HP's new calc page



#4

I'm sure you've all visited http://www.hp.com/calculators/news/index.html

Did you all find it a bit funny how the guy says "we've just released an old financial favorite" (HP12plat.) and then briefly mentions science/graph calcs, then yet another financial calc is on the way. Then at the end of his note, he says later in the year there will be yet another exciting addition to the financial line of calcs? What's the deal here? His writing does not sound very planned at all...

Also, I've heard rumors and seen pics of a 48gII and a 49g+...why bother with so many different models? Is it really necessary? Glad to have my old 32sii...


#5

With all the ranting going on on this board it is obvious everybody wants just one calc released and it must be just the one they would specify for themselves. An easier way would be to invent a time machine and simply pick up what you want, then everybody could be happy....


#6

HP has tried to issue a 'do everything' calculator a few times. The main problem is they never did a real do everything calculator. A true 'do everything' Pioneer, for example, would have been a combination of the 27S and the 42S - or the 17B and the 42S. That means *programming capability*.

The 41 series and 48 series really are single calcs that can do everything and make everyone happy except for (basically) two things:

1: the 41 series ain't made no more.
2: many people dislike the size and appearance of the 48.

I could add RPL as a third, but that's bogus. Several implementations of good algebraic and RPN/keystroke interfaces are available. Or were available.

I don't think offering one calc is the best plan. i *do* think that a real series of machines with shared technology- like the voyagers or the pioneers, would be a good idea.

(as for the 'boxyness' of the Pioneers, i've had more than one co worker under the age of 25 comment on how pretty the photographs of the 27S are. - I'd show them iin pperson if I could find one!)

-Christof

#7

[Fred wrote:]
> With all the ranting going on on this
> board it is obvious everybody wants
> just one calc released and it must be
> just the one they would specify for
> themselves. An easier way would be to
> invent a time machine and simply pick up
> what you want, then everybody could be happy...

Hmm... Is this "Fred" as in Fred Valdez of HP??

Most of us want a few things. We're flexible on everything else. Most of us here want an HP calc with:

(1) Ye olde quality. When 30+yr old calcs are mechanically outlasting those produced recently, something's wrong. We're a little more paranoid too, since there's not a great supply of RPN calcs out there. And keys that don't bounce, keys that stop working, or LCD ribbon connectors that separate from PCB are kinda all-important items.

(2) True 4-level XYZT+L RPN with large ENTER key above numeric area. Non-RPN or half-assed RPN without the large [ENTER] key doesn't cut it.

(3) Accuracy. When the new calcs (12C-Plat) don't offer the same accuracy for some functiosn as the orig 20yr old 12C design does, that's a poor sign. Regression in one area indicates likely problems with others.

I'd be grateful to just get something like a TI25X with RPN!

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA


#8

"(1) Ye olde quality. When 30+yr old calcs are mechanically outlasting those produced recently, something's wrong. We're a little more paranoid too, since there's not a great supply of RPN calcs out there. And keys that don't bounce, keys that stop working, or LCD ribbon connectors that separate from PCB are kinda all-important items."

Gee, this never happens with those Hp41, classics, etc. (not, I have quite a few that exhibit all these issues) The connections in a 41 series and some of the Spice are pressure fits, etc.) Some of the good old days were good, but others certainly were not!

"(2) True 4-level XYZT+L RPN with large ENTER key above numeric area. Non-RPN or half-assed RPN without the large [ENTER] key doesn't cut it. "

I do agree with the ergonomics of the classic ENTER key placement, but the effort to maintain RPN is commendable.


"(3) Accuracy. When the new calcs (12C-Plat) don't offer the same accuracy for some functiosn as the orig 20yr old 12C design does, that's a poor sign. Regression in one area indicates likely problems with others"

Certainly it indicates room for improvement if it is in a practical analysis situation, but rarely are products without bugs even with the best intentions. Lets only deal with actual problems and not inferred problems!

HP has certain production facilities and capabilities they can draw on with their development partners. We may not like the reality, but going back to the days when calculators were originally developed is impossible. Patience will bring some rewards (not all) but what I see now occuring will only lead to having nothing at all....


#9

Fred...

"(1) Ye olde quality. When 30+yr old calcs are mechanically outlasting those produced recently..."

>Gee, this never happens with those Hp41, classics,
>etc. (not, I have quite a few that exhibit all these
>issues) The connections in a 41 series and some of
>the Spice are pressure fits, etc.) Some of the good
>old days were good, but others certainly were not!

Yes, some truth there. But quality is also "Feel" (in automotive world it relates to "NVH" - noise, vibration, harshness, even though the engine may be fine and the doorknobs don't fall off). Having good click KBs that have double injection molded keytops that don't wear is a good start.


"True 4-level XYZT+L RPN with large ENTER key above numeric area. Non-RPN or half-assed RPN without the large [ENTER] key doesn't cut it. "

>>I do agree with the ergonomics of the classic
>>ENTER key placement, but the effort to maintain
>>RPN is commendable.

