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Full Version: Announcing Project HAM (Historic Albillo Materials)
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Hi, all:

Some of you may have wondered why I haven't uploaded any new updates to my web site since last May, and the reason is I've been pretty busy since my 3rd computer in a row died unexpectedly, which forced me to buy a new one. This also meant being able to use again a scanner, which wasn't possible in the late laptop because of drivers incompatibility.

The matter is, now that I've regained scanning capabilities, and to commemorate the incoming 2nd Anniversary of my web site next Sept. 20, I'm scanning most of my 40-45 year-old vintage materials still surviving (regrettably, many got lost) from the time I bought my very first HP calculator (an HP-25, back in 1976 or so) when I was but a teenager with very rudimentary self-taught English and very little money, but nevertheless I boldly joined PPC (#4747). Now my purpose is to upload to my site everything I've kept stored since then, for interested people to download, read, and get an idea of that Golden Age when every calculator no matter how plain was an awesome, advanced piece of technology, let alone an RPN programmable HP calculator.

My surviving vintage materials consist of some 2,000 pages which were stored in boxes 40-45 years ago and left undisturbed since then. I've scanned most of the text pages as greyscale while the images (brochures usually) are in 24-bit color. The vast majority were scanned at 300 dpi, resulting in 2,552 x 3,508 PNG images, which have been kindly and expertly postprocessed by Eric Rechlin himself (for which I'm most indebted and thank him very much) and collected into multi-page PDF documents, which also include OCR'd text with variable quality ranging from poor to very usable (for copy/paste, etc.), and some of them additionally contain a text file with my very own Notes detailing the document's background and interesting trivia.

The selected scanned vintage materials (which I'll upload to my site on a regular basis) include, among others:
  • the dozens of programs I wrote for the HP-25, HP-67/97, HP-34C, HP-41C (most of them submitted to PPC but never published), for the SHARP PC-1211 (aka TRS-80 PC-1) Pocket Computer, and assorted ones written for such machines as the Series 80 HP-85/86/87 computers (including binaries), Sinclair ZX 81 (including machine-code ones), etc.
  • the assorted materials other than programs which I submitted to PPC CJ(many unpublished or heavily censored) and Australian PPC Melbourne Chapter's "Technical Notes".
  • the original Submittal Forms for some of the many programs (most of them lost) I submitted to the HP Users' Program Libraries (both Europe and Corvallis).
  • dozens of complete, high-resolution full-color brochures of classical calculators released by HP (from the HP-35 to the HP-41C and even the HP-01 watch), Texas Instruments, SHARP, Sinclair and other brands, as well as computer brochures (HP-85, ZX 81, etc.) and lots more.
  • a 100-strong selection (about 400 pages) of the letters I exchanged in 1979-1981 with such people as Richard Nelson (unidirectional), Tom Cadwallader, Keith Jarett, John Dearing, John McGechie, Bill Wickes, etc., detailing the pioneering findings on 41C Synthetics and plenty of routines and tips (many unpublished), while also discussing everything Synthetics and various projects (e.g.: PPC ROM), as well as scoops about new hardware from HP (top secret back then), or simply providing help to people who would send questions or report problems to me.
  • a number of very interesting miscellaneous documents (including bulletins and booklets) which were sent to me at the time, some of them never seen by anyone for 40+ years and now made available online for the very first time after spending those years carefully stored away.

In particular, the letters themselves are of great historic value, as they correctly reflect and record the very early discoveries being painstakingly made about what we now call "Synthetics" or "microcode" (but which at those early stages seemed more like arcane "black magic"), as we spent time and dedication to uncover the mysteries of the HP-41C and create efficient tools to increase productivity and make synthetics easily and effortlessly usable by everyone, from guru-level to average Joe.

