Scientific Functions for the 12CP - Which should have been added?



#19

While I realize the average HP-12C user would never need to use trigonometric functions, I still think these should have been built-in in the 12-C Platinum. The lack of trigs, LOGx, 10^x, pi, etc. made sense in 1981 when the 12-C was released, because memory was expensive back then.
I would like to know if people here think HP should release an improved version of the HP-12CP or let it unchanged for ever. Which functions should be added and why? I myself think trigs and RAD/DEGREE modes would be enough.

Regards,

Gerson.


#20

E aí, Gerson; are you well?

I agree with you that the HP12C could be used by a larger number of users if some extra functionality is added. You see, when I read about HP12C Platinum for the first time(here), I thought that it would have some extra functions, maybe by simply filling the gap of using both [f] and [g] applied to the four aritmetic functions ({+], [-], [×] and [÷]), but the only 'extra' function was the [x2]. We cannot forget the algebraic functionality, 299 extra program steps and possibility of computing IRR and NPV with up to 30 'cash flows' (instead of the possible 20 in the HP12C 'flat').

The HP19BII has trigonometrics applied to either DEGrees or RADians (has both trigonometric mode), it computes coordinate convertions and has a lot more functionality. If I have to pick a financial calculator with extra functionality, I'd go for the HP19BII. In fact, I'm waiting to see if the HP19BII+ is actualy comming or not. If not, I'd accept the [f] and [g] extensions in the [+], [-], [×] and [÷] keys (except for the [g][LSTx] and [g][x2], that I'd find a way to put somewhere else...)

Best regards.

Luiz (Brasil)


#21

Tudo bem, Luiz?

Quote:
The HP19BII has trigonometrics applied to either DEGrees or RADians (has both trigonometric mode), it computes coordinate convertions and has a lot more functionality. If I have to pick a financial calculator with extra functionality, I'd go for the HP19BII.

Surely HP has more powerful financial calculator options. But the 12C form-factor is unique. Do you know what the Voyagers have in common with the Parthenon? The golden ratio!

I still remember the day I bought my HP-15C as a replacement for a TI-59 which had been stolen (Thanks, Mr. Thief!). It was the most beautiful calculator I had ever seen, in fact it looked like a jewel. At first I thought I had been lured, when I tried to add 2 + 2... (where is the '=' key that was supposed to be here? - but that's another story). However, though not as beautiful as its older sister, the 42S does a better job, and has been chose as my everyday calculator. By the way, what do you think of a 42S soul in a Voyager body? (Sorry, subject for antother topic...)

Best regards,

Gerson.


#22

Hi, Gerson; evrthng fine here, thanks!

Quote:
Do you know what the Voyagers have in common with the Parthenon? The golden ratio!
Yeap, that justifies the pleasant look: 3 × 2, right?
Quote:
It (HP15C) was the most beautiful calculator I had ever seen, in fact it looked like a jewel.
It makes me remember the day I saw an HP15C for the first time... Cannot agree more! I felt the same, when the look is the issue, after buying my (first) HP41. I saw the HP15C and thought 'Why can't the HP41 have the same extended functions I need so much in my daily activities as an (yet a student) engineer and why can't it look the same?' About one year later I had my own HP15C. As you say, a jewel! Valentin seems to feel the same about it and I don't blame him; the HP15C is something more.
Quote:
By the way, what do you think of a 42S soul in a Voyager body?
I agree with you that applying the vertical 'golden ratio' to the HP42S layout is something to think seriously about (I would like it very much!), and I bet a complete new design would actualy be the best choice, so we could fit the two-line display and keyboard layout accordingly. When the look is an issue, I still look at the HP71B (thanks, M.M.) and think that it goes to the first place in my judgement. Taht is a beauty. If you place a Voyager's keyboard aligned above the HP71B's qwerty keyboard, you'll see that the dimensions match: key size, vertical and horizontal alignment. Only the true, early HP style can match these.

Oops, off topic issues...

Best regards.

Luiz

Edited: 27 Mar 2005, 5:18 p.m.


#23

Quote:
Quote:
Do you know what the Voyagers have in common with the Parthenon? The golden ratio!

Yeap, that justifies the pleasant look: 3 × 2, right?


You're right if we consider you're using a rough approximation: Fib(4)/Fib(3) (fourth term / third term in the Fibonacci sequence).

As we remember, given a rectangle with sides a and b, it is said to be a golden rectangle if their sides obbey to this proportion:

(a+b)/a=a/b

making b=1 we get:

a^2-a-1=0

the positive root, (sqrt(5)+1)/2), is know as the "golden number".

Now, what does this have to do with Voyagers?

