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Do the Hp49's have rubber keys? Do the Hp48's have solid keys? I don't think I would like to buy a high-end calculator with rubber keys.

Thanks very much, David


you should try both.
I've tried both and must say no to rubber keys

Another point is the position of the ENTER key.
As a long time HP calculator user,
I'm used to some specific ergonomical details,
such as a big ENTER key above the numeric keypad,
and the '+' key on the left or right lower edge,
and some more...

The 49G and it's derivations don't meet these criteria.



unfortunately, the HP49G is somewhat hard to get used to. Everything Raymond says is fairly true, mostly about the rubber keyboard (I cannot find a good reason for that kind of keyboard). I don't have any feelings, as a user, for the 39 and 40 models cause I don't know them, but if they follow the 49's footsteps, then it's bad.

IMHO, as a calc for daily use, I do not like thinking of the HP49 as a first option. I use the 48G(+) cause it's ABOUT intuitive (I'm blamed...), say, former HP users will feel home using it after a few harmless slips, but it does not usually happen with the 49. But I admit having it as a remarkable calculator... removed their rubber keys.

I bought a 6S for my son. It sucks: spongy rubber keys that force you to keep looking at the display to confirm entry, a poor manual (though some of the HP educational material available for download makes up for this), an inconsistent algebraic entry system and more. It's just nothing like the HP quality of old.

I've decided I'll have to give him the 41VC I've been hoarding against the day my 41CX dies.


--- Les [http://www.lesbell.com.au]


the 6S has not been designed by HP.
It's a cheap OEM scientific calc from Texet (of Taiwan, I think), relabeled for HP...
You're right with the keys.
Although they have some kind of feedback,
you can't trust them too much;-)



I found the 6S to be every bit as bad as everyone says, and worse.

I also bought a 30S. It's a halfway interesting machine -- if it had an RPN option, I'd find it usable. (My youngest -- 12 y.o. -- has it now, and thinks the interchangeable face plates are cool!)

The two older kids have HP-48G & G+, and they like 'em. (I'm not sure I'd part with a '41 . . . )

My oldest daughter (17) got a 32Sii, my youngest daughter (12) has a 30S, just like yours. You are right saying the 30S is halfway interesting, if it had RPN (or at least something better that ANSwer for the last result, as in ANS+4). But the way it evaluates expressions has some merit...

The keyboard of the 30S is mediocre, tending to the bad side, and it is not programmable. The "manual" is a hard-to-read folded sheet...

I saw that having scientific calculators (32Sii or 30S) at reach made indeed a difference in mathematics insight for both of my daughters, with respect to other, same age boys and girls.

Bought the 32Sii for my Wife who was returning to Uny after a long absebce. She is new to science so a good calc was essential.

She fell in love with it. If I ever want to use it I have to pry it out of her hand. I have to admit it is a winner.

My favourite for layout however was my 15C (now lost or stolen (that makes two - I also had my origonal 41C pilfered)). However I prefer the traditional wedge key shape

What are peoples favourite HPs for
1. General keyboard calculation
1. Programming
3. Just plain fun to use
and why?


1. 42S, sometimes 32S
2. 48GX
3. 41CX for sentimental reasons
And, the 41 series had the best keyboard (IMHO)

But for daily use I carry an 11C, 15C, or 16C,
because they fit best in my shirt pocket.
Sentimental reasons, too (I bought my first 11C and 41C when they were new;-)
Too bad the ENTER key on the voyagers needs more force to press than the other keys.




My votes are:

1-any 1x Series (that 71/75 style is a charm, and everything you need is printed)

2-41/48 (Despite resources, I like mnemonics better than keycodes...)

3-15C and 42S (matrices and complex algebra in an easy way)

I still wonder how easy-ops RPN/RPL turn calculus to. I am buying an HP30S for daily use cause of both price and 'pocketability' (may I?). Also, my students sometimes ask for a calculator when doing math and, when I offer a 41, or a 15, they ask for 'a calculator with equals key instead of ENTER'. If you can't beat them, join them. And my 9 Y.O. daughter is asking for a calculator... without ENTER (sob).

9 years old may be a bit early, in general, to begin appreciating RPN, so all is not lost.

