15c LE thoughts



#22

I seldom see people in this forum complain about HP 15c (not LE). Now I got my 15c LE, and I try to figure out why people like the original 15c so much. A product of 30 years old, I can feel how great it was when it was first launched: elegant, beautiful, all the necessary functions fit in a pocket, and the positive key-click feel. The best technology and quality of the time. It is like when you look back at the iphone 30 years later (sorry for those of you that are anti-iphoner). Nonetheless, it is a 30-year old product, and technology has much advanced. I consider programming the HP 15c LE quite un-userfriendly, especially when I am debugging, due to the fact that I cannot see the function. I have to slowly decipher each programme line into the corresponding function, and write it down on a paper, before I can understand and debug the programme. It makes me uninterested in writing programme on my 15c LE. For the same reason, I cannot see the actual equation when I use HP solve. Not good. Other than that, it was a nice calculator.
And the 15c LE manual. I think, for the price it charges, the manual should at least have two colours, preferrably three (black, blue, orange to match the colour of the calculator). Slight disappointed.
kc


#23

I could say the same thing about my wife. More than 30 years old; not very friendly, when I try to program any type of useful behavior; could never debug a single thing; and never, ever, do I get to see the full equation I'm trying to solve. Lousy instruction manual, BTW.
Come on... Are you really trying to rationalize love? ;-)

Paulo

Edited: 16 Oct 2011, 6:20 a.m.


#24

Women seem to be fuzzy logic devices, so the RPN approach has to fail.


#25

:-)

#26

Quote:
I consider programming the HP 15c LE quite un-userfriendly, especially when I am debugging, due to the fact that I cannot see the function. I have to slowly decipher each programme line into the corresponding function, and write it down on a paper, before I can understand and debug the programme. It makes me uninterested in writing programme on my 15c LE. For the same reason, I cannot see the actual equation when I use HP solve. Not good. Other than that, it was a nice calculator.
And the 15c LE manual. I think, for the price it charges, the manual should at least have two colours, preferrably three (black, blue, orange to match the colour of the calculator). Slight disappointed.
kc

Either the classic or modern HP-15C doesn't have I/O and sound capabilities and the function of entering, displaying and storing full alphabets and special symbols. In some places of the planet such as Hong Kong, only this kind of calculators is allowed in public exams or some universities.

However, the calculator is so powerful that users tend to live with this 'non-userfriendliness'.

Edited: 16 Oct 2011, 9:17 a.m.

#27

Yes, it's 30 year old technology. What were you expecting? The folks who love it, and who have been clamoring for its return, have 30-40 year careers behind them. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

It's still a great calculator.


#28

Yes, still a great calculator. That's why people in this forum often ask for an upgrade of existing great HP calculators e.g. 43s, instead of creating new ones. The fact that the majority of folks here hate the design of 33s is also a solid example of how they treasure the old ones and have strong reservation to new designs. ( No negative meaning)
kc


#29

Quote:
Yes, still a great calculator. That's why people in this forum often ask for an upgrade of existing great HP calculators e.g. 43s, instead of creating new ones. The fact that the majority of folks here hate the design of 33s is also a solid example of how they treasure the old ones and have strong reservation to new designs. ( No negative meaning)
kc

The idea of HP-43S is great! I don't know why I didn't buy HP-42S when it was still in production. :(

HP-33S and HP-35S are crap, however.

#30

I believe anyone's impression of the HP 15c/15c LE (or any calculator) depends largely on its intended use. If the 15c is to be used only for routine programs then I agree it can be a pain to use. However, if one's calculation or programming needs require, for example, matrices with complex elements, or contour integrals (integrating a complex function between complex limits) or ill-conditioned matrices requiring the extreme floating-point precision provided in the 15c due to the work of William Kahan, a world-class numerical analyst, then one's appreciation for the HP15c grows immensely (see the HP-15c Advanced Functions Handbook). While we have all heard the cliche that one turns to a computer, not a calculator, for advanced calculations, the reality is that the syntax learning curve for the above advanced calculations is much less for the 15c than for most software, the 15c fits in a shirt pocket and doesn't have to boot-up to use.

Regards,
Carey


#31

Agreed. I'm a computer engineer who primarily works with digital logic. 90% of the work I do is done on computers. However, I still keep a calculator (Usually my 32s) with me, and frequently still use paper for sketching out rough ideas. Sure, I could launch MATLAB or deal with a bunch of mouse-clicking (and algebraic mode) to use the Windows/Mac OS X/Linux/whatever calculator application, but most of the time it's quicker and easier to pull out my calculator because it's ready to go as soon as I hit the on button.