Yes. But KB layout and RPN entry are very tied together.
I am *FAST* number-cruncner on an RPN calc w/large ENTER key - whether it's a 41, 25, or 32S... doubt a small ENTER will help :)

"(3) Accuracy. When the new calcs (12C-Plat) don't offer the same accuracy for some functiosn as the orig 20yr old 12C design does, that's a poor sign. Regression in one area indicates likely problems with others"

>Certainly indicates room for improvement if
>it is in a practical analysis situation, but
>rarely are products without bugs even with the
>best intentions. Lets only deal with actual
>problems and not inferred problems!

The 12CPlat bugs I speak of are clearly *systemic* and *architectural* in design. They could EASILY have written a small 12C emulator that runs in the 6502-style CPU of the 12C-Plat without taking up much more (if any) ROM space. (In fact, such emulation may in fact allow some code compression given that the 'Nut instruction set is well adapted to BCD FP math ops - as opposed to a native rewrite in 6502 assy or C.) This would allow a perfect emulation of a 12C. And additional funcs could be added inside or outside of the emulation layer.

>HP has certain production facilities and capabilities
>they can draw on with their development partners. We
>may not like the reality, but going back to the days
>when calculators were originally developed is impossible.
>Patience will bring some rewards (not all) but what I
>see now occuring will only lead to having nothing at
>all....

Development partners?? That implies both do some work. Here it merely looks to me like HP issues a quick spec and has slave-labor Kinpo slightly rejigger an existing calc (33S). No 'value-added' with the HP name.

The ARM-based 49 does seem to be innovative. We'll see how good it is. Now if we could just get that large ENTER key on it we'd be set.

HP has largely turned into a 'rewrap' "badge engineering" house. The brains went away to Agilent (some stayed in the printer division, there still seems to be some innovation there) and they seem to wanna concentrate on building PC clones to sell at Costco - against Dell, who will eat their lunch (and I don't like Dell PCs).

Bill
San Jose, CA

#10

Fred wote:
> An easier way would be to invent a time machine and simply pick up what you want ...


Actually I did try that, but it's not very practical:

a) It requires a shit load of electricity. For example, I used it last Thurday afternoon and I had to wait almost 24 hours for the power to return.

b) I wanted an HP-97, so I went back to 1978 to get one, but it turned out to be too expensive. SEVEN HUNDERED AND FIFTY DOLLARS for a calculator, can you believe it? I told them they were nuts and came back.

:-)

**vp

#11

easy fix: let the engineers call the shots instead of the &*#%ing bean counters! no wonder we still have 12c and the divine 42s is no more....


#12

HI John,

I feel just as much chagrin at the loss of the good scientifics. But I wonder if (and until we see internal sales figures I do not know how to substantiate this) the real problem is that in fact the vast majority of engineers, scientists and technical people have left the (programmable) calculator behind--i.e. the sales really fell off. Perhaps this even happened to the 32sii. Sure, there are die-hards like you and me, but perhaps most of the rest of the world of engineering is way "past" the calculator approach.


One of my cousins is a prominent scientist involved in groundwater modeling. I spoke to him the other day about my calculator interest, and to him, all is all terribly anachronistic. The amount of data he processes, the very core of his ideas, have left the handheld far behind.


Strangely enough, is it the more "pure math" oriented that have remained enamored with the calculator? Until I discovered this collecting subculture 6 months ago, I had never heard of a "CAS" (computer algebra system). Now I hear the tern "Erable" and "Alg48" frequently. I am a practicing practical mechanical sort of engineer, and when I have an algebra problem I just get out my pencil---usually if it is a strange dynamic problem, or a multi-variable problem, I am rusty enough that I need to refresh my memory anyway! But if one is very math oriented all the time, then I suppose the "CAS" etc would be useful?

Regards and sorry for the ramble....time to hit the sack!


#13

When I have some 'big' math to do I too do not use a calculator but instead use Excel or Matlab or a custom C program, etc.

So requirements of fancy programmability are actually been reduced for me. Matrix math, plotting, etc - I'll use a 'puter. Though it is nice to be able to have a calc customized via programming for various specialty work - and a root-finder is helpful for TVM problems, etc.

[I want to do a nice exterior ballistics program for my 41C. Unfortunately it's too useful of a calc to take to a rifle range or the desert and drop it, get it dirty, etc.]

But I still use a calc to 'think' thru/play with numbers - figuring out bounds of a problem, degree or extent of something, roughing out an approximation, etc.

So a nice RPN sci calc is welcome. Basic funcs of my dream calc, again (w/o even considering programmability):

- RPN w/4-level XYZT stack + LastX reg

- traditional HP KB layout: positioning
[ENTER][CHS][EEX][CLx] row above 0-9 keys

- reliable debounced 'click' KB w/double injection
molded keycaps

- full logs/trigs/hyperbolics

- x^2 should NOT be shifted function (wastes keystrokes)

- complex # use is nice (a la 42S)

- memory math ops: "[STO][+]03" or "[STO][/]Z"

- quick base conversions (Hex/Dec/Bin/Oct) and
non-base10 math (32S too slow, have to use menus)

- basic TVM functions (i, PV, FV, PMT, n,...)


I'd live w/something like a 32SII again but I'd like it slightly narrower.

And an RPN version of a true pocket calc (roughly credit-card sized, 3/16" thick) like TI's TI-25X would be wondrous!


Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA


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