[WP-34S] HP Office Calculator Model WPM-007.



#27

With the current world class WP-34S team in place wouldn't it be great if HP got their act together and had the team build a future HP Office Calculator Model WPM-007 which combines the best of 34S together with the additional functionality of the 50G into a new box with a big Enter & slanted keys? And adding internet data download from say Yahoo and your own Excel via the SD WI-Fi data/comm card slot.

Does anyone at HP ever read this forum (like CEO Meg Whitman) and if so when would there be a better team in place and a better time than now to show a new invigorated HP?

If the right product comes out as the ultimate dream calculator (with those slanted keys!) I'd pay $300 on the spot. And they could have a scaled down student version as well and I would buy that one too for the kids. I literally got started in science and business from reading the HP-25 spiral book and I'd like to repeat that with the next generations. We don't need a K-12 victim's debate, we just need to give every school kid in America a WPM-007 including a spiral bound Manual by Walter!

Finally, science and business are now so integrated in their math needs that one does not need a science or separate business model but simply an HP Office Calculator Model WPM-007.

Chris


Edited: 22 May 2012, 11:21 p.m.


#28

Quote:
Does anyone at HP ever read this forum...

Chris, do you read this forum?

Please give credit to HP where credit is due. Without forethought and support from HP during the 30b production, the 34S platform would not exist.

I hope with their support no more slant-keyed calculators will exist, either.


#29

Allen,

I concur with your intentions. But quality of execution ... :-?

Quote:
Without forethought and support from HP during the 30b production, the 34S platform would not exist.

Should read "20b development" instead IMHO.
Quote:
I hope with their support no more slant-keyed calculators will exist, either.

I definively hope for more!
#30

Quote:
we just need to give every school kid in America a WPM-007 including a spiral bound Manual by Walter!

That's probably the last thing that every school kid in America needs. You make the mistake of thinking that something that you really like would be great for a whole different group of people. Most school kids haven't learned math yet. What they need--more than any calculator--are teachers who know how to effectively teach math, possibly assisted by devices that can actually help kids learn. The QAMA calculator, requiring a reasonable estimate for a problem before it gives the exact answer, might be such a device.

Experience has shown that use of regular calculators in the classroom actually prevents learning, it doesn't cause learning.

Edited: 23 May 2012, 6:32 a.m.


#31

Quote:

That's probably the last thing that every school kid in America needs. You make the mistake of thinking that something that you really like would be great for a whole different group of people. Most school kids haven't learned math yet. What they need--more than any calculator--are teachers who know how to effectively teach math, possibly assisted by devices that can actually help kids learn. The QAMA calculator, requiring a reasonable estimate for a problem before it gives the exact answer, might be such a device.

Experience has shown that use of regular calculators in the classroom actually prevents learning, it doesn't cause learning.


My hard-drinking father was too handsome and charming for his own good. He didn't finish high school and it seems that when he was channelling James Dean and making the moves on my mother when she was 16 he was, at 18, long out of school himself. He couldn't hold a job and when he died at the age of 35 from medical complications of drink he left my mother, sister, and I in big trouble financially.

But he was the one who taught me arithmetic, and since I was 8 when he died I must have been 6 or 7. This was beyond the Sesame Street counting to twenty and the like. No, it was dear old Dad, Canadian Club on his breath, scratchy chin close to me, who taught me how to do column sums and carries, three-digit multiplication, decimal numbers and how to keep track of the decimal point position when working with them, and long division. When I finally hit public school, the "drill and kill" repetitive approach to arithmetic wasn't the mindless rote learning that many teachers regard it today. It was an opportunity for refinement and mastery and a consolidation of numerical intuition. I learned to play my musical instruments by doing things over and over. And I learned my multiplication tables likewise. And, in time, I came to understand music and numbers more, not less.

My under-educated troubled father left a troubled legacy, but he gave me one gift that led to my life today--a love of number, which beget a love of learning in general, which beget a love of science, which beget a prestigious career that required a scientific grounding.

Nowadays, many a college-educated parent is baffled by his eight-year-old's math homework. Too many high-school students doom their future education and career choices by declaring that, because they want to be musicians or lawyers or actors or artists or dancers, they see no value to studying math after grade nine. And obnoxiously too many people actually boast about their innumeracy, sporting it as a badge of hipster honour. When I was in university this sort of cheek got my goat. As a science student, I studied English and music too, not only because I enjoyed it but because such breadth of study was required for a science degree. I don't denigrate humanities education per se--I studied outside of the hard sciences a lot myself--but there are many folks out there with a BA in History whose undergraduate exposure to science was some watered down survey course free of all that scary math. If I can write an English literature research paper to the same standard as an English major, it wouldn't hurt for an English major to take a calculus course that actually involves DOING some calculus!

