What it’s got in its nassty little pocketses


In the recent 32Sii thread there seems to be a lot of emphasis on being able to put a calculator in your pocket. Again I find myself feeling in the minority as I rarely have put a calculator in my pocket. I have a couple in my laptop bag. A couple in my desk drawer and if I'm moving about the workplace, I usually have a pile of papers to carry around and just plunk the calc I need on top and carry it around.

So, here's my informal poll to ask how important is it to you all to be able to put a calculator in your pocket. I'm thinking in the interest of being able to compare result to stick with a scale of 1 to 4 with

1 - Don't Care
2 - Nice but not critical
3 - Highly desirable but not essential
4 - Essential

My Vote: 1 - Don't Care


At the very least, a calculator should be smaller than a Netbook.


3 - Highly desirable but not essential

I like to carry a good scientific calculator around, but I don't want one hanging on my belt.


for me: #3. i sewed a big interior pocket vertically in my orange vest.
Bart (or anyone) - a fashion tip:
If you ever start to carry a calculator around on your belt, make sure the case matches the tape that holds your glasses together.




Putting it in your pocket is a good way to get a lot of lint in the keyboard. If it's in your shirt pocket, you bend over and it falls out. If it's in your pants pocket, you damage it. The calc is more practical to hold if it has some thickness to it.


Putting it in your pocket is a good way to get a lot of lint in the keyboard.

Minimised by keeping it in it's cover.

If it's in your pants pocket, you damage it.

I've done this quite often and not damaged any. I have kept my mobile phone in my pants pocket every day for the last 8 years without any problems. Perhaps if you put it in the back pocket and sit.... :)

Since I have a dozen great emulators for my iPhone and my iPhone is almost always in my pocket I'd have to say "1" for a physical calc. But "3" for a virtual one. I travel; a lot. And, do not need the extra weight of a physical calc.


From the MoHPC´s HP35 page:

Based on marketing studies done at the time, the HP-9100 was the "right" size and price for a scientific calculator. The studies showed little or no interest in a pocket device. However Bill Hewlett thought differently. He began the development of a "shirt pocket-sized HP-9100" on an accelerated schedule. It was a risky project involving several immature technologies. HP originally developed the HP-35 for internal use and then decided to try selling it. Based on a marketing study, it was believed that they might sell 50,000 units. It turned out that the marketing study was wrong by an order of magnitude. Within the first few months they received orders exceeding their guess as to the total market size. General Electric alone placed an order for 20,000 units.
I am not quite sure that "shirt pocket-size HP-9100" means it was made to be carried in our pockets, instead that it fits. I surely remember an HP12C´s folder where the calculator is actually placed in (or is taken from) a shirt pocket. How many others show such circumstance amongst the so too many where it is not?

Also, IIRC, the size of the HP35 was based on the internal pocket of one of Bill Hewlett´s coat (cannot remember the correct suit's name, sorry), a good pocket for safely keeping a calculator.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 18 June 2010, 1:10 p.m.


3 - I like to be able to slip it in my pocket, like a Voyager or Pioneer. Back in the days of the earlier series, the cases had loops and I wore them on my belt, so that was fine. Now... what to do with my iPad?


Now... what to do with my iPad?

I'm just thinking of an iHat. :)



I suppose my vote is: 3 - Highly desirable but not essential

W/r/t regular use, I have a tremendous preference for small-form-factor ("pocket-sized") calculators. But even so, I cannot recall a single time that I have ever put a calculator in my pocket.

I also use a 48sx, which is clearly not pocket-sized, but it doesn't get the regular use that my 15c (or 12c/16c) get. (Since it is more of a hand-held computer rather than a calculator, it thus fills a rarer niche.)


I'd go with #3 as well. My preference is more for a handheld form factor; I never put a calcultor in my pocket.



One more count for the 2nd option :

In the days I was doing electronics and prototyping at work, the hp11C was always in my shirt pocket. So lightweight, and just the right size. It made me let the 21 on my desk as a ..guess what ? desk calculator ;-)

More generally, I think that if a tool serves you well enough that you miss it as soon as you don't have it with you, no matter the size, the form factor, the weight... you carry it with you, it's a "must have"..

Regards from France,



I guess I can't say #4 because the HP50g does NOT fit in most of my pockets. Somehow I make do.

I have damaged a calculator once when I had it in a lapel pocket and I leaned over and it fell out (onto a concrete floor). Pants pockets are a better alternative.


I would say 2 for me. I occasionally actually carry one in my pants pocket, never shirt. Then I always have one in my back-of-the-seat pocket in my truck, but that's a big pocket.




Even in the days when I needed a calculator, I never carried one in a pocket. I always hated (and still do) to have things in my pockets.



Perhaps #2. I use Free42 the most (it's in my Palm Tungsten E2 that's almost always with me) followed by my HP50g (thank you, Joe!!) then my HP20b (Thank you, Cyrille!!). I *used* to use my Casio scientific calculator watch daily until the "8" key fell out. I still wish somebody would license the Casio Databank watches and redo the ROM slightly to make them scientific and RPN. Now that is a calculator that would always be available.

Jim Horn (don't use my HP-01 any more - too heavy and limited - and really miss my HP42S)


Putting it (Pioneers size and less) into my jackets inner pockets often - not in shirts pockets.