One approach: get her the chintziest mush-button single-memory calculating device that almost no money can buy. Also, keep a 32SII around.

Just the difference in look & feel will have her investigating it as an alternative, and when she finds out about 26 named registers, etc., the RPN won't be so off-putting. (I know it's devious, but you gotta train 'em up right . . . )

... and fully accepted.

Thanks for the kindness.


Favorites? :

1. 41CX with Advantage & Aviation Pacs, card reader & printer. CV as backup to that. Never had a 42S, and can't see what the fuss is about. . . <g>

2. 16C, for shirt-pocket portability, though I wish it had y^x

Those are what I actually have. I wouldn't mind having a 67 again - that was the pinnacle of the classic formfactor - and a 15C to augment the 16C.


--- Les [http://www.lesbell.com.au]

When my 11 year-old son came to me with a simple math puzzle the other day, my 41CX was the closest calculator to hand, so I grabbed it and quickly explained that the calculator worked the same way as you would with paper and pencil - you wrote (entered) the two numbers down, then multipled, added, whatever.

He grasped that at once, although I was just doing some calculations and getting him to think about them - I didn't check to see if he had grasped the full concept. He's gone away with a school-friend's family for the weekend, but when he returns, I might explain a little more of the stack and RPN concepts and see just how he does. The only concern is that this might cost me a 41CV!


--- Les [http://www.lesbell.com.au]

>What are peoples favourite HPs for 1. General keyboard calculation 1. Programming 3. Just plain fun to use and why?

Can't resist. Here are my favourites:

1. General keyboard calculation

Any Voyager, specially the ones with all usual
math functions such as trigonometrics and y^x. So, the
HP-11C and HP-15C are the very best to carry in one's
pocket for normal keyboard calculations. They have also
plenty of storage registers (21 and 67, respectively)
to store intermediate results. Matter of fact, I always
use an HP-11C to fill up my IRSs. Also, the keyboard is
the best money can buy and the screen, not being of the
dot-matrix type, is extremely clear. For general,
everyday calculations, there's nothing best or better
looking as well.

2. Programming

Several contenders:

a) an HP-41CV with an Advantage ROM, a PPC ROM, and
an X-Functions ROM is incredibly powerful (nearly
448 registers, matrix, synthetics, anything) while
still being very easy to program. You can do
almost any normal programming task with it.

b) a 71B with a Math ROM and FORTH/Assembler ROM,
also incredibly powerful, lots of memory, three
languages from easy (BASIC) to very difficult
(Assembler), it also has complex math, matrices,
root finding, integration, the works. And very
easy to program even large, complex tasks in BASIC.

c) an HP-42S, a super-set of the 41C, compatible,
incredibly powerful, it has more memory than a
41CV + X-functions + 2*X-Memory, and can run
programs 6 to 12 times faster than a 41C. Also,
very user friendly, menus, named variables,
complex math, matrices, solver, integrator.
A must.

d) an HP-15C. The most pocketable and elegant of
them all, and excellent programming, with matrix
functions, solve, integrate, and complex. Its
natural set of functions makes programming it a
delight, and a surprising amount of programming
can be done in very few bytes, frequently
less than any other machine.

3. Fun to use

All mentioned above, for those reasons:

a) The 41CV+Adv+PPC+X-Func, because it's extremely
fun to use the functions in those wonderful ROMs
to achieve almost anything that can be done in
a calculator. Just using the fast microcode
matrix functions (M*M, MINV) which can work
directly on matrices in Extended Memory, or being
able to assign synthetics programmatically will
make programming anything a real intellectual joy.

b) The 71B because of its excellent BASIC, which
allows subprograms with parameter passing,
recursion, a powerful filesystem in memory,
local environments for each subprogram, multiline
functions. With the Math ROM you can do things
like MAT X=SYS(A,B) to solve m systems of nxn
linear equations at once, even if complex, or
MAT X=PROOT(A) to find at once all 100 roots
real or complex of a 100th-degree equation.
And with FORTH/Assembler you can add your own
machine-language keywords to the BASIC or FORTH

c) The 42S because it's incredibly fun to adapt your
own old 41C programs and make them much more
polished, with things like menus, RCL arithmetic,
even graphics ! Its matrix and complex functions
are so well integrated that almost all math
operators work on any of then the same. Its solver
is fantastic, and its integrator, too. And it's
very fast and a pleasure to program.

d) The trusty old HP-15C, because its function set
is so cleverly implemented. The fun is fitting
quite complex programs in very few bytes, less
than on any other machine. Its matrix functions
are incredibly well implemented, with such things
as loops that auto-increment and terminate
automatically when reaching the end of the matrix,
which saves lots of programming bytes, its
unequaled RPN stack of 4 complex numbers plus
LastX (not just 2, like in the 32S/32SII/42S),
etc, etc. The ultimate challenge.

