Casio fx-9860G



#60

Does anyone of you owns a Casio fx-9860G series calculator? I would like to know how HP-calculator guru rates the high-end Casio calculators in terms of functionality, user-friendliness (I know, it is not RPN), and programmability.

Thanks & Regards,

KC


#61

I have a Casio FX-9860G Slim, which I think is functionally equivalent to the bigger model (except that it adds a backlight to the already excellent display). It is an amazing machine - extremely fast with a large number of features, and a built-in "help" facility (on the Slim model) which makes these features usable. It's got a spreadsheet, lots of graph types (not 3D, I think), lots of statistical facilities, financial functions,... the list goes on.

However, it could be so much better. The biggest problem is that the standard Casio calculator programming language is very weak - no mulit-character variable names, for example. Also, any programs you write cannot be run from the "Calculator" page of the interface, so you can't write new functions to use as part of normal calculations. The complex number facilities are weak (rather like the HP-35S), which may or may not matter to you.

So, I rate the FX-9860G as follows under your three headings:

Functionality: great, unless you want it to do something that it doesn't do well (e.g., complex numbers).

User-friendliness: good, and even better with the Help facility that the "Slim" model has. There's no long printed manual, but that's par for the course these days. The electronic manual is comprehensive.

Programmability: not very good. Unless .... you program in C! There's an SDK that lets you write and compile programs in C (on a PC) that you can run on the calculator.

I really like this machine, but I wouldn't want it as my only calculator.

#62

I agree with the previous poster about the fx-9860g slim. It is a wonderful, shirt-pocket size graphing calculator. The backlight is terrific on these old eyes. It has a solver that can solve quadratic or cubic equations or a system of equations with up to 3 unknowns. Its programming language is a BASIC variant and it is VERY fast. You can write programs on your PC and download them to the calculator, although I have not tried that yet (it comes with the required USB cable). All in all, a cool little calculator.


#63

Hi Don --

Great minds think alike. ;-) You were posting this right as I was posting mine, saying that you should comment...

:-)

bruce

Edited: 4 Dec 2008, 12:21 p.m.

#64

I have played with both this model and the slim model, and if you get either, make sure you get the slim. Much nicer form factor, well protected, the backlight is great, etc.

Don Shepard could comment more on this one too, since he evaluated it as a math teacher for class use. Everything I've heard about it is that it is an awesome calculator, and very very fast. One of the fastest out there. The display was incredibly clear and easy to read, but the buttons were typical Casio style (not as good as the 35s, for example, but better than the wiggly 20b buttons that I HATE). I tried some of the apps and they are pretty useful, but I didn't dig into it in detail.

I have seen that there are open source programming alternatives for the calc, and even maybe a lua port. Not sure.

They used to be about $119 or so, but I've seen them at geeks.com for $59 on occasion. Pretty cool little device.

Not my style to have one (being that I'm a hard-core HP guy), but if there was going to be one Casio in my house, it would be this one (slim model).

BTW, if you're looking for a lower-powered calc, I recommend you look at the TI MultiView calc. It's about $15 and has a four line display. It's good through about middle school, but it's NICELY made and well thought out. The display is very neat, offering a little mini-spreadsheet functionality and so on. Amazing for $15.

thanks,
bruce


#65

Here are some interesting links for this calc:

Wikipedia entry -- shows different models and variations, and mentions a community effort to create a CAS for it.

geeks.com purchase link -- still selling for $59, which is a steal for this calc

Casio portal -- link to a bunch of apps from Casio, resources for the calc, etc.

thanks,
bruce


#66

I've been reading about this calculator on this forum for a while and that is an incredible price -- even more so with this 10% off promo code. So I had to order one, but I'd much rather buy a new HP calculator that I know will work well and be fun to program, all the recent ones have been such a disappointment. Come on HP take my money, PLEASE!


#67

Katie,

as you do, I remember this Casio calc being discussed here several months ago already. Taking this into account, adding TI's low-cost Multi-View calcs mentioned below, Casio's "Natural Display" being on the market for years etc. and, OTOH, HP's constant refusal to feature anything alike on an RPN calc, I doubt HP wants our money anymore. It's a pity, but seems to be experimentally proven.

Ceterum censeo: HP, launch a 43s (look to Detroit and you can see right now what happens to business areas refusing to take into account the signs of change for long time).


#68

Walter, I often look upon your post signatures with a slight sense of wry humor, and inwardly give a little "that's Walter..." shrug.

Today was the first time I saw true sage advice in your words. HP would be wise to heed the warnings about the auto industry and companies who don't stay agile when they have the opportunity. While I think the calculator business is almost an after-thought in the grand HP financial scheme, it's nothing to sneeze about either. I don't know that the 43s is the answer, but it's _representative_ of what HP needs to do if they truly want to stay in this market.

