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Coolest Calculator Ever - and now you can have it!
Karl-Henry Martinsson    

HP-48SX I have been using HP calculators since the mid-70's, when my cousin (who worked for Hewlett-Packard in Sweden) brought an HP-21 to us. When I was in 8th grade and we finally were allowed to use calculators during math class, I purchased the HP-15C, a programmable scientific calculator. In 1987, when I was in high school, the HP-28C was released, and I got it as soon as it came out. The next year I upgraded to the improved HP-28S (32kB instead of 2kB and a 1 MHz processor instead of 640 kHz). Both were clamshell designs. I also got a HP 82240B infrared printer, which used thermal paper.

In April 1990 I was getting the HP-48SX as soon as it came out. I could use the same infrared printer I already had, and I also got an expansion memory card (128 kB, I believe). I used this calculator for many years, and still have it, even if it is not working fully, due to a faulty on/off switch (which seems to be a known issue on these old units). My next project will be to open my calculator and fix this problem...

The HP-48SX had a serial port, built-in Kermit file transfer and infrared communications. There was a large set of programs and utilities available on several bulletin board systems (BBS) and later on the Internet. Most notable were Joe Horn's Goodies disks. Many programs can be found at hpcalc.org.

Back in the late 1990's I found some emulators that let me run a HP-48 on my Windows computer. It required a ROM image from the original calculator, which I of course still had. Then in 2000, HP released the ROM images for free downloads. Very cool!

The emulators have evolved, and now everyone can get a HP48SX, or it's successors 48G and 48GX, on their desktop. It is actually very simple. You just need three small downloads to do this:

* The free Emu48 emulator by Christoph Gießelink

* A HP-48SX ROM image

* A photo realistic skin, for example this one by Arno Kuhl or the one to the right by Growik

Simply unpack the Emu48 installer and run it. Put the ROM image in the Emu48 directory and use the convert.exe program to convert the ROM image. Then copy the files for the skin into the same directory. Launch the program, and you have a really cool calculator. Everything works, including programming! More skins, as well as other programs, can be found at hpcalc.org.

HP calculators, with the exception of the business models (designated by a B in the model name) use Reverse Polish Notation (RPN). It is a faster and better way to calculate, especially more complex computations, but can be confusing to non-engineers/technical users. I highly recommend to learn this, though.

So go get this calculator for your computer and start playing!

Mar 25, 2011
81 hits

Recent Blog Posts

ConnectED 2015 – Smaller and shorter but more technical
Thu, Jul 24th 2014 1:40p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
If you read the official IBM announcment for ConnectED 2015 posted by Mat Newman, you will notice a few interesting details. First of all, the event is shorter than previous years. It starts on Sunday and ends on Wednesday instead of Thursday. On Sunday IBM has scheduled the Leadership Alliance meeting, which previously been held in […] [read] Keywords: ibm

Recover lost SSL keyring password
Thu, Jul 24th 2014 10:45a   Karl-Henry Martinsson
About two years ago, our Network (as well as Domino) administrator left the company after 10 years. The other day our SSL certificate for one of our websites expired, and we wanted to use a newer wildcard certificate instead of a server specific certificate. The problem was that we did not have the password for […] [read] Keywords: domino lotus network password server

IBM Connect becomes IBM ConnectED in 2015
Wed, Jul 23rd 2014 12:25p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
IBM has announced the new name for the yearly conference in Orlando, the one most of us know (and still call) Lotusphere. For the last two years it was named Connect, and for 2015 IBM again changes the name, this time to ConnectED. The conference will be more technical than the last few years, according […] [read] Keywords: ibm lotusphere

Code snippet – DateClass
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 6:45p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
Here is a small Lotusscript class I wrote some years ago. I use it in a number of other classes where I need to use date functionality of different kind. For example, I have a class that communicates with a FoxPro database, using a COM object. Some of the methods in that class uses XML while […] [read] Keywords: domino lotusscript database xml

I am back.
Mon, Jul 21st 2014 5:25p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
On June 11 I had some major surgery at Medical City in Dallas. It was a planned surgery to remove part of my intestines to prevent future outbreaks of diverticulitis. I been having about 2-3 outbreaks a year for the last 12 years or so. Normally they perform surgery after just 2 severe cases. I was not […] [read] Keywords:

Things we don’t want to think about
Thu, May 15th 2014 8:48a   Karl-Henry Martinsson
Two separate incidents are leading me to write this blog entry. First, the way too early passing of Tim Tripcony just a few days ago, as well as as the loss of Rob Wunderlich, Jens Augustiny and Kenneth Kjærbye in just a little over a year. All of those members of the Lotus Community left us way […] [read] Keywords: lotus community

In memory of Tim Tripcony
Mon, May 12th 2014 8:15p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
A couple of hours ago, I was reached by the terrible news that Tim Tripcony is no longer with us. I have known Tim for several years, and meeting him at Lotusphere (later Connect) was always a treat. He is one of the most brilliant programmers I have met, and he always had time to talk […] [read] Keywords: ibm lotusphere

Code snippet – Disable agent using external file
Thu, May 1st 2014 9:24p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
Yesterday I was asked to create a system that would let us disable agents running on a Domino server in an easy way, before the Domino server comes back from a crash. For a while we have been having one particular agent crash, taking the whole Domino server down with it. It only happens occasionally, and seems to be related to the document being processed. When the server comes up after a crash like that, a consistence check is done, then the agent manager launches the agent again, causing th [read] Keywords: agent domino script library server


Code snippet – jQuery
Sat, Mar 15th 2014 11:43a   Karl-Henry Martinsson
This morning I was working on a web application, and I came up with a pretty neat and simple little solution. So I just wanted to share it, in case anyone else need something similar. I have a webpage with an HTML form. Each input tag has an attribute called notesfield, matching the name of the field in Notes where the value is stored: First Name Initial Last Name Then I created a simple function that will call an agent on the Domino server, which will return all th [read] Keywords: agent domino notes ajax application database server

World Wide Web turning 25 years this week
Fri, Mar 14th 2014 3:02p   Karl-Henry Martinsson
In some articles it is claimed that Internet turns 25 years old this week, which of course is not true. But the World Wide Web is. It was on March 12, 1989 that Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for a hypertext system that would become what we call “the web”. In 1991 the first webpage was created and published at CERN. Since then the web has exploded. I first got in touch with web pages and HTML in 1994, and in 1995 I had my own little server running on my work computer. I don’t [read] Keywords: lotus notes ajax development email google instant messaging javascript network server wiki wireless

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