Well, any of them will give extreme pleasure to the
dedicated HP fan. Trust me, get one of each before they
get out of reach in availability and/or price.

Just out of curiosity, I sat my 7 year-old daughter down and taught her some basic RPN, with the aid of an HP-48GX so she could more easily see the stack operation. As yet, she hasn't been introduced to the concept of operator precedence at school, but she instantly grasped (with no explanation) the idea that things in parentheses are sub-expressions to be evaluated separately.

Within half an hour, she was easily evaluating expressions like SQRT((7+5) x (13/7)) and SQRT(13 * 5) - SQRT(8-3). After half an hour, I asked her which she preferred: RPN or the algebraic calculator she has for school, and she expressed a preference for RPN.

Although I introduced the notion of a stack with the 48, she had no difficulty with the 41 - although she couldn't see the stack, she trusted it to be there.

It looks to me like there can be no real objection to the use of RPN in preference to algebraic, if even a seven year old can pick it up - and prefer it - so quickly.


--- Les [http://www.lesbell.com.au]

I couldn't resist adding a comment after the remarkable testimony in Les Bell's posting of 1 Dec.: "Although I introduced the notion of a stack with the 48, she had no difficulty with the 41 - although she couldn't see the stack, she trusted it to be there."

The two-line display of the 42s is the perfect "data-capture" mode for RPN. It doesn't require trust...and it's not scary (like the big graphers). If a two-line display had come along earlier in the history of RPN calcs, I betcha it would be de rigueur today, maybe even for chintzy four-function jobs. Richard

Prior examples of a visible stack are:

The HP 9100 (CRT display)

The Print Stack command on the HP 67, showing all levels in a round-robin fashion

The RPN Primer program (Std. Apps. Pac) for the HP 41.

Personally, I would like to have an option on the HP42, to show X&Y as usual, or to see X only with a larger font. The display of a remnant value in Y (perhaps because T duplication on stack drop) when you finish your calculations is a feature I don't like.

Hey, that's a wonderful idea! After entering, (and seeing)two values, say a dividend and a divisor, hit the divide key and presto: see a great big "answer". That would certainly have made a two-line display the only thing to have...especially for basic four-function calcs. For the 42s with all kinds of possibilities for alpha prompts & labelling + those incredibly user-friendly menues, it should only be an option...but one easily found in the DISP menu.

And, of course you're right, the 9100 showed everyone the way...but "everyone" was only well-monied, professionals who had previously used big (expensive and troublesome) mechanical desktop calculators. Your accountant might have had one but most people would have still been doing their sums (and thier income tax) on paper. Richard

While a display collapsing from 2 lines to one sounds nice, on a RPN machine you never know if an operation is the "last" of a chain or just an intermediate one...

Just as an idea, the display may collapse to one value (large font) when stack lift is enabled, and when you start typing a new value in, the display revers to two lines (small font), showing the previous result value now lifted to "Y" and the line being entered in "X"... I am not sure if it would work in all cases or if such an arrangement would have caused more confussion to most users. Also the interaction with softkey labels would have been rather complicated.

In any case (sigh!), we are not going to see any new models with such features.

During normal operation, the value on "Y" may be meaningful or not; for my personal preference I would prefer to see only "X" all the time. In fact, sometimes I left a MENU activated just not to see "Y" there all the time.

I suppose there are lots of people with the opposite preference, but a flag or an option on the DISP menu (as you suggested) would have taken care of this.

Perhaps I would like to see all the values on a 4-level stack in a machine with 4 display lines; but then, the calculators with such a display use the infinite RPL stack, which I don't like either.