Respectfully,
bruce


Edited: 5 Dec 2008, 2:53 a.m.

#69

Quote:
Katie,

as you do, I remember this Casio calc being discussed here several months ago already. Taking this into account, adding TI's low-cost Multi-View calcs mentioned below, Casio's "Natural Display" being on the market for years etc. and, OTOH, HP's constant refusal to feature anything alike on an RPN calc, I doubt HP wants our money anymore. It's a pity, but seems to be experimentally proven.


To HP's credit, I do suspect that the calculator R&D divisions of Casio and TI would be several orders of magnitude bigger than HP. HP have only recently began hiring again for their calculator division, which seems to have been decimated in modern times.

It would be interesting to know the real numbers...

Dave.

#70

Thanks Bruce. There are actually two (at least) TI MultiView calculators, the TI-30XS and the TI-34. The 34 is the newer one, but its spreadsheet (or table as it is called) is really limited; you can only use it for stat functions or for converting between fractions and decimal values (not terribly useful to the professional user). The table on the 30XS is a bit more useful, you can use it for functions. For example, put 1, 2, and 3 in column 1, then define column 2 as col1*5, and column 2 will then contain 5, 10, 15, and so on. But the 30XS does not have the op1/op2 keystroke replay functions, which the 34 does, and those are nice.

#71

Quote:
I have seen that there are open source programming alternatives for the calc, and even maybe a lua port. Not sure.

Yes, apparently it is a hackers dream machine.

Revolution FX is the place to start.

Dave.

#72

I just bought one of these "fx-9860G slim" calculators and like it quite a bit. There are a few add-ins available for it but no alternate languages that can run on the calculator itself (the "slim" is different from the other versions, MLC and other stuff I've tried doesn't work). The built-in BASIC-like language is okay, but has some major shortcomings. The keyboard is ok but has no tactile feedback -- no missed keystrokes through. The backlit display is superb and the function compliment and mathematical accuracy (15 digits) are excellent.

Casio supplies a free, complete SDK for this. It's includes the C compiler and the whole tool chain, the hardware interface between the PC and the calculator is just a USB cable (supplied). So for just the cost of the calculator, $60, you've got the whole shebang!
The SDK includes basic functions for interfacing with the calculator keyboard, display and files system. I'm not sure how much access to the Casio mathematics is available, there are a couple of other user-created SDK libraries that I haven't looked into yet, they might be some help.

I've only just started playing with the SDK and it seems well documented and easy run. I think that this machine would be a great development platform for an RPN or HP-clone calculatror. Using the large fonts the screen shows 8 lines of 21 characters (or 7x21 + a line for the 6 button softkey menu). You can use the full 128 x 64 pixel display if that's not enough. There's a timer and a RTC clock in there too. It's also super fast and draws very little current from the 2 AAA batteries.

Has anyone here given any thought to this?

Edited: 22 Dec 2008, 12:23 p.m.


#73

I agree with your analysis that this device has the best hardware platform available for creating an alternate RPN device. I am afraid that most of the people capable of such an endeavor are focused on the omnipresent phone platforms.

I wouldn't really want to be in the calculator business right now. I have a suspicion that the dedicated calculating hardware will soon be replaced by your favorite clever piece of software running on phone hardware. I remember having a slide rule around even after I bought that SR-51, just out of habit. I even used them side by side for awhile. I think that same overlap is occurring right now. I have the 9860 G on my study desk but I never carry it with me, since I have Free 42 on my Treo phone.

The advent and proliferation of the PC really reduced the use of the handheld calculator because of the greater power and versatility advantages. Still the calculator survived in a diminished role because of it's smaller size and convenience. The only serious advantage a calculator currently has over a phone platform is battery life and I am not sure how long that will last.

Calculators RIP ????


#74

Quote:
The only serious advantage a calculator currently has over a phone platform is battery life and I am not sure how long that will last.
IMHO the other serious advantage is tactile feedback. Of course only where it is featured, i.e. not in Casios. When a touch sensitive LCD would be capable producing a "click", this may well be the knell of the traditional calculator.

Just my 20 Milli-Euros, of course.


#75

Quote:
IMHO the other serious advantage is tactile feedback.

Only missed by those that have had it.

#76

brilliant!

#77

Quote:
I agree with your analysis that this device has the best hardware platform available for creating an alternate RPN device. I am afraid that most of the people capable of such an endeavor are focused on the omnipresent phone platforms.

I wouldn't really want to be in the calculator business right now. I have a suspicion that the dedicated calculating hardware will soon be replaced by your favorite clever piece of software running on phone hardware. I remember having a slide rule around even after I bought that SR-51, just out of habit. I even used them side by side for awhile. I think that same overlap is occurring right now. I have the 9860 G on my study desk but I never carry it with me, since I have Free 42 on my Treo phone.

