A new product of Spee Dee Sign d;-)



#2

Our army of underpaid, but willing designers took your vote and rapidly transformed it into an eight row, five to six column keyboard layout. Here it is (please don't touch, colors are still wet):




Key features (no pun intended):

Keyboard colors used follow Dieter Rams’ choice in designing the BRAUN pocket calculators. They indicate different groups of keys.

Blue labels printed underlined call menus of softkeys accessible through the top row of keys The CATALOG contains all functions and the names of all menus provided (see below). Calculation mode covers integer, real, and complex calculations, as well as integer and decimal numbers, fractions, vectors, and matrices, while the grey prints are irrelevant. If an integer base is set, the keys of the second row will work as numeric input keys for the digits >9.
The grey characters bottom left of 29 keys apply in alpha mode. This mode is entered via f-shifted STO and left via ENTER (see below). f ASN and g CATALOG set alpha mode as well.

The calculator is almost completely user-configurable: the USER mode will bring your personal assignments to the front. In the following examples, [^] stands for the softkey applicable, and [key] represents an arbitrary calculator key optionally headed by a prefix.

f ASN name [key] will assign that named item to [key] in USER mode. “That item” may be a function, digit, character, program, variable, or menu. The name of an item may consist of up to six characters and must be unique. Individual characters may be assigned in alpha mode only, however, and digits in all modes except alpha. Each user assignment will hold until it is overwritten or ENTER is entered for name. Please note all assignments are accessible in USER mode only – except the items assigned to g-shifted second row of keys.

Another way for calling an arbitrary item is picking it via g CATALOG … [^]. Then the trailing ENTER must be omitted.

f ASN name [,] menu [^] will assign that function to the softkey pressed in the menu specified in USER mode, wherever said menu is located. It will throw an error if said function or menu does not exist.

NEWMNU name ENTER will define a new menu. The new menu will be created with 18 blank entries. Menu size is not user-expandable.

g CATALOG MENU … [^] [<-] allows for deleting the item selected. It will throw an error if that item is not a user-defined menu.

g USER toggles USER mode.

The CATALOG contains – among others – the complete function and (sub-) menu sets provided, sorted alphabetically. Opening CATALOG will display its top level branches. Choosing a branch will show its first 18 items – primary, f- and g-shifted if applicable – and set alpha mode. Navigating in CATALOG may use the alphabetic searching method as described for WP 34S catalogs, but the matching item will be displayed together with its two predecessors and up to 15 successors if applicable, and selecting an item is by pressing the corresponding softkey (headed by a prefix if applicable). [down] will advance by six items (and [up] go back by six). EXIT will just leave the catalog.

Menus: By calling a menu, the items contained in said menu will be displayed and assigned to the top row of keys. These items may be functions, digits, characters, submenus, or programs.
Any (sub-) menu may contain up to 18 items per view. Wherever more than 18 items are stored in a menu, [down] will advance to the next set of 18, [up] will return to the previous 18. Menus are left via selecting an item or EXITing (see above). Particular operations may appear in multiple menus and also on the keyboard. Unlike in CATALOG, letters cannot be used for fast access to items in menus.

Data types: There may be numbers of type integer (&#8804;64bits), integer_ul (of unlimited length), real, and complex. Further legal objects are matrices, alpha characters, alpha strings of arbitrary length, and more. Each variable of an arbitrary data type takes one register.

Complex domain: Complex numbers are entered using the softkeys CPLEX [i] or [angle]. E.g. 1 + i pi is keyed in [1] [i] g [pi]. Such numbers will be displayed depending on the output format set (RECT or POLAR, DEG, RAD, or GRAD, see the menus MODES and DISP). [Re<>Im] will swap real and imaginary parts of the complex number shown in RECT only. - If at least one input is complex, the calculator will set CPXRES and call a complex operation, so a prefix [CPX] is superfluous. For pure real input, you will get only such results with REALRES, or you set CPXRES manually to allow for complex results.

That are the most basic facts for the beginning. As usual, comments, questions, remarks, etc. are most welcome d:-)


Edited: 29 Nov 2012, 6:51 p.m.


#3

Quote:
As usual, comments, questions, remarks, etc. are most welcome d:-)

Rants are not, I presume. Sorry, I am quite disappointed the leftists have won once again :-(

The only remark I will make now is about the order of the arithmetic operators, which are reversed when compared to the HP-41. HP-42S users will have to get used to the different key locations and HP-41 users will make many mistakes before they get used to the new operator key order.


#4

A fully assignable keyboard lets you fix perceived problems :-)


- Pauli

#5

Quote:
The only remark I will make now is about the order of the arithmetic operators

I tend to agree. I don't know about others, but I add and subtract more than I multiply or divide. Put + and - just below ENTER.

#6

Quote:
The name of an item may consist of up to six characters and must be unique.

I'll agree with the unique, not sure about the six character limit. We should try to have no limit first.


- Pauli


#7

How to display a 15-character-long unique name in a softkey cell? I have no idea yet.


#8

The display resolution is 400x240, so each soft key can be up to 66 pixels wide (which has to include any gap between keys). In principle you can squeeze in 15 characters, but they'll be awfully tiny if you do, so I don't recommend it.

I actually use a 5x7 dot matrix font in a 6x8 cell for displaying debug messages, when I don't have them directed out the serial port, and while they're really tiny, they are legible (when I use my reading glasses).

I think it would be best for all built-in functions to be unique within the first six characters, but the user should not be so restricted. If the user defines things that are ambiguous when show in the soft menu, that's their own tough luck.

Actually, that's one of the reasons the NULLing feature of the 41 and 42 is useful. If you're not sure what a soft menu item really is, press and hold, and it will be displayed in full. If you want to execute it, release the key. If you don't want to execute it, keep holding, and it will turn into NULL. (Functions that prompt for an argument, such as a register number, don't do that, because you can just use backspace to cancel those.)


#9

I agree with keeping system function names unique in the first six characters, however some commands will require more than six characters: REVERSE e.g.


- Pauli


#10

How about using REVERT instead?


#11

Yes, I'm going to REVERT the string "abcdefghijkl"

- Pauli


#12

You could always MIRROR the string...

#13

Quote:
Keyboard colors used follow Dieter Rams’ choice in designing the BRAUN pocket calculators. They indicate different groups of keys.

The top row of menu keys needs to be in a different colour...
They are a group unto themselves.

- Pauli


#14

To quote a monty python skit "what is brown and sounds like a bell?.....dung" Brown and Green.....looks like a 1970's kitchen.


#15

Quote:
.....looks like a 1970's kitchen.

Looks like industrial/military grade. I hope it's carved out of a solid block of steel with steel keys and a brass medallion. And of course LEDs. :-)

IMHO, the colors are great.

#16

Walter, I've not read in time the warning about the wet colour and so now the keyboard of my PC is newly painted too..........:)=

GREAT, it looks simply GREAT, I appreciate the arithmetic keys on the left-hand side and at the first glance it's really very pretty.
Appropriate the brown and the different colours for the differet groups!

