HP-35s: Better in ALG mode?



#39

As other people here, I have been frequently experienced wrong calculations with my 35s. In order to find out if there is a hardware problem, I tried the following test:
1 ENTER 2 + 3 + ... 9 +
I tried to type it as faster as I can and the calculator failed about 9 in 10 (Note: My 50g never failed in this test).
Then I changed do ALG mode and typed as fast as before:
1+2+...9
The unit passed the test all the times.

I also observed that the calculator execute 253! faster in ALG mode. Forgive me the experts, but is it possible that an algebric calculator software have been adapted to work in RPN?

Sílvio A. Bensi


#40

Quote:
... is it possible that an algebraic calculator software have been adapted to work in RPN?

Interesting question, which perhaps suggests some more. Because most of us, I believe, have assumed that the 35s ROM is based on modifying the 32s/32sii code, which was definitely RPN, not algebraic.

#41

The code that was lost who knows how long ago?

TW


#42

Tim,

Are you saying HP had to reverse-engineer their own code?


#43

Well, I believe the 35s uses a different processor than the earlier 32s or 32s2, so they had two choices: Emulation, which I don't believe was done, or write something new.


#44

Quote:
...or write something new.

Which begs the question: why, then, duplicate the base functionality (with enhancements, of course) of the earlier machines? Why not give us something better? (The Solver comes to mind).

#45

The 35s **does** have a solver, just not the 17b2 style.

Whether or if there will be a 42s style machine ever again has been debated and discussed more than once. No need to go there again. Really. :-)


#46

Quote:
The 35s **does** have a solver, just not the 17b2 style.

Yes, of course I know it has a solver. You've made my point, though. The 17b/27s style solver is so superior to the 32sii style, if you are re-implementing the code, why give us the old inferior solver? Especially with all that memory, the named variables feature could really take off.

#47

Agree. I like the 17b solver - especially with the Let, Get, Sum, and If commands avaiable for use.

While on the 17b, just go the Silver 17bII+ a few days ago - (a) love the look and (b) keyboard is superior to the Gold 17bII+.

#48

Quote:
Which begs the question: why, then, duplicate the base functionality (with enhancements, of course) of the earlier machines? Why not give us something better? (The Solver comes to mind).

Enhancing something that has been accepted by many users is not a bad idea. It's about getting some continued return for the time invested in 'learning' a calculator. No need to learn a completely new concept.

I think this is what HP did right. From 28C to 50G, from 34C to 35s, or even 18C to 17BII+ we saw some proven concepts developing.

No clue why the 42S concept hasn't been considered for a rebirth yet.

Anyway, the large bug list keeps the 35s in beta state ... since 2007.


#49

Quote:
Enhancing something that has been accepted by many users is not a bad idea. It's about getting some continued return for the time invested in 'learning' a calculator. No need to learn a completely new concept.

I think this is what HP did right. From 28C to 50G, from 34C to 35s, or even 18C to 17BII+ we saw some proven concepts developing.

No clue why the 42S concept hasn't been considered for a rebirth yet.


The same reason for most products, it's a matter of development effort vs (perceived) potential market.

A 42S style machine would require a LOT of development effort, for what market exactly?

The 35S has the exam market, the 50G and others cover the educational graphics calc market.

A new 42S would satisfy the fanboys and maybe a small niche here or there, but meet no other real market need in today's environment.

Dave.


#50

Quote:
the 50G and others cover the educational graphics calc market.

Listening to posters on this forum, the 50g is used in the professional engineering market. It has no presence at all in the educational market, which is owned by TI.


#51

Quote:
Listening to posters on this forum, the 50g is used in the professional engineering market. It has no presence at all in the educational market, which is owned by TI.

By educational market I of course also mean university engineering courses. The number of people who buy graphics calcs outside of school/university for use in the professional market is a small percentage compared to sales for use in educational institutions. This "professional" market is what a 42S calc would be aimed at, which is not very big in the scheme of things.

TI have around 80% of the market for graphic calcs I believe, with HP the second biggest, that's still a big market for HP. HP might even have a bigger market share than TI if you are talking about the professional engineering education sector. That's why HP concentrate on education and finance, they are the two big markets, the rest is dregs.

Dave.

Edited: 11 Jan 2010, 9:32 p.m.


#52

I am surprised that Casio and Sharp aren't considered in your guesses of graphing calc market share. I think the Europeans like those brands more than US and yet I even see some Casios at the Wallyworld. (I don't have a clue about calculator preference down under....)