The advent and proliferation of the PC really reduced the use of the handheld calculator because of the greater power and versatility advantages. Still the calculator survived in a diminished role because of it's smaller size and convenience. The only serious advantage a calculator currently has over a phone platform is battery life and I am not sure how long that will last.

Calculators RIP ????


Not a chance.

But of course it depends upon your usage for a calculator as to which best suits your requirements.

But for instance I do not know a single engineer who uses their phone instead of their dedicated calculator when at the desk or lab. And I can't see this ever changing.

You simply can't beat the these features which "real" calculators excel at:

- a dedicated "real" keypad

- low cost (I'm talking basic scientifics here)

- the ubiquitousness means better availability and allows people to share. You can have one on every desk, in every draw, every tool box, on every lab bench etc. So it's always right at hand when you need it. Cheap ones don't get stolen either.

- the robustness. My Casio's for instance could survive almost any drop or abuse, can your iPhone?

- the instantaneous use. Just hit the ON button and it's ready - always.

- the battery life. Essentially battery shelf life for low end models. Dual battery/Solar models are always ready. Phones will never compete, ever.

And there are probably more reasons if I thought harder...

Dave.


#78

DEJA VU!

This is almost humorous in a way. I have heard these exact arguments 40 years ago, only it went something like this.

You simply can't beat these features which SLIDE RULES excel at:

- SLIDE RULES don't have keypads so they don't wear out

- SLIDE RULES are low cost compared to calculators

- the ubiquitousness of SLIDE RULES means better availability and allows people to share. You can have one on every desk, in every draw, every tool box, on every lab bench etc. So it's always right at hand when you need it. Cheap ones don't get stolen either.

- the robustness. My SLIDE RULE for instance could survive almost any drop or abuse, can your CALCULATOR?

- the instantaneous use. My SLIDE RULE doesn't have an ON button and it's ready - always.

- My SLIDE RULE doesn't use batteries so I don't have to worry about the battery life. CALCULATORS will never compete, ever.

And there are probably more reasons if I thought harder...

How did SLIDE RULES get replaced by CALCULATORS?

Answer: They didn't for some time. Slide rules and calculators were over lapping technologies until calculators became programmable. You couldn't program a slide rule.


Edited: 22 Dec 2008, 10:53 p.m.


#79

Quote:
DEJA VU!

This is almost humorous in a way. I have heard these exact arguments 40 years ago, only it went something like this.

You simply can't beat these features which SLIDE RULES excel at:

- SLIDE RULES don't have keypads so they don't wear out

- SLIDE RULES are low cost compared to calculators

- the ubiquitousness of SLIDE RULES means better availability and allows people to share. You can have one on every desk, in every draw, every tool box, on every lab bench etc. So it's always right at hand when you need it. Cheap ones don't get stolen either.

- the robustness. My SLIDE RULE for instance could survive almost any drop or abuse, can your CALCULATOR?

- the instantaneous use. My SLIDE RULE doesn't have an ON button and it's ready - always.

- My SLIDE RULE doesn't use batteries so I don't have to worry about the battery life. CALCULATORS will never compete, ever.

And there are probably more reasons if I thought harder...

How did SLIDE RULES get replaced by CALCULATORS?

Answer: They didn't for some time. Slide rules and calculators were over lapping technologies until calculators became programmable. You couldn't program a slide rule.


Sorry, you can't compare apples and oranges.

Calculators were a complete paradigm shift from slide rules.
Mobile phones do not offer anything like the same paradigm shift or level of benefit over calculators. They are a parallel use technology, not anything close to a replacement.

Mobile phones, PDA's, watches etc have had calculator functions for decades now. They have never and will never mass-replace the humble ubiquitous hand-held calculator.

Dave.


#80

Quote:
Mobile phones, PDA's, watches etc have had calculator functions for decades now. They have never and will never mass-replace the humble ubiquitous hand-held calculator.

I wouldn't bet my 401K on that. Look at the ads for Office Depot, Staples, and Office Max in your Sunday paper. They contain page after page of cell phones and itouch's and ipods and iphones, etc. Not a single calculator generally is included in those ads (except TI's around back-to-school time).


#81

Yes I have observed the same thing. PDA's are absolutely history. They have no shelf space in any store that I frequent anymore. Calculator shelf space is about 1/2 to 1/3 of what it was 12 months ago. I watch this quite carefully, and if the trend continues at the same pace then the demise of the calculator is inevitable and soon.


#82

Quote:
Yes I have observed the same thing. PDA's are absolutely history. They have no shelf space in any store that I frequent anymore. Calculator shelf space is about 1/2 to 1/3 of what it was 12 months ago. I watch this quite carefully, and if the trend continues at the same pace then the demise of the calculator is inevitable and soon.

