|Free42 port to iPhone looking AMAZING!|
Message #1 Posted by Les Wright on 12 Dec 2008, 10:48 a.m.
I hope that Thomas Okken doesn't think it out of line for me to share my enthusiasm, but since in his modesty he doesn't blow his own horn much I can't resist.
I assume that it is known to many that Thomas and collaborators Byron Foster and Susan McKay have been working on a port of Free42 for iPhone/iPod touch. When I recently enquired about the status of the project, Thomas sent me the work in progress, making me a de facto alpha tester.
The present version does not have program I/O yet, but, as far as I can tell, things look pretty darn functional and the simulator looks and works even better than does my beloved Palm version. The new professionally designed skin makes for excellent touchscreen accuracy, and there seems to be excellent visual and functional integration with the iPhone 2.2 OS. It appears that Thomas et al. are implementing only the BCD-20 decimal version with 25-digit internal precision (Windows, Linux, and Palm versions also have a binary version, but I don't use it much, and I don't think it will be available for iPhone). The simulator runs at the native speed of the processor, which means it is very fast. Indeed, these are features of Free42 I have always enjoyed compared with other simulators and emulators--rapid speed and high internal precision.
I have hand-entered a couple of my shorter favourite HP41/42 programs, and they run as expected. The integrator and solver work very well, as far as I can tell (since bugs were worked out in the other ports I would expect them too), and given that tons of memory is accessible one can allocate huger arrays than one would ever reasonably need in a handheld--i.e., on my iPod touch, allocating a 1000x1000 matrix takes a couple of seconds, but it gets done.
Thomas is hoping to implement some sort of file I/O that does not rely on the HTTP protocol that works so well with i41cx+, but advises that he isn't clear yet how to do that since the iPhone SDK is impervious to so many things easily done on other platforms. As we know from i41cx+, getting RAW format program files OUT of the handheld is not easy. Working with HP42S program text listings with hp41uc is a bit of a challenge when the program contains commands that are not in the HP41 native command set (e.g., in 42S programs I use recall register arithmetic a lot to save steps-RCL+, RCL*, etc.). I still am not comfortable with the txt2raw.pl Perl script, which would solve that problem.
I know that those interested in emulators/simulators are few around here, and that the subset of iPhone emulator/simulator users is smaller still, but I still wanted to express my great excitement. I think Thomas is hoping to see this widely available in the new year. I just wanted to share that the project seems very real and seems pretty close to completion, and for those of us who love the the Windows, Linux, Palm, and PocketPC versions this is shaping up to be even better.