#53

Quote:
I am surprised that Casio and Sharp aren't considered in your guesses of graphing calc market share. I think the Europeans like those brands more than US and yet I even see some Casios at the Wallyworld. (I don't have a clue about calculator preference down under....)

I think that 80% figure I've heard might actually only be the non-university educational market (which is the biggest educational segment by far), and that would be US only too (HP's main market?). Casio are of course huge outside the US. Sharp I don't rate as much of a major player, certainly forth on the list.

Regardless of the figures the point is the same, a 42S remake would not really be a hit in any educational sector, and it won't be finance of course, so that leaves it up the creek without a proverbial paddle as far as HP marketing are concerned. Which is why you haven't and won't see a new 42S from HP. But if it makes the fanboys feel any better, I've heard a rumor the release is imminent!

Down under sales hardly rank on any pie chart I suspect, but in any case I'd guess Casio and TI would battle it out.

Dave.

Edited: 11 Jan 2010, 11:12 p.m.


#54

Dave, I agree about the HP-42 not being resurrected. TI does not have 80% of the graphing calculator market in the non-university educational area in the US; it has 100%. I think you could count the number of HP calculators used in the US public schools on one hand.

#55

Quote:
I think the Europeans like those brands more than US [...]
HPs are quite expensive over here, so it's probably just a matter of money.
#56

Quote:
I am surprised that Casio and Sharp aren't considered in your guesses of graphing calc market share.

I have the Casio CFX-9850G and Sharp EL-9900. Go for HP! Even my 28S is better (apart from screen size).

Neither can do C(335,167) (I don't know whether the current 9850GC+ can), and the Casio can do eg. C(90,7) but the Sharp can only handle n or r <= 69 (we can guess what they implemented) - and this is Sharp's current top offering. This is frustrating for me as I use programs requiring n or r > 100 (but results are < 1E99). I have to add my own routine, but this slows execution down of course. At least the Sharp gives an answer fot LN(-2) and LOG(-2) in complex mode. I prefer it's interface and programming style to the Casio.

Fortunately I bought these just to play with. For serious stuff, stick with HP!

Edited: 12 Jan 2010, 5:52 a.m.


#57

The Casio fx-9860g can do C(335,167), at least in the latest firmware. It's a very capable calculator for real and imaginary numbers and matrix manipulation. However, it has no symbolic math capability nor bignum processing and limited RAM (64K). The back-lit display is awesome -- I've never seen a better display on any calculator -- the keyboard kind of stinks, but is typical for many non-HP-click calculators.

I think it's a serious calculator.

-Katie


#58

Hi Katie,

Thanks for confirming that. I've been looking at the fx-9860gII and it seems a powerful machine, unfortunately it is not yet available here in the UK. The fx-9860g is available in the Slim version, but I'd rather get the GII.

-Bart

#59

Quote:
Well, I believe the 35s uses a different processor than the earlier 32s or 32s2, so they had two choices: Emulation, which I don't believe was done, or write something new.

I was of the understanding that Kinpo wrote the code for the 35S?

Dave.


#60

Even that would be something new written.

Edited: 11 Jan 2010, 4:43 p.m.

#61

Quote:
Well, I believe the 35s uses a different processor than the earlier 32s or 32s2, so they had two choices: Emulation, which I don't believe was done, or write something new.

Without the source code, it would be very difficult to add the 35s features to the 32s code, whether it was emulated or not.\

#62

Quote:
Tim,

Are you saying HP had to reverse-engineer their own code?


If I'm not mistaken, that was precisely the situation with the 12c Platinum.

#63

Quote:
Interesting question, which perhaps suggests some more. Because most of us, I believe, have assumed that the 35s ROM is based on modifying the 32s/32sii code, which was definitely RPN, not algebraic.

...

  • The code that was lost who knows how long ago?

  • Tim --

    I find "lost" hard to believe. It seems to me that most of the HP-32SII code was directly ported to the HP-33s and its different microprocessor, introducing some math bugs. Some further changes were obviously made for the HP-35s (entry of base integers; input-buffer processing), but I'd expect that most of the corrected HP-33s code was carried over.

    -- KS

    Edited: 12 Jan 2010, 12:38 a.m.


    #64

    I am not certain as that was before my time, but I believe it was a complete reimplementation.

    TW


    #65

    I'm mostly sure that's a reimplementation mostly written in C base on the source code of the 10BII, 17BII+, 33S, ...