Sorry, i can't see how it's ever going to happen.

Sales figures and what's on the shelves have absolutely no baring on this at all. There are big margins in phones and the update rate is very short (2 years typical?) compared to calculators. That's why they have all the shelf space. It's not because people have switched to using phones instead of calculators.

The only time people will reach for their phone to do calculations, be it mum and dad at home, kids at school, engineers at their desks or in their labs etc is when they *don't* have a "real" calculator handy.

Real calculators are so cheap and ubiquitous, and do the job they are designed to do so supremely well, and people are so comfortable with them, that most people will naturally go out of their way to find a real calculator than to use their phone or computer.

The problem with the calculator market is that calculators hardly ever need to be replaced. Take a look around the average home or work and see how many calculators are lying around. They are universally useful tools that don't go out of date. The replacement rate is measured in decades, so that puts a natural limit on the size of the calculator market. But it's not going to go away, ever.

BTW, the shelf space for calculators in all sorts of shops I've been into lately has not changed much in the last 20 or so years. Many of them have even gotten bigger. Big 4-Bangers are still massively popular, as are printing calcs.

Indeed, Casio even think there are new groups buyers coming on board.

http://www.casio-europe.com/euro/news/article/1204/

Dave.


Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 1:07 a.m.


#83

I find both lines of argument in this thread have something to it, pro-phone and pro-calc.
The only thing I don't buy is this:

Quote:
The only time people will reach for their phone to do calculations, be it mum and dad at home, kids at school, engineers at their desks or in their labs etc is when they *don't* have a "real" calculator handy.

I bet you made this statement from a household that has calculators on every desk?!? In reality people do NOT have a single calculator in their homes. The same with books: around 30% of the populace don't even own one real book. But virtually every kid, every bum in the street has a cell phone and even the older ones have build in calc functions. I don't think most of them are used very often by very many people. But IF those people would have to make some calculations: it would be done on the phone. But most people don't even do calculations in their entire lifes. They don't compare prices, they don't check their balances nor do they check restaurant checks or calculate the mileage of their cars.

Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 2:58 a.m.


#84

Quote:
I find both lines of argument in this thread have something to it, pro-phone and pro-calc.
The only thing I don't buy is this:

I bet you made this statement from a household that has calculators on every desk?!? In reality people do NOT have a single calculator in their homes.


That's strange, almost every single persons house I have visited has at least one calculator in their home (yes, I take notice of such things). The calculator typically lurks in the study/computer room.

YMMV.

Indeed, I find it rather interesting that in the vast majority of cases in my experience, if people are within easy access (as in the same or next room or whatever) of a real calculator they will go and get that rather than reach for their mobile phone that is right next to them. And I'm talking regular non-technical people here.

Casio alone have sold over 1 *billion* calculators. And given the usefulness and longevity of calculators, I find your above comment hard to swallow.

BTW, this is not a pro-phone or pro-calc thread about which one is best or most used. It's about the calculator market and whether or not it is in fast decline or will die entirely.

Quote:
The same with books: around 30% of the populace don't even own one real book. But virtually every kid, every bum in the street has a cell phone and even the older ones have build in calc functions. I don't think most of them are used very often by very many people. But IF those people would have to make some calculations: it would be done on the phone. But most people don't even do calculations in their entire lifes. They don't compare prices, they don't check their balances nor do they check restaurant checks or calculate the mileage of their cars.

You won't get too much argument there.

But anyone who thinks the calculator market will die any time soon (as in the next several decades at the very least) really is ill-informed.

The big calculators makers are churning out more models faster than ever.

Dave.


#85

I disagre, Dave; I caught my self reaching for my iPhone to do simple calcs (i41cx permanently on) rather than for the real thing also available.

#86

Quote:
But virtually every kid, every bum in the street has a cell phone and even the older ones have build in calc functions. I don't think most of them are used very often by very many people. But IF those people would have to make some calculations: it would be done on the phone.
My personal experience: "every kid, every bum" uses his/her phone for eternal chatting and sms, for music and taking pictures -- nobody ever used the phone for calculations IIRC. Reasons may be the user interfaces of most phone calculator applications are terribly poor, the digits are in wrong order, etc. So, I second Dave's statements: if people can get reach of real calcs (even 4-bangers) they prefer them for calculations.

This does not exclude that further smartphones overcoming these shortcomings may replace calculators in the future, even fostered by a former big calculator manufacturer stubbornly refusing to feature state-of-the-art displays, IYKWIM d;-)

Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 5:02 a.m.


#87

DaveJ and Walter B,

you're both right with every word you say. The homes I visit do have calculators and books in them, mostly many more books than calculators, though. For them, all your above statements are completely true.

