Archive for July, 2008


I’m so tempted


HP has apparently finally released a calculator that can be entirely reprogrammed for custom applications, and the software development kit (SDK) includes comments suggesting that they’ll change what’s printed on the keyboard too, if you order enough of them.

HP’s erstwhile calculator division in Corvallis were actually talking about doing this back in the 1980s, when they mooted making a blank Pioneer model available to third-party developers, such as Zengrange, so that we could create niche-market calcs.

I don’t know why they didn’t do it then (since they had many willing and able third-party developers using the HP-41 and HP-71 as a platform for applications, and a custom Pioneer would have been cheaper to make), and I really don’t know why they have done it now. Perhaps some single individual on their dev team, such as Cyrille de BrĂ©bisson, made a really impassioned case to management to fly a kite on this; I’d love to know what the business case was that finally worked.

Anyway, despite not having done any serious calculator-related development for over fifteen years, I’m still tempted to get one, and play around with some ideas for custom calcs. I still think there are plausible market opportunities for specialized calculators, and the shirt-losing risk in pursuing them is in the up-front hardware design and manufacturing cost, which it looks like HP has just taken away.


Extract and group SQL WHERE clauses


I’m just going through an exercise at the moment to check that an Oracle DB is properly indexed, and since all the queries are done from stored procedures, with 100,000+ lines of source sprinkled over hundreds of files, I wanted something to quickly snarf all the WHERE clauses out, rather than go looking for them by eye.

So I just scribbled down a silly perl script, catted all the PL/SQL source through it, and got a plausible-looking list of WHERE clauses, ordered by decreasing frequency of occurrence in the code.

Hooray! Time for a beer.


Done any preventive maintenance this month?


Will Eisner-designed post-war informational magazine Preventive Maintenance is now online, albeit in a somewhat awkward page-by-page format (I’d prefer downloadable documents myself).


Wordled ‘RCL 20’ article


Paola just showed me Wordle, and we wordled my chapter from RCL 20.