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HP 200LX or ? to Learn Programming & Other Uses

Moderators: C:Amie

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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 5:26 PM
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H/PC Philosopher

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Hi,

With various mentions on the forums here about HP 200LX recently. It's gotten my attention and been reading about it and watching some youtube vids demonstrating using it.

Been thinking it might be a fun, convenient (instant on, very portable) tool to learn some basic (no pun intended...) programming either with BASIC or other language.

Also, might be fun to try some other programs, uses with one.

What do you guys think?

Or do you have other suggestions?

Appreciate any and all input.

Best,

Mark

Edited by ArchiMark 2020-04-21 6:26 PM
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 5:45 PM
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That's an interesting idea. I'm not a programmer, so can't give you any input on that aspect. However, make sure to use the HP in a well lit area. My only gripe is no backlight on these things.
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 6:07 PM
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Thanks for your input.

From reading online, it seems there is/was a backlight hack out there.....

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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 7:30 PM
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I've researched it myself, was a kit being sold but quite a tricky (and potentially dangerous) installation. If you're lucky, there are some old (think mid 90's) lights for these units. Hard to find though. Seems many use reading lights for books to see the screen in less than stellar situations.

Been thinking of ways to overcome this myself. Like using a thin strip of SMD's on each side of the display facing inward running off a battery. If I could get this 3D printing thing down, maybe create a little housing you could snap on and off the screen to make it look a little tidier.
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 7:42 PM
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Thanks for the backlight input...

Let me know if you come up with something...

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Alt Bass Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 8:15 PM
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Everything having a keyboard and interpreter is good enough to begin programming.

Edited by Alt Bass 2020-04-21 8:15 PM
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 8:29 PM
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Alt Bass - 2020-04-21 12:15 PM

Everything having a keyboard and interpreter is good enough to begin programming.


Yes, very true....thanks. But my point in this case is to have a device that is very convenient (portable, pocketable, instant on).


Please note that I am also interested to hear about useful things to do with 200LX besides programming as well.

Thanks.
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HPC:Fan Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 9:08 PM
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Well, the 200LX is a pretty nice little organizer if you need it. Plus, a lot of DOS programs work out of the box. It can even run Windows 3.11 if you feel so bold. (Not exactly useful, but interesting.)

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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 9:22 PM
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HPC:Fan - 2020-04-21 1:08 PM

Well, the 200LX is a pretty nice little organizer if you need it. Plus, a lot of DOS programs work out of the box. It can even run Windows 3.11 if you feel so bold. (Not exactly useful, but interesting.)



Thanks.....

So, sounds like you are having fun with your 200LX.....

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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 10:03 PM
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While looking at various 200LX videos, I came across this one regarding Debian Linux running on PSION 5MX or Revo. Looks pretty good....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwPiiId0bgs
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Alt Bass Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 10:23 PM
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ArchiMark - 2020-04-21 11:29 PM

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Alt Bass - 2020-04-21 12:15 PM

Everything having a keyboard and interpreter is good enough to begin programming.


Yes, very true....thanks. But my point in this case is to have a device that is very convenient (portable, pocketable, instant on).


Please note that I am also interested to hear about useful things to do with 200LX besides programming as well.

Thanks.
To be 100% fair my favourite organizer is sheet of paper and if I were given a 200LX I would have thought of nothing not being waste of my time to do there except taking notes - however, I still prefer sheet of paper for taking notes.

I have oneMix 2S like you have and I am generally fond of it. Instant enough power on for me. I disabled lock screen too. My main usage is surfing web and viewing videos offline.

Edited by Alt Bass 2020-04-21 10:27 PM
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-21 10:37 PM
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Alt Bass - 2020-04-21 2:23 PM

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ArchiMark - 2020-04-21 11:29 PM

Quote
Alt Bass - 2020-04-21 12:15 PM

Everything having a keyboard and interpreter is good enough to begin programming.


Yes, very true....thanks. But my point in this case is to have a device that is very convenient (portable, pocketable, instant on).


Please note that I am also interested to hear about useful things to do with 200LX besides programming as well.

