Where's the Beef!



#46

I'm very disappointed at all these hypes about the comeback of HP calculators after the HHC2006.
Case in point:
HP is back.
New calculator technology.
What might be the next 33s
...

To me, HP is back if and only if I can see new products with pure play RPN, and extra wide/long "enter" key right in the middle of the left hand keyboard or in the middle of the keyboard. Rightnow, the only product that fits the bill is the 12C, which was introduced 25 years ago.

Not even the 50g signalled the comeback of HP calculators, the direction of HP is "me too". Frankly, if I want an Algebraic calculator, HP will not be my choice. Why? there are products out there with better quality, ergonomics, and lower cost. What else can you ask for?

To me, HP should go back to its roots, forget about Algebraic, RPN is the way to go. Forget about expanding market share. Instead, hold on to your RPN customer base.


#47

Were you present at the HHC2006?

Edited: 21 Sept 2006, 5:45 p.m.


#48

I was not at the HHC2006. That's why I said SHOW ME.


#49

We signed an NDA with HP and our lips are welded shut!!!

#50

you needed to attend HHC and sign the NDA. Then you'd know but you couldn't talk about it.


#51

:-)

#52

.... Lets investigate who leaks it out...


#53

Quoting Schultz from Hogan's Heroes "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!"

:->

Namir

Edited: 21 Sept 2006, 7:25 p.m.


#54

Good old Shulze!

Oddly enough I watched re-runs, dubbed in German, while in Vorpommern back in '98.

Strange but true.

Edited: 21 Sept 2006, 9:44 p.m.


#55

I read about the actor online and learned a few interesting things. He was born and died in Vienna. He died on his 63rd birthday in 1973!!! He was born into the Austrian-Hungarian empire and 4 years before WWI. More interesting facts about him online.

Namir

#56

Keep in mind that the HP50g was not put together by the new "team".

It is an evolutionary development of an existing product.

However, HP chose good contrasting colors for the 50g compared to earlier attempts (ahem, 33s or 39g+ green colors anyone).

So, I believe that things are changing for the better.


#57

Quote:
However, HP chose good contrasting colors for the 50g compared to earlier attempts (ahem, 33s or 39g+ green colors anyone).

Makes you wonder if black is back. The last two calculators released by HP were black - the 50g and the 12cp 25th Anniversary Edition.

Regards,

John

#58

Gene,

Can you expound on the "old team" vs. "new team"? I believe that Lee-Khuan Goh is no longer in the calculator area at hp, and db spoke highly of Sam Kim. Did Sam replace Lee-Khuan? Has the hp calculator division been expanded, enhanced or beefed-up (to get back on topic) in other ways?


By the way, I am not asking you to reveal any information which you are obligated to keep secret by the NDA you signed at the conference. Since you mentioned the "new team", I hoped that you are fee to talk about it. Otherwise I figure you would not have mentioned it at all, as you are not one to tease us with hints or tidbits regarding information that you are not free to share.


#59

Well, there is Sam is the new manager in charge of "product development" or such. His responsibility is to ensure product quality, development, etc. at all levels. He has indicated that if there is a problem, "the buck stops here".

I'm not sure that is a direct replacement of any previous person, but perhaps a new position over several areas that might have been divided among others previously.

The timing is such (I think) that the 25th anniversary edition was done before this change, but the color scheme of the 50g was afterward. Good news is they actually CARED what the color scheme was. The blue/black/dark green HP39g+ was a travesty. Perhaps that will never happen again?

He is a former PPC member, by the way, so that should say a lot. With his own funds, he bought an HP67 while in college. With his own funds, he found an Xpander on ebay. He knows what an MLDL is. He bought a PPC rom when the club did the project.

That gives me reasons to hope for the future and to be optimistic. While I don't expect miracles, I believe that, as the HHC2006 conference theme said, "the future is bright".


#60

Hi Gene et al,

Quote:
I believe that, as the HHC2006 conference theme said, "the future is bright".

I really hope you are correct. I did not attend so I have no idea what went on.

The problem is, it seems that virtually every year for the last 5 or so years people have come back saying the same thing. How do I know it's true this time?

Thanks.


#61

That's a good point. Nobody should count unhatched chickens. If HP is ever going to enjoy success in the calculator market again, I think they will need, in descending priority order:

  1. A ton of corporate committment
  2. A pound of marketing clue
  3. An ounce of technical clue
  4. A gram of good intentions

As far as I can tell, what they actually have is

  1. A ton of good intentions
  2. A pound of technical clue
  3. An amount of marketing clue that I can't assess, but surely more than I have.
  4. An unknown amount of corporate committment

"Wait and see" is the only choice available to most of us, with no responsibility for HP's actions. It would be the prudent choice even if there were others. Any turn around in HP's calculator fortunes will surely take time.

