The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 21

 WP34s shift keysMessage #1 Posted by Paulo MO on 26 July 2012, 7:01 p.m. I was looking at the WP34S picture (I'm planning on getting one :P), and its three shift keys caught my attention. Would it not be worthwhile to save at least one of these keys for function implementation? The fact is that, with three keys, we can represent at least eight shift states (more, if we're willing to allow for key repetition, of course) which is far more than needed. There seems to be, thus, room for some optimization. One of the many possible ways to save one key, while maintaining the present YELLOW, BLUE and GREEN shift states, would be to use only two shift keys (say a blue and a yellow), and activating the GREEN shift by pressing "blue" and "yellow" shifts in succession, possibly in any order. The blue+yellow=green is intuitive, and the scheme woukd (hopefully) quickly become second nature, even for color blind people. And, of course, we would have saved a full key, which could then be used for whatnot additional functions. Sorry if this type of scheme has been discussed and discarded before (I searched and could not find it) and/or if I'm overlooking something important (which may well be the case, since I still don't own and never used a WP34S) Best Paulo

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #2 Posted by uhmgawa on 26 July 2012, 7:27 p.m.,in response to message #1 by Paulo MO Quote: One of the many possible ways to save one key, while maintaining the present YELLOW, BLUE and GREEN shift states, would be to use only two shift keys (say a blue and a yellow), and activating the GREEN shift by pressing "blue" and "yellow" shifts in succession, possibly in any order. I've experimented with such time and sequence encoding of key input toward the goal of overloading functionality into available keycaps. The end result didn't impress as terribly ergonomic in actual usage as the operator needs to learn the sequence/timing, the UI must feedback to the operator where it thinks they are headed, and eventually keying errors will be made which ideally the UI will provide some way to unwind. Personally I believe drill down menus are the lesser evil given a thoughtfully designed approach.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #3 Posted by Walter B on 27 July 2012, 3:47 a.m.,in response to message #1 by Paulo MO Quote: One of the many possible ways to save one key, while maintaining the present YELLOW, BLUE and GREEN shift states, would be to use only two shift keys (say a blue and a yellow), and activating the GREEN shift by pressing "blue" and "yellow" shifts in succession, possibly in any order. The blue+yellow=green is intuitive, and the scheme woukd (hopefully) quickly become second nature, even for color blind people. And, of course, we would have saved a full key, which could then be used for whatnot additional functions. Nice theoretical concept ;-) So you gain one full key but need one keystroke more for 34. IMHO, that totals to a loss :-/

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #4 Posted by Andrew Davie on 27 July 2012, 5:21 a.m.,in response to message #3 by Walter B Quote: Nice theoretical concept ;-) So you gain one full key but need one keystroke more for 34. IMHO, that totals to a loss :-/ Has to be a philosophical difference. For me, the need to press more keys is not as important as having ease of use insofar as finding functions you want easily. For me, it's a menu driven system every time, only three keys needed (up/down/select). You can add on top of that with quick-keys and re-definable keys. I just think it's silly using three keys on your keyboard to give you shifted functions. You could do it with one. F, FF and FFF. A *majority* of the functions on the keyboard will never or very rarely be used by a *majority* of owners. IMHO the optimal solution is redefinable keys. The next best is menus, and the worst is F/G/H reserved to allow four functions per key as per current design. I'm aware this is probably not a view shared by most. EDIT: So sorry about the really odd title-change every post I make. For some reason the browser is caching my first-ever post from months ago and I fail to notice when I reply to stuff. EDIT2: The problem was LastPass auto form-fill. fixed. Edited: 27 July 2012, 7:40 a.m. after one or more responses were posted

 Re: WP34S yet another newbie layoutMessage #5 Posted by Paul Dale on 27 July 2012, 5:40 a.m.,in response to message #4 by Andrew Davie Let us know how to properly implement a menu system in 43 by 6 pixels.... That is the primary reason the 34S has so many shift keys. - Pauli

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #6 Posted by Andrew Davie on 27 July 2012, 6:08 a.m.,in response to message #5 by Paul Dale Quote: Let us know how to properly implement a menu system in 43 by 6 pixels.... That is the primary reason the 34S has so many shift keys. - Pauli The uWatch has NO shift key. It has a very limited character-graphics single line menu system that works really well. Have you ever checked out how it works? I think you're just stuck in thinking it's not possible. Edited: 27 July 2012, 6:09 a.m.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #7 Posted by Paul Dale on 27 July 2012, 6:25 a.m.,in response to message #6 by Andrew Davie I have one of the first run uWatches. The uWatch has a better display for this kind of thing -- two lines for a start and way more pixels wide. We did consider a menu system. - Pauli Edited: 27 July 2012, 6:25 a.m.

