Poll: What's your favorite 43S layout?
This poll is closed.
a) 11.94% 8 11.94%
b) 80.60% 54 80.60%
c) 7.46% 5 7.46%
Total 67 votes 100%
* You voted for this item. [Show Results]

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A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
01-05-2015, 01:02 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2015 04:06 PM by Bill (Smithville NJ).)
Post: #61
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 12:30 AM)Mark Hardman Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 10:01 PM)Paul Dale Wrote:  It would make things a lot quieter if we limited the polls to those willing to spend $500 on the device -- I don't know what the exact price will be, but cheap it will not be.

- Pauli

This comment disappoints me. The frequent, vocal exchange of ideas can only benefit the outcome of this project.

I am most definitely a member of the target market demographic willing to spend whatever is necessary for the final product. But I shouldn't need to make that declaration in order to comment.

I'm making "noise" because, in my opinion, the proposed layouts are not optimal. As Walter pointed out in his Sic faciunt omnes rationalization, "billions of people" have become accustomed to a certain order of operators. I might add that the same group of people are also accustomed to the operators being on the right side of the keypad.

I'm certain that HP, TI, Sharp, Casio, etc. all spent substantial time and money on focus groups, ergonomic studies, etc. before settling on what, in my opinion, is the current standard layout.

While HP, TI, Sharp, Casio, Etc. MAY have spent substantial time, I really doubt if it was years and years of time, such as has been done so far on the 43S keyboard layout. Otherwise they never would have manufactured nor shipped any product.

As I have said before, polls may be nice and fun for people here to play with, at some point someone just has to make a decision, go with that decision, and let the chips fall where they may. Otherwise it's just an exercise in futility.

For goodness sake, just pick a keyboard layout and move on with the design.

And one other item - when will there be an emulator so that we can start playing around with the actual code that will execute whenever a key is pressed on this "perfect" and "optimum" keyboard? To me executable code is the most important part. An "optimum" keyboard without any code is pretty useless.


Bill
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01-05-2015, 02:08 PM
Post: #62
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 02:05 AM)brouhaha Wrote:  As it is, almost everyone says $300 is too expensive. They've forgotten ...

Yes they seem to have. Hardware and Software development in that ballpark always meant serious investment and always will. And compared to what it meant to fund an HP-67 in its days, 300 $ is not only an absolutely acceptable price. It is almost a gift.

We have to face the fact that in times of smartphones, tablets and ultraportable laptops the number of people who want to own a dedicated calculator is dwindling rapidly. I even doubt that TI or Casio define the limits here. My guess would be offerings along the lines of Wolfram Alpha and Excel.

Just look how many people have voted. You, esteemed gentlemen and ladies, are titans from an era that is about to end. Makes me sad and wondering...

a.

ps: I certainly welcome such polls, because they might give broader orientation to the developing team about the needs of a small community of interested people. I am confident that their ultimate decisions will be well-founded.
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01-05-2015, 02:46 PM
Post: #63
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 12:30 AM)Mark Hardman Wrote:  I'm making "noise" because, in my opinion, the proposed layouts are not optimal. As Walter pointed out in his Sic faciunt omnes rationalization, "billions of people" have become accustomed to a certain order of operators. I might add that the same group of people are also accustomed to the operators being on the right side of the keypad.

You didn't quite get my point. Billions of people have learned the arithmetic operators in the order (or sequence) + - * /. No word about calculators. Just if the keys on a calculator follow that order (+ - * /) it looks natural to most people for the reason stated.

Operator keys on the left or right side of the keypad are a completely different topic. I hope nobody teaches that in elementary school.

(01-05-2015 01:02 PM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  
(01-05-2015 12:30 AM)Mark Hardman Wrote:  I'm certain that HP, TI, Sharp, Casio, etc. all spent substantial time and money on focus groups, ergonomic studies, etc. before settling on what, in my opinion, is the current standard layout.

While HP, TI, Sharp, Casio, Etc. MAY have spent substantial time, I really doubt if it was years and years of time, such as has been done so far on the 43S keyboard layout. Otherwise they never would have manufactured nor shipped any product.

May well be. But: 1) We just spend our spare time - far less than years. 2) I spend it since we wait for the prototypes and nothing else is happening. Wink

(01-05-2015 01:02 PM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  ... when will they [there] be an emulator so that we can start playing around with the actual code that will execute whenever a key is pressed on this "perfect" and "optimum" keyboard? To me executable code is the most important part. An "optimum" keyboard without any code is pretty useless.

