|Re: Are there any "great" calculators being made NOW?|
Message #15 Posted by Hugh Evans on 9 Aug 2006, 9:22 a.m.,
in response to message #14 by Eric Smith
Don't you just love HP's IP department? I'm willing to bet they would even try to deny licensing expired patents!
Looks like we'll stick to using the *fix core for developing RPN machines. For anyone who isn't already aware of our plans at OpenRPN, the *fix core contains the most basic set of commands possible from which all other commands can be built. The *fix language is essentially the RPL command set, less symbolics for now, but with the ability to parse postfix (RPN/RPL), infix (Algebraic), and prefix (Lisp) in a program and additionally, decompile to any syntax for editing, although internally they will be store in postfix.
Aside from the complete *fix command set, the *fix core will also be used to impliment the RPN command set of the 42s. Of course, we hope to see many more machines duplicated using the *fix core. After all, it's purpose is to be a great tool to develop calculators with relative ease and minimal pain.
Please take a look at our Sourceforge page. We desperately need more programmers, at the moment we have only two who are active. I have made numerous attempts to contact hughsteers, since he did a great job on the BCD library we use and generally speaking knows calculation algorithms very well. I hope he is well, and perhaps one day might be willing to help. Eric, if you're at all interested I'm sure you've learned a frightening amount about calculator algorithms given the amount of reverse engineering you have undertaken. Understanding more of the intricacies of how calculator ROMs have been written in the past would speed our progress up immeasurably.
As soon as our code reaches the beta stage of development it will start being distributed as a cross-platform development and test utility featuring a mock-up of the hardware and emulation of the ARM9 MCU.
Here are a few areas we especially need help in:
<> C++ Programmers: Help write the *fix core... if you aren't comfortable writing *fix you can even help by proofreading and checking for errors as well as making sure the code is documented to within an inch of its' life.
<> RPL experts: Presently your work will involve more consulting than anything else. As things progress, you will be able to impliment commands in *fix itself and help to design tests for the command set.
<> Embedded electronics expert/PCB designer: Select components, aid in creating specifications for custom parts. Create PCB layouts designed for ease of assembly, repairs, and testing. Access to PCB prototyping equipment at work would be a huge plus! We have one volunteer thus far, but if anyone does this for a living your extpertise would pay of big-time and quickly.
<> Forth and Lisp Programmers: Both of these languages have heavy influences on RPL, and hence *fix. Often, extra insight into these languages helps the *fix development process.
<> eCos expert: Port eCos to the Sharp LH7A400 MCU and verify it will work properly with all of our selected hardware. Optimize where necessary.
<> Cross-Platform GUI programmer: Make a demonstration/development program for both calculator models integrating the *fix core, ARMulator, Arithmetic libraries, an easy to use keyboard command mapping utility, and accurate fully-functional electronic mock-ups of each calculator model (even including the proper resolution, contrast, and dot-pitch of their respective LCDs). If it's not too difficult a basic configuration tool should be made to make each calculator appear at its' real size on screen. The GUI should include features to save keyboard command layouts, save states, load *fix and RPN commands, new versions of the *fix core, and applications written in other programming languages.
I'm sure I will think of more as soon as I post, but I will also move this big help wanted ad to OpenRPN.org as soon as Chad has it functioning again... Which reminds me:
<> Webmaster: maintain and host postnuke webpage and uniwakka (wiki) documentation site for www.openrpn.org. Must have a background in network security and keep daily backups of the site. A fast cable modem connection with a static IP is enough to get the job done, but if you have something more substantial and are willing to share a little bandwidth we would appreciate it.
PS- Eric, I get in touch with you via e-mail. I think we should collaborate and make even more really great calculators. In the meantime I want to make sure you don't get killed by the production costs for that current enclosure of yours! I have plenty of room in my email box, please send sketches or CAD drawings of your enclosure design(s) to me and I'll see what I can do to help.