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The $1,000 Bill

The $1,000 Bill

Here's the story of the $1000 bill PCX file that is in the hidden _SYS directory on some versions of the HP 95LX (some localized versions didn't have enough ROM space to include it). The HP 95LX lets you include a "topcard" or "business card" that is displayed whenever all of the applications are closed. It's simply a PCX file over which owner information can be displayed. Two developers (Jean and Raan) saw this as an opportunity to create something a little more exciting than the default topcard.

They got the idea of scanning in a large denomination US currency bill and making a PCX file out of it. With inflation the way it is, a $100 bill just didn't seem large enough anymore. Especially since the product was going to cost more than that. Unfortunately, the $100 bill is the largest bill still being circulated by the US treasury.

Raan came up with the idea of "renting" a $1000 bill from a collector, and started calling around. He eventually found a coin store in Portland who knew of a collector on the East Coast who had a $1000 bill they'd be willing to rent. So, Jean took $1200 of her own money out of the bank and used it as a deposit. The bill was sent west and Raan scanned it in (using an HP ScanJet, of course). Jean spent hours and hours hand editing the scanned image to make it look it's best on the HP 95LX display. The rest is history.

There was the little matter of convincing management to include the file in the ROM, but their arms aren't even really very sore any more.

SETTING UP $1000 PICTURE FILE ON THE HP 95LX

Go into SET UP and press Owner Picture-File to get to the "Picture file to use:" prompt. Delete the current line and key in the line c:\_sys\1000.pcx. Press (ENTER) Quit Quit.

When you close all your applications, the $1,000 bill top card should appear.

iPhone Life magazine


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