Please see here why I started that discussion. Content? (In fact, I'm waiting for Marcus to take the layout Wink ).

d:-)
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01-05-2015, 05:28 PM
Post: #64
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 02:08 PM)anetzer Wrote:  Just look how many people have voted. You, esteemed gentlemen and ladies, are titans from an era that is about to end.

FYI, each of the recent layouts was downloaded some 500 times. Though I don't know how this counter works.

d:-)
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01-05-2015, 05:55 PM
Post: #65
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 05:28 PM)walter b Wrote:  
(01-05-2015 02:08 PM)anetzer Wrote:  Just look how many people have voted. You, esteemed gentlemen and ladies, are titans from an era that is about to end.

FYI, each of the recent layouts was downloaded some 500 times. Though I don't know how this counter works.

d:-)

The counters for the images I insert into my posts increase basically every time I open the thread. They do indicate some level of interest I suppose but I doubt they give much information about the number of unique visitors.
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01-05-2015, 08:46 PM
Post: #66
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-04-2015 03:46 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 02:41 PM)walter b Wrote:  ... swapping buttons would be no problem. All HP calculators after the Voyagers, however, didn't feature swappable buttons anymore. I'd guess that was made to reduce manufacturing costs. Anyway, that's a mechanical hardware topic, so this must be answered by Eric.

... if you could move them around your keyboard all these polls and debates would be much less important, at least for primary functions.

Let's be a little bit realistic:
+ ENTER is fixed.
+ the menu keys are fixed.
+ the digits will be moved hardly.
+ I'd guess STO, RCL, RDOWN, x<>y, +/-, and EEX will stay where they are.

Are the remaining keys worth the hassle introduced by producing them one by one? I doubt it. More important, IMHO, will be a convenient way to fix overlays.

Just my 20m€ etc.
d:-)
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01-05-2015, 09:43 PM
Post: #67
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 02:46 PM)walter b Wrote:  Please see here why I started that discussion. Content? (In fact, I'm waiting for Marcus to take the layout Wink ).

I've read the message. Alas, I need to find some spare time and fresh motivation to start creating something to play with. My ideas are along an emulator for the GUI written in Java (because I know Java better then QT or MFC) and a kernel written in C/C++.

To create a kernel is a huge task. To summarize what we need as a minimum:
  1. C++ wrappers for decNumber
  2. A runtime engine (opcode layout and such)
  3. A display driver with font handling
  4. A keystroke assembler/compiler for internal code
  5. Memory management for various object types
  6. Object editors (matrices and alike)
  7. ...

The year I worked on the WP 34S project I was basically laid off and thus had some more time left then nowadays.

Marcus von Cube
Wehrheim, Germany
http://www.mvcsys.de
http://wp34s.sf.net
http://mvcsys.de/doc/basic-compare.html
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01-05-2015, 10:02 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2015 10:03 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #68
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 08:46 PM)walter b Wrote:  Let's be a little bit realistic:
+ ENTER is fixed.
+ the menu keys are fixed.
+ the digits will be moved hardly.
+ I'd guess STO, RCL, RDOWN, x<>y, +/-, and EEX will stay where they are.

Are the remaining keys worth the hassle introduced by producing them one by one? I doubt it. More important, IMHO, will be a convenient way to fix overlays.

Just my 20m€ etc.
d:-)

You guess, you guess...
Alright, so why bother with customisation, assignments, overlays? Why bother with polls?
And you moved digits in your very layout. ;)

I say: let us swap our keys, give us overlays, and problems are gone for good. Really, I'm not joking.


However, what I really really want is this calculator comes alive!

And, after some thought, I realized that I already have to adapt to different keyboard layouts (numeric keypad, computer keyboard, calculators, phones, on-screen keyboards...): so, as long as you won't put numeric keys in a obscure arrangement, I'll be able to find what I need and adapt my finger travel to it, sooner or later... :)

Where shall I send my money?


P.S. Thank you all five.

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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01-05-2015, 11:01 PM (This post was last modified: 01-05-2015 11:07 PM by Han.)
Post: #69
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
I pick none of the above. B is close, but I prefer to have the * / - + keys on the right and the XEQ, ^, v, and EXIT key on the left (not too different from the HP42S).

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01-05-2015, 11:32 PM
Post: #70
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 08:40 AM)walter b Wrote:  Guessed that. But some coefficients may be negative, aren't they?

