HP-41CV layout vs Voyager's, 35s



#2

Learned RPN on a 12C, and got pretty quick, and used to the layout.
I picked up a 41CV on eBay a while back because I wanted some additional features, but it's a little weird to get used to having the -, +, *, and / keys on the left instead of the right, and in different order.

I know I could redefine the keyboard, but just wondering, does anyone know why those keys are on the left on the 41C series, and in a different order, whereas on the Voyager's and on the 35s they're on the right column, and are in the order /, *, -, +?


#3

Hi.

(edited to add this) After answering I saw this picture and could not help noticing it mixes both the left-side arithmetic keyboard with the /, *, -, + scheme.

I would never tell you for sure, mostly because I consider it is a design solution/conclusion. I always wondered why the numbers in telephone keyboards also have a different arrangement when compared to calculators, and calculators match computer keypads.

But I'd go for 'precedence' when trying to figure out the calculators keyboards. IIRC, after the HP71 the /, *, -, + keyboard scheme placed at the right side was followed. Back to the HP35 first version till the HP41 we find the earlier -, +, *, / keyboard scheme to the left side.

This is what I could sense, chances are ergonomic reasons may occur.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 16 Sept 2012, 4:45 p.m.

#4

Quote:
...it's a little weird to get used to having the -, +, *, and / keys on the left instead of the right, and in different order.

Until the 1981 Voyagers (like your HP-12C), every HP handheld since the original 1972 HP-35 (including the HP-41C) properly arranged the ENTER key above the - + X / keys, all of them on the left side of the keyboard. The Voyager design upset this classic arrangement due to its unfortunate landscape layout. Its four-key-maximum vertical dimension left no space for ENTER where it should always be...above the four arithmetic keys. With respect to key order, I doubt that any thoughtful analysis led to the alteration the order of the arithmetic keys...it was most likely purely arbitrary, something that seemed OK to do while the classic arrangement was being perverted for landscape layout.

The use of the ENTER key is intimately associated with the use of the arithmetic keys. It was foolish and incompetent human factor design that machines after the Voyagers continued to separate ENTER from above the arithmetic key column. Since the HP 49G-series, HP has partially corrected the design error by returning ENTER to the arithmetic key column...but unfortunately at the bottom, not the top.

The side that ENTER and the arithmetic keys are on doesn't matter. The order of the arithmetic keys doesn't matter. What does matter is that ENTER and the arithmetic keys are always in the same column.

It is the HP-12C that has the aberrant pattern...not the HP-41CV.

Edited: 16 Sept 2012, 10:36 p.m.


#5

Quote:
unfortunate landscape layout

Hey, just because you don't like the landscape format, does not make it 'unfortunate' ;-), there are many of us that actually like the landscape format :-).


Quote:
With respect to key order, I doubt that any thoughtful analysis led to the alteration the order of the arithmetic keys...it was most likely purely arbitrary, something that seemed OK to do while the classic arrangement was being perverted for landscape layout.

I doubt that it was arbitrary, one reason being that if the arithmetic keys were on the left of the numerical keys, the finger would have to jump over them everytime ENTER was to be pressed, now the finger moves one column left of the numerics for ENTER and one clumn right for an arithmetic operator.

What was perhaps unfortunate is that HP kept the arithmetic operator keys on the left (Edit2: this is supposed to be right) when returning to the landscape format. Perhaps the voyager series were a ploy by HP to move the arithmetic operator keys to right like most other claculators.

My 2p worth.

Edit: I think you are right that the ENTER would be better in the same column above the arithmetic operator keys. Perhaps HP had considered this with the clamshell & pioneer series, but the idea of "put the ENTER key where people expect it (before the voyager)" won the day.


Edited: 17 Sept 2012, 6:07 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#6

Quote:
Hey, just because you don't like the landscape format, does not make it 'unfortunate' ;-), there are many of us that actually like the landscape format :-)

I know, Bart. It's just part of my trademark and duties as a landscape layout curmudgeon. I'm not one to back away from beating a dead horse! :-)

I like the HP-15C, I just don't like its layout, which makes it a handsheld calculator rather than a handheld calculator. IMHO the Voyagers are the last attractively-styled calculators that HP has made.

Quote:
I doubt that it was arbitrary, one reason being that if the arithmetic keys were on the left of the numerical keys, the finger would have to jump over them everytime ENTER was to be pressed

I have no issue with Voyager key arrangement. What I was characterizing as an arbitrary decision was not which side the arithmetic keys were located, but rather the new order chosen for the arithmetic keys in the column: / X - + versus the classic - + X /.

Quote:
What was perhaps unfortunate is that HP kept the arithmetic operator keys on the left when returning to the landscape format.

I'm confused here. The Voyagers swapped the arithmetic keys to the right, which I think was correct if the machine just had to be landscape. What I think was unfortunate is that HP kept the arithmetic keys on the right after returning to portrait layout following the Voyager experiment. The arithmetic keys should have been either returned to the left side under the ENTER key, or the ENTER key should have been moved to the right, there once again above the arithmetic keys. Though non-traditional, I think the right-side layout is probably a better human factors layout than the classic left-side arrangement.

Quote:
My 2p worth.

Old pence (still circulating when the HP-35 was introduced) or new?


Edited: 17 Sept 2012, 5:52 p.m.


#7

Quote:
Quote:
What was perhaps unfortunate is that HP kept the arithmetic operator keys on the left when returning to the landscape format.