Thanks.
To be 100% fair my favourite organizer is sheet of paper and if I were given a 200LX I would have thought of nothing not being waste of my time to do there except taking notes - however, I still prefer sheet of paper for taking notes.

I have oneMix 2S like you have and I am generally fond of it. Instant enough power on for me. I disabled lock screen too. My main usage is surfing web and viewing videos offline.



Understand your point about using paper...I am a big supporter of writing notes by hand for several reasons.

Agree that OneMix 2S is very nice....and I like my 3S even more, as it's a bit larger display and keyboard, plus a bit faster too.

And understand that using a 200LX in today's world is somewhat of playing with a fun toy.


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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2020-04-22 9:47 AM
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If you want to really program for DOS, you need a 16-bit x86 C++ compiler, something like Borland C++. I feel though that you're going to have a frustrating time learning to program on the 200LX, with the slow keyboard rate, small screen and difficulty debugging. If you have never programmed before you might be better off learning something more modern like Java and then working back down to the 200LX as moving to C really ramps up the difficulty curve.
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ArchiMark Page Icon Posted 2020-04-22 1:33 PM
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Thank you for your input, C:Amie. Good points....

Should have explained earlier that I have taught myself some programming over the years; C, C++, Java, and Python. However, consider myself a beginner still as I've just learned the fundamental concepts and written some very simple programs. Never written a 'real program'.

So, again, 'learning programming' is just one example of a potential use....but would not buy a 200LX solely for that purpose, if I do buy one. I'd need another reason or two, at least, to justify purchase.

Also, was interested to hear from everyone if there's another device like PSION 5MX, etc, that would be good to consider.
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H2OGuru Page Icon Posted 2020-04-22 4:28 PM
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Hi ArchiMark,

I use my 200LX daily but I have some needs specialized to me that may not apply to others.

1. I use it for notes. I am a pen and paper guy too (little spiral bound notebooks are cheap and pocketable) but I also like being able to type up simple text files in the Memo application on the device. Then if I need to, I can transfer them over via the CF card and go further (edit/add to or email to myself and others).

2. I like the Memo to do distraction free writing at my desk or anywhere. (I have a wife and kids and needless to say I spend a lot of time waiting on others and the 200LX is there to use in my hands thumbtyping (I'm a big guy) or at a table if available. Being monochrome, I can usually read it but I do wish I had the back light sometimes.

3. I am old-school guy and the first spreadsheet I used was Lotus 123. It is available there in the ROM and I have a ton of Lotus 123 worksheets that I still use. So specific to me. If it turns into a spreadsheet that I want to develop further, I can pull it into excel and proceed to the modern world. I don't do this often, but I think I may have to open into a copy of Excel for Windows that I have on the 200LX in Windows 3.0. It's there if I need to do that trick but otherwise rarely use.

4. I really like that it will go up to a month on a couple of AA batteries. I love my Jornadas and Mobilepros and they have their uses in my life of retro computing. But sometimes I would find myself in a meeting with a low or dead battery (my battery packs are not what they used to be - like me :-)) But in truth, compared to modern laptops weights, my HPCs are heavy to lug around for what I get. If I am willing to take something that heavy along, I just take my netbook or laptop. The 200LX is always powered up and ready to go and I will keep spare pair of AAs in my pack.

5. When I travel, I use it on the plane or train, I use it as I described before (MEMO or Lotus), some DOS games, and for reading some stuff I have downloaded from Project Gutenberg (Scifi stories etc). Plenty of room to work on a "tray" and plenty of power.

6. I still use mine as an organizer (though less so as my phone has gotten smarter over the years). In truth, most of my use (even typing up notes and simple spreadsheets) falls in this category or helping me organize things before I move on to expanding the work. Most of this is the "task view" of the built in calendar app coupled with MEMO.

7. I don't really program that much anymore so I can't comment on that.

8. I use a 256MB CF card with mine. I have found that size a nice balance between speed and having enough storage space.

9. There are lots of good DOS apps that are free (Word 5.5, MS Works (posted here recently), and many others. I use a test editor called PE20 (I believe is the name) that is a little more versatile compared to MEMO.

There is probably more I do but that is my most common use for the 200LX.

HG
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