I always used the digits and CHS with the right hand, and * and + with the left. That's an extra keystroke for negative coefficients, but I found that I was faster that way.
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01-06-2015, 05:21 AM
Post: #71
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-04-2015 03:47 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  
(01-04-2015 02:49 PM)walter b Wrote:  I sincerely hope that percentage will be significantly less than 99.9%.

Oh well, dreams are for free... Wink

... and hope dies last.

d:-)
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01-06-2015, 08:52 AM
Post: #72
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-06-2015 05:21 AM)walter b Wrote:  ... and hope dies last.

d:-)

Spes ultima dea

:)

Greetings,
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01-06-2015, 09:14 AM
Post: #73
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-05-2015 09:43 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  To create a kernel is a huge task. To summarize what we need as a minimum:
  1. C++ wrappers for decNumber
  2. A runtime engine (opcode layout and such)
  3. A display driver with font handling
  4. A keystroke assembler/compiler for internal code
  5. Memory management for various object types
  6. Object editors (matrices and alike)
  7. ...

The year I worked on the WP 34S project I was basically laid off and thus had some more time left then nowadays.

Remember that Marcus worked on the project after Walter and I had been at it for several years. Several decisions about the above list were already made and set in stone already. Often for ill.

Additionally, the above list doesn't include actually implementing any numeric functionality -- just the display, keyboard and programmability. There is a *lot* more than Marcus mentioned before you've got a usable calculator. Yes, the 34S has done a big chunk of this work, but I'm sure there will be another pile.


- Pauli
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01-06-2015, 01:51 PM
Post: #74
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-06-2015 09:14 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  
(01-05-2015 09:43 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  To create a kernel is a huge task. To summarize what we need as a minimum:
  1. C++ wrappers for decNumber
  2. A runtime engine (opcode layout and such)
  3. A display driver with font handling
  4. A keystroke assembler/compiler for internal code
  5. Memory management for various object types
  6. Object editors (matrices and alike)
  7. ...

The year I worked on the WP 34S project I was basically laid off and thus had some more time left then nowadays.

Remember that Marcus worked on the project after Walter and I had been at it for several years. Several decisions about the above list were already made and set in stone already. Often for ill.

Additionally, the above list doesn't include actually implementing any numeric functionality -- just the display, keyboard and programmability. There is a *lot* more than Marcus mentioned before you've got a usable calculator. Yes, the 34S has done a big chunk of this work, but I'm sure there will be another pile.


- Pauli

Not an ideal solution but perhaps reusing and adapting the code of the WP 34S would allow the 43S to get off the ground without a very long delay.

By the way, what are the latest proposed hardware specs of the 43S? CPU, amount of firmware memory, RAM etc.?
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01-06-2015, 03:51 PM
Post: #75
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-06-2015 01:51 PM)Bit Wrote:  
(01-06-2015 09:14 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  Remember that Marcus worked on the project after Walter and I had been at it for several years. Several decisions about the above list were already made and set in stone already. ...

Additionally, the above list doesn't include actually implementing any numeric functionality -- just the display, keyboard and programmability. There is a *lot* more than Marcus mentioned before you've got a usable calculator. Yes, the 34S has done a big chunk of this work, but I'm sure there will be another pile.

Not an ideal solution but perhaps reusing and adapting the code of the WP 34S would allow the 43S to get off the ground without a very long delay.

That's what we're going to do anyway. But the close-to-hardware code has to be written from scratch AFAIK.

d:-/
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01-07-2015, 01:42 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2015 01:44 PM by Han.)
Post: #76
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
I still don't understand why the layout is STILL being discussed. If you do it in a modular way, it won't matter, and users can rearrange the keys to their liking. On the software side, the keyboard should rely on a key table. On the HP48, this was basically a ROM pointer to the actual code for that key. Thus, changing the behavior of the n-th key simply meant changing the n-th ROM pointer. On the hardware side, make the keys so that one can "pop" it out and move it.

The only thing that may still be an issue are the labels that aren't on the keys themselves. Here, perhaps overlays could be used. So do as HP did -- make a decision and go with it. People will buy them if the calculator is well made. But make it modular so that people can "customize" their calc. During first boot up, have them set up their default keyboard by asking them, in sequence, to press the + key, the - key, and so on, so as to assign the key table.