I read somewhere recently of an undergraduate physics professor who started out a problem on the blackboard that began with a sum of single digit numbers, and nearly every kid in the room reached for a calculator to compute the sum. But I can still multiply three digit numbers in my head.

Thanks, Dad.


Edited: 23 May 2012, 9:56 p.m.


#32

Les,

Thanks for sharing your private life with us. Your share gives an excellent perspective and I appreciate, in fact, I am honored to be allowed this special insight.

Chris


#33

Bah, that wasn't too private, by my standard. My point was to highlight generational differences, and to support Don in his lament that basic mathematics education is in a parlous state--due, I agree, at least in part to a non-reflective application too soon of technology intended to enhance the learning, not take the place of it.

I bet many people here reach for the 41CL or WP34S or 50G or 15C LE or even something more esoteric, like a 65 or 35 red-dot, several times a week just to use as a basic four-banger to check a sum or multiply big numbers. But I suspect that there isn't a single one of us who couldn't do such a task with pencil and paper if that was all we had. Regrettably, there are far too many children and youth and young and even early-middle-aged adults out there who are calculator-dependent for basic arithmetic, largely because not too long ago some mathematics educationists decreed that primary school arithmetic drills were arcane and that children should get gizmos in their eager hands to explore the wonder that is number to the exclusion of all of that abusive repetition and correction that gives us skills and mastery.

Older generations have wrongly lamented the decrepitude of younger generations since at least the days of Socrates--I leave it to someone else to Google the famous quote--but in the case of basic mathematical literacy, or numeracy, I really do think that a misguided paradigm shift in pedagogy and a thoughtless misapplication of technology have really done lots of people under the age of 40 a serious disservice. My father, lacking a completed basic education, was able teach his future-physician child how do to arithmetic with pencil and paper. Nowadays, highly educated white collar parents are baffled by third grade math homework, which is well-intentioned in concept and theory, but woefully deficient in fundamental skills. I am Canadian, and our public education system is in much better shape than in the US, and even we should be embarrassed for the way we manage mathematics education for all but the most motivated and so-called "gifted" students. If it's weak here, it must be a disaster in the US.

That all said, if we can keep your dream calculator out of primary schools, it could be a good thing in the right hands.


#34

Thanks Les. Everything you said is true.

Back when I was in junior high school in the early sixties, "fear of parental wrath" was a sufficient motivating factor to make most kids try to do reasonably well in school. I never liked math much. It was sort of like learning a foreign language, and I never liked Spanish class either, but we all had to take it. So most of us learned the basics well enough to keep our parents from whipping us.

In most middle- and upper-class families, that's still true today, and most kids still manage to learn the basics, sometimes in spite of the educational system. But a growing number of students don't get it, and some math teachers don't see the point of teaching, for example, memorizing multiplication facts. I see too many middle school students today who don't know their facts, and I fear for their future.

A large part of the problem, in my opinion, is the content of the state math standards. That dictates what teachers should teach. The people who write these standards apparently think it is more important for a kid to know all about a "box-and-whiskers plot" or a "stem-and-leaf plot," although a kid will never see either of these things once he leaves middle school. But public school teachers have to teach about them. Private school teachers like me, on the other hand, can teach the things we know that kids will have to know in life, like how to balance a checkbook or plan a household budget or handle credit cards responsibly, or simply add, subtract, multiply, and divide with pencil and paper. But some teachers either don't see this need or don't have time to teach it because the state-approved curriculum "rules."

It is frustrating, and we do the kids a disservice. I used to think I could change the world through my teaching. Now I just try to instill a love and appreciation of number to the few kids who sit in my class.