My point is that there is a large group of people who don't even own calculators or books. They are illiterate both ways. But they have a phone for sure, which in 99.9% of cases they use for phoning, text messaging and playing (games and music). THEY will never ever even think of buying a calculator. IF they really should feel the urge to do calculations (which I seriously doubt), then they will use their phones for it. With this ever growing number of people goes the future market for calculators. It will not be done away with in the next few years, but in a decade there will be a Museum of Casio Calculators site and no new one to buy anymore.


#88

Quote:
DaveJ and Walter B,

you're both right with every word you say. The homes I visit do have calculators and books in them, mostly many more books than calculators, though. For them, all your above statements are completely true.

My point is that there is a large group of people who don't even own calculators or books. They are illiterate both ways. But they have a phone for sure, which in 99.9% of cases they use for phoning, text messaging and playing (games and music). THEY will never ever even think of buying a calculator. IF they really should feel the urge to do calculations (which I seriously doubt), then they will use their phones for it. With this ever growing number of people goes the future market for calculators. It will not be done away with in the next few years, but in a decade there will be a Museum of Casio Calculators site and no new one to buy anymore.


A decade?

Not even the slightest chance. Bet your house on it.

Such fast dramatic shifts in consumer change require a major paradigm shift in usability. That has not happened in the last 20 years, and the way the major calc manufactuers are churning out new models, there is no hint of it even starting.

As an absolute minimum there are and will continue to be *massive* markets in specialised niches that will keep the calculator industry alive for almost an eternity, let along the next 10 years.

Markets like education, science and engineering, finance, home/office, accounting and so on. Dare I say it, those niches would likely represent the vast majority of current calculator sales. Totally separate to your "illiterate masses" that will have little impact on those markets.

Dave.


#89

DaveJ,

let us hope together that HP's calculator department survives until they have issued the 42s SYPME or the 15C SYPME* After that they can go bust ;-)

*Some years past millenium edition

#90

"Bet my house", yikes, what a heated debate! I asked a simple question about the fx-9860 and RPN development.

I agree that calculators are going to be around for a long while because they do fill several specialized niches: financial, education, construction, engineering. Even 4-bangers have a place at the checkout counter in almost every small store I've ever been in -- you don't see clerks using their iphones.

OTOH, RPN calculators, with the exception of the 12C, may not be around that much longer unless HP can generate some real winners and soon.

(For those of us that have calculators around the house, one of the best places I found to keep one is stuck to the front of my refrigerator. I took a lowly HP-6S and put some little magnets on the back. It gets almost as much use as the 32SII on my desk.)

Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 10:42 a.m.


#91

Sorry Katie.

I didn't stop to think that my comments might hijack this thread.

I just wish I had the expertise to take your suggestion about the 9860 hardware and run with it. If a robust RPN system could be implemented on this hardware I believe the result could be as good or maybe even better than the current HP, TI, and Casio offerings.

Of course now the thread will be hijacked by the Casio keyboard thrashers.

Oh well.


#92

I think some of your comments were spot on.

I think many confuse short term with long term and their thoughts with the thoughts and needs of the other 6.6 billion people.

My long term thoughts:

People that cannot see how life cannot exist without a calculator or tactile feedback lack vision. People adapt, e.g. I thought I'd would have hated the touch screen iPhone, well now I love it and can use it faster than a physical calculator. My fingers glide effortlessly over the display just enough to not invoke a keystroke. Then when I reach the desired function my finger drops the width of a hair. My feedback is an audible click and a flash of light. It took me sometime, but I adapted. Imagine the hordes of adults to be that start this way, and then expose them to a clunky keyboard. You'll get comments like, "why so many keys, I want auto context buttons/icons", "why it is so hard to zoom the graphics, why can I not just use two fingers to expand it", etc...

Kids 50 years from now with brain to I/O interfaces (no joke, Google for it) will wonder how to use the device, just like most today will wonder how to work a slide ruler or an abacus.

Calculators will be replaced by something that is not an emulator but something better at solving the original problem. A paradigm shift.

My short term thoughts:

The number of mobile phone subscribers is estimated to be 4 billion by year end (http://www.itu.int/newsroom/press_releases/2008/29.html). Without a doubt it is the personal computing platform of choice. The mobile phone may be the #1 selling 4 banger too.

Calculator sales will only diminish in schools when schools and testing centers adopt computer aided testing. Some certifications use this, everything you need is on the computer and is tightly controlled.

I have to imagine that an iPhone with GPS and a 12C is a realtor's dream machine.

Eventually computer aided engineering software will reach all aspects of engineering and will continue to diminish the use of calculators. I would argue now that is the engineers choice, not a requirement.

Every programmer I know stopped using calculators years ago.

