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I am pleased to announce the release of Print42, a windows/mac application that lets you echo the Free42 virtual tape to a real thermal printer.

The video is 13 minutes long and covers the basic use cases, history of the project etc.

As well as physically printing from Free42, the Print42 software can also be used to print HP Prime screenshots (from either the emulator or real HP Prime hardware via the HP connectivity kit).

Outside the world of calculators, Print42 can be used to 'tail' log files (programmers take note) and to print graphic snippets from the web. Useful if you want to rapidly print information to stuff into your pocket or to study and annotate printouts of complex information, at your desk.

If you are looking for a useful, fun new gadget, you might want to consider buying an Epson thermal printer and trying Print42. However you can also use Print42 with your regular desktop printer, for free.

The website for downloads and further information is http://www.print42.atug.com
It would be handy if it could capture output from a red-eye USB serial converter (such as the home-brewed, Arduino-based one by Martin Hepperle), or failing that, capture the output from Christoph Gießelink's HP82240B Printer Simulator (which can capture output from the red-eye USB serial converters and the output from Emu28, Emu42 and Emu48, but lacks support for ESC/POS thermal printers). This would allow real HP calculators to print to ESC/POS thermal printers via your Print42 software, in theory.
Actually I've had quite a few people suggest integrating Print42 with the HP red eye protocol, allowing a variety of real HP calculators (and DM42) to print to a modern thermal printer.

As long as the red eye receiving solution can create a unicode text file or a series of images, Print42 would be able to pick those up and print. Print42 would not even need to be changed in any way. I can think of a couple of specific design possibilities:
  • Create a box of hardware containing: infra red receiver, Arduino etc, which generates files on a PC/Mac. Print42 running on the PC/Mac would detect changes to those files and print.
  • Create a box of hardware containing: infra red receiver, Arduino etc, and Raspberry Pi running Print42 (under linux). Simply plug the thermal printer USB into the box and point your calculator!
The latter solution would certainly be an exciting box! I'm not sure how many people would be interested in this sort of project. I can offer a free license of Free42 Print42 for anyone demonstrating that they are building infra red integrations for Print42, as long as they share their solution. I could possibly provide deeper integration of Print42 with any such solution, to avoid intermediary files. Long term, I would even consider more relaxed licensing for all such linux/raspberry pi deployments.

(09-16-2018 02:28 AM)tcab Wrote: [ -> ]I can offer a free license of Free42 […]

Surely only Thomas Okken can decide on the licensing of Free42?
I noticed that too but am pretty sure he meant to say Print42.
(09-16-2018 06:26 AM)grsbanks Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-16-2018 02:28 AM)tcab Wrote: [ -> ]I can offer a free license of Free42 […]

Surely only Thomas Okken can decide on the licensing of Free42?

Oops Blush, corrected. Yes I meant Print42.
A new version of Print42 has been released today version 1.0.2 with ability to filter the virtual tape output, so that only lines that match the filter get printed or displayed.

[Image: print42%20filter%20free42%20feature.png?raw=1]

For example by setting the filter to "LBL", then printing the very long program "PLOT" via Free42, you get an arguably useful summary of all labels in the program.


 01▸LBL "PLOT"
 08▸LBL A
 41▸LBL 00
 49▸LBL 01
 65▸LBL 03
 69▸LBL 04
 83▸LBL 05
 90▸LBL 06
 105▸LBL 07

You don't need to have thermal printing turned on either, the filtering will happen on the visual virtual tape too.

When Print42 is used outside the calculator context, with any general log file, I can imagine filtering on lines with e.g. the word 'error' in them, so that only errors lines are printed to the thermal printer, which is left running overnight. In the morning a programmer, sys admin or programming team can rapidly see and tear off the list of errors that occurred. Hopefully not too many - or else the printer tape will be like a very long stockmarket ticker tape on the day of a stockmarket crash!
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