HP-33S



#25

Does anyone know if the HP-33S has been updated in ROM?

Many bugs have been discussed here (let apart its shape and beauty), and probably these rumors have reached HP. So I suspect (or I hope?) an improvement/restyling is on the way.

What do you think about it? Have you heard news?

I own such model (CNA5150).

-- Antonio


#26

I certainly vote for a restyling. In addition to a traditional button layout, I'd also like to see a slimmer, more pocketable unit. Functionally, 15C style complex number and matrix capabilities would also be a plus (I'm not holding my breath for that one). Unable to tolerate the current styling, I promplty sold the 33s I bought when it first came out. I've been relying on a cheap casio as my pocket calc ever since, patiently waiting for HP to realize their mistake and produce something that fits in my pocket and doesn't make me cross-eyed.


#27

I am a fan of the 33S, warts and all, but having recently acquired a 32sii for a nice price I am perplexed why HP just didn't stick with a good thing and keep the Pioneer styling. A 33S with the 42S two-line display (only a little crisper) and somewhat more memory than the tiny 384 bytes of the 32sii would be darn near perfect for that class of calculator. Indeed, my only complaint about my 32sii is the limited memory--get a couple of good size programs in there, assign a few variables, do some statistical sums, and it goes pretty quickly. The 33S has gobs of memory but you are likely to use up all of the labels before you make much of a dent in it. Some middle ground wound be nice indeed.

As for a day-to-day in-your-pocket calc, might a suggest splurging on a working grade 11C?

Les


#28

The TWO improvements I've suggested for the 32SII: use a 32S instead, and add memory to that.

The whole line has such a cool, easy-to-use (and easy-to-remember!) programming model -- that's what salvages the 33S, in my opinion.

A 33S with a clean 32S-ish layout (even at the cost of extensive menu access to tertiary functions) would be GREAT, even without more labels & data memory. (But those wouldn't hurt.)


#29

Paul wrote: "A 33S with a clean 32S-ish layout (even at the cost of extensive menu access to tertiary functions) would be GREAT..."

Gene: I seem to recall that the HP32s was updated to the HP32SII because, in large part, the clean look of the HP32s made prospective buyers think the calculator could not DO MUCH.

A clean look translated into "simple, not very powerful" for the 32s calculator.

That's one reason why the functions were put all over the place with the 32SII version.

Go figure. I'd prefer menus myself, but who am I?


#30

I'd always assumed it was to reduce keystrokes for the Math Olympics (or whatever) competitors.


#31

*Not* for the Math Olympiads! As a former IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad) contestant and an active mathematician, I take exception to the comment. *The* mathematics olympiad is a contest based on theoretical knowledge in which calculators are not only banned, but also totally useless.

There *are* competitions that test (almost exclusively) calculation speed. The most famous is probably Calculator Applications. I happen to know a high-school teacher who trains his students for this contest. Looking at the 80 problems (30 minutes to solve'em all!) I'd think it'd take a couple of hours to solve them with a calculator if you are pretty good and fast, *if only* contestants really had to *think* during test-taking. However, the contest is rather close to "standardized" in that many of the problems are taken from training booklets and based on, or copied from, problems from previous years. Sadly, what I discovered is that students who do well have to drill a lot on repetitive tasks; they like to use RPN calculators (32SII is the most popular) and, as far as I know, it's entirely possible that they have formulas pre-programmed on their device to speed things up considerably (there are always many problems on uniform and uniformly accelerated motion, ratios and proportions, solving triangles, and even a problem or two that need the use of a numerical solver.

Basically, students who do well do not necessarily understand the underlying mathematical concepts; the teacher trains them in previous years' problems (plus a public "study list" of problems for a given year) and gives them the keystrokes and/or programs to solve the "difficult" problems. Overall, as much as I love calculators and scientific computing, I think these contests are very much a step in the wrong direction---as a mathematician I strive for understanding and know that real challenges take time (by contrast, International Math Olympiad problems are 3 per 4:30 hour-long session---they require you to THINK!!! And of course research problems can take months or years to solve---if at all!)

Eduardo

#32

I actually prefer the overloaded keys of the 32Sii, 48GX, 50G, 34C, and the 15C. I like the reduction in keystrokes and having more functions in plain sight. Not that I am opposed to menus, I like them too for what cannot be displayed in plain sight.

