HP 50g -- too shifty?
12-30-2016, 03:08 AM
Post: #1
 Nick Member Posts: 64 Joined: Aug 2016
HP 50g -- too shifty?
I enjoy my HP-48G... RPL... keyboard feels nice... screen/keyboard connection is still ok but I'll fix it if it fails... not the high contrast screen but doesn't bother me any... IR.... serial...

Perhaps the only thing it's lacking is flash. GX cards.. 2MB? $200? (and I don't have a 48GX) SD card... 2GB? 20 cents?.... hmm... CAS? IR?.... built-in flash?... library of software.... HP-50g to the rescue... found one for$10 below market used one midnight as it was listed.

Wow... this thing is fast... long (really long) integers... ok, that's cool. No double-precision float. (would have preferred that) Enough combined memory to carry datasets on-board (if somehow this became the last computer on the planet and I had to use it for that). Celestial Navigation... more likely. Enhanced equation editor -- oh, yes.. bring it!

The enter key... didn't bother me (wasn't sure until I tried it)... for me I hit it just like + or E+... but RPL / programming... it feels like every (or at least the ones I use) common programming / management function of the 48G is now shifted one additional key or menu deep. Combine that with keys that require more effort to press and it gets literally tiring.

Examples:

LEFT_SHIFT MEMORY DIR CRDIR

is now

LEFT_SHIFT PRG MEM DIR CRDIR (5 presses to create a DIR before I even begin to do something.. seriously? Please tell me I overlooked a shortcut somewhere.)

CST becomes LEFT_SHIFT CUSTOM and so on...

As one engineer put it, it was all over when MODE was moved to be a primary function. TOOL doesn't compensate (it's a bit random) and I don't enjoy having to memorize what's in there when I'd rather have what I had. I'm primarily an HP-15C user so can see where I'm coming from.

* shakes head * I prefer the UI of the 48G and like the extended features of the 50G. I've created some custom mappings and menus but cleared them out. I don't want to spend more time writing UI than I do casual programming. Grrr.

HP-50g, you're the last of your kind. Why do you do this to me?
12-30-2016, 03:40 AM
Post: #2
 Paul Dale Senior Member Posts: 1,770 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
I usually just the commands in alpha mode.

i.e. press and hold alpha C R D I R enter

More keystrokes sometimes but much faster and no need to remember which menu the command is buried in.

I've done this all the way back to the 28S (where it was even easier due to the double keyboard).

Pauli
12-30-2016, 03:51 AM
Post: #3
 Nick Member Posts: 64 Joined: Aug 2016
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 03:40 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  I usually just the commands in alpha mode.

i.e. press and hold alpha C R D I R enter

More keystrokes sometimes but much faster and no need to remember which menu the command is buried in.

I've done this all the way back to the 28S (where it was even easier due to the double keyboard).

Pauli

That's a great tip. I did it once on some command, can't recall the one. I tried it now across several and you're right... it's faster and less mentally straining when switching between two devices.

That poses a design question -- a CLI calculator? It's funny how things come around.
12-30-2016, 05:21 AM (This post was last modified: 12-30-2016 05:35 AM by Joe Horn.)
Post: #4
 Joe Horn Senior Member Posts: 1,902 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 03:08 AM)Nick Wrote:  Wow... this thing is fast... long (really long) integers... ok, that's cool. No double-precision float. (would have preferred that)

It does have double-precision floats in System RPL (they're called "extended reals" in the documentation, and symbolized as "%%" in the System RPL command names). However, if you want their all their benefits without jumping through any System RPL hoops, then load the LongFloat library, which supports something even better than double-precision floats: lightning-fast floats of whatever length you specify, up to 9999 digits! A truly awesome library for number lovers, and STILL not available on the HP Prime.

Quote:I've created some custom mappings and menus but cleared them out. I don't want to spend more time writing UI than I do casual programming. Grrr.

