I/O vs. Input only



#19

It's my understanding that various exam requirements affect calculator design and that exam administrators are more concerned with what you can bring OUT of an exam than with what you can bring INTO it. In other words, they're worried that you will record the test answers and sell them.

So the other day, I started thinking about a calculator that had I/O (lets say USB) but you could only transfer data INTO the calculator. For me, this would be acceptable. My main use for I/O on my 50g is to transfer programs into the calculator. I do most of my development on a PC with an emulator. Any programs I develop directly on the calculator are small enough that I can copy them onto the PC by hand.

Obviously there are drawbacks, but think of something like the 35s. With 32k of memory, it can hold large programs, but keying them in by hand is a real chore. Would you buy a machine like this with Input, but no Output? Do you use the output capabilities of a calculator? How?

Dave


#20

My first two ideas:

- print

- use calculator for data collecting (and export to computer)

- backup your programs/data (ever ran out of backup battery power?)



OK, three ideas, and there are certainly more. No way I would ever accept such a crippled calculator. (Not that I would need one, but still...)


#21

Quote:
- backup your programs/data (ever ran out of backup battery power?)


I agree that it's important to have backup copies of your programs, but if you do the development on a PC, then the backup is there. Of course this assumes that you do the development on a PC.

Data is another story of course.

My point is that a calculator with input only would still be acceptable on a test and it would be much better than a calculator with no I/O at all.


#22

It's pretty helpful to have diagrams and formulas pre-programmed - trust me ;)


I'm not sure which test you are targeting, but in school and at university, the range of topics is limited (at least here in Germany), so you could gain lots of time by not having to program your calc during the test.
So the best solution would be not to allow programmable calculators.


#23

Typically the tests HP (and others) are targeting are the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying licensing tests in the U.S., where only specific calculator models are allowed (all with no I/O).

Apparently the exam preparers do not want to be continually coming up with new questions, so they are right particular about guarding the content of the exams.

Believe it or not, there have been actual cases where someone was paid to sign up for the exam, for the express purpose of trying to steal exam questions.


#24

It has been discussed here several times: this way of dealing with scientific calculators focussed on one country only ignores 95% of the world.

Maybe it's possible to have a full "international" version with I/O and OTOH a crippled with a waterproof orange housing for the "home market"? Based on the price policy experienced in 3 decades I'm very confident the market will tell pretty fast where the profit is.


#25

Yes, I also suggested different versions of the same calculator - the the I/O version would have universal appeal - but some way to prevent faking the I/O version as the exam version would be necessary - such as your suggestion of a different color case.

#26

Hello!

Quote:
- print

Is printing from a pocket calculator really required by anybody these days? I can't remember seeing a calculator printout for at least twenty years...

But I still like the idea of Ti, where you can send your "printouts" to a PC via the "Ti connect" software and include them in documents/reports if required. Of course, this feature still requires the calulator to output data in some way.

Greetings, max


#27

Quote:
Is printing from a pocket calculator really required by anybody these days? I can't remember seeing a calculator printout for at least twenty years...

Yes, for the very reasons discussed here - preserving your hard work. Once I get through writing a Solver routine of any complexity on my 27s, I print a hard copy with the infrared printer.

Also, I have a 48sx program where you enter geometric data via a matrix. Useful to print the graphic to check input.

#28

Quote:
Obviously there are drawbacks, but think of something like the 35s. With 32k of memory, it can hold large programs, but keying them in by hand is a real chore. Would you buy a machine like this with Input, but no Output?

Yes, I think this is a good idea. HP could even make two identical calculator models, one with I/O, the other I only, and give them different model numbers so the test proctors could easily distinguish... no, that would not work, since someone could just change out the top covers.
#29

Does not work for me. While I do develop on a computer (with those calculators that support this) I will often tweak a program and play around with changes on the calculator. Not being able to get those changes (sometimes significant) back to the computer would be a deal breaker for me.

#30

Seems to me that I/O isn't really the issue here. Instead, it appears that what you are looking for is a calculator with all of what you need already pre-programmed. But then... this is merely a calculator designed with the specific goal of being used (for example) the professional exams. And such calculators would be severely crippled to someone who needs a "normal" calculator. And even those who do will likely move on to something else once they are done with their exams.

If you think of the problem in this way, I think you will find yourself more willing to agree that no such company would make such a calculator.


#31

Quote:
... it appears that what you are looking for is a calculator with all of what you need already pre-programmed... I think you will find yourself more willing to agree that no such company would make such a calculator.

No, but third party suppliers will take a 35s and do the work for you.

See this, or this.

#32

I do the opposite. I prefer writing programs on a calculator. Why? For all the reasons I normally prefer a calculator -- I can do it anywhere, it's easier to enter stuff (you have a real physical keyboard, etc.)

But if I have a complicated program, I might, after writing it on a calculator, transfer it to a computer and run it on an emulator, to get the speed advantage.

So personally I wouldn't be too interested in this.

#33

Quote:
It's my understanding that various exam requirements affect calculator design ...

I think the exam boards need to wake up. If someone wants to cheat they will find a way. Want to steal a test, install a small camera in any calculator, should be easy. Or go low tech and have your buddy pull the fire alarm.

The real solution would be to put the test on a computer and the computer would have all the tools that you need. Microsoft did this nearly 20 years ago for MS certification. It seems trivial to adopt.

Quote:
So the other day, I started thinking about a calculator that had I/O (lets say USB) but you could only transfer data INTO the calculator.

I would need both. I prefer computer -> calculator and do that with my 71, 41. For my 48/50 I find RPL faster on the calculator, mostly because I do not know how to program it from vi. Clearly for C its compute -> calc.

But I do not want I/O just for backup/restore and program load. I also want programmable I/O. That is where the fun is (e.g. turning my 41 into a TV remote). I wish HPGCC had libraries for the serial, USB, and IR ports.


#34

I have two 35S and I just have them put away. It's too frustrating in this day and age to type in so much lines of programs. I am sure, a mini sd card reader could be somehow integrated into the 35S. It is a nice calculator, but when your programs go down, it's frustrating. In fact, I loved my 42S more than any other calc. , but my love soon went out the window, when three times in two weeks, I saw those dreaded words "memory loss".


#35

I agree with you at a min any programmable device should have some way to backup/restore. I've also put my 35s away and my 42S that looks mint has an issue when I apply pressure to one of the corners and it loses memory. Also the contrast is an issue. That all said I cannot seem to keep my 30b off my desk. I really want to hate it, but can't. I think its because I don't expect to program on it, and it's smaller than the 35s, and its missing the shiny metal cover so it looks like a geek tool. And, it is a great calculator. It's not quite a scientific calculator, but it has enough math functions to meet all my general needs. They should have called it the 30bs. :-)

Edited: 4 Oct 2010, 4:53 p.m.

#36

Quote:
I think the exam boards need to wake up.

Just for fun sometime, read the rants here.

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