Clearly the 34C and 15C illustrate how to best overload the keyboard. Just look at them, clean and crisp:

http://www.hpmuseum.org/3qs/34c3q.jpg
http://www.hpmuseum.org/15.jpg
IMHO, the 33S with its malformed keyboard and poor color selection is an exercise in what not to do.

#33

And don't forget the HP-67, like the 34C it had three shift keys. I love my 42S but with the one shift key and all those menus I have some problems, particularly when one is programing. No ROLL-UP on the keyboard?! I go back to my 25C mode and do three roll-downs instead of using a custom menu.

tm


#34

Hallo!

Quote:
And don't forget the HP-67, like the 34C it had three shift keys. I love my 42S but with the one shift key and all those menus I have some problems, particularly when one is programing.

The same with me! I never had the slightest problem adapting to shift-keys. The last time I really worked with (and programmed) an hp-67 must be 20 years ago and still I remember that it is "f"-LBL, "g"-x^2, "h"-RTN and so on. You work with it for a few hours and the shift-prefixes automatically becóme part of the command in your mind.



On the other hand, I last played with an hp-48 a few days ago and I wouldn't be able - even if threatened with torture! - to say which menu and sub-menu leads to an inverse sin (it is the blue "g" shift key on the hp-67 :-) )...



And more awful still are the alhpa-functions of the hp-41: "Aplha"- letter letter letter letter letter "Alpha", what a nightmarish way to work with any device!



So from my point of view, and with my way of memorising things, the two function keys of the 33S are quite OK, the only bad thing about them is the weakish green and magenta colouring of the key labels. Make them yellow and blue like the "f" and "g" keys of a 67 and everything is OK for me!



Greetings, Max



NB: And as for the bugs with certain functions, I couldnt care less. I stopped doing the kind of calculations where these bugs matter on pocket calculators 20 years ago - we live in the age of the Gigaflop-Personal computer now :-))

Edited: 16 Mar 2007, 1:10 p.m.

#35

Quote:
I actually prefer the overloaded keys of the 32Sii, 48GX, 50G, 34C, and the 15C

Me too. When I bought an HP calculator as a university student in the early 1990s, I chose the 32Sii over the 42S and the 28S in part because the functions I'd use most often were in plain sight and accessible with one or two keystrokes. I never regretted my choice, and now that I'm a math teacher, I'm still using the very same calculator every day at work.

#36

Hi, Gene --

Quote:
I seem to recall that the HP32s was updated to the HP32SII because, in large part, the clean look of the HP32s made prospective buyers think the calculator could not DO MUCH.

A clean look translated into "simple, not very powerful" for the 32s calculator.

That's one reason why the functions were put all over the place with the 32SII version.

Go figure. I'd prefer menus myself, but who am I?


Hmm, the HP-32S and HP-42S are difficult to distinguish at first glance. Perhaps the "clean look" was not the best for the flagship RPN model?

I suspect that the real objections were hidden and missing functions. I would prefer that functions be visible and easily accessible with as few keystrokes as practicable. For example, a few menus (e.g., "LOOP", "P<->RECT", "H<->HMS", "D<->RAD") offered only two functions, making the user think where they would be found, and requiring extra keystrokes.

The HP-32SII offered quite a few more functions, too:

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv014.cgi?read=70928#70928

-- KS


Edited: 15 Mar 2007, 11:57 p.m.

#37

It had been discussed in this forum some time ago: it is not feasible to manufacture a product exactly like a Pioneer... or a Spice... or a Classic, etc. Manufacturing paradigms change. Chip fabs age and the equipment used in them update and the product, if not by intention then by forced (economic) necessity changes. In fact, I think even the old solid-feeling heavier plastic cases, double shot molded keys, etc., can no longer be made with any of the current manufacturing methods (and no one's going to spend money to go back and open a plant like in the old days). I doubt if any chip fab will go back and "scale up" (batch manufacture is more like it) to make 8088s just to satisfy a few graying old fashioned DOS based video game junkies. I doubt if any shipyard is going to gear up to stamp out new battleships (even if the ship design was uprated and technologically superior) ; the technology is essentially lost, even if many still remember how it's done. (In the same way I doubt if we could duplicate the Gemini or Apollo spacecraft.)

It doesn't bode well for my dream of going to Macy's or someplace like that and pick up an affordable and spanking new HP-34C.

This and its actual good performance is why I have more than come to terms with the 33C; I actually like it quite a bit... more than bigger, badder models, as the 33C's form factor and weight in proportion to its power is quite good.