Nice the ":" symbol (now "/"), to be not confused wit the "+"..........

looking for others...

Thanks

Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 9:19 a.m.

#17

I like!


#18

I have mentioned this a few times in the past so I guess I will waste some time and mention it again.

The black dark color of the calculator keyboard background is the worst choice you can choose for the human vision system. I realize there is a lot of history with this kind of layout, but that does not make it optimal. A white keyboard background would make the legends much more readable.

Imagine if this page had a black background and you were reading white text. Yes, you could still decipher it, but your eye and brain work harder to accomplish the task. There is a reason practically all publishing is done on white paper with dark text. It is much easier for the human eye to find the information.

For your consideration.


#19

Don,

You are right - presuming all operators have clean, fat-free fingers all the time. There is a reason the overwhelming majority of keyboards are black - although you're right. YFMV d;-)

And please compare these two:

and

Doesn't the white one look like belonging into a lady's handbag? There is a reason it was the only white pocket calculator BRAUN ever produced.


#20

Hello!

Quote:
Doesn't the white one look like belonging into a lady's handbag?

So first you discriminate us right-handed people and now you are being sexist? A left-handed-males-only calculator? You will be sued big time in The States over this ;-)

But you are correct: Black is the only colour to go. The iPad from which I am typing this is also black...

Regarding the keyboard layout: I'm also for swapping +/- against multiply/divide. And I always preferred a proper Clear key over backspace.

Maybe if I have a free hour I will try this layout in "Tod Calc" on the iPad to see how ist feels.

Regards
Max

#21

I quite like the design of the 39gII - not something I'd imagine for a lady's handbag :-). Other calculator manufacturers have had various scientific calculators with silver or light grey bodies. What makes these BRAUN units look different is the coloured round buttons - makes it look like a smartie calculator ;-)


#22

Quote:
... makes it look like a smartie calculator ;-)

But the Smarties calculators look different (I have quite a few of those in different sizes and colours - unfortunately they never made a programmable scientific version with LED display):

But notice that it has + - * and / on the right hand side as every proper calculator should!

#23

Quote:
I quite like the design of the 39gII...

I think the HP 39gii has one of the most pleasing keyboards found on any calculator from the standpoint of great contrast and legibility. Of course, the HP 39gii has all key functions on the key itself. There are no key labels actually on the surfaces around each key. If it had that as well, the same light off-white board color scheme would be even more valuable. Aesthetically too, it's a real winner, IMHO.

I'd prefer key and board colors similar to that of the the HP 39gii.

#24

The purpose of good (consumer) design (or art for that matter) is to generate an emotional response. The yellow equal sign does that. It makes the calculator pop, "use me, buy me".

The double ENTER key is the most iconic feature of an HP-style RPN calculator. It should standout. How? Hard to say with red usually reserved by many designers for power/cancel, and yellow being use for "f". Bright green perhaps?

All if this, IMHO, of course.

#25

My idiosyncrasy or prejudice I guess. I would choose the white one.

If someone else considers it effeminate that is their problem. Practicality is more important to me.

BTW thanks for the pictures. I was never able to make such a good comparison before. In the past I thought the effect was definite, but subtle. I must be an odd sort, but to me the white calculator is remarkably clearer and easier to read than the black one. YMMV.

#26

Quote:
Doesn't the white one look like belonging into a lady's handbag?

What's this about a lady's handbag? I prefer the white one, its colors remind me of this fine tool

and my current keyboard:


#27

OK, please look here d:-)

#28

Well done, Walter! :-)

#29

I like it. I'm happy to see unshifted trig functions, 1/x, and square root: unshifted x^2 would be nice too, but I suppose that's what user-defined menus are for!

I would prefer + and - as the top two arithmetic keys, but for me that's a minor point.

Background colour: the background silver of the unnmodified HP-30b with the transparent programming overlay applied looks, to me, really nice. I'd be happy to put it in my handbag if I had one! The fact that it would look good there is not, to me, a problem. Another classic with a non-dark background is the Casio FX-602P; there are plenty of other examples.

Having said that, dark is also fine.

Nigel (UK)


#30

I second the FX-602P being an awesomely designed and implemented calculator.

I wish I had a 603P though.


- Pauli


#31

Many years ago I had a student who used an FX-602P. She was from Hong Kong and they were still available there long after they had been discontinued here in Europe. I asked her to get one for me. When she returned to school, after the holiday, she apologised for not being able to find one ... and gave me an FX-603P instead! I like it a lot.

Nigel (UK)


#32

In those days, FX-602P was one of the most popular calculators in Hong Kong. I bought it for HK$340 (US$44) in 1983 but it was stolen one year later. A Chinese book published in 1983 called PC Solve was written for it, giving a detailed account of its internals. You can find this information on the web. FX-603P is always a sought-after item among the community of engineers although it was sold out over ten years ago in Hong Kong. I bought it for HK$650 (US$83) in 1998. My bother helped me to buy another one for US$154 in Shinsaibashi of Osaka in 2004.

Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 7:16 a.m.

#33

No doubt the unmodified HP-30b keyplate looks cute. To my experience, however, the majority of scientists and engineers work under artificial lighting most of their time, where any highly reflective surface may become quite annoying easily. And the dark keys will be in very hard contrast to the keyplate (see also the HP 17bII+ Silver, although its keyplate is a bit less reflective). So from an ergonomic point of view, a matte surface avoiding direct reflections into the operator's eyes is prefered. YMMV

#34

Please reconsider putting the operators on the right.


#35

That's why we started a poll.


#36

Dang it, I missed the poll.
If I had seen it in time, I would have voted to put them on the right - not because I think it's inherently better, but because that's what I've always used. I find myself never using the 41 just because it has the keys "on the wrong side"... :)

Cristian

#37

Quote:
Please reconsider putting the operators on the right.

I second that. The poll was ended rather prematurely, I would say.

Below is my tabulation of the results. In case I have made any mistake, please let me know.

Edited to replace the table with a picture, in order to avoid some misalignments observed under IE9 browser. Thanks, Massimo, for warning me about that.


Edited: 2 Dec 2012, 2:07 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#38

Quote:
Total 12 8 8

Do we get cheated here the same way than in politics? Since when do "don't care" answers count for the minority?

Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 7:40 a.m.


#39

Actually, 11 9 8, according to the latest revision, but your observation still applies :-)

#40

I can live with the arithmetic keys on the left, but I have to agree with Gerson, if they are on the left, they should be - + * / from top to bottom, as they were on the classics.


#41

I agree also. When I operate the calculator one-handed, I use + and * far more often than - and /, so putting + and * closer to the center makes it easier to operate. I suspect this is why HP did it back in the early 1970s, but of course I don't know for sure.

