A sad story


after a month spent in the hospital and seeing doctors, i found it should be good to write here.

on march 1st, i was robbed and shot four times, three on my right leg and one on my left wrist. i lost my laptop, an hp-42s and an hp-71b (complete with 128k ram, a math rom, a 41 translator and an owner´s manual.) from then on i´ve been recovering (and mourning the loss of both calculators, i must confess.)

now i am feeling better, still ten days away from being able to use my left hand; my leg will take longer since the nerves have to "rewire" (and in the meantime i am re-learning to walk.) i just have my right hand to type and found that typing á la dennis is good when only one hand is available; i might say it´s comfortable even :-)

during my recovery i´ve spent quite a good time with the hp-67 math and stat pac and ported some programs to my 41s. in the process i have remembered the good old days of programming when your code had to be efficient, not fancy, and when you stated the problem, worked the solution and then refined the user interface, not the other way around as it is common these days. among others, i ported the polynomial approximation and the factorial, permutation and combination programs. i will be happy to share these.

as a forum frequent reader, and being the museum one of my favorite sites, i wanted to share these terrible moments, which i am trying to leave behind.

Dave: you can delete this post if you think it is not appropriate here. to all the rest: take care.



So sorry to hear about your misfortune and I hope you are healing well. You didn't say, but I hope that your attackers were caught and will be punished.



I say we let our troops use the attackers for target practice.




I am sorry for what happened to you. Many times, the world proves that reality is much more than we can grasp. My belief is that vengeance and anger do not help, and I fell better by not seing these in your words.

Be well. Recover soon.




I'm sorry to hear what happened to you. Why did they shoot you 4x? I bet you chased after them yelling: "Gimme back my calculators you dirty !@#$^&!" and it took four rounds to get you down, right?

As strange as it sounds, I'm glad you were shot in the leg and wrist instead of in the chest, stomach, neck, head, etc. No matter how grim, there is always a bright side. I know, it is easy for me to say, since I'm not the one in the hospital, but I live my life that way. The calculators and computer are replacable, you will walk again, and you will use your hand again. Those are all good things.

I hope someone gets those thugs. I hope the next guy they mug has a .45 waiting for them... It is nice to say that vengeance and anger don't help, but that is not my style, I'm afraid. If someone shot me, I would love to have a chance to shoot them back. I think it WOULD do some good, as they wouldn't be around robbing and shooting innocents any more. Are (law abiding) civilians allowed to carry weapons where you live?



first: juan, i wish you a speedy recovery and new tools.

second: everyone, i suggest that we all send an email to ourselves with a list of serial numbers for our hp calculators so that even if our house is emptied we will still have a record at our isp. that's a short note for me so i'll include my omron and national semi's. they are treasures too.

third: i volunteer to keep a list for our community of stolen calculators by serial number, engraved name, ssn or whatever. i can take info from emails and send it out to whoever asks. if it gets big maybe my sweetie can teach me to use some kind of spreadsheet. i don't know how often it would be used but i am sure that all of us would like to help find the scum that would steal the tools someone earns his living with, no matter if he shoots him in the process or not. you know; an honest seller of a hot calc might know where he got.



Hello, D.B. and folks;

I'd go a bit beyond. I sometimes saw people posting messages and mentioning partial serial numbers and I used to reason about the reasons they did not put the complete serail number.

I got to my own conclusion but I think I should not post it here. I'd rather read others.

Anyway, each of us should keep our own records with these data, allow data to be shared in a common data bank (as you mention to be in your personal system) AND, as a personal care, scan (better if it is a photography) calculator's back side and keep the image as a proof it was in your hands and matches the so claimed serial number. This would increase safety and confirm calculator's existence.

Images should be at the owner's storage midia because of size.

Just an idea.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


At one time it was a fairly common scam for people to see an item shown with a serial number, fake up some paperwork, and then claim that it was stolen from them. This happened to a friend of mine... luckily he had solid documentation that he had purchased the unit new and several years of factory maintenance records. The scumbag who was trying to pull the con also made the same claim (but his paperwork was obviously bogus).


Hello, David;

Believe me, when I wrote I got to my own conclusion but I think I should not post it here. I'd rather read others. I had another text written. This is it:

As we know about many scum that read these posts and do not even dare posting anything back, who could not simply forge a "froof of purchase", a receipt, and claim that calculator with that serial number was his own? If we all have our receipts of our own calculators (I have a few of them)

I thought I would be flamed, and I seethat I was not so far from the truth. I was affraid calling the attention of the other scumbags. And I cannot find other solution for this very problem than electronically register these serial numbers. Any ideas?

Best regards and thank you.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


And make a hard copy! What if they steal your computer too?


i guess that it is more complicated than my backwoods fix would solve, unless all buyers and sellers are honest. shows what i know. as my calculator tool box grows i will do what luiz suggests and i guess i'll burn up some storage space to store pictures - not just numbers. half of my treasures are not hp but are rpn and that works for me.

and again; best of luck in everything to juan j.


Hello, D.B.;

I'd use rewritable CD's. As you sale and buy and manage your "collection" (or tools, in my case) you simply update it. No need to burn up storage space at you hard disk. I usually store this sort of information in two rewritable CD's, as for a backup.