    Christoph

    #66

    What is lost, the code or the knowing what to do with it?

    There are some aspects of cost-cutting and expense reduction that are only apparent with time, and one ot them is how the companies gradually lose the know-how and become more and more dependent on subcontractors. There's no going back after a while, not even if it were a market and money to pay for it.

    You'd frown at this but even the storage space (both physical and virtual) gets trimmed, and there it goes... the commented source code into the trash bin lost forever and ever... but that's not a problem since there was nobody left around who could make sense out of it anyway.

    In my opinion, the chances to se a rebirth of the 42S are less than nill.


    #67

    Quote:
    In my opinion, the chances to se a rebirth of the 42S are less than nill.

    And why is that? What about using Thomas' brilliant Free42 on new hardware?

    #68

    Perhaps that's part of the "problem."

    If you want a 42, just buy an Ipod and off you go. Why should HP bother with making hardware for such a niche product?

    On the other hand, interestingly, HP has itself released Ipod apps for the 12C and 12Cp. And they aren't cheap--$25 or so.

    #69

    Quote:
    In my opinion, the chances to see a rebirth of the 42S are less than nil.

    At least you don't feel the need throw in some pejorative, stupidly dismissive nonsense term like "hp42 fanboys" such as is popular elsewhere! :-)

    I'd be satisfied with a simplified non-graphing RPN version of the HP50G that is the same size as a Pioneer! How's that??


    Edited: 12 Jan 2010, 11:12 p.m.


    #70

    Quote:
    I'd be satisfied with a simplified non-graphing RPN version of the HP50G that is the same size as a Pioneer!

    I've felt that way about the 28S.
    #71

    What you are seeing sort of makes sense to me. In ALG mode, the only key that really does something is ENTER. All of the other keys are simply used to append something to the string that the calculator is building at the time.

    In RPN mode, almost every key is an operation, even numeric keys have to see if pressing them should lift the stack or append to the current x register. So there is probably syntax checking with every key press. But, they should have implemented a better key buffer in the RPN mode than exists now. Other problems can probably be attributed to this as well.

    Not sure why the factorial is faster (I have tried it as well). But I also tried a comination nCr(2500,200) which seemed to run about the same speed on both...

    Very Interesting


    #72

    Quote:
    In ALG mode, the only key that really does something is ENTER. All of the other keys are simply used to append something to the string that the calculator is building at the time.

    Quite plausible. Also, I suspect that people are not seeing dropped keystrokes in RPN mode on the 33s because it's quite a bit faster than the 35s, and it would require superhuman typing speed to trigger that behavior.


    #73

    Oh yes, the dropped keystrokes ... .

    My 35s still drops them. For sure, because several times a year I retrieve it from my drawer to see whether it cured itself. Then after a minute or so, it disappears again.

    I cannot use this piece of CRAP, because it would interfere with my work. That's why I still use the 32sii.

    HP, when are you going to step selling those faulty units?

    #74

    Silvio,

    I noticed that if I take the calculator out of the clamshell case and put it on a hard surface, that I get much better results for your test.

    I also did a multiplication test and it was almost 100% (Fill the stack with 2's and then hit multiply (X) 10 times. This was 100% when I was on the hard surface.

    Maybe this is a combination of hardware/software messing things up here. The + key is way down in the corner. Maybe there is something mechanical not quite right?


    #75

    Quote:
    Maybe this is a combination of hardware/software messing things up here. The + key is way down in the corner. Maybe there is something mechanical not quite right?

    I can attest to that. I have two 35s samples and one of them has an incosistent audible and tactile response on the upper left part of the keyboard, especially the R/S key, which feels and sounds more like the stiffest of the four arrow keys. No operational side effects though (yet).

    #76

    Norman

    I made other tests and I am convinced that it is a software matter, although I am sure that the keys sometimes (though rarely) fail. I tried again the sequencial multiplication test. With calculator in hands and pressing keys alternating both thumbs the machine failed 5 times in 5 in RPN mode and 0 in 5 in ALG mode. With calculator on a table and using only the index finger, the calculator failed 2 times in 5 in RPN mode and 0 in 5 in ALG mode. Under the same testing, the 50g never failed.
    I also experimented many sequences of multiplications with 3-digit ramdom numbers and then there was no significant difference between ALG and RPN mode. The machine failed just 1 or 2 times in 10, in both modes.
    Conclusion: I can not use 2 or 3 fingers to make calculations in RPN mode, specially when 1-digit numbers are involved :(


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