So I'm preferring #3

Best regards


#3, too. I like to put it in my shirt pocket or - safer - in the inner pocket of my jacket. But I won't wear my jacket wherever I may need a calc. Yes, there's a risk it may fall out of my shirt - my Nokia does it every once and a while but survived so far, so why can't a calc be as sturdy? No such problem with the old belt bags, a more modern design may do it today as well.

Edited: 18 June 2010, 6:16 p.m.


Here is what we have so far. The 3's are in the lead!


I'd say, it's essential to fit the pocket if you're a pocket calculator ;-).

Seriously, to me it is essential. And it is likewise essential not to put it in before tying my shoes (thanks Walter for reminding me!).


4 - Essential

Simply because the vast majority around DON'T fit in your pocket, there are hardly any truly small scientific calculators around.
Small can be good for many reasons, not just fitting in your pocket.

Wish I had the time to finish this one:



Has anyone else noticed how gender-specific these responses are? No consideration of how well a given calculator fits into a purse, to what extent the key spacing accommodates long fingernails, and similar considerations.

Some would say that it is this kind of thing that is keeping women out of technical fields, but I don't know. Perhaps the problem is more general. After all, women have been slaves for the last 5,000 years; why should they now want to get into science or engineering?


Has anyone else noticed how gender-specific these responses are?

Has anyone notice how gender-specific the membership on this forum is?
I can name the women members that I know of on the fingers of one hand... uh, I meant 1 finger!
Some would say that it is this kind of thing that is keeping women out of technical fields...

After all, women have been slaves for the last 5,000 years;


Edited: 19 June 2010, 11:14 p.m.


Some good points here. Fingernails are a big problem so I find that I use my Qualitron La Femme most of the time.

Edited: 20 June 2010, 12:52 a.m.


How does the keyboard of your 32SII look like, Katie? I have an IBM Selectric I and could take molds of its previous owners fingernails from the keytops. So, women can actually adapt keyboards to their needs!


A mirror on the back of the calculator. Gee, that's probably more important than a double-width ENTER key!


A mirror on the back of the calculator.

Obviously, there is a market for this kind of calculator (well, around 50 percent of the population I would estimate ;-) ). I have this one in my collection (no-name product):


Actually, it's closer to 52% since males don't have the benefit of backup x and y chromosomes.


You are cruel to taunt us!

Wish I had the time to finish this one:

Me too!



Dude, I wish you had time to finish that one as well. I'd buy two!


you make it and i'll buy one & wear it around my neck every day at work - held by a bungee lanyard so i can hold it far enough away to read.


you make it and i'll buy one & wear it around my neck every day at work - held by a bungee lanyard so i can hold it far enough away to read.

With work, the video blog, other higher priority projects, and a bunch of other everyday stuff, I doubt I'll ever get time to even work on it again, let alone finish it.

It's a shame really, as in theory it just requires the firmware and the back panel (that holds the batteries in place) and it's complete. That's assuming the capacitive touch sensor keypad works as expected, that's the big unknown. The LCD should of course work, and the micro SD card is just an SD card.

The hardware just sits there, I haven't even got Hello World on the LCD yet!

It really needs someone to take over the firmware I think.


Edited: 25 June 2010, 9:39 p.m.


I'd offer but I'm flat out at my new job and don't get much time to do anything out of hours :-(

- Pauli



I enjoy your video blogs, but take some time off from them and do this project. It will give you even more to blog about!



I'm a bit late in responding to this one, but seeing as I made a comment in the 32Sii thread, here goes ...

For me it's [3] - nice but not really essential. I recently wrote an article for a local engineering newsletter along these thoughts - not so long ago, no self respecting engineer would be caught without his trusty calculator by his side - his tool of the trade ... these days most things are done by computer. We carry around laptops, we have a computer at our desk, and the role of the powerful calculator seems to have diminished.

I find this fascinating. I used to feel 'incomplete' without a calculator (of course an HP!), but these days tend to rely on spreadsheets more than anything.

Before the reign of calculators there were slide rules (this was before my time, but my grandfather was in this generation).

For me, I still have the need to have a good quality calculator on-site, or in a meeting, or in a court room (I do some expert witness cases as an engineer), so having a trusty HP in my jacket pocket can be essential.
Cheers, Keith



Unless the uCALC goes into production, then I might reconsider and say 4.


A bit late, but I also vote "3".

I never put a calculator in my pocket, but the so-called pocket-size has some kind of "je ne sais quoi"/convenience factor to it that is not satisfied by the larger models.


Filthy thieving Bagginses!


I keep a 35s at work and my 11c, 42s, and 48sx at home. Being able to carry the 11c in my shirt pocket was always nice, but I don't like risking such a fine vintage machine for daily use :( Can HP please reissue a programmable scientific voyager?


Can HP please reissue a programmable scientific voyager?

You mean like a "15c+"? Shall we start that discussion again?


That would be nice. Work has traveling quite a bit at the moment, and once things settle down I plan to do some dissections and start discussing the manufacture of some new guts. Even if it won't fit in my pockets(es) I'd love to have free42 running in calculator hardware.

Forum Jump: