Contributed Columns

Get ready to laugh! On the Funny-Bone Scale of 1 to 10, the following 1977 article is a 10!

Keep in mind that the old HP calculators had very little memory, and all kinds of tricks had to be used to pack all your data into the few available registers. The program referred to here used a method called "Jake's Flags" which stores each datum as a single *bit* (which, by the way, is how the HP48 stores its flags too) and therefore could pack a lot of data into very little memory.

Enjoy this glimpse into The Way Things Were... 21 years ago!

-Joe Horn-

HP-65 User's Club Member #1507

"65 Notes," October 1977
Volume 4, Number 8, Page 7

As my wife and I sat in our living room one fall evening, the kids all in bed, the conversation somehow evolved around to a discussion of the frequency of the marital relationship in our household. As the conversation progressed, it became quite apparent to me, that my wife was under the false impression that it was much more frequent than I knew it to be. I finally suggested, as a solution to this disagreement, that we "buy a calendar for our bedroom wall and circle all days on which activity occured." My wife, being a little perturbed by now, stated very sarcastically, "Isn't there a way you can put that in your calculator?" That statement only shows some of her animosity toward her main competition for my time and affection, namely my HP-67 pocket calculator.

After thinking about what she'd said for a day or so, it occurred to me that it really wasn't a bad idea. After all what a great opportunity to demonstrate to her how useful the HP-67 was in solving common household problems.

Researching my back issues of "65 Notes," I found Jake Jacobs' (99) article on "Storing 33 Flags in One Register" (V3N9P11). Oh! Just what I needed! With a little work, the following program resulted. I call it "Frequency."

Enter a date (mm.dd) on which activity occured and push "A" to enter it into the calculator memory. If you make a mistake entering, enter the same date (mm.dd) and hit "B" to erase it. To see the activity for any given date, enter the date (mm.dd), push "C" and receive a "yes" or "no" answer. To get the complete listing of the activity for a given month, just enter the month number and hit "D." Enter a date (mm.dd) and hit "E" to get the last prior date on which activity occured, (it can take approximately three minutes to search twelve months if no activity is recorded). The program is carefully written to take up only one side of one magnetic card, so the program can be on one side and the record of one year's "activity" can be stored on the other side of the same card.
[Note: each side of a mag card only held 112 bytes! -jkh-]

My wife was, needless to say, thrilled to see such a unique solution to such a difficult problem. Although she's never actually said it, I do get the feeling that on one of her more trying days, she'd like to not only say "no" but add "and you can stick that in your calculator."

I sent a copy of this story to Lou Cargile, Jr. (753) as I thought he might get a kick out of it. He answered with, and I quote, "Could the program be expanded to make it possible to rate each entry on a scale of 1 to 10 so as to keep a log of quality as well as quantity? I guess this would quickly require two 67's at each bedside -- disagreements will arise -- but think of the potential market."

An excellent suggestion I thought, but since I haven't had the time to explore that possibility, I leave that challenge up to the membership.

A footnote to this story: I hate to admit that I didn't discover this glitch in the program through actual use, but as I was checking out the program for publication, I found that when you try to record activity for all thirty one days of the month, the entry of the thirty-first day bombs the record of activity stored for the first, eleventh, and twenty-first. Realizing the devastating effect this constraint places on the "marital relationship," once again I contacted that HP Wizard of Wizards, Lou Cargile, Jr. and here is his authoritative evaluation of the situation, and again I quote: "I think the calculator's handling of 31 days of consecutive 'activity' in one month is probably jealousy, pure and simple. Do you suppose the calculator, like a mistress, is willing to share you, but just run up 31 days without one day of undivided attention and this occurs?"

Enough said -- elsewhere in this issue you will find my program titled, "FREQUENCY."

Author's name withheld at wife's request (1507)

[Note: The HP-67 program (all 111 bytes of it) can be found on page 9 of the same issue, as well as (oops!) the author's name! -jkh-]

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