Re: 48/49: User interface redesign?



#8

Well, I happen to think that both the 48 and 49 are textbook examples of Too Many Eggs in a Basket. HP packed so much stuff on the calculator that it became pretty much unmanageable.

Consider the case of the HP-67. It had too many features for the size and design of the keyboard, the result being 3 shift keys (f, g, and h) and a keyboard so cluttered as to be an eyesore. Then came the HP-41. Without adding a single key, it simplified the keyboard, relegating the less-used functions to be spelled out or assigned to keys.

Now, with the 48 and 49, all sorts of "menus", "modes", "applications", etc., are necessary to drive the beast, and the typical user is even more confused than he/she was with the 67. Hey, the 67 had a cluttered keyboard, but at least it showed everything.


For what it's worth, I believe that calculators have reached a plateau beyond which further enhancements will not mean further improvement. What's needed is a totally new concept -- something radical, some breakthrough -- the way the 41 did with spelled-out names.

But, of course, that's just my 2 cents.

-Ernie


#9

Snip [For what it's worth, I believe that calculators have reached a plateau beyond which further enhancements will not mean further improvement. What's needed is a totally new concept -- something radical, some breakthrough -- the way the 41 did with spelled-out names.]

Yeh, perhaps something the size of the HP32SII with 8k memory, a 2 line display and proper I/O (e.g. RS232 like interface). The could call it the HP42SII or something like that...

In other words give us back what we want not force some way over the top calc on everyone in the name of 'progress'. (I'm not trying to insult those who value the HP48/49, just trying ot point out HP lost their way when they stopped high end scientific POCKET calculators).

Thoughts anyone???


#10

"Yeh, perhaps something the size of the HP32SII with 8k memory, a 2 line
display and proper I/O (e.g. RS232 like interface). The could call it the HP42SII
or something like that..."

What a great idea. I have both 42S and 32SII, and wish there were something in between. I really like the 32SII, and if only it had the features you mention, particularly the 2-line display, a little more memory, along with better integration of complex numbers (like the 42S), then it would be perfect in my opinion.

#11

Hi, Ernie;

I'm mostly a 48/49 fan, cause they simply added almost everything I wanted my dearest 41 to have. I agree with the cluttered 67's kbd (the HP97 showed a better solution... in a somewhat more space) and the spelling feature in the 41, but I sometimes prefer pressing [alpha] twice and spell as many commands (+ [SPC]) as needed when I cannot remember which menu offers them. And this procedure is faster than pressing [XEQ][ALPHA] name [ALPHA] for each 41 function that was not available at the keyboard. PROMPT, HMS+, D-R, among many others, should be assigned to a key OR spelled out (and despite the differences, assignments are allowed in the 48/49 kbds). And in some applications/programs, they are often used, so often I was able to spell PROMPT, HMS, HR by heart, without looking at the keyboard. O.K., there are many, many more commands/functions available in the 48/49, and consequently, many more stuff to remember (?). Using menus was the solution HewPack found as the best... for us? For them?

The HP41 was really a breakthrough, a new concept.

Ernie wrote: For what it's worth, I believe that calculators have reached a plateau beyond which further enhancements will not mean further improvement. What's needed is a totally new concept -- something radical, some breakthrough -- the way the 41 did with spelled-out names.. That's great truth. Could not agree more. Maybe the (sob!) Xpander was the answer for this concept. Maybe HewPack will no longer answer to this question. Maybe...

Time will tell. I read one post (here?) mentioning that the TI83 has a software that emulates RPN operation. Anything more to say?

Cheers.


#12

That's great truth. Could not agree more. Maybe the (sob!) Xpander was the answer for this concept. Maybe HewPack will no longer answer to this question. Maybe...

Actually, what I had in mind was a rather severe breakthrough. You see, it doesn't really matter how complex the machine is if the interface is intuitive, designed to work with humans (as opposed to against them).

My idea of the perfect calculator is one that has no keyboard at all -- merely a microphone so you can talk to it. So, rather than sweating over thick manuals and having to memorize hundreds of commands, functions, parameters, and what-not, you simply say, "Hewey, write a program to solve this-or-that and save it under the name 'ADAM'."

Let PRGM/RUN switches, PRGM buttons, and << >> signs be damned. Let Algebraic logic and RPN be damned. For once, it would be nice if the calculator worked the way humans communicate -- by talking.

Science fiction? Of course! But that doesn't necessarily make it impossible, or even impractical.

-Ernie

P.S.: Hewey, of course, would be my choice for the name to give a intelligent (or sentient) HP calculator...


#13

You know what? I'd like having one of these...

Maybe the idea sounds a bit weird in the first moment, but if we get back a few decades ago, a computer with a keyboard, graphics display and mouse was something more than science fiction.

Cheers.

#14


My idea of the perfect calculator is one that has no keyboard at all -- merely a microphone so you can talk to it. So, rather than sweating over thick manuals and having to
memorize hundreds of commands, functions, parameters, and what-not, you simply say, "Hewey, write a program to solve this-or-that and save it under the name 'ADAM'."

Well, I'm going to weigh in against you on this one. I think the whole "speaking interface" idea is overblown. There are a few reasons why voice recognition is not the de-facto input method for PCs---it's too slow and it's too noisy.

I personally enjoy the clicking of keys. I'm sure many others do too, given all the discussions of "the best tactile feedback."

So...I vote for voiceless.

Now a contraption that was able to translate brain waves...Hmmmm. That might be too good to pass up!

Bruce.


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