And if you can't make the hardware modular, then just make labels similar to the WP34S, but still have the initial boot up step of setting up the key assignments.

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01-07-2015, 05:14 PM
Post: #77
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-07-2015 01:42 PM)Han Wrote:  I still don't understand why the layout is STILL being discussed.

Simply because there's no other sign that the 43S is an active project. Wink Eric and Richard are pretty quiet unless you tease them a bit. As you might know, the WP 34S team waits for one prototype each for many months so far ... and without such prototypes, no real firmware development can start. Undecided

Quote:If you do it in a modular way, it won't matter, and users can rearrange the keys to their liking. On the software side, the keyboard should rely on a key table. On the HP48, this was basically a ROM pointer to the actual code for that key. Thus, changing the behavior of the n-th key simply meant changing the n-th ROM pointer. On the hardware side, make the keys so that one can "pop" it out and move it.

I agree with you on the SW approach. Mechanical HW I discussed with Massimo recently - it's Eric's realm, thus he shall respond.

Quote:The only thing that may still be an issue are the labels that aren't on the keys themselves. Here, perhaps overlays could be used.

This is going to happen AFAIK.

Quote:So do as HP did -- make a decision and go with it. People will buy them if the calculator is well made.

We will. Please, however, see my first answer as well.

Quote:But make it modular so that people can "customize" their calc. During first boot up, have them set up their default keyboard by asking them, in sequence, to press the + key, the - key, and so on, so as to assign the key table.

Such a boot procedure isn't necessary. You may have noticed there is an ASSIGN function provided. It will allow customizing 42 2/3 keys, i.e. 128 labels. All user assignments in total can be stored in a register or variable and may be recalled thereafter as often as you like.

d:-)
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01-10-2015, 01:26 AM
Post: #78
Poll results
After all, this poll shows a clear preference for candidate b and little new ideas but some clarifications. Thanks for your contributions.

d:-)

P.S.: Mechanical hardware of the 43S seems to be an orphan. Who's taking care of it?
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01-12-2015, 03:02 AM
Post: #79
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-06-2015 03:51 PM)walter b Wrote:  But the close-to-hardware code has to be written from scratch AFAIK.

I wrote the close-to-hardware code (startup, power management, keyboard, LCD, sound, IR, mass storage) for the prototype units which presently run either 41 microcode or Free42. Much of that code should be usable for the 43s with only minor changes. Free42 has a fairly reasonable user interface API, and I wrote an interface layer between the Free42 C++ world (really mostly the C subset of C++) and the low-level hardware stuff.

The development units will be provided with Free42 as an example and as a test that the hardware works.

The Free42 code will be made available for anyone who wants it, but I do NOT recommend routine use of it on our hardware, as Free42 was designed for the (relatively speaking) near-infinite amount of memory available on desktop/laptop/smartphone/tablet systems, and not the very limited memory capacity of a handheld calculator. The result is that it's quite easy to get memory fragmentation problems when running Free42 on this hardware. In principle it should be possible to rewrite portions of Free42 for more suitable memory management, but it's a big task and one that I'm not personally willing to undertake. [Note that this is absolutely NOT intended as a criticism of Free42; it does an excellent job in the environments it was designed for, and I doubt that the author expected to ever see it on custom-build calculator hardware.]
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01-12-2015, 03:13 AM
Post: #80
RE: A poll again, concerning the 43S (again)
(01-10-2015 01:26 AM)walter b Wrote:  P.S.: Mechanical hardware of the 43S seems to be an orphan. Who's taking care of it?

If you're referring to the physical housing, I've assumed that I am, as I've been working on that for several years, with some modest degree of progress. However, if someone else wants to take that over, we can provide the mechanical details of the PCB and such.

While I don't want to disuade anyone serious from doing this, if one doesn't have industrial design experience (as I haven't), it is very easy to vastly underestimate how difficult it is and how much work it is. One lesson I quickly learned is that having a good 3D CAD or modelling program doesn't make one a good industrial designer, any more than having Photoshop makes one a good photographer.

Note also that having a nice-looking 3D model is not enough. It has to be manufacturable, and that's quite a challenge. There are many books on the subject, none of which (AFAICT) present the full picture. There is unfortunately no "Industrial Design for Dummies" that walks you through the whole process. Many of the books on industrial design seem to just be full of pretty pictures, with little explanation of how the designs are to be manufactured, and no explanation at all of the tradeoffs necessary for manufacturability.
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