#42

Gerson,

I announced the poll to end well in advance after I realized the voting rate was decreasing significantly and people were going OT instead. The interval between my announcement and the closing was >12h. The poll was closed after over 60h, exactly at the time announced. Nobody who had not voted complained so far - and those are the folks who may have a right to complain.

I'm willing to recount (although the result isn't narrow) as soon as I get more complaints concerning counting than you get.


#43

Well, if the project is destined to more-than-30-years-old calculator addicts, keep the arithmetic operators on the left.

If you want to sell and attract a new generation to RPN, you should shift them to the right side. RPN by itself is strange enough for the first-time user.

All other features are great, though I would include some blue functions under the first row keys.


#44

Just to avoid misunderstanding: The expression "more-than-30-years-old" refers to the calculators ;-)


#45

I think that applies to most of us here as well. I barely qualify as of Oct if you make that an inclusive value. :-)

TW


#46

Crap. I remember when you were just a kid, winning the "design a calculator" contest. Of course, I remember when my kids were kids too, now one has a Phd (says proud father).


#47

As time goes by ... d:-)

#48

Quote:
I remember when my kids were kids too, now one has a Phd (says proud father).

Congratulations! This reminds me of this march '85 ad. It read "Se você quer que seu filho seja PHD, DHP para ele" ("If you want your child to get a PhD, give him/her an HP (calculator)".

#49

Well, that was just a poll. What about an actual election now that the voters know both candidates better? :-)
The valid answers would be only Right or Left, Don't Know and Don't Care not to be taken into account. The supporters of either option would discuss their point of views in a separate thread. As a suggestion, the election could start today and last until Tuesday.
The location of the arithmetic operators keys is one of the most important decisions IMHO, hence my insistence.
Irrespective of your decision, I would like to thank you and the whole team for your continuing efforts in providing the community the best possible RPN calculator.

Best regards,

Gerson.

#50

Gerson, if that "Massimo" is me, well... you got it wrong see here

My vote is for operator keys on the left

Thank you,
Massimo

P.S. Oh, and I like Walter's proposal very much (well, maybe apart from that R/S key...)

Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 5:24 p.m.


#51

Mi scusi per lo sbaglio, Signore Massimo. L'ho appena sistemato :-)

(Sorry for the mistake, Mr. Gnerucci. I've just fixed it)


Sinistrone! :-)


Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 5:35 p.m.


#52

Quote:
Mi scusi per lo sbaglio, Signore Massimo. L'ho appena sistemato :-)

(Sorry for the mistake, Mr. Gnerucci. I've just fixed it)


La ringrazio molto, Signor Gerson!

Thanks a lot, Mr. Barbosa!


Quote:

Sinistrone! :-)



Mi preferiresti destroide?!?

:D


Ciao Gerson!


#53

Quote:
Mi preferiresti destroide?!?

Grazie per il tu! Il "Lei" é un po' complicato per me (preferirebbe) :-)

(Sorry, I cannot translate this)

Ciao, Massimo!

#54

How is "same side as enter" a choice? Is there any question of where the enter key should be?

Waiting for the poll that should not be missed...

#55

  1. Hmmm, physical key placement does not fit 20b/30b. Resembles a 48-series, but with slanted keys. As I suspected in your poll, a different platform. So I will ask the question again, what hardware platform? Are you thinking of even a new hardware platform? Or is this for an emulator only (e.g. across mobile platforms)?
  2. Most notably the ON is on the right bottom - quite unusual.
  3. I would prefer the operator keys the same background colour as the numeric keys - this is the option taken by HP on early LCD models (HP-71B & clamshells). This would also make it aesthetically better if I wish to swap the left & right columns of the bottom four rows (as per Pauli's "fully assignable keyboard" comment).
  4. As for the other concepts, I find the ideas good. I am quite easy as to "what goes where & how it is accessed". Ask a thousand people and you get a thousand different answers. "The gang of three" have enough experience to come up with something useful that I am sure I can learn to use.
  5. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated.

#56

  1. Yes. No. Yes. Something new. Yes. No.
  2. Yes.
  3. Historically not true - see the Clamshells. Or you use "operator" in a quite limited sense. And aesthetics is a very wide field d:-) Anyway, the "fully assignable keyboard" is what we plan to do. Remember, however, this is a moving target again.
  4. Thanks.
  5. Thankyou.

#57

Answers as I like them, straight and to the point.

Further:
On (1) would you care to elaborate on "something new"? (if not then awww, but OK)
On (3) Sorry, I used the wrong wording. I meant "arithmetic keys /, x, -, and + ".

 
Quote:
And aesthetics is a very wide field

True
 
Quote:
Remember, however, this is a moving target again.

I know and I don't envy you on this :-)

#58

Bart, please ask Eric about something new.

#59

Some comments.

I see 24 g-shifted functions serve only to bring up a menu. If you had a single "menu" key that brought up a soft menu (I'll call it the menu menu) from which to choose one of these other menus then you could greatly clean up the keyboard. In fact, there are only 5 g-shifted functions are not menus, so if you moved these to f-shifted functions on the number keys, then you could completely do away with the blue labels, which would result in a much cleaner keyboard. The [g] key would be a good choice for the menu key.

If you did it this way, then the first 6 items on the "menu menu" would still require only 2 keypresses ("menu" and a soft key).

If you have a graphics screen with enough resolution then user mode can be much more useful: when the user enter user mode, the screen could show a map of the keyboard with the names of assignments for each key. Pressing a shift key would change the display to show the shifted functions. Once you press one of the functions, the overlay goes away. I've actually started working on a 50g program that does this. Think of it as a virtual keyboard overlay.

Now combine these two ideas. The default user-mode assignments are the current g-shifted menu functions. "user" becomes a primary key (the 'g' key), replacing my above mentioned "menu" key.

Dave


#60

Some nice ideas. Will think about them.

Some quick comments:

  1. The "menu menu" is already provided in CATALOG (you can't know, but nevertheless) d:-)
  2. The OP states the CATALOG contains everything. It's tedious, however, to run through the whole tree for every little menu. Thus - and since the space is available - I put the most popular stuff on the keyplate. You're right stating the surface could be cleaner - but what's the benefit if you've to press more keys to reach the function you're looking for?
  3. About the USER mode: It's meant to be toggled by g USER. So once it's on, it stays on until you press g USER again.
  4. Also stated in message #1: Each and every menu may contain up to 18 items. These 18 items are displayed at once, once that menu is called. Predefined menus may contain more items and thus need different views. - Addendum: I seriously doubt I can cope with 43 or more soft functions displayed at once on a screen. YMMV
#61

My thoughts...

I'm very happy to see both logarithms as primary keys paired with their respective exponentials. I'm surprised, however, to see "LG" instead of "LOG". I'd stumble over that for the rest of my life.

