[RC5] Porting to Handhelds/Printers

Lorenzo Gonzalez lgonzalez at nazdar.com
Sun Mar 22 01:10:52 EST 1998


The processor specs for the CE machines are readily available, and pretty
impressive, clock rates range from 40 to 80MHz, processors are 32bit RISC, RAM
ranges from 2 to 16MB. Most come with AC adapters.  All are easily sync'ed
with a desktop.

I have both a Pilot, and a Casio HPC.  I quit using the Casio when I got the
Pilot, for usability reasons that became immediately clear.  But for a machine
that would just sit and crunch while hanging out on my desk, the HPC wins. 
Without a modem, the Pilot has no AC, and will stay 'awake' at most 5 minutes,
without interference.  That's not very useful.

The discussion of ports to non-desktop platforms is REALLY interesting,
though. 
(Even though I may have invented the earlier joke about Panasonic
VCR/Microwave clients)

I'd like to see a client for laser printers.  Some of those have some pretty
formidable vector processing hardware, there's a VERY idle AMD29040 in the
Xante' on my desk, and it speaks fluent PostScript.  So do the very bored cpus
in my LaserJet 4M, my LaserWriter 4/600, and my DesignJet 750CM.  All are
32-bit RISC processors (lot's of i860/i960 in laser printers, I believe).  All
are connected to internet-capable desktops. And that's just in my home office.
(Wife's a graphic artist). There are dozens of HP lasers on the network at my
workplace, Encad's latest inkjet plotters have PowerPC-based controllers. (Got
a couple of those at work too.)

I know there are some radical communication issues, but surely there are a few
popular protocols and languages to utilize. JetDirect or AppleTalk, PostScript
or HP-PCL... Sure, I know PostScript is interpreted, AppleTalk is "chatty",
etc. etc.

But hey, let's argue it!  As I wrote this, somebody posted a pretty good
shoot-down of the Pilot client...

Lorenzo Gonzalez
distributed jugglers
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