 Re: WP34S yet another newbie layoutMessage #8 Posted by fhub on 27 July 2012, 6:21 a.m.,in response to message #5 by Paul Dale Quote: Let us know how to properly implement a menu system in 43 by 6 pixels.... Well, in principle it would be possible: Of course you can't display 5 or 6 different menu options in this short alpha line, but you could display them one after each other, i.e. pressing a [MENU] key would show the first menu name, e.g. MATH> (the ">" at the end distinguishes it from commands). Then you could switch to different menus e.g. by pressing [MENU] again (or with [->] and [<-]), and when you've reached the wanted menu you can scroll through the single items (i.e. commands) with the down/up arrow keys and execute the command with [ENTER]. So in fact a complete menu tree could be accessed with only one single word/name entry in the alpha dsiplay - but I agree that this won't be very comfortable at all. :-( Franz

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #9 Posted by Andrew Davie on 27 July 2012, 7:37 a.m.,in response to message #8 by fhub Quote: So in fact a complete menu tree could be accessed with only one single word/name entry in the alpha dsiplay - but I agree that this won't be very comfortable at all. :-( Franz Quite so. But there are advantages. A menu system allows you to put more functions on the machine than there are available keys (including shifted keys). It also allows you to group like functions together much more readily than trying to find areas of similar functionality on the keyboard. Combine a menu system with redefinable keys, so you CAN put your preferred keys on a single keypress, that's pretty comfortable.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #10 Posted by fhub on 27 July 2012, 7:48 a.m.,in response to message #9 by Andrew Davie Quote: A menu system allows you to put more functions on the machine than there are available keys (including shifted keys). It also allows you to group like functions together much more readily than trying to find areas of similar functionality on the keyboard. Well, the WP34s has all this already - just look at the 'menu' keys like TEST, P.FCN, X.FCN, MATRIX etc. ... The only difference is that these menus are not called from any other (top-level) menu in the display but just from different keys.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #12 Posted by Walter B on 27 July 2012, 11:02 a.m.,in response to message #11 by Andrew Davie Andrew, we know you want a redefinable keyboard. And we know you like menus. Please let me quote our welcome statement (p.7 of the manual): Quote: WP 34S is our humble approach – within the constraints of HP’s hardware – to a future 43S we can only dream of becoming the successor of the HP-42S. Let me emphasize "our" and "within ... hardware" :-) Feel free to design some alternative using your approach. Please return when you've your layout laid out ;-) Good luck!

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #13 Posted by Andrew Davie on 27 July 2012, 11:09 a.m.,in response to message #12 by Walter B Quote: Please return when you've your layout laid out ;-) Yes, fair point. You've actually built it and so far I'm all talk. I think the WP34S is a fabulous achievement, and thank you for that.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #14 Posted by Paulo MO on 27 July 2012, 9:14 a.m.,in response to message #3 by Walter B Yes. That is true, I know :-(. But I feel that the advantage of having 4 extra functions accessible on the keyboard far outweigths the downside of sometimes having to thumb an extra key, as long as: 1. It is a neighboring key (and, hence, does not force us to jump around in the keyboard); 2. It comes natural to do so (and, hence, there is no additional mental effort at all in doing so); 3. It does not imply less efficient programming. Sequences like, for example, "f.Lbl.A" on a 15C are typical: they map your mental image of the action, they do not force you to jump around, and, hence, they are three-key sequences which are not penalizing to the user. I believe that thumbing the yellow and blue neighboring keys to get a green shift would also be a very natural, easy, non time consuming and, hence, non-penalizing, thing; and, of course, it did not need to impact on programming efficiency at all. But I will gladly manage even six shift keys, if needed, to have the joy of owning a WP34S. Shift keys are not the problem; my wife may be :-) Best Paulo Edited: 27 July 2012, 9:16 a.m.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #15 Posted by Walter B on 27 July 2012, 11:51 a.m.,in response to message #14 by Paulo MO Just a minor remark: How do you plan getting rid of an erroneous prefix pressed in your "green" case? Compare p.33 of the manual. Just curious :-)

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #16 Posted by Paulo MO on 27 July 2012, 2:03 p.m.,in response to message #15 by Walter B That is a trick question. Whathever I may suggest you will have already considered :-). But here I go, nevertheless: Assumptions: B - Blue shift; Y - Yellow shift; Assume that Y is to the left of B (as is the present case in the WP34S). Rule: "Business as usual. Just one additional rule: yellow+blue = green" Y - Yellow mode (toggle); B - Blue mode (toggle); (YB - Green mode). To exit "green" mode, you can either go BB, or YY (please see state diagram in http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5923066/state%20machine.jpg). If I'm not mistaken, the only inconvenience would be the fact that direct transition from "yellow" mode to "blue" mode is lost, because YB means "green". Best Paulo Edited: 27 July 2012, 2:12 p.m.

 Re: WP34s shift keysMessage #17 Posted by uhmgawa on 27 July 2012, 7:44 p.m.,in response to message #16 by Paulo MO Quote: Y - Yellow mode (toggle); B - Blue mode (toggle); (YB - Green mode). To exit "green" mode, you can either go BB, or YY (please see state diagram in http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5923066/state%20machine.jpg). Frankly for this limited scenario, I think the above would be reasonable. Although I don't think it would scale/generalize beyond a 2-key 3-shift scenario very intuitively for the user.