#38

Don't mean to go off on a "bring back the 15C" tangent here, but given that the 12C has been updated to modern hardware and manufacturing processes, why would it be such a leap to make something like a 15C, or even a 33s with mostly 12C hardware? Just make the buttons rectangular and readable. Is that too much to ask of modern technology?

As for the having to re-engineer the existing ROM, I assume somebody (Kinpo or HP) had to rewrite the 32s ROM for the 33s hardware. Many have written excellent simulators of the 42s and 15C for many platforms, including ARM, if that's the processor of choice. So that shouldn't be a huge hurdle either. It's already mostly done. And with many willing to pay up to $300 for the old form factor and functionality, why wouldn't it be profitable?

As for adding too much functionality for the PE exam, that's a valid argument. Leave the function set alone if you have to. Please just fix the wacky keys and I'll buy at least two tomorrow, as will many others, I'm sure.


Edited: 15 Mar 2007, 8:30 p.m.


#39

The only functionality that the PS/PE/EIT (NCEES) examiners worry about is input/output with text capability. Make it as powerful as you want. Of course there is the issue of the NCEES not wanting to have a long list of approved calculators to worry about. So if HP created a new 15C, they would have to take it to the NCEES and ask them to put it on the approved calculator list. Retaining NCEES compliance and approval might best be done by revamping the 33s, say into a 33sii:



As far as the ease with which a new 15C could be created based on the fact that the 12C is still in production, the 12CP was created, etc., I once
though as you do, but wiser voices convinced me otherwise.


#40

I'm still not convinced HP couldn't make something like a 15c cheaply and easily if they had the will. However, I realize it's never going to happen. As you said before, wishful thinking.

But your 33Sii is perfect! Are you listening Cyrille?

Edited: 16 Mar 2007, 9:39 a.m.


#41

Quote:
But your 33Sii is perfect!

If you look closely, you will see that the pictured calculator is a 33siii. It was created by Thomas Radtke, in response to my flight of fancy describing a postulated 33sii, detailed
here.
#42

Hi Dave, all,

Just to give some idea what is possible on the surface of a 12CP, here is a draft of a 15Cii:

Best regards, Walter

Edited to format.


Edited: 18 Mar 2007, 7:22 a.m.

#43

The oldest 33S units (like mine) have significant bugs with the HMS, polar conversion, and combinations functions. HP actually issued a "User's Manual Update" to describe these problems and to provide workarounds. I understand that these problems were subsequently corrected in ROM. You can still see a copy of the "Update" at:

http://homepage.mac.com/nwjh/HP-33S/c00251639.pdf

The oldest 33S units also had a very hard-to-see decimal point. Again, I understand this problem was subsequently corrected.

I doubt that HP is planning any further changes, because it wouldn't make sense from a marketing standpoint.

It's probable that the biggest single market for the 33S is among people taking NCEES engineering and surveying licensing exams in the US. The 33S is the only RPN or programmable calculator that is legal on such exams. But since the 33S has no competition in these respects, there is no incentive for HP to improve it. Anyone who wants an RPN or programmable calc for NCEES exams already buys the 33S in its current form.

Furthermore, NCEES may change the rules again next year, and limit all examinees to just one acceptable model. If this does happen, and if NCEES doesn't choose the 33S, then sales of the 33S will collapse, regardless of any redesign. And if NCEES does choose the 33S, then sales will jump, regardless of any redesign. So again, there is no incentive for HP to invest in 33S improvements.


Edited: 15 Mar 2007, 2:36 p.m.


#44

Ironically, Any design changes would most likely result in the calculator becoming banned for that exam. It is already, by far the most powerful calculator allowed and just squeeks by the exam council as is.


#45

The rocket ship styling wastes keyboard space. I think the yellow and blue prefix keys and text were good, all black is a loss.
I gave a 11$ Casio to a student and read that it has linear,log, power, exponential,inverse and quadratic curve fitting capability. With the large memory possible now I should like to input the data pairs and then try various matches afterward. With the wide use of GPS I should like to see calculations for distance and direction between coordinates built in. The Casio has a slide on front cover that stows in the back. The 33S case is bulky and clunky.


#46

What 11$ Casio Model?

-- Antonio

Edited: 16 Mar 2007, 11:17 a.m.


#47

Antonio, the Casio model was Fx MS300. It looks like algebraic has won, but we had fun for a while. Sam


#48

Thanks.

-- Antonio


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