Also, random fun fact: While the Macintosh OS has featured an algebraic-only calculator since the beginning, the Apple Lisa's calculator application had an RPN mode complete with a 4 level stack named X,Y,Z, and T... could it have had something to do with several ex-HP engineers working on that project?


#32

Quote:
While the Macintosh OS has featured an algebraic-only calculator since the beginning, ...

Have you ever tried to switch it to RPN? Try CMD-R or the View menu! :-)

#33

Yes, this is my favorite feature of the MacOSX calc :-) But still I prefer a standalone physical calc beside my computer - less context switches...

#34

I think it is different to the iPhone analogy. Many users of the original 15C still have and use it regularly. There has been a lot of debate in this forum whether or not it is "the best" HP ever made, but the fact remains that it is immensely popular - it is compact and a useful shape for desktop use and it fits neatly in a pocket. Nothing has been released from HP that compared to this calculator in terms of form-factor and function - sure there have been many comparable models (more powerful, etc), but engineers are a funny breed and like familiarity and certainty. We learn how to do something and (generally) stick to it. Most younger engineers haven't had such a dependency on a handheld, but have relied on computers (Excell, etc) - the place of a calculator to this generation is more of a backup computing device.

The 12C has had a similar experience for accountants, managers, etc, but managed to stay in production over the last 30 years - HP tried to change it, but were forced by consumers to keep production running - engineers and scientists didn't have the same power over HP.

I was VERY excited about the re-release of the 15C - i've got it now and it is truly wonderful. Much faster than the original, but there is something 'cheap' about it. It has the mass produced feel that all of the modern HP's have. I just bought a 'new in box' 1986 15C and it is even more wonderful!! It is seriously like new (even the smell) - the quality is much better than the original, has a better keyboard and the delay makes you feel like it is really thinking about what you have asked it to calculate - the fact that it is umpteen times slower then the LE really doesn't make much difference to the vast majority of your calculations.

So, whilst you can argue that it is outdated technology, really when you compare it to a modern scientific calculator - you basically need the same functions, you need some sort of keyboard, you need RPL (yes you really do!), so the 15C still fits the bill. Probably the only thing you don't have is an interface between the calculator and a computer or transferable storage.

Cheers, Keith


#35

I can't understand why some people like the original 15C keyboard so much. Even when first buying one in the eighties I was struck by how different the keyboard felt to other HP calculators at the time. No positive feel to the keypress, and the enter key had an especially poor feel. I'll admit the keyboard worked in practice and lasted well over the years with no problems but I never liked it although loving the calculator as a whole. So I was really pleased to find the positive click on the LE. Whether keyboard build quality is worse with the LE is another matter - the current problems don't bode well, but as to the feel, I remain puzzled why some people think it worse, even when seemingly admiring other early HP keyboards with a much more postive feel ? Explanations welcomed !

Edited: 17 Oct 2011, 6:51 a.m.


#36

There does seem to be a lot of differing opinions when comparing the LE to the original. I can't compare, since I've never owned an original, and haven't even touched an 11c in 15 years or so.

Nevertheless, I have been very impressed with the build quality and keypad behavior of my LE.


#37

Quote:
Nevertheless, I have been very impressed with the build quality and keypad behavior of my LE.

That, given your LE doesn't have bad key/s as 12% of us do.

And HP keeps being silent about their findings...


#38

I heard something interesting yesterday from Bach. Last month I ordered 2 from them. Early this month I called and was told that their next shipment should arrive on the 11th and that the calculators would ship right after that. Well that date came and went so I called again yesterday. I was told that HP recalled the calculators for a quality issue so that has delayed things. I asked the lady on the phone if she knew what the problem was and she said that it had something to do with the keyboard.

To be honest I am not in a huge hurry and would rather wait a bit to get a calculator that is fully checked and has a good keyboard.


#39

My mama always said that "patience is a virtue" and this has proven true many times over.


#40

Totally agree on the patience thing. Have plenty of other HP calcs to play with while I'm waiting. Wondering if those who stocked up on the new LE models to resell at huge markups will have the conscience to send their units back for exchange (assuming the keyboards are affected). Seems unlikely. Still waiting ...


#41

Quote:
Wondering if those who stocked up on the new LE models to resell at huge markups will have the conscience to send their units back for exchange (assuming the keyboards are affected). Seems unlikely.
Why unpacking them in the first place? ;-)

I assume TAS to work as a filter. The more often things got recycled through it, the fewer good items are on sale.


#42

I "stocked up" not so much for reselling although that may happen. I just wanted a good chance at getting one as soon as possible. Also wanted a good chance at receiving at least one good unit. Turns out they are all perfect minus the PSE bug and if reflashing is ever offered they will be done one at a time so i always have one to use and one as a backup.


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