I'd prefer that 1/x get in on the black key action with +/- and EEX. I use it mostly that way. To do this, I would move the SQRT key to where the 1/x key is now and shift STO, RCL, and Roll one space right. I would put x<>y in the spot vacated by STO and the (now black) 1/x in the spot vacated by x<>y. (Maybe there is a better order for 1/x, +/-, EEX... to me it's just important that they're together and close to the numerics. In addition to addressing my 1/x concern, this approach puts all the higher math functions on one row and groups all of the stack and storage controls nicely in the row above ENTER.

Independent of the above, is the Roll key redundant to the up and down arrows right of the numerics? I recognize that there is some sentimentality associated with the R-and-arrow presentation, but if the arrows do the same thing... This could free up a key for x-squared or some other function, unless I'm missing something.

-Bill


#62

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will think about your 1/x maneuver.

Some comments about your other points:

  1. Glad you like the logarithms. Way back (decades ago) my classmates and I were taught the general logarithm to base b is expressed as logb(x). After a short while, we switched to decadic logarithms. And - since yo're free in math to baptize everything, but it has to be unambiguous - this decadic logarithm must not be called "log" again (it's taken by the name of the general function). Thus it was called "lg". This is common on this side of the great pond at least, and is perfectly coherent with the names "ln" for the natural log and "lb" for the log to base 2. Compare the WP 34S. No idea how it is taught in the US of A, however.
  2. The keys [up] and [down] won't do anything with the stack. We have four functions on each of them already, so loading more on them may become overloading easily.
#63

Quote:
I'm surprised, however, to see "LG" instead of "LOG". I'd stumble over that for the rest of my life.

But that actually is the correct labeling, lg is log_10 and ln is log_e. Finally correcting that error is much appreciated :)

#64

Thanks, Walter and Harald, for the education. I was afraid that LG might be the convention outside North America and even more afraid that it would turn out that making the change from LOG to LG would be something near and dear to the hearts of our European contributors. I had no idea that there was an ISO standard for mathematical signs and symbols. Predictably, North Americans are on the outside looking in w/r/t that standard.

While I'd love for the world to cater to my North American conventions and sensibilities, I recognize that this isn't going to happen. If I end up with a calculator made by Europeans, I'll have to get on board with their conventions... after thanking them for doing what we are incapable or unwilling to do domestically.

If there are going to be interchangeable keys as alluded below, maybe having a LOG key to replace the LG key would be possible to accommodate "legacy" users like me?

-Bill


#65

Quote:
If there are going to be interchangeable keys as alluded below, maybe having a LOG key to replace the LG key would be possible to accommodate "legacy" users like me?

Accepted - immediately after we get a proper comma key instead of that ... point as radix mark (please see footnote 26 on p. 39) d:-)
#66

I love it overall.
3 things I'd like to see - alpha on/off unshifted, more noticeable char legends, option to key in commands in alpha mode - unles it is already like that. These are my wishes for the WP34s too BTW.

PS. As for the logarithms - I have never used them in my profesional activities, but with the keyboard being reassignable these are most welcome ;)


Edited: 30 Nov 2012, 3:24 p.m.


#67

Quote:
with the keyboard being reassignable these are most welcome ;)


It would also be a nice feature, if the hardware supported physically rearranging the keys. If the keys were to be designed like the old HP ones, this would not be a problem. I wonder what the actual hardware will look like.
Can you already tell us something about that, Eric?

Cheers,
Harald


#68

If you don't mind drilling out the heat stakes, you can rearrange the keys. Not recommended.


#69

Does that mean I would have to drill out heat stakes to open the calculator, or to separate the keyboard from the PCB?
In any case, probably not such a good idea to rearrange keys then.
Unless you could supply parts that haven't been assembled yet ;)


#70

The plan is that the case back can be removed with screws.

I expect that the PCB will be secured to the top case with heat stakes, although that isn't completely certain yet. R.O. wants to use screws, but screws in suitable sizes (e.g., M1.4x3mm or 0-42x1/8") are extremely expensive, and I'm not certain that I can design the top case to use screws at all, without making it thicker than I want it.


#71

Quote:
The plan is that the case back can be removed with screws.

That is great news, as it means I won't break anything when trying to satisfy my curiosity :)

Quote:
I expect that the PCB will be secured to the top case with heat stakes, although that isn't completely certain yet. R.O. wants to use screws, but screws in suitable sizes (e.g., M1.4x3mm or 0-42x1/8") are extremely expensive, and I'm not certain that I can design the top case to use screws at all, without making it thicker than I want it.

It would be nice if you could manage to use screws, but using heat stakes instead sounds easier and cheaper. Hopefully I can order an extra top case. Here comes the curiosity again :)

#72

Quote:
3 things I'd like to see - alpha on/off unshifted, more noticeable char legends, option to key in commands in alpha mode - unles it is already like that.

1. Hardly. - 2. Can be done. - 3. Is already in.
Quote:
These are my wishes for the WP34s too BTW.

1. No. - 2. No. - 3. Not necessary since you have the alpha finding method within each catalog (see p. 133).

#73

OK, thanks, what about making "alpha on/off" and "user on/off" assignable or they are already? If that's the case, I know exactly the first two assignments I'd make for the "LG" and "LN" keys.

#74

I have also requested that ALPHA and USER be dedicated keys, preferrably near the f and g shifts, since they are also shifts.

This would require either removing some functions from the keyboard or demoting them from primary to shifted status, or not having the top row dedicated to soft menus, but shared between some functions and the soft menus (like the 42S etc.)

I use ALPHA and USER enough that I would *much* rather demote some other functions, than have to use f or g shifts to access ALPHA and USER.


#75

Never used a logorithm professionally, either Naperian or common? Well, I've never used a hyperbolic trig function professionally, so it won't be me who casts the first stone. I will say, though, that I find the function set simultaneously complete and minimalist to the point of elegance reminiscent of the golden age of handhelds.

Sure, we could be rid of TAN and use SIN/COS fairly comfortably. However, I don't remember (if I ever knew) how to get to ATAN from ASIN and ACOS. Not much savings there. We could lose SQRT and use LG, then 2 divide, then 10^x. That's awfully cumbersome, though, for something that gets done (or that I do, anyway) an awful lot.

On the flip side, what's missing? Well, there are the aforementioned hyperbolics, and there are the Bessels, Gammas, etc.; these are specialized, so a menu is appropriate. Statistics or TVM? They'd fill the whole keyboard, so they live in a menu. Other functions are just combinations of what we're given. I'll pick on parallel since it was recently discussed at length; we can get there with what we've got (multiplication, addition, and division), so it's not a fundamental operation. If you do this a lot, make a routine and assign it a soft key.

Where I'm going is this: please don't remove or demote any of the ten primary key functions. (I maintain that with the "maneuver" described above, 1/x is as much a numeric entry key as +/-; x*(-1) is mathematically analagous to x^(-1).) I think it's more important to accomplish most calculations without drilling into menus than to save a keystroke to get to the alpha or user modes for the relatively rare calculation that needs them.