Regards
Howard

#62

wOW!

#63

I did ask one of the HP folks what he thought of the TI NSPIRE. He said he has not seen one but was very curious as to how TI will handle a larger-than-usual number of keys (TI is using small pimple-like keys for alphanumeric input ... each alpha input key sits next to a regular key). He said that the more keys a calculator has the more likelyhood something will go wrong. I got the impression that the TI NSPIRE may well become a headache for TI.

Namir

#64

Quote:
To me, HP should go back to its roots, forget about Algebraic, RPN is the way to go. Forget about expanding market share. Instead, hold on to your RPN customer base.

Just out of interest, where do you think HP's RPN customer base is going?


#65

1. Being left high and dry.
2. Bid on older RPN models on ebay.
3. Stock up on the old 12C, while it is still being made.
4. No choice, relearn algebraic and say GOOD BYE.


#66

HP is currently shipping five calculators that can use RPN. One of these, the 12C, is exclusively RPN. The 12C Platinum I received at HHC 2006 comes up in RPN by default, so that makes two out of the five that use RPN out of the box. The other three, the 33S, 48gii and 50g each have their peculiarities that tend to offend the sensibilities of traditionalists, but they do exist.

My point is this: there has to be a market for RPN machines, however large or small, or else HP would not have continued to offer RPN as a feature on any machine. That being so, and considering that we have a person who owned classic HP calculators, and joined PPC, in a decision making capacity at HP, I would rate the chances of RPN disappearing from HP's lineup as pretty low.

Regards,
Howard


#67

Quote:
My point is this: there has to be a market for RPN machines, however large or small, or else HP would not have continued to offer RPN as a feature on any machine.

I wouldn't be too sure. The cynical view is that HP already has designs that are based on RPN, and it'd be too expensive to create new ones. Take the high end models for instance. For HP to offer a non-RPN graphical, they'd have to design one first. All their current designs are based on RPL.

I bet that given the choice, HP's engineers would love to get rid of the clunky old RPL codebase (think about how hard it must be to work on!). But it probably doesn't make financial sense to do so.


#68

The 12C Platinum comes up in RPN mode. If there weren't a demand for RPN in that market segment, the default would be ALG, and RPN wouldn't even be an option.

I don't think HP has many engineers working on the RPL models. In fact, I believe there is only one, Cyrille de Bression. He seems to like RPL quite a bit, so I don't think there's much pressure to ditch it from that quarter.

HP knows how to make graphing calculators without "RPx." There is a whole family of HP graphing calculators that don't expose RPL - or even RPN - to the user. Though there is probably some sharing of internal code, important bits are different. The "aplet" facility of the 38/39/40 series doesn't exist at all in the RPL models. Once again, if there weren't demand for RPx in that market, HP wouldn't supply it in their flagship machine, the HP50g, or in any other calculator.

I think RPN is here to stay. Whether we'll ever see a big enter key again, outside the 12C, is another matter.

Regards,
Howard


#69

I think it should be noted that Cyrille is HPs ONLY engineer working on programming and calculator development. HP does, apparently, have a very few consultants; however, everyone needs to stop thinking of the HP Calculator division like it was during the Corvallis days.

Having said that, I agree that RPN is here to stay.


#70

Good grief! A one-man development team!! Be careful, Cyrille, stay healthy and alive! Don't let us down! I really didn't know how competitive our forum projects are ...

For sure HP has more resources available inhouse and outside when it comes to production, sales and marketing. For sure? Well, hope dies last ...

#71

Don't be so sure. HP might follow the footsteps of Sony. History might repeat itself. The inventor of Betamax abandoned the format and got onto the VHS bandwagon.


#72

The comparison would be more apt if Sony had waited fifteen years after being soundly trounced by VHS before withdrawing Betamax from the market. A better comparision for your position might be IBM's hanging on to OS/2 after Windows had thoroughly cleaned their clocks in the market for PC desktop OS. IBM did eventually throw in the towel on OS/2, though we still support a few customers that use the software extensively, so I'm told.

But I don't think either situation compares well to HP's stance in the calculator market. I doubt seriously if HP is losing money in the space. If they were, you can bet that Carly would have killed the product line dead, as she did to everything else that wasn't a PC or a printer. So I think calculators must make a profit, albeit a modest one, for HP. The HP-12C continues to be dominant in its space, by all accounts. And that machine, let me say it again, is RPN by default. So even if the high end scientifics turn away from RPN/RPL, the 12C is likely to remain, and to remain mainly an RPN machine.