But that's exactly what USER mode is for. Arrange all the keys the way YOU want them. And since each key on the 50g allows almost twice as many assignments than the 48 allowed (the 50g allows 11 assignments per key, not just 6), there is no reason to waste any of your finite supply of heartbeats disliking the default key arrangement. Put whatever you want wherever you want it, and leave your 50g in USER mode. I currently have 90 key assignments on my main 50g; constant use makes overlays or stickers unnecessary.

<rant>Why do people pay extra for a model that has USER mode, and then complain about the keyboard & menu arrangement? That's like buying a chainsaw and then complaining that using it without gasoline is exhausting. Uh... here's a suggestion... don't do it that way. Use the tool's features.</rant>

<0|ɸ|0>
-Joe-
12-30-2016, 06:43 AM
Post: #5
 Gerald H Senior Member Posts: 1,567 Joined: May 2014
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
The HP 48G(X) uses 15 digit long reals (prefixed by %% using Jazz) which are nicely exploited by the library

http://www.hpcalc.org/details/1243

easily adapted for the 50g (must be easy, I did it).

Long Float library on the 50g is a boon - Is it so difficult to implement on Prime?

A programme library I miss on 50g is for binary matrices

http://www.hpcalc.org/details/1455

which works like a dream on the 48G.
12-30-2016, 04:19 PM (This post was last modified: 12-30-2016 08:21 PM by Vtile.)
Post: #6
 Vtile Senior Member Posts: 406 Joined: Oct 2015
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
EDIT: Found old topic by JOE that did answer my questions.
12-30-2016, 09:14 PM
Post: #7
 John Keith Senior Member Posts: 859 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 05:21 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:  But that's exactly what USER mode is for. Arrange all the keys the way YOU want them. And since each key on the 50g allows almost twice as many assignments than the 48 allowed (the 50g allows 11 assignments per key, not just 6), there is no reason to waste any of your finite supply of heartbeats disliking the default key arrangement. Put whatever you want wherever you want it, and leave your 50g in USER mode. I currently have 90 key assignments on my main 50g; constant use makes overlays or stickers unnecessary.

<rant>Why do people pay extra for a model that has USER mode, and then complain about the keyboard & menu arrangement? That's like buying a chainsaw and then complaining that using it without gasoline is exhausting. Uh... here's a suggestion... don't do it that way. Use the tool's features.</rant>

I like your chainsaw analogy, but I find User mode to be more trouble than it's worth, just one more layer of stuff to remember. I go through periods of heavy use followed by weeks of little or no programming and I don't want to have to re-memorize my User keyboard. I tend to use a combination of menus, longhand typing, and a Custom menu that gets continually refined. Not saying my way is the right one, just what works for me.

On another subject, in addition to Longfloat, I highly recommend Goferlists
which I consider to be indispensable for doing any kind of data manipulation with the 50g.

John
12-30-2016, 10:02 PM
Post: #8
 Garth Wilson Senior Member Posts: 549 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 09:14 PM)John Keith Wrote:  I like your chainsaw analogy, but I find User mode to be more trouble than it's worth, just one more layer of stuff to remember. I go through periods of heavy use followed by weeks of little or no programming and I don't want to have to re-memorize my User keyboard.

That's where the keyboard overlays come in. I use them on my 41 and 71. Besides the overlays that came with modules, I have a bunch that I have hand-written my key assignments on. However, I never really got familiar with my 50g that someone gave me that has the power supply capacitor problem so it takes 5mA even when off, and it drains the batteries in a couple of weeks. Did the 48 and 50 never have keyboard overlays?

12-30-2016, 10:29 PM (This post was last modified: 12-30-2016 10:30 PM by Vtile.)
Post: #9
 Vtile Senior Member Posts: 406 Joined: Oct 2015
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
Oh, naturally that is one of the explanations of some units with high off-power consumption!

Another way is to use labels which are glued in and covered with nailpolish (nailpolish seems to be pretty skinoil resistant).
12-31-2016, 01:33 AM
Post: #10
 rprosperi Super Moderator Posts: 5,524 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 10:02 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  Did the 48 and 50 never have keyboard overlays?

