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Hi all, Happy New Year 2020 !

Once Christmas is over, I'm back to business so I've just uploaded a new update (#011) to my brand-new HP-related site, namely the following 11 files 11 (which you can download for free in PDF or JPG formats):

1. One HP Article

    Believe it or not, no less than 11 years 11 have passed by since I published my latest article, namely Time Voyager Revisited, so it is my pleasure to end the decade-old drought by publishing online right now this very article just below.
  • HP Article VA041 - HP-41C Mate w King Bishop Knight Practice

    • 7-page, 13-diagram article featuring a 285-step RPN program which I wrote in 1980 for the HP-41C and compatibles (will run as-is in the HP-41CV/CX and with trivial or no changes in other compatible models such as the HP42S). The program is intended to help the user practice in order to achieve the difficult basic checkmate of King, Bishop and Knight (controlled by the user) vs. King alone (controlled by the program) within a specified number of moves. The user must try and checkmate the program's King before the allotted moves elapse, while the program does its best to avoid being checkmated.

      A simple, very fast (few seconds per move on a physical calculator) but quite effective positional strategy is implemented, which will frequently succeed in avoiding being checkmated against human players not too experienced with this basic checkmate, and even against vintage computer programs or dedicated machines not having access to the appropriate endgame tablebase.

      It includes full instructions and two worked examples, one of them using no less than world-class chess engine Stockfish 9 (3,300 ELO !!) to conduct the winning pieces against this program).

2. Two HP Pictures
  • HP Picture VA281 - HP28S

    • This is my HP28S open flat, a Saturn-based model, the one and only RPL model I own [...].
  • HP Picture VA289 - HP28S

    • This is the back of my HP28S, a Saturn-based model, the one and only RPL model I own [...]

3. Four HP Selected Threads
  • HP Thread VA003 - HP-65 helped discover Feigenbaum number
  • HP Thread VA004 - Tradeoff dynamic allocation vs More Memory
  • HP Thread VA005 - Trigonometrics in financial applications
  • HP Thread VA006 - Speed

4. Two SHARP Selected Threads
  • SHARP Thread VA003 - OT Sharp PC-1270 interesting non-HP
  • SHARP Thread VA004 - HP and SHARP

... and as always, last but not least ...

5. Two nice FractVal Pictures
  • Misc Picture VA140 - Krakatoa Exploding - VF170106AR            { Krakatoa volcano catastrophically exploding in 1883 }
  • Misc Picture VA259 - Iridescent Sea Life - VF170402BG            { Big iridescent bubbles in the midst of the ocean }

Note: I've also updated to a new version the following six files:

       SHARP Program VA005 - PC-1211 Finding Roots of Equations.pdf
       SHARP Program VA026 - PC-1211 3-point Gaussian Integration.pdf
       SHARP Program VA038 - PC-1211 Multiprecision Factorial.pdf
       SHARP Program VA044 - PC-1211 NxN Matrix Inversion.pdf
       SHARP Program VA046 - PC-1211 Multiprecision E.pdf
       SHARP Program VA071 - PC-1211 Truth Tables Generator.pdf

The changes are minimal but necessary: corrections to the Usage instructions, updated Copyright date and terms, and assorted cosmetic changes for consistency with the rest of the files uploaded after them. The programs themselves and the Examples (and eveything else) remain unchanged.

That's all, enjoy them. Comments welcome.


Edited 2020-01-22 to reflect changed schedule.
Hi, all:

A full week has elapsed since I posted the first message above, so a few facts and a conclusion are in order. In order:

The facts:

Fact 1: When I first announced my new site here, after my old one at Multimania had gone extinct, I was very happy to be able to provide my many HP-calc-related materials for free in a convenient, no-annoyances way to everyone interested. That included what in my humble opinion are quality programs and pictures, perfectly documented in formal-paper, arxiv-like fashion. I intended to do ~10-file uploads on a regular weekly schedule, and I did just that for all 11 uploads.

I also intended to publish new full-fledged Articles on a monthly basis and, as my first 32 were very well received by people over the years, I thought the new ones would be equally welcomed and would gather a lot of interest.

Those were my thoughts at the beginning, several months ago. Now fast-forward to today, 2019-01-22, and we find this:

My latest update #11 included 11 new files, a whole new Article among them, the very first one in 11 years. It's a complex article, which took about a month of free-time to create and format the 7-page text, create the 13 diagrams, insert the program listing a step at a time, create the examples, and proof-read and polish it all.

Then I also had to painstakingly key in each step from the actual PDF document directly into the calculator, to be 100% sure that the program was keyable and would run as documented, to avoid wasting the time of interested people in case of typos or errors of any kind, using my time to save yours. Only when everything ran fine did I upload the Article to my site and posted the carefully formatted announcement above. Needless to say, this takes enormous amounts of my time, and tiring my eyesight considerably.