My fondest realistic hope is that HP will continue to produce machines that I will want to own. (They currently produce two that I like. The 12CP and the 50G.) My wildest unrealistic hope is that they will return to leadership in the scientific and graphing calculator markets by returning to things that made them successful "back in the day," updated and pushed forward in light of today's technology. (That also assumes those things will be the ones I think they are. This is wishful thinking, I get to wish for whatever I want. 8) I really do think the first hope is likely to be fulfilled. As to the second, I will only be slightly disappointed if it doesn't come to pass.

Regards,
Howard


#73

One of my hopes is that the debacle with the HP 33S will never be repeated. The quality of initially released machines has to improve. Maybe this has happened with the HP 50g, but I don't know since I don't have one.

The bad taste that HP has left me with has only gotten worse. After about 7 months of light use, the decimal key on my 33s became completely loose. I inform HP, and they send me a replacement unit. The 33s that I purchased had the improved display with the visible decimal point. I specifically purchased that one despite the fact that the older versions with the invisible decimal point were still on the shelf. However, the replacement they sent me was one of the older ones (invisible decimal), and it was scratched up and has ink stains on it! It amazes me that they would continue to give out any of the older units.


#74

As far as I'm concerned, if I get two years out of a machine that cost $50, I'm happy.

My 11c cost $120 back in 1982. I lost it in 1995. The dollar was worth more than three times what it is worth today. So that 11c cost $360 in today's dollars and it served for 13 years. That's $27 per year.


#75

There's an excellent chance that if someone picked up your 11c that it's still working.

What gets me peeved is not so much that the key became loose, because a certain percentage of any manufactured items are going to be defective. My annoyance is at what HP sent me to replace it.


#76

I'm sure that 11c still works! It makes me sad to think of it as gone for good.

I agree with you. But I have had to change the way I measure value of *new* things.

(I also have 20 total pioneer+voyagers so I guess I am banking on the longevity of my favorites:-)


#77

Bill,

I too am banking on the longevity of my favorites, although at present I have far fewer pioneeers and voyagers than you do. I use my HP's very intensively 5 days a week at work, and my goal is to have enough of my favorite "vintage" HP's to finish out my career. Unfortunately, we're talking another 25 to 30 years. Another difficulty is convincing my wife that continued aquisitions of HP's with "beef" is necessary.

#78

e.young wrote: My annoyance is at what HP sent me to replace it.

Same story with me.. I bought the LAST 33S at Walmart when they were closing them out (I paid $41 - not a great sale price). The serial number indicated it was over TWO(!) years old. I didn't remove it from the package because I wanted HP to replace it with one of the new ones with the larger decimal character. HP told me they would send me a new one. What arrived was an OLDER 33S than the one I had, and it had scratches on the corners and back of the calculator.

I phoned HP back and told them what they sent me was worse than the one I had. After holding on the phone a few minutes, the HP representative told me I would need to send BOTH calculators back to them. Realizing it would cost me another $6 to $10 to send both calculators back, I decided I would be better off to take the 33S back to Walmart and get my $41 back. Now I just need to get around to sending the "used" 33S back to HP (which will put me $6 in the hole).

Matt


#79

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I find it amazing that HP is still handing out the older versions of the 33s. In my opinion the nearly invisible decimal point is a huge if not fatal flaw. They should definitley NOT be sending those older defective units out as replacement units. As far as I am concerned they are defective products.


#80

Something to keep in mind here.

If calculators at HP were as large as they were in the Corvallis days, and if all of the customer experience were handled by calculator people, then this would certainly be a big problem and I'd be shocked if it were to happen.

However, these days, calculators are a TINY group of people within a huge corporation. I mean it is TINY.

Returns/customer service issues are not handled by the calculator people but a a group handling a wider range of product types.

it may well be that the people who receive returns, issue replacements and actually send them out have never heard of the 33s decimal point issue.

To them, it's a replacement 33s...what do you mean the customer doesn't like it?

The problem lies in the HUGE corporation which has organized itself for efficiency...which means different groups within the corporation don't talk to each other all that much.

That leads to situations like yours.

While I do agree with you that you should not have to accept a 33S with the small decimal point if you don't want it, I do understand how it might get sent out to you.

Best thing to do is call them up and ask for another replacement. That's the only way they might learn and you might end up with a unit you really want.

Wish I could wave a wand and have it all fixed, but ...

