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RCL 20

    [RCL 20, cover]
Introductionv
Why we started1
A letter to PPC Journal
David Burch
3
"Thank you, Beep...!"
Gordon Dickson
5
How we started15
The founding of HPCC
Frank Wales interviews David Burch
17
I blame Bill & Dave
Frank Wales
23
The most toys
Dean Lampman
31
Starting a calculator club
Richard J. Nelson
37
Growing & changing47
The early years
Rabin Ezra
49
Zengrange & John French
Graeme Cawsey
53
A short history of EduCALC
Jim B. Carter
59
Developments63
Constitution and name
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
65
CHIP chapter recollections
Ron Johnson
69
Founding the Philadelphia-area PPC Chapter
Jake Schwartz
73
Communicating79
Datafile
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
81
Mark Cracknell
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
85
HPCC.ORG
Mark Power
89
Conferences & meetings
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
93
Gerry Rice
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
99
Why we need Datafile
Jordi Hidalgo
101
Design103
A Really Pathetic Name
Bill Wickes
105
HP-41 design
Dave Conklin
109
Graphing calculator design and development
Diana Byrne
115
Perspectives119
Users' clubs
Neville Joseph
121
A hardware hacker's perspective
Gary Friedman
125
Portrait of the engineer as a young nerd
Raan Young
131
My walk along the Hall of Fame
Jim Donnelly
139
Coda143
The end of an era
John Olwoch
145
Half a Beep
Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz
149
HP - There is no sequel
Jeremy Smith
153
About the editors157
About the contributors159
Index167
 

RCL 20: People, Dreams & HP Calculators, edited by Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz and Frank Wales, celebrates 20 years of HPCC, the Handheld and Portable Computer Club. The book was produced in time for the HPCC conference 21-22 September 2002.

Here we reproduce its back cover text, introduction and table of contents, along with a sample chapter by Frank Wales.

RCL 20 is available for purchase online:


Back cover text

Before the web, before PDAs, before PCs, one company provided a vision of how computers and software could change lives when put into the hands of ordinary people. Hewlett-Packard's amazing series of hand-held calculators and portable computers, begun in 1972, has introduced a generation of technically-inclined people to personal computing power.

As these tiny computers have grown in capability to be depended on in space missions and on battlefields, people around the world have banded together in so-called "user groups". Through these, they've exchanged information, solved each other's problems, and enjoyed learning about (and playing with!) computers. In the process, they've also made friendships, started businesses, and contributed to the computing environment we live in today.

One such user group, the Handheld and Portable Computer Club (HPCC), started in Britain in 1982 as an off-shoot of the huge US-based group PPC, and is still active twenty years later.

This book celebrates the twentieth anniversary of HPCC. Inside:


Introduction

It is a very human thing to set up groups or clubs of people with a common interest. The rise of electronic equipment since the 1960s has provided many new opportunities for such clubs. One topic of interest was personal computing devices, and the first of these were hand-held programmable calculators.

The most successful club for users of these was PPC; this began in California and soon spread all round the world. This book celebrates 20 years of the club that was originally the British section PPC-UK, which later became the Handheld and Portable Computer Club, or HPCC.

Today, the term 'calculator' either conjures up the idea of 'adding machine', or those brightly-coloured devices sold in bubble-packs and intended for school and university mathematics work. But the kinds of calculators that were the focus of our club's attention were the only truly programmable and portable computers available to ordinary people. The programmability was key—it made them little software engines that could be applied to any task, not just mathematics. That they were still called 'calculators' belied their real capabilities—these machines were true portable computers, and are in many ways the ancestors of present-day laptops and PDAs.

This is not a history book; rather, it covers the first 20 years of HPCC through a series of recollections. The editors asked people associated with HPCC, and with HP handheld calculators or computers, for their recollections of those 20 years. That gave the book its title: "recall 20", or RCL 20 as it would appear in a program on an HP calculator.

Wlodek Mier-Jedrzejowicz & Frank Wales
London, U.K.
September 2002


Excerpted from RCL 20: People, Dreams & HP Calculators, W.A.C. Mier-Jedrzejowicz Ph.D. & Frank Wales (Eds), 2002, ISBN: 0-9510733-3-8

A sample chapter by Frank Wales is also available.

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