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HP Forum Archive 20

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it's nice, it works, but what it is ?
Message #1 Posted by Alberto Fenini on 25 Feb 2011, 3:52 p.m.

Dear all,
just received today, it works and it looks like just any HP75C
however it has a nice keypad overlay and an additional memory module,
has anyone ever seen it before and knows how it works ??

any hint, will be appreciated as always,
enjoy the weekend, Alberto

Re: it's nice, it works, but what it is ?
Message #2 Posted by Martin Pinckney on 25 Feb 2011, 5:05 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Alberto Fenini

I don't know, but based on the evidence, I can hazard a guess.

In it's day, the 75 was considered a portable computer, rather than a calculator. The overlay bears the word "terminal," so it was probably used as such on a LAN. The labels on the overlay suggest some sort of database. I know from experience that before the internet there were lots of proprietary database systems used with "in house" LANs for various municipal departments. "Fireman" suggests it might have been used as a terminal for some sort of database in a large city fire department, possibly connected to a CRT. No clue about "CE," but I don't think it means Windows.

Edited: 25 Feb 2011, 5:07 p.m.

Re: it's nice, it works, but what it is ?
Message #3 Posted by Paul Gaster on 25 Feb 2011, 8:16 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Martin Pinckney

Google found this HP page:

HP teamed with ESRI to provide a sophisticated solution for Wilson's "Fire Department of the Future" GIS initiative. The project relies on HP business-critical servers, high-performance workstations and networking equipment. HP technology provides a powerful, reliable infrastructure for running ESRI's advanced GIS mapping applications.


Looks like HP has a history of working with fire departments.

Re: it's nice, it works, but what it is ?
Message #4 Posted by BruceH on 26 Feb 2011, 4:30 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Martin Pinckney

In those days, 'CE' probably meant 'Computerised Entry' and everybody was suitably impressed.

I'd go along with your guess except for the LAN bit - too early for that. I would say this was carried along in the fire truck and a database record filled in at the scene of the fire - a straight replacement for a paper form on a clipboard. Back at the fire house it would be connected by serial port to a modem and thence to a mini-computer located centrally, to upload the details of the call outs for that day.

The overlay labels are quite interesting from a historic computing point of view: it was seen as quite natural at the time to press a button labelled with the data item that you wanted to enter and then type the value. Imagine producing an equivalent iPhone app today, with multiple buttons on the first screen corresponding to the labels on this overlay? Somehow, I can't see it wowing the client.

Anyway, a good find from the OP. I wonder how many other custom versions like this are out there waiting to be unearthed and how many have been lost forever?

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