Fact 2: Thanks to Eric Rechlin, my site's administration features includes a full log of how many people visited each day, and how many dowloads there were for any given file. Looking at the logs I've discovered that in the 7 days that have elapsed since I uploaded the 11 files there were only about 2 downloads per file on average, and in particular the Article had 3 downloads in all, all of them within the first few days and none after that.

As of yesterday, this forum had 10,829 members. Assuming that 90% of that figure are lurking/non-active members who never post or download anything, that means that only about 0,3% of the active members were interested in the Article, even if just to see it out of mere curiosity, as clicking on it to display the PDF in a browser tab counts as a download.

The conclusion:

It seems that my assumption that my materials and articles would be of interest to a significant number of forum's members was utterly unfounded, which is entirely my fault.

As such, wasting tons of my scarce free time and eyesight in producing and announcing materials that are of interest to only 0,3% of the people here is nothing but a complete waste of my efforts and I certainly have much more productive and rewarding matters to dedicate my time to, so any future uploads will be made on a severely reduced schedule, if at all, and no further announcements will be posted here, the newly uploaded files will only appear listed in the Latest Additions list at the bottom of my site's Main page.

Thanks for reading and special thanks to those people who were interested.
I wouldn't be discouraged by the stats on a small subset of files over a short time period. No doubt Eric would see such figures on his new additions. Much like a public library, a reference site like yours accumulates usage over an extended period of time. Would a library toss a book if it wasn't checked out in the first week following acquisition?

I like what I've seen so far on your site and know where I can go when I need the kind of information you provide.

Sayeth the guy who typed in the Math and Stat Pac programs for teenix' HP67 emulator. Wanna talk eyestrain? See the poor photocopies of faded printer output in their respective manuals Smile
Hi Valentin,

Your pictures bring back a lot of memories. My dad came home with an HP 35 in June 1973. It was magical! I was at Florida State University at the time, and the meteorology department had 2 or 3 of them, locked in cradles to a desk chair (!), for students to utilize in the meteorology department’s library. My first HP was the 67 in 1977. The all night deejay at the TV/radio station that I worked at convinced me to take the plunge. A beautiful machine. Not only did I use it in my weather forecasting, but simulated the Major League Baseball 1970 American League on it, the data for each teams batters on the magnetic cards to use in my program. Later, the 28S, then the 48SX, and the 50g which I still use in my work! During the days of the 35, my best friend and I wondered if, during our lifetime, would a hand hold ever be capable of symbolic math. We were doubtful, could not imagine it to be possible. It’s been quite a treat to see how this has all evolved.

Thanks for your work. It is appreciated!
I just downloaded a few more, on the HP-71.

I would second what mfleming says above though. It's kind of like advertising. You may have to keep the site and its contents before the eyes of the "customer" for quite a while before he "buys." The way to do that is to keep posting links to your articles and other resources when those links are relevant to what's being discussed on forum. That apparently also increases your pages' ranks in search engines. But even if there's no acceleration of the download rate, that's still a thousand in about two years. If each download represented one person, after a few years, gathering those people would fill a very large auditorium. I don't think that's a waste of time.

However, some of this stuff we do for the love of it, and for the promotion of our interest. I don't have the CCD ROM (although I have other ROMs that apparently got many of the CCD's ingredients), but I hear it had a marvelous 500-page manual that was a work of love, a job which never would have been taken up by HP which is there for the profits. (Hopefully I'm thinking of the right manual.)
Hi Valentin,

I appreciate your effort and your post. Some of your articles and programs - mainly for my HP-71b - I loaded from your old website. But I found new interesting ones on your new site. Some of them or part of your code or ideas I use in my own programs.
I‘m not so experienced in programming but it is a pleasure to follow your posts and challenges.

Keep on your excellent work

Best regards Erwin
I find your articles very interesting. I always skim them and read the one that are more interesting in detail.

Are you sufficiently insecure in your ability that you need regular positive reenforcement? Many posts here go uncommented on. That's the internet.

Yes, it sometimes frustrating looking at the number of downloads. So when I would use the no. of downloads on my site as meter for continuing my program development, I had to stop everything, immediately. From this point of view it's a massive waste of time. Some programs may have two downloads in a month?

On the other side it's a hobby, did some of you ever count the hours you spend on your hobby? Did you ever count the hours you sit infront of your TV and do ... nothing?

So why I put writing computer programs into the section of a hobby and not as hard work. I don't write programs in my free time for others, the programs I published are the programs I wanted to have fore some reasons. In consequence, when I don't want to have it, I don't spend time on it. So when you want to have addional features in my programs, you have to do it by your own or you have to convince me, that _I_ want to have this feature. If you only want this, I don't take care of it...