Clearly its going to be different for different fields, but eventually:

         calculator volumes
lim ------------------ = 0
time -> oo time

The only point that I am making is that things change. Ask yourself, do you use a calculator because you have to, or that you choose to? I'll bet that every MoHPC citizen can live without their calculators. Alternatives exist and will improve over time, some will adapt others will not, and our kid's kids will choose the established standard of the time.

Just my:

       lim       Cold_Hard_Cash(US Economy) = $0
US Economy -> Toilet

Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 1:43 p.m.


#93

Hi Egan,

Quote:
Clearly its going to be different for different fields, but eventually:
         calculator volumes
lim ------------------ = 0
time -> oo time

Any expression of this kind will approach zero by construction. Presumably you meant this instead:
  lim    calculator volumes = 0
time -> oo
However, replace "calculator volumes" by "car production figures" or even "# of people" and you'll end with zero, too. We may have better chances with "# of ants" on a medium time scale, but in the long run (t -> oo) it will also go down to zero for sure. So much about really long time scales d;-)

#94

Quote:
Any expression of this kind will approach zero by construction.

Exactly. :-)

#95

Sorry, to be really exact it has to look this way:

         calculator volumes (time)
lim ------------------------- = 0
time -> oo constant time interval

Now I'm ready to wish you all a Merry Christmas!


#96

The expression was a jest and was to be read "volume over time", a common term used casually in phrases like, "you'll loosen up over time", or, "you'll get it over time", etc...

IOW, I was merely stating the obvious.


Edited: 24 Dec 2008, 10:27 a.m.

#97

Quote:
OTOH, RPN calculators, with the exception of the 12C, may not be around that much longer unless HP can generate some real winners and soon.

Well, at least the HP calculator division is expanding (hiring), that's a good sign.

Dave.


#98

Quote:


Well, at least the HP calculator division is expanding (hiring), that's a good sign.

Dave.


I believe Lehman Brothers and GM were hiring a short while ago, too. ;-)

Egan, thanks for putting my thoughts into words.

#99

Quote:
I wouldn't bet my 401K on that. Look at the ads for Office Depot, Staples, and Office Max in your Sunday paper. They contain page after page of cell phones and itouch's and ipods and iphones, etc. Not a single calculator generally is included in those ads (except TI's around back-to-school time).

See my other post.

Phone's, ipods etc have a very high replacement ratio and the margins and volumes are high, that's why the get all the ad space. The humble calculator has never been a match for that. Trying to use that as an example that calculators are being replaced by phones and they will eventually die is very ill-conceived.

Dave.


Quote:
Phone's, ipods etc have a very high replacement ratio and the margins and volumes are high, that's why the get all the ad space.

They get the ad space because that's what people are buying. I'm sure the margins on cell phones and ipods are pretty high, but companies make money selling the things people have demonstrated they want; that's just plain old business sense. I have a hunch that if you stood in the doorway of your local Office Depot store and tallied how many calculators go out the door versus ipods and phones, you would quickly see that many more ipods are sold every day than calculators.

We calculator geeks are not in the best position to determine the continued viability of the calculator market. The calculator manufacturers are, and I have no idea of the actual data they see. I know that there must be some market for calculators, because they are currently sold at all major department store chains (Meijer, Target, KMart, Best Buy, Circuit City), drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid), and of course the office supply stores. Not to mention online outlets like Amazon.com which sell nearly everything these days (and of which I am a frequent customer!).

When I look at my immediate family members (maybe 7 families), I think only 1 has a calculator in the house; my father-in-law who is a retired chemistry professor. I know my mother does not have one; she is 86 and still does arithmetic the old-fashioned way, using pencil and paper.

I think there are probably four major markets for calculators: the casual user or small businessman who just needs a four banger; schoolkids who need a TI because of school; financial and real estate people who need a business calculator for their job; and professional engineers. I'm an old guy. I know what a punched card is. My daughter (29) is of the ipod/iphone generation. I'm sure she does not have a calculator in her house because she just doesn't need one, and if she did she might just use her cell phone for that purpose. I'll never own an iphone, but the concept is pretty cool, in my opinion. If I were 30 years younger, I might ask myself why carry a calculator, gps receiver, notepad, remote controller, phone, etc., when one device will do all those functions and take up a lot less room in my pocket? And it's cool too! And future engineeers might very well ask the same question, and if engineering type functions are available for them on iphones and those devices they are already carrying, why not use them?

I doubt that iphones will put the calculator industry out of business anytime soon, I agree. But long term, the trend is clear.


Quote:
They get the ad space because that's what people are buying. I'm sure the margins on cell phones and ipods are pretty high, but companies make money selling the things people have demonstrated they want; that's just plain old business sense. I have a hunch that if you stood in the doorway of your local Office Depot store and tallied how many calculators go out the door versus ipods and phones, you would quickly see that many more ipods are sold every day than calculators.

Of course. That's what I was getting at.