The 48 (both S and G flavors) was designed to accommodate overlays, quite similar to the 41, with small slits along the edges of the keyboard to retain the overlay. Many 3rd-party products (in particular Surveying) for the HP-48 family came with overlays. I believe the only HP-sold product for the 48 series that came with an overlay was the HP-82210A 41CV Emulator.

The 50g/49g+ and the 49g had keyboards without raised borders along the edges, so they really could not accommodate overlays, as there is no means to keep it attached. I've never seen a 50g overlay, but there could be some out there somewhere, perhaps affixed with something sticky?

--Bob Prosperi
12-31-2016, 03:09 PM
Post: #11
 TomC Member Posts: 289 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
This topic comes up often: ie, 'I'm a 48G user, and would like to use the 50, but find the keyboard layout/menu access foreign to me (relative to he 48G).'

Would it be possible for someone (such as an experienced 50 user) to provide code (and/or user assignments) for the 50G that would transform the keyboard to resemble (as close as possible) a 48g?

We (the 48G users) would then have the best of both worlds'!

TomC

(12-30-2016 05:21 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:
(12-30-2016 03:08 AM)Nick Wrote:  Wow... this thing is fast... long (really long) integers... ok, that's cool. No double-precision float. (would have preferred that)

It does have double-precision floats in System RPL (they're called "extended reals" in the documentation, and symbolized as "%%" in the System RPL command names). However, if you want their all their benefits without jumping through any System RPL hoops, then load the LongFloat library, which supports something even better than double-precision floats: lightning-fast floats of whatever length you specify, up to 9999 digits! A truly awesome library for number lovers, and STILL not available on the HP Prime.

Quote:I've created some custom mappings and menus but cleared them out. I don't want to spend more time writing UI than I do casual programming. Grrr.

But that's exactly what USER mode is for. Arrange all the keys the way YOU want them. And since each key on the 50g allows almost twice as many assignments than the 48 allowed (the 50g allows 11 assignments per key, not just 6), there is no reason to waste any of your finite supply of heartbeats disliking the default key arrangement. Put whatever you want wherever you want it, and leave your 50g in USER mode. I currently have 90 key assignments on my main 50g; constant use makes overlays or stickers unnecessary.

<rant>Why do people pay extra for a model that has USER mode, and then complain about the keyboard & menu arrangement? That's like buying a chainsaw and then complaining that using it without gasoline is exhausting. Uh... here's a suggestion... don't do it that way. Use the tool's features.</rant>
12-31-2016, 03:49 PM
Post: #12
 Marco Polo Member Posts: 226 Joined: Jun 2016
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-30-2016 03:08 AM)Nick Wrote:  * shakes head * I prefer the UI of the 48G and like the extended features of the 50G. I've created some custom mappings and menus but cleared them out. I don't want to spend more time writing UI than I do casual programming. Grrr.
What can I say?
I found similar problems with my 50g: too many nested menus, many daily-used functions moved deeper in menus, confused menu organization.
I ended my problems switching back to the 48gx.....

Marco Polo
12-31-2016, 04:37 PM (This post was last modified: 12-31-2016 05:26 PM by Vtile.)
Post: #13
 Vtile Senior Member Posts: 406 Joined: Oct 2015
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-31-2016 03:09 PM)TomC Wrote:  This topic comes up often: ie, 'I'm a 48G user, and would like to use the 50, but find the keyboard layout/menu access foreign to me (relative to he 48G).'

Would it be possible for someone (such as an experienced 50 user) to provide code (and/or user assignments) for the 50G that would transform the keyboard to resemble (as close as possible) a 48g?

We (the 48G users) would then have the best of both worlds'!

TomC

(12-30-2016 05:21 AM)Joe Horn Wrote:  It does have double-precision floats in System RPL (they're called "extended reals" in the documentation, and symbolized as "%%" in the System RPL command names). However, if you want their all their benefits without jumping through any System RPL hoops, then load the LongFloat library, which supports something even better than double-precision floats: lightning-fast floats of whatever length you specify, up to 9999 digits! A truly awesome library for number lovers, and STILL not available on the HP Prime.

