what do you use yours for?


this question was inspired by something that glynn wrote recently, and something cristoff said to glen kilpatric and me in davis:

if you get paid to use your hp, or if your hp is what you use to do calcs in school, or if other people use the programs that you write: which hp do you use? for what? why?

i expect to hear from surveyors, engineers, teachers, real estate agents, bankers, brokers, programmers, or maybe someone still doing nuclear medicine or ophthalmology with a calculator. i also hope to be surprised.

i'll go first. i use a 41cx to do construction layout. i use it because i need to check the work of surveyors who show up on my project with a casio, a pre-loaded data collector, and no common sense. i think there is less chance of "gigo" in what i do using an hp handheld than any other method. in a perfect world i would still use a 41 or some hp rpn because life is too short to use bad tools.

how about you?


I use, variously, an HP 41CX (my first favorite), an HP 11C (my second favorite because of its compactness), an HP 41C (not quite the second favorite because it has a sticky "7" key), an HP 32SII, and an HP 42 for in-class and in-lab calculations, as well as during homework grading - I teach non-calculus-based physics at the local community college. These same calculators are also used occasionally in the astronomy labs I teach.

I occasionally still use these, and they have been much more heavily used in the past, in my previous career as a professional radio astronomer. The '41s and the '42 have been used with small programs in all of these applications - never more than 20 or 30 steps though.

My HP 35 received heavy use in my last year as a graduate student and the first few years of my career - until the HP 11 came along. The '35 is now relegated to occasional use, mostly to see if the power switch still works!


First please accept my apologies but I do not speak English fluently.
I use an HP-67, several HP-41s, HP-71B w/ 41/71 Translator Pac, HP-42S, HP-48SX w/ Zengrange Ltd 41CV Emulator Card, a PC w/ HP-IL/PC card and a 288Kb RAM Casio FX-890P (Intel 80C188 inside!).
I'm astronomer amateur and handeld calculators are really useful and the HP-41 is particularly powerful.
Synthetic Programming provides running a big program in X-Memories w/ a SIZE 319 and then 319 data registers are available.
MCode speeds your routines up. Thus a x100 speed isn't rare.
IL peripherals such IL Converter are necessary in order to pilot a telescopestep-by-step motor for instance. Non-IL extensions such Rambox or Eprom Box give you the way to get your own application modules.
I use my calcs for scale modelling too, handle my accounts, ...


I also pilot my Minolta XG-9 via a modified Time Module (cf. Control the World with HP-IL, by Gary Friedman).


Hello, I just graduated from LSU with a BS in Biology. I used my HP32SII for every class I took, from Statistics to Ecology to Physics. It is a fine calculator. I know several people who used very expensive non-RPN graphing calculators (like the TI89) in Calculus, but the calculator only got them into trouble. My HP allowed me to perform mathematical operations, but was not a crutch; the lesson of intuitive mathematics was not lost on me. I am only a novice when it comes to math, calculators, and programming, but I do like to study (self-directed) these subjects. I begin medical school next August, and I hope that there will be pertinent subjects that will allow the use of my HP. If not, I will continue to use it to study (self-directed) mathematics and programming. Are there any physicians who post here? If so, let me know if you were able to use your calculator extensively in medical school and beyond. I have been wondering this for some time now. Thank you all!


I always go for the 48S first (last, and almost always), although I'll admit a lot of its use is checkbook balancing (I haven't had a calculus problem in decades). I find that I use the "graphing" capabilities almost not at all, and the visible stack almost continuously (the main display advantage over non-graphical). Having a composible command line is a nice compliment to the multi-line visibility.

But *what* do I do with it? Well, mostly it's a database, a backup device for my organizer. My favorite app is ROLDX (names & addresses), in several incarnations and by James Weisbin, and the second is MLCAL (machine language month calendar, Google can't advise me of the author). An organizer it ain't, yet the sheer quality and pleasure of using it (compared to a Pocket PC, Yeah, RIGHT) brings me back again and again.


Well, I'm in banking, and, surprise, surprise, I use a 12C. This calculator sits on my desk at work and gets daily use. I often take it with me to meetings, because you never know when you'll need a calculator, and I HATE the calculator app on my Palm! The 12C is perfect; is offers all of the features one needs, and it easily fits into your shirt or jacket pocket.

I also have a 17BII; I purchased this calculator almost 8 years ago for a Financial Planning course and have barely used it since. It's a great calculator for students, but I must admit I'm not a huge fan of it.

The first HP that I fell in love with was the HP28S. Friends of mine in university used them, and I was incredibly jealous! To me, this calculator represented a huge step forward...infinite stack, some graphing, soft keys and an amazing design...I even loved the "wine" coloured shift key! This calculator told me that HP cared about the machines that they manufactured. Of course, I was a student at the time and couldn't afford the price tag, but I could admire it from afar (aka the campus bookstore)!

This is the point at which I started my love affair with clamshells. I know, they have their design flaws, but if you treat them with care, they're just fine! I now own a 28S and a 19BII; I'm reading the 28S manuals so that I can familiarize myself with all the features, and since I'm going back to grad school in the fall, these units will get LOTS of use.

There's my story in a nutshell (or should I say clamshell)!!!
(I know...don't quit my day job!)



I mainly use mine for school. I am still in High School, and technically my HP 32sii belongs to the school, although i get to keep it for the full 4 years. I have this "hate" for graphing calculators, so I go throough all my math classes without using a graphing calc, just my HP. Needless to say everyone hates me for the equation solver, quick programming, Curve fitting (I just learned about this feature, and am kicking myself now), and speed.
I also use it for our UIL meets. UIL is basically a bunch of different high schools competing against eachother in different tests, as in Math, Science, Computer Science, and calculator (where everyone uses a 32sii)
I do a bit of programming, but more just for fun.
Thats my short story. (After all I am a new user... Was a hardcore TI-30xa user until last year)



It took me a while thinking about this subject before writing, s I'd commit less mistakes.

I have no specific use and related calculator. What I must admit is that any RPL is my first choice for almost any activity.

Nowadays I act as a teacher, but my off-classes activities are HW and SW development. I use the HP's more often when studying and designing HW. My level of SW development goes from machine language to a few high-level languages. For now, I'm delving into Linux and related development environment.

I'd write a bit more about RPN and RPL, but almost everybody in here knows how I feel about them, so it's repeating exposure.

I used both HP41CV and HP15C when I was a student at the university (electrical engineering); today, using graphical interfaces and builder languages is mandatory, no space for calculators. The last time I develop something significant (for my own, I am not mentioning some SW development to some friends in the community) was final works on Backpropagation and Perceptrons using an HP48G (artificial neural networks, 1999). The professor did not believe that it could be done in a calculator. My final degree was A, mostly because of the originality.

That's what I mostly like in using calculators: programming. I believe that there are two limits when dealing with them as programmable tools. The first one may be expressed in one question: "What can this calculator do for us?" This question USED TO BE answered in the calculator's manual, but the utmost models do not have this limits neither well defined, nor known at all. By knowing as much as possible (or desired) about the calculator, the user will go deepest into it's limitations. The second limit may be expressed with another question; "What can we do with this calculator?" For me, this question has answer in an infinite number. I'd never dare answering it briefly, because this is mostly the expression of the user's limitations, not specifically the tool's limitations.

I know this does not answers D.B.'s proposed survey, but I am sure I expressed a little bit more of my own concerns.


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