Quote:
We calculator geeks are not in the best position to determine the continued viability of the calculator market. The calculator manufacturers are, and I have no idea of the actual data they see. I know that there must be some market for calculators, because they are currently sold at all major department store chains (Meijer, Target, KMart, Best Buy, Circuit City), drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid), and of course the office supply stores. Not to mention online outlets like Amazon.com which sell nearly everything these days (and of which I am a frequent customer!).

There is more than "some market" for calculators, it's a massive market. Not as big as mobile phones, but big none the less.
If mobile phones were ever going to replace calculators it would have happened by now, mobile phone market saturation is almost total.

Yet what's happening? - the calc manufacturers are seemingly churning out more models than ever.

Quote:
When I look at my immediate family members (maybe 7 families), I think only 1 has a calculator in the house; my father-in-law who is a retired chemistry professor. I know my mother does not have one; she is 86 and still does arithmetic the old-fashioned way, using pencil and paper.

I have the total opposite experience. As usual, YMMV.

But anecdotes like this are essentially meaningless, we need to look at the bigger picture.

Quote:
I think there are probably four major markets for calculators: the casual user or small businessman who just needs a four banger; schoolkids who need a TI because of school; financial and real estate people who need a business calculator for their job; and professional engineers. I'm an old guy. I know what a punched card is. My daughter (29) is of the ipod/iphone generation. I'm sure she does not have a calculator in her house because she just doesn't need one, and if she did she might just use her cell phone for that purpose. I'll never own an iphone, but the concept is pretty cool, in my opinion. If I were 30 years younger, I might ask myself why carry a calculator, gps receiver, notepad, remote controller, phone, etc., when one device will do all those functions and take up a lot less room in my pocket? And it's cool too! And future engineeers might very well ask the same question, and if engineering type functions are available for them on iphones and those devices they are already carrying, why not use them?

I think you are confusing the two clearly different usage patterns here. Mobile usage and desk/home/office/lab bound usage.

Hardly anyone "carries" a calculator any more, the numbers would be insignificantly small (they always have been really). Of course these people are going to use a mobile phone, they don't have a real calculator to hand.

I've never "carried" a calculator, and use my mobile phone as a calc when I'm out and about. But when I'm at home, at work, in the lab etc it's a different story.

Calculators are specific use items designed to be generally left in place in needed locations ready for use. That alone dictates an entire sustainable market segment.

Those several billion calculators that have been sold and the at least 10's of millions of new ones sold every year go somewhere, and most people will always feel more comfortable using them than using their mobile phone with its non-optimal interface.

Quote:
I doubt that iphones will put the calculator industry out of business anytime soon, I agree. But long term, the trend is clear.

Where is this trend? Where is the data?

Until you can show declining data, it's all pie-in-the-sky doom'n'gloom talk.

Dave.


Dave, I don't think it's doom-and-gloom talk. I think it's just the natural way that things change over time. In 1950, calculators looked like this. We all know what they look like today. I'm just saying that, 50 years from now, it is more likely that calculators will be along the lines of the iphone, or even better technologies. That's not necessarily better or worse, just different.


Quote:
Dave, I don't think it's doom-and-gloom talk. I think it's just the natural way that things change over time. In 1950, calculators looked like this. We all know what they look like today. I'm just saying that, 50 years from now, it is more likely that calculators will be along the lines of the iphone, or even better technologies. That's not necessarily better or worse, just different.

Sure, I agree. There will be many different interfaces.

Computer screens will be in our fridge doors (you can buy them now), built into our office desktops, coffee tables, restaurant tables (my local shopping centre already has this). When they come, the humble desktop calc might start to decline a bit :->

Microsoft have been demo-ing this technology the last year or two.
And of course interfaces we haven't even thought of yet.

BTW, on a similar topic, there are going to a lot of pee'd off and surprised people in the US when they switch off the analog TV system next March(?). A technology essentially unchanged for more than 50 years (and still unchanged in it's interface). Interfaces hang around for a lot longer than you think. Think QWERTY keyboard.

BTW2, my day job is designing the "next generation" tools used to design all these wonderful gadgets that soak up our world's dwindling supply of fossil fuels. And I see first hand people's resistance to change on many levels for many reasons. Change is often harder and takes a lot longer than what it appears for many areas, while in others it's much easier and quicker. That's why I'm saying desktop calcs will certainly be around in 20 years, without a doubt. 50 years, much less so, but they'll still be around. Longer than that - I'll either be dead, or too old to care! :->

Dave.


Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 4:36 p.m.

Quote:
Quote:
Phone's, ipods etc have a very high replacement ratio and the margins and volumes are high, that's why the get all the ad space.

They get the ad space because that's what people are buying.

