I am working with computers since the late seventies. My first own computer was a HP86b from Hewlett Packard. I have needed a long time to collect all the money to purchase such a fully featured HP-System. For the HP86 I have written several commercial programs. A word processing system that was sold very often, a statistical system (sold sometimes), several big programs to drive testing units and several binaries. Writing binaries for the HP-Series 80 computers was a pleasure because the build in BASIC language could be expanded with new BASIC words. To do so, for every new BASIC word a definition must be given, sometimes a parser must be written and a at least the functional code must be written. If every thing was done well, the BASIC language was extended with a completely new functionality. I remember, sometimes a was a real hack to find the system internals needed to write advanced language extensions. All the code was written in HP Series 80 assembler.
One of my best language extensions was very usefull for nearly every user. I have expanded the system language by a great amount of essential commands. Because the language binary was very usefull I have translated the binary into ROM-code. Using a ROM-drawer a customer was able to install my custom ROM into a HP series 80 computer, expanding the system language without a need to load any additional binaries. I have given the name SYSEXT to this system ROM. And the word SYSEXT itself becomes a system language extension command. If someone enters SYSEXT into a computer equipped with my ROM, a copyright was shown on the screen.
Now it’s nearly 30 years later and I have given the code for the SYSEXT ROM to public some years ago. Now an android emulator for the series 80 systems was build by Olivier de Smet. I have seen that the SYSEXT ROM was one of the preinstalled ROMs in the emulator. I have downloaded the emulator into my Galaxy S4, plugged in the ROM (not physically, activating it, switching it on within the emulator) and the language extensions are still present. So I have entered the command SYSEXT (the language extension command that simply shows a copyright) into the emulator. As expected, the emulator shows “(c) Andre Koppel Software 30.87″, a message from the past.
Brand new technology (Android, Galaxy S4) makes it possible to emulate very old systems showing the details and persons who have worked decades in the past with computers. This way I become part of the computer history. If someone likes to try the HP Series 80 computers, download the “go87″ App from GooglePlay. The manuals of the system and several details can be found on several web sites.
By the way, during the last 20 years I have written an emulator for the HP-Series-80 BASIC because it was a powerfull language, easy to learn. The BASIC language has become part of the ERP-System INVEP sold by my company. Sometimes a user writes own addons for our system using this language not knowing the history behind…
Here is a scan of the original promotional poster for my ROM (from 1984):