Just another suggestion. I'll run scanning mine.

In time: I had an HP28S stolen last year. I am sure I have the serial # written somewhere, also the receipt. It was bought in Brazil.

Dave, is this all O.K. for you? I am not sure about the others, but I do not feel comfortable posting serial numbers of stolen equipment in your site. I think the best way to point this sort of information out would be adding a link to the claimed information that is posted somewhere else. Is it legal posting only the links as mentioned above? Also, is it against any of the Terms of Use? I read them and it seems there are no explicitly concerns for this sort of contents, but yours will be the last word, as all of us will respectfully accept without complain.

I feel so comfortable and "at home" in your site that I sometimes forget about it.

Thank you.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


I've often wondered how many of the items offered for sale on eBay are actually stolen goods. I suppose that eBay is probably one of the safest ways for a thief to make a profit from items that he's stolen. For most of the items being sold, it would be unreasonable to demand that the seller be able to find any sort of original proof of purchase, and a cash register receipt usually doesn't prove much of anything anyway. And of course many of the items will have been sold and resold many times. Oh well, I just hope that most of the eBay sellers really are honest people. It's no doubt best to keep records and some sort of proof of ownership of your most valuable possessions.


I'm sorry Luiz but I don't understand what you're asking me. I've been busy packing and shipping boxes to scanning volunteers and have only had a chance to skim the forum and "this all" in reference to this thread is not obvious to me. Maybe I've been sniffing too much packing tape adhesive :-)

One idea that popped into my head while reading this was a web script where someone could type in a serial number and it would tell them whether or not it was in the database of alleged stolen calculators. The idea would be that you could check any calculator you were buying but the list would not be visible. If the system were gated to a request every second or so the list would probably be sparse enough that a scammer couldn't easily brute-force serial numbers out of it. But this is just a thought and I'm not sure where you were going.


Hello, Dave;

You're right being confused. The subject itself may become threatening if not dealt with care. My question was if one contributor would have the chance to announce here (maybe at the classified adds or somewhere else) that one of his calculators has been stolen. I thought about this possibility based on this thread's subject, but I came to the conclusion that your site is not the place for this sort of matter. I think it is the place to discuss and even annouce where to get information about serial # and stolen calculators (this is something that, in a general approach, would be a frofitable service at the internet...), but not to announce the fact itself. That's when I thought about simply posting links to pages where the stealing/robbery and the stolen objects are described. Even so, I still don't know if this is the place for posting links like these. Maybe we would read posts with threatening answers from guys (thieves) that do not have anything to loose and would become a nightmare here. We sometimes read messages from spam's, and finding this forum in your site requires entering and reading.

Just let it go, no good idea at all.

Now it's my turn to say I'm sorry...

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil


Hi Luiz,

At this point I'm inclined to not worry to much about what could go wrong here. My guess would be that the number of stolen calculators that might be mentioned would be small and I assume that they would tend to be stolen by "general" thieves who wouldn't hang around here.

I think for now I would leave it to the individual as to whether he/she wants to post here and possibly take the additional risk that access to their serial number might be used for unfortunate purposes.

In general I find that laziness is a pretty good forum management style because people here are well behaved and thoughtful. If we're overwhelmed or if such threads turn into flame-fests, then I'll have to rethink that.


Hi, Dave;

Thank you for your (as always) thoughtful words.

The main reason I decided to mention these concerns was to know what you think about them, as I asked for. And as we see how do people respect this place, your managment style is far from being wrong.

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil



Here's wishing you a speedy and full recovery, and recovery of your prized HP devices. Savages, I am afraid.

To all...
Given prices of orig HP calcs, etc. a small box of them can be worth quite a bit. I keep my HPs (ones I don't use) locked in my fireproof gun safe.

San Jose, CA


Un afectuoso abrazo, Juan y mis mejores deseod para tu recuperación.



I wish you a speedy recovery. And the recovery of your calculators too.

I hope that whoever did it is off of the streets permanently. Not necessarily executed; I'm not that thirsty for revenge. But life in prison with no possibility of early release or any chance of parole seems about right to me. I don't think that we should ever take the risk of allowing someone who did something like that his freedom and another chance. Of course if he were killed while resisting arrest, that would save society the trouble of caring for him.



I think that recording the serial numbers and taking a quick and dirty digital pic (if possible) is a great idea. I bet that most of those calculators are sold on eBay, so if we kept a sharp eye on the auctions, and ask the seller for the serial number after one was stolen... It could lead to nothing but good things. If the seller told you the serial number, you would know if it was yours or not. If he wouldn't tell you, you could get eBay and the police involved. The location of the item in the auction also might give a clue. For instance, you wouldn't need to bother with items from Canada that have been for sale for three days if you were robbed in South America...



thank you so much for your kind words, e-mails and proposals. you are great, guys!

i am feeling better but still in (sometimes intense) pain. the doctor said it will be as long as nerves will heal up, which occurs very slowly (doctor michael?) will need a lot of physical therapy, too.

the proposal sounds good to me. for the time being, my little machines do not leave the house and i will confirm the serial numbers.

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