-+*/ -> /*-+


The HP41C and all HP calculators before it all seem to have had the vertical top-down
ordering of -+*/ for those 4 keys.

Then came the Voyagers with /*-+, setting the tone for the future. Anybody know why this
ordering was changed?

It looks like HP did a X<>Y RDN RDN, in 1981, on those 4 fundamental keys.
Maybe it was around then that the numeric keypad appeared on PC keyboards?



I have always wondered this, too. I will merely note that just about all other brands of calculator seem to have the order and position on the right, and like the voyagers and pioneers. Perhaps HP was merely aligning with an industry "standard"?




I have always found the Voyager order much more logical and intuitive to use.

The first HP I used was a 9825 which has the same key order as Voyager, and an HP-11C was my own first HP calc.

Before that I had a Commodore 7919 with x / - + in order from top to bottom and I prefered the HP-11C (in all aspects!).

I also have HP-41 and find the arithmetic key order very awakward.



I think the 41 series had the arithmetic keys this way because of ergonomical and practical reasons.

Hold your HP-41 in your right hand, with only your right thumb beeing able to access the keyboard.

Imagine you don't have your left hand free for typing.
Now you're in a situation like an engineer in the field,
with one hand holding a paper or adjusting a total station, and the calc in your other hand.

Your thumb can describe a specific angle over the keyboard,
and the keys near the middle of the keyboard are simply easier to reach for your thumb.
It's harder to reach the outmost keys, like '*' and '/',
and thus the most used keys moved towards the center of the keyboard.

And that's one of the reasons why the ENTER key is where it used to be before the 1999 machines, by the way.




interesting. i wonder why right handed people operate buttons with their left hand fingers. or do they?


I'm left-handed and use my left hand do operate and the right to hold... Do right-handed people the same???




Left hand to operate the calc, right hand to write with a pen(cil)


Left hand to operate the calc, right hand to write with a pen(cil) VPN

Correct. I believe that the vast majority of right-handed people hold the calc. with their left hand, and punch keys with their right. It was for this exact reason that I found the earlier post about one-handed operation to be very strange! A right-handed person will almost always hold the calc. in the left hand---keeping the right hand free for writing! Therefore, any design for one-handed use should really be designed for left-handed use.

I'm not convinced that one-handed use dictated the position of the "Enter" key on early HPs. I think it just makes the most ergonomic sense. For a "portrait" orientation, it seems that you would want a somewhat-standard "ten-key" orientation of the numbers, and the arithmetic operators in a vertical column close to the numbers. Remember, adding machines and basic office-machine-four-bangers somewhat standardized that vertical column of arithmetic operators (near the numbers) many years before HP produced their first calc. Anyway, back to the point, for a portrait orientation, it seems that you would want nothing in the lowest rows but the numbers and four arithmetic operations. It just makes sense to put a big "Enter" key right above the numbers.

I don't know... Maybe it just seems common-sense now, because we've all become so accustom to the great ergonomics of the old HP calc.s!



Interesting. I hadn't thought of it much before, becausethe Pioneer and Coconut calcs just work so well for me as they are.

I'm left handed and almost always use a calc with my right hand, saving my left hand for important things like the coffee cup.

It doesn't seem as comfortable to use with my left hand, though that is very possibly due to my normal habits. The enter key definitely belongs shere my index finger can get at it


I also use my left-hand on computer mouse and the right on the HP42, on my desk.
<off topic>
It is curious that many left-handed people (like myself) likes mathematics. As an exemple, in one project I worked three of four people was left-handed (one mathematician, one engineer and one programmer [me]).
</off topic>




Hi Raymond,

I am a leftie---and I use my calculator many different ways:

Sometimes it is on the desk--and I use it with either left or right hand, depending on whether I am sketching or something with my left hand,

Other times, the calc is in hand, and I use it three ways here:

Left hand, with thumb, Right hand, with thumb, and both hands, with two thumbs.

All of these methods are quite even in usage, too.

What I have noticed recently, is that going back to a voyager, after 8 years with pioneers, is that the voyager really is much more awkward for 1 handed use--though I remember being quite comfortable that way in the past. I think I used to be adapted to seeing the lcd at a cattywompus angle, and now I have lost that adaptation.



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