If alpha and user are really more important on a daily basis than I've learned (using a 42 professionally), there are the F-G and G-F combos. Quick and close to the shift keys. We always talk ourselves out of that approach (and I don't want to spoil my ballot or end up with a comma for a radix key) so there are always user-assigned LG and LN.

-Bill


#76

The functions you mention won't be missing, just not on the keyboard by default. The set of operations which are vital varies a lot from person to person, hence a user definable keyboard.

We could drop both logs and not impact at least two people here. Likewise, the three trig functions could go without impacting others. The flip side is some people use logs a lot and some people the trig functions and these groups would be upset. We could even relegate these two families to menus. Make the menu key unshifted and you'll have two keystroke access to both families and their inverses.

We cannot possibly hope to please everyone and somewhere trade offs will have to be made.


- Pauli

#77

Quote:
I'll pick on parallel since it was recently discussed at length; we can get there with what we've got (multiplication, addition, and division), so it's not a fundamental operation. If you do this a lot, make a routine and assign it a soft key.

All you need is "1/x" and "+". I used it a lot, and so far I have always found it slower to find the parallel function instead of just typing "a" "1/x" "b" "1/x" "+" "1/x".

An with the top row being soft keys, I think there is plenty of space for everyone to put the functions they miss on the standard keyboard.
That doesn’t mean of course I would like to put + - * / there ;)

#78

Just swap the 2 columns left (/,*,-,+) and right (XEQ,up,down,exit) to the numeric keypad, and it'll nearly perfect.

And please no 3rd unshifted shift key!

Ray


#79

Quote:
Just swap the 2 columns left (/,*,-,+) and right (XEQ,up,down,exit) to the numeric keypad, and it'll nearly perfect.

FYI, we had a poll recently. But it seems like Stuttgart 21, after the poll is before the next one about the same topic d;-)
Quote:
And please no 3rd unshifted shift key!

Sounds like a vote against unshifted USER or ALPHA, doesn't it?

#80

Quote:
FYI, we had a poll recently. But it seems like Stuttgart 21, after the poll is before the next one about the same topic d;-)

I just saw that you suddenly closed the poll. S21 isn't optimal for a comparison, since the S21 poll had a fixed end date, which everyone knew beforehand...


Quote:
Sounds like a vote against unshifted USER or ALPHA, doesn't it?

No, it sounds that I vote against a "h" shift key. The "34S" shows what happens if you have too many direct shift keys: A heavily cluttered keyboard legend.

I'd prefer an unshifted Alpha mode key. A User mode key can be shifted IMHO, since I don't use User mode very often. However looking at the current layout, it seems the Alpha and User keys will stay shifted, since the primary key assignments should stay as they are (except swapping the 4-hi cols left and right to the numeric keys) .


#81

If 'alpha mode' is a primary key then I also wouldn't care about the 'user mode' one too. I'd only stay in user mode to have 'alpha mode' primary assuming this is possible.


#82

N.T.


#83

That would depend on the whole concept for this calculator which is not clear to me so far. If it's to be 34s on steroids than I'm not sure. Having 'everything' on the keyboard seems to be exorsted strategy.
I'd like to see more programming oriented tool this time and I'd put trig and log functions in menus. Franz (fhub) shared some ideas a couple of days ago about that and I find them very interesting. I'll try to find the post later.

What do you mean by 'N.T.'? No, thanks? Then we are not having dialog but monolog.
Cheers


Quote:
3) better programming structures, for example: IF-THEN-ELSE a generalized LOOP-ENDLOOP with 'IF condition EXITLOOP' a generalized BLOCK-ENDBLOCK with 'IF condition EXITBLOCK' For me such programming enhancements would be much more important than any new exotic mathematical functions (which I could then simply write myelf if I really need them).Franz


Edited: 1 Dec 2012, 4:34 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#84

Reth, you're long enough on the forum to know that N.T. means no text :-/


#85

Than it's all in order ;)

#86

Actually it would ease many things (like having an unshifted Alpha modifier key) if there were two (or three) keys in the 2nd row, one of them called TRIG and opening a menu containing SIN, COS, TAN and inverses and the other called LOGS and opening a menu containing LG,LN, inverses and hyperbolics, and maybe a 3rd key called ROOT opening a menu containing 1/x, y^x, x^2 and sqrt(x) .

That would free the key left to "f" for an unshifted Alpha modifier key, and free 3 keys currently occupied by SIN,COS,TAN for general use with no predefined assignment, like CST1, CST2, and CST3 , where CST means "Custom".
Since every physical key will be re-assignable by software, one could assign (as an example) SIN,COS,TAN to CST1,2,3 .


#87

1/x and sqrt are two of the most important and most used functions. So I don't think they should be tucked away in a menu. It's bad enough already that on some calculators (the HP25 springs to mind) they are shifted functions.

Just my twenty thousand µ€ :)

#88

Love that way of thinking! Sounds better than I imagined.


And my first choice for the alpha mode key was the same one, instead of square root. Your idea is brilliant. Move square root next to 1/x, replace the rest of the row as per your post and we all have a winner.


Cheers


Edited: 1 Dec 2012, 8:40 p.m.

#89

I raised an almost identical suggestion privately :-)


- Pauli

#90

I like the idea of replacing SIN/COS/TAN with TRIG/LOGS/ROOT to free up other keys since I cannot think of many instances where I have needed to use trigs, logs, and roots at the same time. I use the log functions the most and do not mind pressing "LOGS" to get a soft menu of log functions as long as the soft menu is persistent.


#91

This is feature I disliked very much on the HP-28S. No elementary function should be hidden in menus, IMHO.


#92

Quote:
This is feature I disliked very much on the HP-28S. No elementary function should be hidden in menus, IMHO.

Is there consensus on what the "elementary functions" are? Elementary for who?

I think the target market for this device is sufficiently advanced and varied that it may be hard to find that consensus. E.g. will trig functions be used by more than 50%? I cannot answer that. I know for myself that my only heavy use of trig functions were in the mid '80s as a student. I find that of all my calculators the most frequent use is the programming functions--that is "elementary" in IMHO for a programable calculator.

I definitely get your point. But, I think it's time for the professional RPN calculator to evolve into something more powerful just shy of a general purpose computer. It appears to me that every calculator is handicapped by the needs of education and legacy.

I could be completely wrong of course, perhaps I'm in the minority. Lately my top used calculator is the 16C.


#93

Quote:
Is there consensus on what the "elementary functions" are? Elementary for who?

"No elementary functions" was indeed exaggerated. I meant the following classic elementary functions: yx, sqrt(x), ln, ex, log10, 10x, 1/x and the circular trigonometric functions and their inverses, which are more or less often used by anyone who needs a scientific calculator, no matter his/her field of expertise. Sorry for the confusion!


#94

I agree completely. Logs and trigs in menus is why my 28 and I parted company. It just didn't work for me.