But that's exactly what USER mode is for. Arrange all the keys the way YOU want them. And since each key on the 50g allows almost twice as many assignments than the 48 allowed (the 50g allows 11 assignments per key, not just 6), there is no reason to waste any of your finite supply of heartbeats disliking the default key arrangement. Put whatever you want wherever you want it, and leave your 50g in USER mode. I currently have 90 key assignments on my main 50g; constant use makes overlays or stickers unnecessary.

<rant>Why do people pay extra for a model that has USER mode, and then complain about the keyboard & menu arrangement? That's like buying a chainsaw and then complaining that using it without gasoline is exhausting. Uh... here's a suggestion... don't do it that way. Use the tool's features.</rant>
Joe did provide a tip to use keyman+ library with the 50g to have full customisation of the keyboard. Anyone with slight experience with userRPL should be able to do such short program. It is mainly a long typing, not so hard in complexity.

Unfortunately I can not find the post of Joes, where he did give the systemRPL program to do the same as one of the Keyman library commands does and the explanation of the "inner working" of the advanced key assigments.

I have used this type of custom (permanent) labels, the text in yellow background is made with those DYMO label making machines and then I just applied several layers of somesort of nailpolishing finishing coat stuff over them. I tried the DYMO labels alone first, but after a few weeks the glue on them did start to melt from oils from hand. It do have seen heavy use without any sign of wear so far (the nail polish actually melts a bit the plastic so it really stays in place). I did clean the surface with Isopropanol Alcohol (sold as "electronics cleaner" under several brands) before gluing in the labels (with and without the nailpolish).

Now I'm designing a whole layer of custom keyboard, to keep it always turned on. The idea is to print these with Color LaserJet ( HP .. quality is modern unfortunately ) to transparent film and then glue it top of orifinal markings and coat with this nail polishing liquid.

12-31-2016, 11:17 PM (This post was last modified: 01-01-2017 12:24 AM by Joe Horn.)
Post: #14
 Joe Horn Senior Member Posts: 1,902 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(12-31-2016 04:37 PM)Vtile Wrote:  Unfortunately I can not find the post of Joes, where he did give the systemRPL program to do the same as one of the Keyman library commands does and the explanation of the "inner working" of the advanced key assigments.

If you mean turning any key assignment into a "TakeOver" program, the following little routine does that. Just put the object to be assigned on level 1 of the stack (it can be a program or any other object type) and then run this teeny System RPL program (call it whatever you like; I call it TAKOV):

::
CK1NoBlame
?Ob>Seco
'
TakeOver
>HCOMP
;

BYTES: 17.5 #EE02h

Then assign the output to the desired key, and it will work as a "TakeOver" key, that is, it'll work even while editing a program.

Or, as was alluded to above, use the Keyman+ library's ->TO? command, which has the same effect as the above little routine.

EDIT: Perhaps you were referring to this old posting from comp.sys.hp48, which tells how to create a TakeOver program without needing any System RPL or external libraries. Although it was written for the HP49, it works on the 50g too, since the entry point for TakeOver is stable.

<0|ɸ|0>
-Joe-
01-01-2017, 01:12 AM
Post: #15
 Dave Britten Senior Member Posts: 2,168 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
I thought the 50g (and going all the way back to the 49g) was a total mess in terms of usability design. Menus all over the place, commands appearing in more than one menu, seemingly redundant menus, key functions that are different if you hold shift rather than pressing and releasing it first, menus with no actual keyboard access (like the old STAT menu, as I recall), MTH, PRG, and CST are no longer all unshifted keys... Add to that the keys being stiffer and more fatiguing than a 48 (and the problem was ten times worse with the 49g, if you can imagine that), and it's no wonder that I keep a 48SX on my desk.
01-02-2017, 01:57 AM
Post: #16
 Joe Horn Senior Member Posts: 1,902 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(01-01-2017 01:12 AM)Dave Britten Wrote:  I thought the 50g (and going all the way back to the 49g) was a total mess in terms of usability design. ... [such as] menus with no actual keyboard access (like the old STAT menu, as I recall) ...

