite amazing:
-Beautiful, shiny metal, horizontal design, with very small yet useable keys (full qwerty keyboard). They don't do things like this anymore! Nothing to envy to the design of the HP-15C, and ever more compact. To me this makes this device the most relevant today: we tend to prefer a laptop to a bulky pocket device, but a *truly* pocket device is still most valuable.
-Full I/O with a comprehensive docking station, a printer and inexpensive tape to load/save programs. Out of the tens of pocket machines HP released, very few had full I/O, i.e. the ability to enter programs in another way than your fingers: namely, the 65, the 67, the 41 series, the 71B, the 48 and 49 series and the 95/100/200LX palmtops. That's all folks! And none of these machine even comes close to the PC-1262 in terms of pocketability. The 15C and 42S would come closer, but do not have this I/O functionality.
-10Kb of memory, with an efficient way of tokenizing keywords. That is to say, more than *any* pre-RPL HP calc... Enough to store faily large programs, all the more that you got I/O for 'mass' storage.
-2-line display of 24 characters. Enough to review programs comfortably.
-A nice equation feature, with long variable names. Regretably not integrated with a solver feature a la 27S, which would be really great, but still quite useful.
-Comprehensive help menus.
-program labelling (18 choices, with overlay), a bit similar to the 41 series 'user mode', with the ability to assign any character string to a key. This is somehow more elegant that the Casio way of doing things (10 independant program spaces, with no naming), even though it can be cumbersome to have a global numbering space for BASIC lines. Best would be to have the ability to define new functions into the system. The HP-71B does this well, but with single-letter names only, and is bulky with a ridiculously small screen. The best machines to do that, if you want BASIC, are actually... The TI-89 and the TI Voyage 200 ! Maybe I will do another 'long live TI' topic :))
-Fast and powerful BASIC otherwise, and entry recall convenience.
In short, a wonderful little machine.
I also purchased a PC-1360, with a nice 4-line graphical display. I thought that Casio invented the graphic calculator in 1985, but I was wrong. The very first machine with graphical capabilities was indeed the PC-1350 (my 1360's little brother) as early as 1984!
HP still has a major strength, though. If you look at the Sharp PC-1475 with matrix capabilities, you will see that this functionality is only available in interactive mode, not as a 'toolkit' to use in your own programs; how unlike the HP-41 with Advantage Pac, the HP-15C, the HP-42S, the HP-71B with Math rom, and the 48 & 49 series, which all feature seamless integration of matrices in the programming system, with the ability to define new functions...
But overall, Sharp produced wonderful machines, especially the PC-1262 which can fit in the smallest programmable casio (fx-400Op) case, and yet deliver such power.
Sharp is dead today, as far as nice machines are concerned - but let's honor its past glory...