Bill

#95

With primary keys being at such premium I´d resort to using a quick and easy combination that involves one (or both) shift keys. I found that approach equally effective as a primary key, even if it takes two keystrokes - no "travel" time is the key, pun intended.

So I´d use twice "f", or twice "g" - or even "fg" to invoke Alpha.

Will the redefinable keyboard allow for this?


#96

This design has more keys that most RPN calculators other than the 48/49/50 series. The only reason that there is a shortage of primary keys is because of the decision to reserve the top row for soft menus, rather than making them serve dual duty as in the 42S, 28C/S, etc.

It would be my preference to make them dual-duty, and have dedicated USER and ALPHA keys. This would actually allow for four more primary keys, which would perhaps allow Sigma+ to return the the keyboard. I don't mind going to the STAT menu for mean, std. dev., etc., but I don't like having to do that for Sigma+ (and -). And there would still be three more beyond that!

Speaking of which, I'm not only surprised at not having g-shifted functions predefined on the second row, but also at not having f-sifted functions predefined for the numeric digit keys. I find it hard to believe that there aren't functions people want to see on those.


#97

Possible my doing.

I suggested the layout was cleaner without f-shift digit functions.

I also suggested automatic USER mode for g-shift second row.


- Pauli


#98

I'm OK with no standard assignments for those keys if there isn't a general clamor for more functions directly on the keyboard. I'm just surprised.

I definitely think that I wouldn't want to put really esoteric functions directly on the keyboard. If it's going to be there, it should be something fairly general-purpose and widely used. Of course, that's a subjective criterion.

I still would like to see a primary function for entry of complex numbers. I have no idea how widespread use of complex numbers is among scientific calculator users in general, but for EE it seems very common. Of course, EE folks would disagree with mathematicians about what legend the key should bear. And EE folks would probably usually want polar rather than rectangular entry and display, but that's easily accommodated with a flag and an annunciator.


#99

Quote:
I still would like to see a primary function for entry of complex numbers.

As an electrical engineer I would agree to that.

Not an EE, but still agree.

Quote:
I still would like to see a primary function for entry of complex numbers

I am also an EE, and wholeheartedly agree. I would be fine with an "i" key with a shifted "/" to allow entry in either form. The much-maligned 35s got it right, although I'd prefer the "i" key be near the numeric keys.

Quote:
I would be fine with an "i" key with a shifted "/" to allow entry in either form. ... although I'd prefer the "i" key be near the numeric keys.

In other words, I would like to see this:

I do not as of yet have a suggestion for which function I would remove from Walter's latest proposal to make room for the above change. Is there any chance that the bottom 4 rows could be expanded to have six keys each? Seems like we could accommodate a lot of varying desires with four more keys. If not, I’ll try to think of something to remove that won’t bother anyone...


...


Nice idea. Now please try finding a place for [R/S] and P/R and the programming functions menu. I rate the odds for six keys in the bottom four rows pretty low d:-)

Edited: 3 Dec 2012, 1:45 p.m.

Quote:
Speaking of which, I'm not only surprised at not having g-shifted functions predefined on the second row, but also at not having f-sifted functions predefined for the numeric digit keys. I find it hard to believe that there aren't functions people want to see on those.

I 2nd that. One of the reasons the 15C will remain one of my all time favorites is that I do not need to hunt for a function, esp. when programming. The closest the 15C has to a menu is TEST and MATRIX.

I would suggest adding some of the more popular 15C, 16C, and programming functions.

The 34S went a bit overboard, the 42S and 41CX could have done more with a 2nd shift key. The 15C is just right. IMHO, of course.


I should have added, that without knowing how this is all going to integrate with the display a lot of assumptions about use are being made. E.g. if the display is sufficiently tall (and hi res), then I could see 2 or 3 rows of menus that are modified by f and g on the top row.

E.g.

large font:     SIN   COS etc...
small font: f: ASIN ACOS
small font: g: HCOS HCOS
----------------------------------------
key: [--] [--]

When f or g is pressed the size of the fonts change to match.


Quote:
if the display is sufficiently tall (and hi res), then I could see 2 or 3 rows of menus that are modified by f and g on the top row.

3 rows are what we're planning d:-)

I proposed that also, though I'm not sure I actually like it. Hopefully we can have a flag to turn it on and off.

I like that a lot: f-f for ALPHA and g-g for USER.

-Bill


If we'd follow your suggestion, we need a CLEAR_PREFIX on the keyboard. Please compare the WP 34S manual, p. 35 d:-)


Press and hold to clear?


That would be coherent with the other keys falling back to NULL after held down for more than some second, though I don't like 'press & hold'. Wait & see.


Or, g after f clears f, and f after g clears g. So the yellow shifted function of g would be "CL f" and the blue shifted function of f would be "CL g".

Bill


Edited: 2 Dec 2012, 8:45 a.m.


This second layout is more appealing to me. The primary alpha key is a must for a system with that many functions not on the keyboard - but I too wonder about having the top keys unused, it looks like a wasted opportunity to me to allocate frequently used ones...


Please remember the top keys assignments will vary with each and every menu called. So we could assign some rather unimportant functions to that row - but those we can bury in a menu as well IMHO.

I like the "alpha" key, the "i", and loosing "lg" isn't really a problem. Also avoids the "lg" vs. "log" issue.
That would be almost perfect if you shuffled around the arithmetic keys ;)


Quote:
That would be almost perfect if you shuffled around the arithmetic keys ;)

No, it wouldn't! ;-)


Well, I just don't like the idea of a 3rd arithmetic key configuration. In my opinion they should either be located on the left in the order the classic HPs had them, or on the right in the order the newer HP models have them. But why mix those two variants? It would certainly confuse me. Am I really the only one who is bothered by that? (I'll shut up about it, if I really am ;))


Sorry Harald, I misunderstood your point: yes, I would prefer the classical arrangement, too.
However I think I could quickly rearrange to another disposition.


No need to apologize. I didn't make it clear enough what I meant. I misinterpreted your post as well at first. But now it makes sense :)

Cheers,
Harald

Brilliant!

Better now:-)

I'd still prefer the arithmetic keys on the right side...

I like the first layout better. I'd rather get used to LG than try to remember where it's hidden away in a menu.

Bill

I like it, though I miss the LG/10^x key, I agree an alpha key is more useful, especially assuming you can XEQ alpha LG like a 41.

OTOH, I think the menus should be reversed (like my 34S overlay) instead of underlined (too cluttered, too faint) - it is somewhat evocative of the 32s/42s menu keys and stands out well.

I would also consider alpha keys on the slant (e.g. 41) and shift functions above (e.g. 34c and my 34s) but that may crowd the shift labels (depending on how they're paired - the 34s and 34C function/inverse pairing makes for some small labels).

Also, suggest PROG instead of PrgFCN and MATH instead of AdvFCN (or FUNC?) and possibly shortening most 5 letter menus to 4 (FLAG, MODE, PART, CMPLX, DISP, ORTH) to reduce clutter a bit more.

