Really really OT

Since we've been talking about the good old days lately, look at this.

Love song at it's finest!


May not be ENTIRELY off topic. I was spending some time just looking at an HP-25 that I restored. Admiring its subtle curves and beautiful case design. This seemed as good a thread to make these comments as I've seen.

I've been trying to explain to people what it was like when I was in junior high and high school. They just see a calculator when I show them an HP-25 or TI-59. (My HP-25 was stolen. Probably why I have...several...of them now. Well, quite a few.)

I (we, I assume for many of us) didn't have access to a personal computer back then. And though there were lots of calculators in the late 70's, there were few programmables. Looking at an HP catalog was, for me, sort of like looking at a Playboy magazine... except I didn't have to hide it. Great passion for and longing for these amazing devices. And what I saw on the pages and in office machine stores was still out of reach, but maybe slightly more obtainable. Every model was uniquely amazing... spiritual. I saved lawn money for months.

When I bought my HP-25, it was instantly my most prized possession. I knew the keys so well that I could operate it in the dark (thanks to the LED's). I carried it everywhere, sharing programs with good teachers. My best friend had an HP-19C, and we wrote wonderful programs and games together. Another had an SR-52 that I could borrow for days at at time. Later, with a TI-59, I could write every FORTRAN assignment (done on punch cards) for my own, "personal", computer. Later, in college, I re-wrote every computer assignment for my own machine. It had enough program space to allow structured programming. I was lucky... I treated my 59 well, and it still works perfectly today. (Along with guite a few others I've restored).

I suspect most people, even those from my "era" cannot understand this relationship, but I try to explain it folks in these terms.

My wife probably wouldn't be pleased if I pursued anything from Playboy today. But she tolerates my calculators, and pretends to be interested.

You guys (and gals) "get it". Sort of like a beautiful old love song. A love song from an era gone by, but one that conveys a passion from that era that still applies to my collection. I know that there are simulators and emulators available... just as there are pictures of pretty girls. But being able to hold them in my hands and admire their beauty in real life... is the better love story than a fantasy...though the fantasy is not forgotten.


Wonderful post, Michael. HP calculators in their heyday were indeed things of beauty. To be able to actually write a program to perform something meaningful on a handheld device, at a time when programming computers meant using hardware worth hundreds of thousands of dollars--and, thus, unavailable to the common man--was something special. No calculator today, from any manufacturer, can come close to that experience. That's why members of this forum constantly hearken back to the HP of old. It was special, and it will not return.

Likewise, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge were the HP-25's of their day. Beautiful, talented, almost magical. Watching their performance from 1972 today, I am reminded of how pure and sweet love can be. Today's "music" cannot compare. Whenever I hear a car go by with its amplifier turned up so the whole world must hear the speakers rap noise (I can't honestly call it music), I just want to listen to Kris and Rita again.


Hi, Doc;

I would never find a better way to express my own feelings... I wonder why you've chosen to be a shrink!


Luiz (Brazil)


So, I read my post to my wife. She laughed at me. She said that I can have any of the women from Playboy that I want. She suggested that I send my post to them and that would probably do the trick. She said something about me wanting HP catalogs to read the articles, not to look at the pictures.....


Edited: 13 Dec 2009, 12:45 p.m.




You hear the rap over the sound of the (flatulence)-muffler?

I have to laugh & sigh at the same time about the "era-gone-by".

We did things with our programmable HP-65s (and models on up the line) that are still difficult to do on a computer without software that costs, in today's dollars, as much or more than our HPs did back then.

Even our calculator games would fail today. They required imagination.

(ps. I CAN do some of those things on computers with inexpensive software - HP calculator emulators!)


Even our calculator games would fail today. They required imagination.

Seems each time and its technical possibilities educate its generation. As long as we had text-only computer games (like "maze" or "dungeon", don't remember the exact name), imagination was inevitably required for the fun. The better the graphics became the less imagination was necessary. It's like what happened to brains after the transition from slide rule to electronic calculators: reduced capability for order-of-magnitude estimations since it is not required anymore. Instead, the next generation is able to sms at speed of light d:-)

thanks Don....we were young once

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