#35


#36

Tim, in my first-year of medical school the biochemistry teacher, who was a PhD research biochemist and not a physician, acknowledged this issue head on and without apology. He owned that most of us would at some point find ourselves in clinical work for which intricate knowledge of the citric acid cycle, gluconeogenesis, and DNA transcription would not be a prominent daily fixture. But he still insisted that we learn his material and learn it well, even if the finer details would fade from immediate awareness almost immediately after the last paper was written. For this instructor, responding to a tough learning challenge and mastering it for its own sake was reason enough, the very essence of any professional person's self-directed learning process, and a lesson in life itself. I have four university degrees and am working on a fifth one, which likely won't be my last. I can honestly say that little of that journey is immediately and practically relevant to what I do for a living--heck, I could've slept through most of medical school and still be perfectly competent in my specialty. However, not a single course taken or book read or paper written or exam sat has ever been irrelevant to my life.

Too many proud innumerates, like the character in the cartoon, often view the maths as tools that need to prove their worth, as opposed to languages of intrinsic value. I don't know if that is the failing of educators, students, society, or all of the above. But I do know that there are lots of people out there who haven't a clue how the interest is computed on their credit card statements, and that is ignorance with some dire consequences. Sometimes, you really do need to know how to solve for x.


#37

That's an old saying here, boiling it all down: "In school, you shall learn how to learn."

#38

Yes, there are.

However, I doubt the CEO knows HP sells calculators.

TW

--

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the comments I express here are my own.

Edited: 23 May 2012, 10:24 a.m.


#39

At least you seem pretty confident the CEO doesn't read this forum ;)


#40

I can just feel someone making an account right now named "mwhitman01" or something and going to post a reply under here... :-)

TW


#41

Unbelievable ;->

#42

what? ex-CEO of ebay is not aware HP sells calculators? ;-)

#43

Sure, HP's Compaq deal, Palm & an otherwise superior WebOS but in front of the Apple design train, pre-texting, reducing R&D and so on may not have been the most brilliant decisions in world business history, but neither appears Cook's transition from Apple to JCP where he may have allowed himself to apply Apple's "Giffen Goods" theory to JCP's near cotton price commodity environment. So no one is perfect, but some of these negative thinkers in our Forum add just what to the equation?

Obviously I don't know how these boards operate. But I do know that millions of people like myself learned an incredible amount from the HP calculator manuals. Take the HP-25 book (on the two HP Museum DVDs) and look at the math, business, numerical analysis, and so on. I literally formed my business and science career ideas therefrom and later my HP-67 Application Pack's manuals launched several small college dorm type businesses (while studying science I needed the money to finance my studies) from which I learned a lot more (of mostly how not to do business), as well as science like numerical integration and differention not to forget probability functions.

I remember the HP-41 printing out at intervals all night on the thermal printer my Newton-Rhapson tangential solutions (copied from my HP-25) to my Gamma function description of human behavior, to my loan and IRR/NPV calculation to my fellow students as I walked around campus lending $100 to students and printing out the cashflows & contract on my HP-41 IL printer and cassette data storage in my small wooden attache case, primarily so I could show off my HPs.

Fast forward nearly 30 years to when the HP-30b brought out the Black-Scholes differential equation for options trading and it literally taught me about their Nobel prize formula. Last month my single largest income has come directly from the HP-30b. And in my science career using the probability distributions helped me understand through Monte Carlo simulation how Richard Feynman explained radiation as a result of chaos (and leading to the super precise atomic clock). The manuals also taught me how math is universally used, like Euler's constant "e" is used not only in biological growth rates but also as continuous compounding of interests.

My point being that the manuals were treasure troves which led to the sales of the calculators, not the other way around.

Thus, in my opinion, HP is sitting on a treasure trove of old manual material which through modern adaptation could turn into an outstanding sales enhancer. Imagine a simple gedanken experiment that HP put a new slanted keyboard on the aged 50G and made it available for free and exclusively to their high end Spectre ultrabook customers. Although I already have the HP Folio ultrabook I would buy their Spectre immediately just to get my hands on the new 50G Slant.

Their manuals would also be an image booster ("HP Is Back...") as it connects HP with "Green", Education, Science, and Business all in one to a world wide customer base.

What the heck HP is waiting for beats me. And I don't understand all of that negativity in some of these threads in this Forum. The world is full of opportunities and a positive can-do attitude does work. America is still the world's best place - use your advantage instead of whining.

Chris


#44

I am so left-wing in my politics and attitudes toward business and economics that I consider Marx a little too close to Reagan for my liking, so maybe I am not the best one to comment on glories of American ingenuity and unfettered laissez-faire capitalism. But I'll give it ago. I think this issue has been discussed to death here. And despite all of the snarking at Ms. Whitman, I really do think that HP has, in the interest of the the very best that capitalism has to offer (making shareholders as rich as possible) done its analyses and concluded that the small and devoted niche market that congregates around fora like this just isn't worth their bother from a bottom line perspective. I think the calculator division is a shadow of its former self, which is kept barely alive and often neglected out of nostalgia rather than good business sense.