I may try to draw something later :)

Quote:

Sounds like a vote against unshifted USER or ALPHA, doesn't it?


Sounds to me as if you wanted to hear that. BTW as a surveyor I remember when moving from log tables to electronic calculators, natural SIN, COS and TAN were a huge step ahead, hence they were used massively up until programmables came around. After that I almost never had to use them directly. My 48's trig keys still look as new, no sign of usage and I'm talking 20+ years old brilliant machines.


ALPHA today is a "must" to be primary for more than one reason. I for one remember command names on the 48 series but today I get confused where they were hidden in menus. So I type them in on the command line and that does the job - all that on the emulators on tablets and smart phones.

Thanks to everybody for their friendly comments. If I didn't miss an important group, there are four "major" ones (in random order):

There are some who realized now that the preceding poll was a serious one. Good morning d;-)

There are some who want the arithmetic operators rearranged as on the 41C. That may become another poll (watch it! Another serious one!).

There are some who want a white / silver / bright calculator body. Also this may become a separate poll (...!).

And there are some who want more mode setting keys (user, alpha). I don't know if that can become a poll, since those have to tell what shall be dropped from the keyboard instead. Please let me postpone this for a while.

And - of course - there are a lot of individual preferences, localisation topics, and alike. So please let me repeat: This keyboard is fully reassignable by each user. What you see is the startup layout. Setting USER mode, you may have key [1] top left, [2] bottom right, a menu at unshifted bottom center key, etc. as you like.

HTH a bit.

Edited to complete the last sentence.

Edited: 1 Dec 2012, 4:26 p.m.


For the hardware I plan to offer for sale, I plan to follow Henry Ford's 1909 dictum regarding the Model T. Any customer can have a calculator in any color that he wants so long as it is black.

If someone wanted to invest some significant money in the project in order to get a different color, I'm willing to listen.


Black is great !

Perfect.

Quote:
Every time I press one of these black controls, labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let me know I've done it.

- Pauli

Now that was a really short and effective poll! Thanks, Eric d:-)


I suppose it might still be worth conducting a real poll. If it turned out that the majority really wanted some other color, I'd probably have to back down, because the people posting here are probably 99% of the market for the calculator. (Unfortunately.)


Speaking of such things, has anyone ever precisely identified the colors used for the 41C and 42S, e.g., as Pantone colors? HP obviously must have had color standards for them back in the day, but of course wouldn't publish them.


Sadly, I've no longer any access to the Pantone colour gun that my previous employer had :-(

- Pauli

... 4th of December, 23:00 UTC. Please specify the keyplate color you vote for by stating its RGB-values d:-)

Edited: 2 Dec 2012, 7:15 a.m.


I like black.

I like +- / * on right (altough I'm too late on this poll :-)


You're not too late, the poll just ended too soon.


Perhaps I was not closely following the forum, originally I just though the poll is of theoretical nature and only now I realize you really want to build a real calculator :-)

I'm exited!

I'm also interested in the WP-34S, but so far could not get around ordering all parts - it seems a bit complicated: calc, overlays, cable, USB-adapter and because I run Mac, I would also need to install some VM to install Windows (plus buy a license of Windows) so I skipped it so far... My newborn keeps me busy anyway ;-)


In Europe, TheCalculatorStore offers a WP34S pack and a flashing service for the HP-20b, HP-30b:

http://www.thecalculatorstore.com/epages/eb9376.sf/es_ES/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eb9376/Products/Flash

http://www.thecalculatorstore.com/epages/eb9376.sf/es_ES/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eb9376/Products/%22WP34s%20Pack%22

In the USA, hpcalc.org offers a ready-made option as well:

http://commerce.hpcalc.org/34s.php

This might be a solution if you don't mind spending a little more more money, unless you don't want to give up the pleasure of doing it youself, of course :-)

Quote:
My newborn keeps me busy anyway ;-)

At least you know where your baby is now. Congratulations! :-)

Any idea when a new poll will be conducted?

Same here.

Black overlay, +-*/ on the right side. ON key on the bottom left.

And while we're at it: Please get rid of the brown keys; I'd vote for dark grey. Back in the sixties brown seemed to be ok, but nowadays it's rather a no-go. And the green keys could be made in another shade of grey.

Thanks:-)

OK, herewith my inputs:

Body: Dark brown (in the order of 39,27,28).

Keys: all the same colour, preferably similar to the body.

FYI, the keyplate color in the two layouts I showed to you is 38, 38, 38. Please specify only the keyplate color in this poll. All other input is ignored. Oooh, reading is difficult.

Edited: 4 Dec 2012, 7:29 a.m.


1) Perhaps you should have started this poll as a new thread - the exact nature is probably lost in the wash of all the posts in this thread.

2) Why only the keyplate? It is probably the easiest part to customise with an overlay.


Quote:
1) Perhaps you should have started this poll as a new thread - the exact nature is probably lost in the wash of all the posts in this thread.
I second that. This thread is informative but waaay too long, and thus a bit messy.

I'd suggest a new thread for each "43S" related "poll", with clear title, content, end date and time, and poll run times of not only two days, but rather a week or two at least, allowing those hpmuseum visitors taking part who don't visit the site every day. This will usually give better results.


Quote:
2) Why only the keyplate? It is probably the easiest part to customise with an overlay.
This could be made a separate "poll", but could also have been included in the current one, since the title "Now here it is - THE color poll" is not stating any limits.

Quote:
... because the people posting here are probably 99% of the market for the calculator. (Unfortunately.)

That doesn't have to be the case. If done right you could probably get thinkgeek.com to pick it up.

I think your market size is in the 1000s, not the low 100s, iif the 43S is a quality product at a reasonable price.


Quote:
I think your market size is in the 1000s, not the low 100s, iif the 43S is a quality product at a reasonable price.

"At a resonable price" is the problem.

Once upon a time, it was possible to sell hundreds of thousands of high-end scientific programmable calculators for $325 in 1979 dollars ($991 in 2011 dollars).

Today I think it may not be possible to sell many units of a much better calculator for even 1/4 of that.

However, for a calculator made in what amounts to very low volume (low thousands), it is very difficult to make it that inexpensive.

OK, black is back! ;)

I don't think it's especially necessary to exactly imitate the colors of HP's products. Personally I'd prefer something lighter than stark black. Maybe grey or figure out something close to the brown used with the HP42s. The varying colors of the buttons is a great idea.


I don't think it's necessary either. However, despite years of trying, I don't think anyone, including HP, has succeeded in making calculators that are better-looking than most of the 1970s and 1980s models, while still being as functional.

There have been calculators that are claimed (by some) to be more attractive than those HPs, but IMNSHO they both weren't actually that attractive, and tended to be less usable (e.g., attempts at "more modern" color schemes without regard to proper contrast).

I certainly don't think I have the design skills to come up with a better color scheme than HP did.