That's an hen-and-egg problem, as you may see from these two quotations already. If you think all ads point people to products they need, and thus they are buying what they need, it may be a bit far off reality. A large part of advertizing expenses is "throwing sausages to get ham", like an old German saying calls it, to create "needs".

Mobile phones etc. became fashion items, so they are advertized like other fashion stuff. To make calculators (and other tools) fashionable seems to be more difficult, at least without giving up some of their advantages (remember the green-violet episode of HP).


Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 8:55 a.m.


I don't know the sales figures in Finland, but I guess that the HP-35 sold exceptionally well since the CEO of the Finnish Distributor of HP calculatruce just gave me a brand new PC of my choise including the overbudget Q9550.
I just can't fit the snap-easily-in-place fan over the CPU. I hope my headache is gone after Xmas so I can get another fan and screw it into the motherboard.
After that I have more CPU power to crunch some tuff math nuts on the emulator and use Open Office 3 and it's PDF creator to translate some new HP Quick Guides into Finnish.
Maybe I read a few lines from the Bible using the e-sword.

Merry Christ birthday!

Hi, Don --

Altough they do sound humorous today, these "slide rule versus calculator" arguments had some merit, circa 1970. However, we all know that things changed: Keyboards improved, prices declined, and LCD's eventually made the battery issue moot.

The HP-35, of course, was the final salvo in that battle, despite its high price.

Today, a high-end phone (e.g., iPhone or BlackBerry) with a large, high-resolution display and a calculator program that offered close to the same ergonomics of a calculator along with the functionality might provide a suitable substitute. However, I don't think equivalent ergonomics has yet been achieved, and battery life can still be problematic. For younger students, several issues remain: cost and permission to use in class.

-- KS

Edited: 23 Dec 2008, 1:01 p.m.

I too, have been evaluating with one of these fine machines.

Nice display, backlit, USB and serial ports.

I was not aware of the RTC (Real Time Clock)!

What is the main limitation for me is the lack of an audible beeper - as I use my 'main machine' - an HP48 as a (sometimes) audible alarm clock.

On that topic, I do not believe any other calculator/machine (HP, TI or others) offer both a RTC, beeper and simple alarm execution of programs.

Happy Soltice and Holidays,
TomC


The RTC in the fx-9860 requires a bit of assmebly lanaguge programming to access it, but there are a couple of examples of how to do this on the casiokingdom.org and elesewhere. I agree that the lack of a beeper is an issue. I wonder if a tiny speaker pluged into the serial port might be workable with a bit of assembly programming as well.

I understand your use of the 48 for the alarm and timed program pruposes. I use an HP200LX for that and a lot of other things. I really love the 200LX, I do wish that it had a backlight and a better hinge though.


Omnigo 700LX is better
(and worse - if you think weight and the hinge)


I thought that the 700LX was identical to the 200LX with the addition of the Nokia GSM phone support. Are there other non-phone-related differences in the firmware or hardware?

Edited: 25 Dec 2008, 11:07 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


Nope
Just that you can write txt messages using the PDA side etc
The 'HP device even reads "Nokia"
Ity's slightly bulkier than the 200LX

Want to by this device?
with a Nokia phone that fits in the slot...


No thanks. I'll struggle along with my 200LX and separate cell phone until I give in a buy an iPhone or whatever's next.

Curious, I too have an affinity for the HP200LX.

One of the things I've wanted to do is use QBasic to access the IR port for printing (to print to an HP82240B). I will be resurrecting that project soon. If you have any experience here to share, I would be most interested.

TomC


Go to

http://www.hp200lx.net/super3.html

and look for IR-PRINT


Thanks; that application will print to the 82240, but it does not have the capability to print from QBASIC.


I think that witting code in QBASIC to print to an 82240 is going to be a project. Take a look at the .asm code in the REMKEY.ZIP file. That will show you how to access to IR port. You can find out about the 82240 protocol here and here.

Another (possibly crazy) idea is to call the IR-PRINT.EXM program from within QBASIC. Although you can't normally launch an EXM -- only a COM or EXE -- there is a utility that will let you trick the HP200LX into launching an EXM by making it look like an EXE, EXMEXE. I haven't tried this but it looks like it just might work.

If you try this please let us know if it works.

-Katie


Edited: 31 Dec 2008, 11:36 p.m.


Katie:

Thanks; I will look into that.

I am hoping that QBASIC can write directly to the HW RS232 port. Then, I'm hoping (perhaps with a small .asm bit) I can redirect it to the IR output.

I'll keep this group posted - I need to find HW and SW details of the 200LX internals - Is there a service manual available?

TomC


Quote:
I need to find HW and SW details of the 200LX internals - Is there a service manual available?

Probably this site may be of help:

HP 100LX/200LX Technical Information

Enjoy,
Hubert

Edited: 3 Jan 2009, 7:48 a.m.


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