You are preaching to the choir, Chris, really. But I do find it ironic that the HP Calculator Division is fading not despite a lack American capitalistic ingenuity, but because of it. It just doesn't make enough money. I may be a long-haired Canadian pinko who would rather camp out at Wall Street than work there, but even I know that corporations exist to make their rich shareholders richer. Nothing would make me happier than to see HP run as a sustainable egalitarian collective where the front-line worker was given the strongest voice in the what and hows of production. We would stand a better chance of getting the products of our dreams--and affordably, too, since the non-productive shareholder class would be gone, making excessive profits irrelevant. But even this Utopian idealist isn't quite that deluded.

I, for one, am not whining, but am grateful for what we have. All of it--the WP34S, the 41CL, the Clonix family, the many emulators and simulators out there, PIL-Box, MLDL, etc.--flow from passion and ingenuity. This specialized work makes plenty of us around here very happy. None of it is making anybody rich.

I wonder how many great ideas have withered away on the cruel altar of the bottom line?


#45

Les,

If the market does not purchase enough units of a product to pay for its production why should you continue? If the old HP calculators were sold today with their prices adjusted for inflation you would be paying $2,000 for your 41.

So the reason I suggested HP market a new unit was not to do so as a stand alone, but as an add-on to another high priced product. The production costs would be much lower today than 30 years ago so I still think there is a market for calculators. Let's remember that the market is going away from desktop computers back to mobile so the idea of a modern version concept of say an HP-67 and the 97 with mobile printing is ripe for a comeback.

The 34S team is possibly the vehicle to promote that since most of the work has already been done. There is possibly, but I am not enlightened enough about any copyrights, the option that another company could produce these units if HP doesn't want to. It wouldn't be the same with a non HP, but that is an emotional derivative of mine.

I do appreciate reading about your opinions and some of what you say is true. However, personally I do not belong to any group or predefined notion concept but I try to allow myself to live without prejudice and fully independent of other people's judments. I thus do not approach other poeople with hate or love, but with observation trying to understand why they are where they are. Likewise, capitalism may kill the calculator, but somehow it must have been observed by people like yourself that the alternative to capitalism has produced just what and where? Show me a better way that does indeed work in reality? Proof - not dogma being the operative.

Chris

Edited: 24 May 2012, 10:43 a.m.


#46

Just a few thoughts and my opinion only. The slide rule was replaced by the electronic slide rule. The purpose of the device did not change. The form factor changed along with the capabilities. In the past five or six years the mobile smartphone and tablet have been a form factor change that have swallowed several devices at once. The electronic calculator being one of them. Even my brother in law the CPA told me a couple of weeks ago he hasn't used a hand held calculator in years. The last time i saw him with his hp-12c was 2003. The wp34s is a sign that the times have changed. When it is up to a group of enthusiasts to keep a form factor alive that means to me the rest of the world has moved on. This also includes the younger generation. You can't appeal to them with a 30 year old form factor. The only thing they want to know is where they can get the app. When i hear statements about new hand helds with printers i cringe. The younger generation wouldn't be caught dead with something like that so expecting a major manufacturer with a market research department to build such a device is not likely. Last month i watched some videos from the hhc 2010 conference (IIRC) there was a discussion about the market for calculators. I do not say this to demean the person but just to illustrate a point. The person leading the discussion had a huge leather case on their belt for a calculator. If this is the kind of thinking that is going on in the industry it's not going to get far. The developement of calculator firmware for use in an app coupled with a wi-fi or bluetooth input/ output is the way to go. You could also couple the firmware with a dedicated device for I/O such as the i-rig devices for musical instruments. There are untold years of experience in software,math and practical application here in this forum. How about as a legacy for the younger generation a calculator app that reflects the years of experience by a generation that saw the whole life cycle of hand held calculators.


#47

Quote:
The wp34s is a sign that the times have changed. When it is up to a group of enthusiasts to keep a form factor alive that means to me the rest of the world has moved on.

As much as I like the wp34s, the IR printing and most of the other projects and devices created and discussed by people on this forum, I completely agree with you. Aside from being a relatively inexpensive teaching tool the calculator form factor is near death, the 12C is probably the last holdout in the real world. (Indeed I saw a recent ad for something real estate related and in the accompanying picture they showed someone with a 12C -- it's come to symbolize real estate.)