Strange; when I press RS+STAT on my 50g, the old MENU 96 appears, just like you want it to. I wonder why my calculator does that and your doesn't? <grin>

<0|ɸ|0>
-Joe-
01-08-2017, 03:04 AM (This post was last modified: 01-08-2017 03:24 AM by TravisE.)
Post: #17
 TravisE Member Posts: 79 Joined: Aug 2016
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
Since I'm a relative newcomer to the HP calculator scene, the 50g was my first HP, and I don't really have the 48g experience as a reference point to complain about the 50g's key layout. Looking at it, though, it does seem like a lot of common “advanced” functions were more accessible back then. However, the redefinable keyboard largely makes up for that, and, coming from the much less flexible TI calculators, I was grateful for the ability to simply fix whatever parts of the keyboard I didn't like myself. It's a bit unfortunate that getting the full flexibility of this system requires some SysRPL coding knowledge (well, it's hard for me to complain now that I'm familiar with it, but there is the learning curve and the risk of crashing the system—it isn't for everybody) and that it's not (easily, at least?) possible to make one's key bindings work quite everywhere (in particular, the non-VISIT/EDIT stack entry prompt and in input forms), but overall it's a very worthwhile feature.

(One thing that kind of bothered me after reading Wickes' Insights books is that there was once a handy way to remember left-shift vs. right-shift VAR softkeys: It was similar to how the RCL and STO shift functions were arranged. They really messed that up on the 50g, haha.)

I also felt a little uncomfortable with there being a difference between shift vs. shift-hold keys at first, but I eventually got used to it and have to admit that it's a convenient way to squeeze even more personalized functions into the keyboard. There are the third-party tools that let you add even more combinations (long-press, etc.), but I decided not to use them because, frankly, it's complicated enough as it is. I eventually realized that beyond a few dozen custom keys or so, I reach a point of diminishing returns and have enough trouble remembering all my assignments that it's typically faster simply to alpha-spell the rest of my frequently-used commands than to try to remember or look up what keys I put them on, even if it does take a few more keystrokes to do so. It's kind of a shame the 50g did away with keyboard templates (I'd rather not physically modify the keyboard, especially in a way I can't change if I ever change my mind).
01-11-2017, 11:33 AM
Post: #18
 franz.b Member Posts: 137 Joined: Jan 2017
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
Hi everyone,
I'm new to the forum and recently owner of a HP50g after using in the past a 48s who unfortunately has the function keys that no longer work (anyone has suggestions to fix it?)
I'm not very happy with the distribution of program-menu, the command and the layout of the keyboard ... but I have only one question in this thread: what is the sense of the HIST button? :-)
01-11-2017, 05:15 PM
Post: #19
 Marco Polo Member Posts: 226 Joined: Jun 2016
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
(01-11-2017 11:33 AM)franz.b Wrote:  what is the sense of the HIST button? :-)
IMHO none. Just a waste of a key that could have been better used.
Same story for 'Symb' and 'X' keys.....

Cheers
01-11-2017, 05:29 PM (This post was last modified: 01-11-2017 05:54 PM by Vtile.)
Post: #20
 Vtile Senior Member Posts: 406 Joined: Oct 2015
RE: HP 50g -- too shifty?
X key is really handy. I do find it extremely useful (one could say that it could be more on the edge of keyboard in less valuable keyboard real estate), both in programming a small programs with handfull of commands and every time I use CAS for something. Unfortunate the 'purge' is feels somehow a bit buried, because you can not access it before you have pushed the variables to the stack (one extra ENTER), since it is behind the tool menu. The symbol and hist on the other hand should be somewhere else. Also the CST/usermenu is in wrong place as a shifted menu key. Also the arrow keys are poorly and uneffectily used. I always fancy that the eval and ->num would be shifted around, so the ->num would be 1st and eval as shifted function. Also the lack of polar/rectangular (display format toggle) key is pretty annoying. While using the userkey ability I can modify the keyboard enough that it satisfy my taste, but these are annoying design farts anyway. Also unrot and swap 2 by 2 functions in shifted right arrow would make a everyday stack manipulation so much enjoyable with out of the box calculator.
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