Gene

P.S. How to solve such a problem? Someone within the calculator group could call and tell the customer service group not to do this, but since they are physically not in the same location, I don't know that such a call would stop it from ever happening again. Such are the problems with a large corporation.

P.P.S. Another example of this is when customer service for HP in Europe says they have never heard of a keyboard issue on the 49g+...although, I wonder if that is due more to, ahem, not speaking statements with a high amount of veracity.


#81

Hi Gene

One way to stop this would be for HP to get rid of the older 33s with the tiny decimal point. I really consider it to be a product defect, and it should never have been released for production in that condition. This horse has already been beaten to death so I'll stop now. It's just very fustrating to me, and a bit of a let-down.

I hope that HP can recapture some good will by developing a successor to the 33s that is right from the start and doesn't look like a toy.


#82

As a follow up to my previous post, I want to qualify things by saying that I am happy that HP is still in the programmable RPN scientific market at all. The HP33s in its revised incarnation is a usable calculator that is better than nothing.

#83

But in teh context of the large corporation, *how* do you get rid of the "small decimal place" calculators?

They obviously do not have them neatly stored in such a fashion.

It would rewuire a person who understands the situation to go through *by hand* and sort.

Not going to happen.


#84

I agree that in reality they probably won't do it, but they should. I do not think they are being very accountable, and I wonder how much additional bad blood they are generating.

So meanhwhile, they continue to send out flawed units as replacements, which I say is going to alienate people. Hardly the way to increase market share. Of course this assumes that they care about increasing market share for their calculators, which in the big picture at HP don't amount to very much.

When they decided to act on the micro-decimal point by upgrading the display is when they should have made the commitment not to hand the old ones out. At that point it would have been easy to discriminate between the two versions. And the effort that would have taken is too bad. That's the price you pay for putting something out that's at best seriously flawed.


#85

There's the old saying about the left hand and the right hand that might apply here. One branch of HP, perhaps one or two people, reacted to customer complaints by redesigning the 33S display, and saw that through to realization in the shipping calculator. (Let's not deal with whether that was timely or not. Suffice to say that it was the right thing to do, whenever they got around to it.) Then the other hand, the worldwide support organization, staffed with people that are responsible for a wide variety of products, most of which are more revenue sensitive than calculators, so the staff (and management) have less expertise with calculators than you might like, does the wrong thing by continuing to hand out a defective product that the other hand had done the right thing to fix!

Well, that's not good. But it isn't surprising given the realities of the way mammoth corporations are organized, and the relative value of our favorite toys to those same corporation's bottom lines. 'tis a pity, but true.

Rgards
Howard

#86

Gene,

Quote:
P.P.S. Another example of this is when customer service for HP in Europe says they have never heard of a keyboard issue on the 49g+...although, I wonder if that is due more to, ahem, not speaking statements with a high amount of veracity.

Luckily our German consumer law is strong enough to bring at least HP Germany back into the reality of good customer service.

Best regards,

Peter A. Gebhardt


#87

Peter,

Quote:
Luckily our German consumer law is strong enough to bring at least HP Germany back into the reality of good customer service.

Can you cite an example?

Marcus


#88

Marcus,

look at the German BGB, it's commentaries & the trials of OLGs and the BGH on warranty issues, "hidden defects" etc.

You find a simple explanation of the issues & your rights here:

http://www.einkaufsmanager.net/www.marketing-trendinformationen.de/news/26637/index.html

My own experience with HP has still to happen - once the 50G is available. (Chipping paint, keys loosing inscription, keys starting to become defect on an HP49G+ bought end of 2005 ...).

Best regards,

Peter A. Gebhardt


#89

Peter,

Quote:
My own experience with HP has still to happen - once the 50G is available. (Chipping paint, keys loosing inscription, keys starting to become defect on an HP49G+ bought end of 2005 ...).

I ordered my 49g+ and my 50g directly from the U.S. (Samson Cables). The 49g+ had a loose, but working, shift key from the beginning. The "golden" paint has developped some "pimples" in the meantime. Do you think it is worth calling HP in Germany and ask for a remedy? I don't think so.

Marcus


#90

Marcus,

In case my local dealer (an office supply shop - no mail-order house!) doesn't refund my money or exchange the unit into an HP50G - yes!

Best regards,

Peter A. Gebhardt

PS: I should mention, that I'm using other HP calculators like HP10B and HP17BII+ & LaserPrinter 2300 and LP III (still working for nearly 20 years now!) and had no problems at all before.

Edited: 29 Sept 2006, 12:40 p.m.


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