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HP Forum Archive 21

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Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #1 Posted by Matt Agajanian on 8 Mar 2012, 3:36 p.m.

Hello all.

Although yes, I do own a 38G, could you tell me where does the 38G functionality/capability fit in? In terms of the spectrum of HP-28C/S, 48, 49, 50 and (dare I mention) TI-84, 86, 89, 92 lineages)--where does the 38G fall into place?

Edited: 8 Mar 2012, 3:37 p.m.

Re: Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #2 Posted by Tim Wessman on 8 Mar 2012, 3:49 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matt Agajanian

It is an interesting unit to say the least.

It has a lot of really nice capabilities. For example, the grapher was the most advanced version ever made by HP up until the 39gII. Internally, it was much more capable, and quite a bit faster then the one on the 48.

It can do symbolic derivatives and some simple polynomial work, but you can't define a user function for use.

The application operating methodology is completely unique, but very well suited for easily learning to use the calculator, and quite powerful as well. The task switching capability there is more advanced then the 48 series.

Every unit has some capability that is not found in the others, and it more or less becomes "if 1 feature is more important then the others for you, that calculator has the best capability".

A perfect example of this is statistics. The 83/84 is much more capable out of the box then the 48 series. The 38 series is much more capabile then the 48 series. Does than make the 48 series less then the 38?

If I had to stick it somewhere, it would be like this:

84 | 86 | 38 | 89/92 | 48/49/50

What it really boils down to is this - if you know math, and are more concerned with doing/using math, the 38 series will feel limited. If you don't rally care about math and only use the calculator because someone tells you to do so, the 38 would feel nicer. Ultimately, they all have features or capabilities that make them better at 1 thing or another and have a place.


Edited: 8 Mar 2012, 3:50 p.m.

Re: Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #3 Posted by Matt Agajanian on 8 Mar 2012, 5:54 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Tim Wessman

Well, coming from a background of SR-56, TI-58C, TI-86 & 89 (yes, I had some of those other guys), HP-34C, HP-42S, HP-28S, HP-48SX & GX as well as several others, you're right, the 38G is limited. BUT, as a calculator historian & aficionado, the 38 does make for an interesting and somewhat amusing insight into how those at the lower end do prove functional and also amazingly powerful.

Edited: 8 Mar 2012, 5:56 p.m.

Re: Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #4 Posted by Han on 9 Mar 2012, 7:17 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matt Agajanian

The original 38G (from a hardware and ROM standpoint) was a modification of the HP48G to remove expandability and things such as the equation library, and in place introduce algebraic input and applets (window-based GUI)

Re: Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #5 Posted by bill platt on 10 Mar 2012, 12:41 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Han

Having never had a 38G, I am still baffled by this "applet" thing. Tim says "no user defined functions" so what then is an applet? IS this some canned lesson plan or something that you have to upload through the serial connector?

I have been reticent about collecting one, because it seems very strange to be unable to program a brick that large and imposing.

Can you actually use the thing as a fully functional calculator? In terms of solving, it can only do some simple polynomials? If you can't user define a function, what good is it for graphing? I guess I just totally do not get the paradigm.

Re: Where does the 38G fit in?
Message #6 Posted by Marcus von Cube, Germany on 10 Mar 2012, 1:08 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by bill platt

You can use it as a calculator, of course. An Aplet is a built-in application that has several "views" that can be selected by hotkeys, e. g. a plot view, a symbolic view, or a numeric view. In case of the "Function" aplet, the plot view doesn't need an explanation, the symbolic view shows the list of functions to plot, and the numeric view shows a table with function values.

These Aplets aren't static, users can build upon the built-ins. The easiest way is to fill in the blanks (function definitions, ranges, and such) and save the aplet under a new name. Whenever you start the modified aplet you get the same context back.

A more evolved user extended aplet contains routines ina BASIC like language which can define additional views. The programming language isn't too powerful but up to the task of extending an existing base aplet. This kind of programming can be done on the device or on the PC with the ADK (Aplet Development Kit).

The built-in Aplets are written in System RPL. New base aplets can only be created on the PC and aren't an easy task to create. I've never attempted it.

The more recent devices (39g, 39gs, 40g, 40gs) are not compatible with the original 38G, aplets have to be converted on the PC.

The brand new 39gii shares a similar user interface model but the environment is significantly different from its predecessors to make it impossible to automatically transfer existing aplets to the new architecture. Porting is some effort and it's impossible to port the System RPL aplets over. They have to be rewritten. An SDK is still to be published.

Edited: 10 Mar 2012, 1:12 p.m.

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