I specially remember the first time I unexpectedly saw my first STO M on my all-bugs early HP-41C. I was astonished, a real "What the ... !" moment !!. I'd never heard before about those instructions and promptly told everyone, joined PPC and went on to investigate and experiment 24/7, so to say. Such exciting times !! So many MEMORY LOST messages (and worse) until everything made sense and was reliably reproducible and deterministic !

I'm positive these materials might prove to have some historic value, since not everyone bothered to safely store for 40 years their own productions or mail, and most such materials are probably lost by now (including lots of mine, sadly), so perhaps both old and new generations of HP fans will find them interesting and worthwhile, as they will help them understand (and for the old-timers, relive !) the immense fascination we felt 40 years ago when the field was brand new, and the sense of community and achievement it gave us to develop programs and techniques and to talk non-stop about them and share our fondest experiences at the diverse Clubs and Chapters and HP-fans gatherings of all sorts.

Until now, the new generation of HP calc fans could only imagine the wonder and joy we had as we explored and tinkered with and hacked the system to make it do things that it was never expected to do (Eric's phrasing), but now you'll not be limited to just imagining, just have a look at these materials and you'll be seeing with your very eyes the wonder and the joy which enthralled everyone involved back then, yours truly included.

Well, that's the main idea, but if not, I hope that at the very least my surviving vintage materials will get disseminated online and offline, archived, and hopefully won't get lost forever (Murphy notwithstanding, of course ...)

  • I wrote these documents 40-45 years ago, using a simple mechanical typewriter with inked ribbon on so-so paper. The ones intended for my own private use were handwritten on various notepads.
  • I sent the originals out (letters and submittals to PPC/PPC TN/HP Program Libraries), so I no longer have them, but previously I got some of them photocopied, not always with the best resulting quality. The ones not photocopied (regrettably I hadn't the money) are sadly lost forever (unless the receiver kept them safely stored, unlikely.)
  • I stored those photocopies and handwritten originals away as best I could, but after 40+ years have elapsed some of them have faded/degraded somewhat, though still readable.
  • All materials not intended for submittal were handwritten and, though properly stored, they've faded/degraded ("yellowed") somewhat more than the photocopied ones. Anyway, the mere fact that they still exist and are readable is kind of a miracle in itself, and Eric Rechlin's postprocessing has done wonders in that regard.
  • Last but not least, all programs I wrote for my own private use (not intended to be submitted anywhere) are of course in my native language, Spanish. This also applies to the HP-34C Solutions Book which HP did publish in 1980 for the Spanish market. However, as the majority of programs are of a purely mathematical nature, with formulas and many worked examples given, they're easily understandable and can be used by anyone who is familiar with the subject matter (say "Funciones elípticas", i.e.: "Elliptic Functions"). Some brochures and miscellaneous documents are also in Spanish but that's no big problem really, it doesn't detract from their looks or usability.

Within a few days I'll make available for download from my site a first batch of 25 vintage documents (totalling ~ 400 pages, ~ 230 MB) as mega-Update #28, and will announce it in the [VA] New updates available in my HP site thread on this very MoHPC forum, with full details. Also, my whole site, including all these materials, will be available as part of Eric Rechlin's fabulous 128 GB HHC pendrive. Stay tuned !

Great news Albillo!
(09-10-2021 05:01 PM)Geoff Quickfall Wrote: [ -> ]Great news Albillo!

Thanks ! But my name is "Valentin", not "Albillo". Wink


P.S.: yours was your #747 post, and my reply was my #747 post. Talk about coincidences ! Smile
(09-10-2021 09:52 PM)Valentin Albillo Wrote: [ -> ]P.S.: yours was your #747 post, and my reply was my #747 post. Talk about coincidences ! :)

And since Geoff is a pilot... :)
Sorry Valentin! :-)

Never post after a scotch! 747 the only one I don’t have a rating for :-(. I will have to settle for the 747th post.

727, 737, 757, 767, 777 and now the 787.
Wonderful news and a great donation to the community.

Thank-you Valentin! I enjoy your writing style and the "Long Live" series are always a fun read.

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