#48

Ethan,

I can only speak from my own experience. But doing say matrix calculations (I do things like Poynting in electro magnetic theory ExB vectors) on my 50G and this can only be done with a good keyboard like the HPs. I can easily change one element and immediately recalculate. Further, the topic specific software is somewhat exclusive to the HPs.

As an actual user of calculators in my daily business endeavors I can tell you that moving around the office all the time and between floors the calculator in the right hands is unbeatable.

Before I get my tablet or ultraboook started up and moved around I lost track perhaps. The printout on board may not be to your liking possibly because you do not have any need for it but having a track record on paper sometimes makes excellent sense in business where you hand off tasks continuously; and sitting in an airplane it makes sense to me as well.

Now, from theory (based upon what data?) you may have a point but from my daily use of calculators in business they come in very handy because they are so specifically designed for that. Just the same way GPS designed specific devices still beat generic tablet or phone devices for serious tasks like piloting an airplane.

Conclusively, I use the HP calculators simply because they are productive. I use the WP-34S in my daily work as I can simply input the function parameters, say an average and variance, and have the distribution give me the probability levels based upon my input. And I instantly simulate a variety of outcomes via a quick inverse distribution Monte Carlo run and view 100 data points to see how the future likely will look. In other words I base my decision making process on stochastics not upon a deterministic view. And a printout right there of the various inputs would be very nice. For example, the Black-Scholes equation depends upon many varibles which affect the instrument pricing. Dealing with 10 or 20 deals simultaneously is not possible to effectively display on a one line alpha screen - that would require 50 or 60 scrolls. But a paper strip for quick decision making will do the job on the fly.

It does seem that we all have different opinions based upon where we come from. I can only speak not as a hobbyist alone, but as an actual working person. Sometimes reality versus theory are two very different entry points. But in my business the money trail leads right into my pocket where I proudly extract my WP-34S and more often than not outsmart my soooo uninformed competition.

In my world knowledge is still King!

Chris


#49

While my theory is unscientific it is based on personal experience and posts from others here. While employed at a research lab all the engineers i knew pretty much operated from a laptop or desktop. The only people who carried or used calculators were the techs. There were still slide rules in the lab and one or two engineers who used them. They were always respected for that ability but no one was trying to save the slide rule. Back when the 15c LE came out some people mentioned showing them to the wives and children and i believe the reaction was one of derision. There is still a place in the world for calculators and rolls of printer paper. Just not near enough demand to justify a profuction run. While you have made those devices work for you it is a unique situation. College students of my father's generation went to school with a slide rule. My generation went with calculators. The one after us went with laptops. It's my guess that the generation after them will go with a smartphone or tablet with data storage being in the cloud. Will there be exceptions? Of course the mainstream will not encompass everyone and there will be people who can handle information and computations in other ways.


#50

Ethan,

Thanks for your thoughts.

Your observations are fully correct. But the way mobile is coming back into focus and the world's customer base increasing exponentially, there will be users who need numeric keyboard data in a quick succession. And in a pocket form factor. Obviously stationary office workers like you mention would not be well served but with the connectivity built-in to the web and so on, many mobile users would benefit. And developing countries would love the cost savings of a small form factor.

Example:

Let's say HP's Meg Whitman decided to produce a Win 8 smart phone color HD and it had a slanted keyboard and the functionality of a combined 34S and 50G, and a form factor of the 48, I'd go for it instantly even at $600 cash! India, China, Africa, Russia, and Europe would embrace the efficiency (plus solar cells on the back), not just the US.

Chris

PS: I forgot to mention that daily as I work with Excel and statistical and monte carlo add-ins I find myself frequently seeking answers in my 34S and putting that back into my Excel PC simulations.


#51

I have enjoyed the dialogue over this subject. Will HP step up with a mobile device? Only time will tell. Maybe in the future you will be able to have all the features and options you mentioned thru the cloud. You will be able to display the keyboard of your choosing to accommodate the task at hand. One can always dream. In my mind i think it will take a group of people like what we have in this forum to start a company to produce the devices we want. Anyone got an empty garage?


#52

Ethan,

Thanks, I have enjoyed our dialogue as well.

And you are right it may take a small venture capital, LLC. to do a production, a thought I have already toiled with.

Later ....

Chris


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