I'm confused here. The Voyagers swapped the arithmetic keys to the right, which I think was correct if the machine just had to be landscape. What I think was unfortunate is that HP kept the arithmetic keys on the right after returning to portrait layout following the Voyager experiment. The arithmetic keys should have been either returned to the left side under the ENTER key, or the ENTER key should have been moved to the right, there once again above the arithmetic keys. Though non-traditional, I think the right-side layout is probably a better human factors layout than the classic left-side arrangement.

Sorry, I don't seem to know my left from my right :( see edit in my previous post.

Hmmm, I don't think I have any old pence ;-), so it must be new.
#8

I cannot understand what makes this design "unfortunate". The golden ratio aspect, combined with the keyboard layout make it possible to use the Voyager models one and two handed.

The positioning of the enter key clearly separates number entry from arithmetic operations, which prevent errorneous keypresses. That's what makes the HP15c my favorite tool for day to day work.

Edited: 17 Sept 2012, 5:17 a.m.

#9

Quote:
[...] it's a little weird to get used to having the -, +, *, and / keys on the left instead of the right [...]

There's a rationale to have the binary operators to the left (if you're right handed).

While you can blindly type numbers due to given visual feedback, one needs to actually look at the operator keys to not mess up the calculation. Most of the time, a number has been typed in before executing one of the operators, thereby shadowing the operator keys. It would be necessary to draw back your hand to see them.

Since the Voyagers, HP builds calculators for left handed users.


#10

Quote:
There's a rationale to have the binary operators to the left (if you're right handed).

I agree one hundred per cent. Most scientific calculator users are probably not touch typists (or the more-or-less equivalent: numerical data entry clerks), so we want to look at the keyboard to make sure we are pressing the correct key. And, since the majority of the population is right-handed (sorry, you lefties!), that means the basic arithmetic operators should be on the left (as in the HP35).

Then, I would argue that the + operator should be at the top of that stack - that is probably the key press I use the most. If you put the second most-used operation next, I think that would be multiply - but that does kinda make a mess of a "+ -" and "* /" mental grouping (i.e. I suspect we expect the complementary operators to be adjacent).

#11

Hi, folks.

I guess you are missing the HP71 as for the ENTER (END LINE) key and the arithmetic operators placement and order. The HP71 is dated 1979 and Voyagers are dated 1981. If you place a Voyager right over an HP71 you'll see the entire Voyager keyboard exactly matches (dimensions) the keyboard with black keys in the HP71. So, it did not start with the Voyagers, instead with the HP71.

Just look at it, please.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)


#12

Hi Luiz,

But is the HP-71B a calculator? So perhaps the voyagers were mini-HP71's or a calculator version of the 71? Indeed, all models in the voyager series are programmable.

Cheers,
Bart

Edit: If we are looking at items bigger than "pocket size" (although portable, the HP-71B was certainly not "pocket size"), then look at the HP-46 introduced in 1973: it has the vertical ENTER to the left of the numeric keys and the arithmetic operator keys to the right.

Edited: 17 Sept 2012, 9:08 a.m.


#13

Hello, Bart.

Quote:
But is the HP-71B a calculator?
A valid point, indeed.

The HP41 was classified as a computer - and the manuals after the halfnut series called it so - and yet it kept the calculator status.

I mentioned the HP71 because of the landscape and keyboard layout. The HP75 also has a landscape layout - probably the very first one - but its keyboard matches the typewriting machines with the known QWERTY distribution. And it has no key with a different format as the ENTER key. Both the HP71 and the HP75 are portable computers with one-line LCD display.

Because the Voyagers actually inherited the HP71 layout, I found important to mention it as the actual first one.

In fact, I consider that the I/O capabilities of the HP71 are limited when compared to the HP41. Although both may use the HPIL resources, the HP41 still offers I/O ports to control peripheral devices while the HP71 allows only RAM/ROM modules in its ports (AFAIK).

I'll stop my considerations here... HP71 users may not agree with that, and I'll not blame them.

In time: I agree with you, the HP71 is not pocket size - at least not for the pockets I've seen... - and the HP46 keyboard precedes all others, even though it is a printing, desktop calculator, not exactly portable...

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 17 Sept 2012, 10:39 a.m.


#14

Luiz, wasn't the HP71 introduced in 1984, after the Voyagers?


#15

Hi.

Yes, you are correct - oops!

I was all of this time taking the HP41C introduction year...

Sorry folks, I disrupted the time continuum...

Thanks, Didier, for bringing me back (shame on me...)

Luiz (Brazil)

#16

Hi Luiz,

Also the HP-71B is not an RPN machine, and the "ENTER" is indeed an END LINE as the key lettering states.

However, it is interesting that there are two other RPN desktops, the HP-91 & HP-97 from 1976, that have the the arithmetic operator keys on the right and the ENTER key horizontal on the left - like the Clamshell and Pioneer series.


Anyway, just some interesting observations.

Regards :-)


Edited: 18 Sept 2012, 6:35 a.m.


#17

Hi, Bart;

Quote:
Also the HP-71B is not an RPN machine, and the "ENTER" is indeed an END LINE (...)
Again, valid points. Also, both HP91 and HP97 (too bad we cannot add 'and the HP95C') are desktop, printing & portable calculators.

I for one have been observing some of these facts once in a while, but we rarely find the chance to post about them.

Thanks! Indeed interesting observations.

Luiz (Brazil)

#18

The HP-71B came *after* the Voyagers, not before. It was introduced in 1984.


#19

Yep, my mistake.

I confused the HP41 introduction with the hP71's. Have already stood corrected.

Thanks and sorry!

Luiz (Brazil)


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