HP 21MX/F and OS choices (was Lookee what I just got!)

Warren Wolfe wizard at voyager.net
Tue Jan 9 01:18:42 CST 2007

On Mon, 2007-01-08 at 11:15 -0600, Jay West wrote:

> Warren wrote...
> >    Well, I went and did it.  I am now the proud owner of an HP-2117F, if I 
> > can identify it correctly,
> Oh yes, you identified it correctly. Congrats on a nice box!

    Aren't YOU the cheeky one...  <laughing>

> >    My experience with the HP 1000 series machines is, almost exclusively, 
> > programming them in TSB on HP-200B, C, and F systems, many moons ago.
> Woohoo! Another TSB'er, and one getting real hardware no less. Awesome!

    I'm alternating between being outrageously excited, and wondering if
I'm a complete idiot.  A disturbing sign is the original subject...
Normally, upon seeing an utterly uninformative subject like that, I will
waste a minute or two deciding if the author should be pistol-whipped or
just pimp-slapped, with a warning.  *SIGH*

> > Jay, you seem to be an alpha geek when it comes to HP iron.
> Old HP 21xx/21MX iron... there's a few others lurking on the list far more 
> competant than I on that gear, but I'm not a complete idiot (usually) on the 
> topic :) I do seem to be one of the few that really focuses on TSB.

    ... and then there were two.

> > So, could you look at the
> > above auctions, and tell me what I need to make a good system.
> > Obviously, a disk system comes to mind...  but, if you could be
> > specific, I would appreciate it.
> What you need depends on what OS you are going to run. Bear in mind that my 
> first love is TSB and always will be. BUT... do yourself a favor (and I 
> HIGHLY recommend anyone else messing with HP 21xx/21MX gear do the same) and 
> take a look at HP-IPL/OS. This is a small but incredibly useful and powerful 
> OS written recently (comparatively) by list member Bob Shannon and Terry 
> Newton. Think of it as a sort-of Forth-like development system - the 
> learning curve to get it up and running and start really using it 
> productively is measured in minutes, not hours - and there is some real 
> meat/capability there for those who want it. Folks, I'm telling you - 
> HP-IPL/OS is hella cool. See: 
> http://www.infionline.net/~wtnewton/oldcomp/hp2100/

    First off, let me say thank you for the incredibly rich set of
information you gave me.  As I said when I joined this list, it's kind
of tiresome to NEVER have anyone around who knows more than I do.  No,
I'm not overly egocentric, but I am not now employed in programming or
hardware (I work repairing high speed data circuits for the telephone
company) and I am everybody's expert.  I have worked in several places
where there were more savvy people than myself, and I find I like that
better.  Sometimes, it's good to punt...

    Certainly, this list is that kind of place.  I've seen a great deal
of expertise float past my screen, some in areas which are not even
familiar territory for me.  I'm enjoying it.  And, using it...

    So, I will no doubt give HP-IPL/OS a try.  I always thought Forth
got a great deal of attention LESS than it deserved.  I halfway expected
Forth to become a de facto common assembly language equivalent for most
machines.  So, it's interesting.  On the other hand, the reason I bought
this beastie is so that I can set up a machine and run TSB.  That is the
goal, albeit I may have to exhibit a bit of patience in achieving it.

> HP-IPL/OS - I'm not going to go into any detail on this one here. It rocks. 
> Nuff said. See the URL above which speaks for itself. It will run on the 
> tinyest of configurations, up to the largest setup you can imagine. I'll let 
> Bob fill in any details people want to know, he's way more qualified than I 
> to speak on HP-IPL/OS requirements. This absolutely should be the first OS 
> anyone runs when getting into HP gear, because you'll get your machine doing 
> something interesting and fun with little hardware right away.

    Okay, you talked me into it.  No harm done in any case, and I love
to poke around and experiment with new computer environments.

> RTE - I need others on the list to speak to this. I don't run it currently, 
> although I have booted up a few different versions a couple times. To my own 
> way of thinking, it's an odd non-intuitive OS. That's my own (somewhat 
> uninformed) subjectivity though, many other HP'ers will strongly disagree 
> and their points are no less valid than mine (since they run it, probably 
> more valid than mine). I can say that running this OS is very attainable,

    Not my cup of tea.  I've used it, and find it, as you say,
unintuitive.  There's also no BEAUTY to it, if you catch my drift.  I'm
not sure I can define it, but I know it when I see it.  <Grin>

> TSB - This is the most fun choice to me, or maybe I mean nostalgic. I (and a 
> suprising number of others) cut my teeth on HP 2000 TimeShared BASIC. It was 
> suprisingly popular in high schools and colleges as a teaching machine - so 
> it was many peoples first experience programming.

    You're talking my language here...  <Grin>

> I see no real reason to build a C or F system. 
> Note that when I dismiss A, B, C, and F.... 
> I wouldn't do that so easily if there was a 
> different look & feel to those systems. I 
> realize someone may want A, B, C, or F for
> nostalgia. But keep in mind that Access has
> all the same commands and syntax (with VERY
> minor exceptions) as A, B, C, and F.

    Yep.  I never used the Access system myself, but have noted the
continuation of the same look and feel, and personality of the system.
It's a nostalgia thing, true... but I'm into the idea of UPGRADED
nostalgia.  As a matter of fact, at the risk of offering offense, I was
considering trying to produce new plug-compatible devices for the
machine, if the necessaries are not available.

> So if someone wants to feel the nostalgia of running that old 2000B system, 
> they will certainly feel the exact same nostalgia on an E or Access system. 
> It's unlikely they would notice a difference (even if the person's memory of 
> the A, B, C, or F machine was as fresh as yesterday). So that leaves us with 
> 2000/E and 2000/Access as good candidates.

    Indeed.  I follow your logic, and agree with it.

[ Model number hardware discussion snipped, but saved ]

> So, there you have it. If I were you, I'd focus on HP-IPL/OS first, while at 
> the same time looking around for the remaining gear to get RTE and Access 
> up. As I recall, any hardware that will run Access will most definitely run 
> some form of RTE, but the reverse isn't necessarily true. Welcome to the HP 
> crowd, congrats on your system... If I can help just drop me a line.

    That sounds like a plan.  If any partially lobotomized CPU will work
as the secondary, I probably will just wait around for one to present
itself.  There ARE a couple of things I recognize as unlikely, but which
I'd just love to do...

    o    Can a TSB system be connected to an Ethernet and be useful?

        o    If so, what cards are needed?

    o    Is there any way to get TSB connected to an IP network?

    I'd love to offer TSB ports on a real machine.  The 2000B TSB system
I used in high school had 64 phone lines and ports.  I'd like to do the
same, but NOT by buying 64 phone lines...


            Warren E. Wolfe
            wizard at voyager.net

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