Pressure, stress...

In general I try to avoid any promise of publishing date or features in a new version for the programs I made as a hobby. When I have no motivation to do it, I don't do it. It's finished when it's finished.

An anecdote about publishing Emu71/Win in July 2011. The program development for version 1.0 was more or less finished in January 2011 about 6 month before the publishing date, but the final documentation for the program and the documentation of the Virtual HP-IL concept was still missing in January. Have I ever told you, that I hate writing documentation?

So I stopped further working on it and instead, getting more fun, I fixed the problem in Emu42 decoding the Redeye protocol which was necessary for the printer feature published in fall 2011. So when a hobby don't make fun any more and when it's only stress, than it's time to quit...

Only some personal thoughts

To quote a wise old man: "Either we do it for the inner reward or else it all turns into chasing ghosts, mostly our own".
Hi, all:

Thanks to mfleming, lrdheat, Garth Wilson, Erwin, Paul Dale, Christoph Giesselink and Ángel Martin for your interest, for your kind and helpful replies and for the time it took you to post them, much appreciated.

Rest assured that I've read them very carefully and pondered all that is said in them. I agree with most of it but there are times when you must draw the line and the dismal interest/effort ratio is but the straw that broke the camel's back, there's been other severe calc-related disappointments I've suffered here recently, which I won't tell about as they involve third-parties which I'd rather not name.

I could (and am actually itching to) elaborate in detail and comment on the various points each of you raise but I know that I tend to be excessively wordy and anyway it would have little purpose. Thus, this is the last I'll say on this:

       - I'll continue to upload new materials to my site but the schedule will be reduced from 10-12 files per week to 4-5 files every month or two, at most.

       - I'll post no futher announcements here about any new uploads.

       - Matter of fact, I'm presently leaving the forum for a while, as I lack the motivation to continue.

So, this will be my last post for the time being and I won't be replying to messages or PM's either.

Again, thanks to all 7 of you in particular, I deeply appreciate your caring.
Have a nice weekend and a nice year as well.
Attached are TXT and RAW files for the program "Mate w King Bishop Knight Practice". The program listing included two instances of a non existing HP-41C instruction, "X>=Y?" - which has been replaced by "X#Y?, X>Y?" .

PS. Also attached the updated CHESS.MOD, now including MKBN as well.
I hope you see this reply, Valentin. I really like your site. Most recently, I went hunting for 34C programs for my new Woodstock LP and went positively SPASTIC at your HP-34C Summation of Alternating Series program for the 34C. It sent me running for a description of the Euler transformation.

Your work is outstanding and I look forward to reading more of it. Please keep publishing!!

(01-25-2020 10:14 PM)Valentin Albillo Wrote: [ -> ] 
[...] Thus, this is the last I'll say on this:

       - I'll continue to upload new materials to my site but the schedule will be reduced from 10-12 files per week to 4-5 files every month or two, at most.

       - I'll post no futher announcements here about any new uploads.

       - Matter of fact, I'm presently leaving the forum for a while, as I lack the motivation to continue.

Valentin, I too have enjoyed all of your articles that I've read, found them to be of high quality, and do appreciate the effort you put into them. With that said, I don't think that any of those three points you posted are a bad idea. The MoHPC forum population is a pretty small subset of regular calculator users as a whole, which is itself a pretty small subset of the general population. And even among MoHPC forum users, there's a lot of different interests from general math, to RPN, to classic HP calculators, to other calculators, to programming, to recreating/emulating old HP calculators, to creating new ones, to linear algebra, to comparing various calculators, to reminiscing about the good old days of HP, etc.

I think in general most people here just like calculators, especially HP calculators, but most only have a very casual interest in any given area. Your work tends to be very detail-oriented, which I like and do appreciate when your articles match my interests, but it does obviously for any given article limit the number of readers (who again are a very small subset of a small subset of a small subset).

Like others have said, I think it's important to consider what your motivations are. If it's to reach a large readership, I can see why you would be disappointed (and realistically will probably continue to to be disappointed), but do know that for the people that are interested in any given article, they are a gem.

I do think it's a good idea not to have a self-imposed desire to publish 10-12 articles a week, especially if it adds to burnout and dissatisfaction with the low readership.

I think taking a break for a while might not be a bad idea also. I know for myself, personally I tend to get very into various hobbies (not just calculators) to the point of complete burnout -- even for stuff that I really enjoy. But overall, long term, my hobbies haven't really changed that much (there's just more and more of them and they keep taking more and more time), and I do hope that you enjoy your return to the forum again eventually and writing new articles, whenever that may be.
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