If someone here wants to volunteer their design skills to come up with an attractive design for a calculator (not just the keyboard), I'd certainly be interested to see it.


How long do we have?


I'm not sure exactly, but there's certainly not an immediate deadline like the Walter's polls.

... so don't complain again you didn't know. Exert your right to vote d:-)


I vote for "Ink brown", the HP-41 color!

As explained in HP Digest Volume 7 (September 1980):

Quote:
Choosing the perfect color was more of a task than one might think. Originally, beige was selected as the primary color because it accented the body contour. However, a darker color was preferred because… darker colors don’t show the dirt! Another factor was the continuous availability of certain plastics. Colors were narrowed down, and ultimately a hue named Ink Brown was chosen. Unlike basic black, this color has a warm richness.”

And for the keys, ditto, same color as the HP-41. I find mixed color keys (excepted the shift keys) too much distracting and they are not perceived equally by everybody.

Edited: 4 Dec 2012, 3:08 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


R= ? G= ? B= ? ??


I don't have a way to translate the HP-41 body color into RGB. If I check some pictures it's something between 55-47-44 & 67-60-52.

I found one reference to an Indigo ink brown color: 57,52,50 (Traditional colors of Japan )

I don't know if this is the one used for the HP-41 body, we need some color experts here.

R, G, and B values are nearly completely worthless. They aren't an absolute, they vary from device to device. So unless you have a calibrated spectrophotometer, don't bother.


Maybe, but they are almost infintite times more worth than *no* values at all.

d:-)


I disagree. You would think that they might be useful, but there is so much variation that in practice they're completely bloody useless. This is from work experience.


I second.

The same RGB can have a completely different look depending on texture, finishing process and other things. This is why all products get specified with exact industry standard texture codes, process codes, and coloration codes.

RGB is better then nothing to get you in a general range, but it is more like throwing a dart then anything else.

  • 7 votes for 'black' (< 38, 38, 38): Eric, Ángel, Pauli, Walter, Michael K., Raimund, Massimo.
  • 3 votes for 'dark brown' (approx. 39, 27, 28, or like 42S or 41C): Bart, David, Didier.
Apparently the supporters of the 'white' party prefered staying at home. So the obvious winner is 'black' - whatever 'black' may mean.

d:-)

Is the overlay replacable? Not being able to move the blue-shifted functions is going to be a problem, particularly when you consider that XEQ, GTO, and LBL are very closely related.


Yes.


That's news to me. I expect you can add a removable overlay (like those for the 41C), but I seriously doubt that the base overlay is going to be removable in any practical way (also like the 41C).


Hmmmh - I called the basic top surface around the keys of a calculator its keyplate so far. An overlay is something I may lay over it (pun intended). Thus, yes, the overlay shall be replacable.

d:-)

Some further justification for arithmetic operators on the right side:

I would like to see the fruits of this project opened up to many more people than just the denizens of this forum. Operators on the left is extremely unusual for a calculator now. Yes, the traditional position of ENTER on an HP is unusual too, but I think we've agreed to keep the traditional configuration. I think it would be much easier to get people to try a powerful new RPN calculator if the arithmetic operators are in a familiar position and order by default.

If the hardware is the one of the 20B/30B, the key on bottom left is not the same level as the others, so I would use it as the On/Off key, as it is done to help prevent unwanted switch on.

I would move the beginning of the letters to the top row to help programming the way it is done on the 41C.

I would also move the Alpha and User key to the Xeq key because this one is very unlikely to be assigned.

just my 5 cent.

Patrice

Edited: 1 Dec 2012, 11:03 a.m.


Patrice, the HW will not be the same as the 30b. Ask Eric for details! :-)

I see the value in an UNDO function. However, I'd rather see LAST x directly accessible in its place with UNDO relegated to a sub-menu.

Mark Hardman


Quote:
I see the value in an UNDO function. However, I'd rather see LAST x directly accessible in its place with UNDO relegated to a sub-menu.

LASTx is RCL L as on the WP 34S - so you don't need an extra label for this. UNDO will return the stack as it was before the last function executed.

The top row arrow labels are overstated, too large, or perhaps unnecessary. The eye should be drawn to the ENTER key, IMHO. Historically blanks were used, later followed by the top outline of the triangle. AFAIK, none of the scientific RPNs or RPLs had arrow labels on the top row. IIRC, arrow labels were limited to non-RPN and business calcs.

Alternatively F1-F6 could be used similar to the 50g. This could aid in documentation. E.g. press ON-F1 for self-test.


Quote:
Alternatively F1-F6 could be used similar to the 50g. This could aid in documentation.

Thanks for your idea. I changed the layout.

I'd like to see them label F1-F6 as well. It's a standard that most people are accustomed to, and as discussed is less ambiguous and more easily searched in documentation.


Please see above d:-)


I like it!

We lost six valuable keys by reserving the top row as soft keys only. However, having that row do double-duty is a minor peeve of mine with the HP42s. Labeling them with F<num> is a great move.

Now, here's something to think about: what are the pros and cons of adding another row?


Just to make sure I got you correctly: do you want to have *9* rows of keys?


Adding a ninth row of keys is technically possible, and not even especially difficult, but I really don't want to do it.

The original plan for the hardware was to have seven rows of keys, much like the 20b/30b or 42S, although the "vertical" spacing would have been uniform, unlike the 20b/30b which have a larger gap between two rows for no apparent reason. The display is much larger, but I thought I could come up with packaging that made it roughly the same length as the 42S.

For various reasons we decided to add one extra row of keys. It seemed desirable to have more functions directly on the keyboard. Although I suggested the alternate idea of having dedicated soft menu keys, that really isn't my preferred use for them. I find that to be basically a waste of keys. I much prefer keeping the behavior similar to the 42S, where they are soft keys when a soft menu is shown, and have the primary functions of the key legends when no soft menu is shown. That makes plenty of room for ALPHA, USER, Sigma+, and complex entry (i) to be primary functions.

Adding the eighth row makes the calculator longer than the 42S, but probably not enough to be too objectionable.

Adding a ninth row makes the calculator seem really long. Maybe OK for people that like the 48/49/50 family, but not so great for people that are accustomed to fairly "normal" sized calculators.


Quote:
I much prefer keeping the behavior similar to the 42S, where they are soft keys when a soft menu is shown, and have the primary functions of the key legends when no soft menu is shown. That makes plenty of room for ALPHA, USER, Sigma+, and complex entry (i) to be primary functions.

I would agree with this. In general, the guiding design principle should be "when in doubt, look to the 42s". Well, apart from alpha entry of course.

How 'bout another vote? ;-)

Edited: 6 Dec 2012, 4:04 a.m.


Quote:
How 'bout another vote? ;-)

Please take
that as a guideline
;-)

Please disregard. For some strange reason (lack of sleep?) I thought this new design had only seven rows.

I think that something like Fn1-Fn6 would be even less ambiguous in the documentation.


-- Richard


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