At

http://www.hp.com/calculators/financial/12c/specs.html

we can find the HP-12C dimensions if we are lazy enough to take a ruler and measure it ourselves:

12.70 × 7.87 × 1.52 cm (5 × 3.1 × 0.6 in)

If we divide 12.70 by 7.87 we get 1.614, very close to the golden number to three decimal places: 1.618. We can notice that coincidentally the dimensions in centimeters are close to Fib(7)=13 and Fib(6)=8 and the dimensions in inches are close to Fib(5)=5 and Fib(4)=3. I wonder who was the designer of the Voyager series, he or she knew what was doing.

Quote:
It makes me remember the day I saw an HP15C for the first time... Cannot agree more! I felt the same, when the look is the issue, after buying my (first) HP41. I saw the HP15C and thought 'Why can't the HP41 have the same extended functions I need so much in my daily activities as an (yet a student) engineer and why can't it look the same?'

When I first saw a 41C (or CV) at Carrefour I found it a beautiful calculator too. I just couldn't afford it as it cost twice or three times the price of the 15C.

Regards,

Gerson.

#24

Your eight functions along with my two would just about fill up the unused f key spaces. They coulda called it the 17c. Let's not hold our collective (or collector) breaths waiting for it though.

I've never had to use logs or grads. In fact i just saw grads used for the first time two weeks ago, on the rough azimuth ring (along with a 360 degrees scale above them) on a new Lieca digital level.


#25

Quote:
I've never had to use logs or grads. In fact i just saw grads used for the first time two weeks ago, on the rough azimuth ring (along with a 360 degrees scale above them) on a new Lieca digital level.

That's the first use of GRAD I ever heard of. As of coordinate conversions I fear they don't seem to fit in a financial calculator. Anyway, that could be easily programmed, with little memory usage. We should ask for a 15C Platinum instead (if that's all HP could offer...).

Best regards,

Gerson.

#26

Hi Gerson.

Since I am sure HP considers the 12c and 12cp to be "financial" calculators, I doubt that they would consider adding these "scientific" functions. Face it, 99.99% of the buyers of these models are mortgage bankers and stocks and bonds guys, not HP collectors like us. We buy it because they don't make any other Voyager form-factor models anymore, but we are a very tiny minority. We will have to suffice with the trig functions implemented on the 12c via programs, as Valentin and others have posted.


#27

Quote:
We buy it because they don't make any other Voyager form-factor models anymore, but we are a very tiny minority.

You are quite right. I never thought one day I would buy a financial calculator. I just did it because I realized the 12C was the only Voyager left, so that should be my last chance to have a brand new one.
Well, I discovered I am not alone: the guy I recently bought a like-new 42S from, a telecom engineer, uses a 12C on a dayly basis. I also got back the very 15C I bought 22 years ago, but my calculator of choice for everyday use is the 42S.
Back to the topic, I just think it would not have been difficult for HP to have added some extra functionality when they designed the 12CP. Is this just a business decision or HP has lost its know how? I read somewhere the source code of Voyagers is lost, what could have made things more difficult.

Regards,

Gerson.


#28

I have always believed that 99% of the people who buy the 12c NEVER use the programming capability, and the other 1% (us) NEVER (or maybe rarely) use the financial functions. I have 4 Voyagers (11c, 12c, 12cp, and 16c) and I enjoy programming each of them, but the 12c may be my favorite because of its challenges: pitiful editing, two conditionals, no subroutines, and max of 99 instructions. Still, I find ways to do productive things on it, even using indirect addressing using the CF key. And if it ever breaks, I can get a new one at Staples or a used one pretty cheaply on ebay. I’ve always thought the 12c would be a good platform to teach assembly language programming at the community college, but that would be a very unmarketable skill these days.


#29

Not exactly, the skills cold be transfered to the 33S. Working in the accounting field, most do not use a calculator beyond the four-function ten-key.

#30

Back when I was dreaming, here's what I had posted several years ago about an improved 12c+. Sometime later (I can't find it now - it might be on the forum in an archive somewhere), I actually laid out these functions onto the 12c keyboard. They KEY (ha) change is putting a FIX function into the 12c. That frees up the yellow-shifted 0-9 keys for more functions.

However, I don't see this coming, and no, I have no inside knowledge either way...that's just my guess/assessment.

Gene
================

What should go into a 12c+?
1) Faster. Solve for i in a second or two, rather than 10-15.
2) Programming features: Add subroutines/return; add x>y and x NOT EQUAL 0
3) Add fix function for formatting display, replacing using f [digit],
which uses up the yellow-shifted locations of each numeric digit
4) Add direct computation of slope and intercept for linear regression
5) Add permutations and combinations
6) Add x^2
7) Add trig and inverses, common log and antilog, degrees or radians mode
8) Fix solution given when solving for n to be actual # of periods, not
rounded up automatically
9) Add hyperbolic trig functions (using a prefix key perhaps)
10) Add more memory for programs
11) Add Normal Distribution and Inverse Normal Distribution
12) Add population standard deviation calculation
There are 26 easy to use unoccupied locations on the 12C keyboard that are available for functions. My suggestions use:
#1 - None
#2 - 4 locations
#3 - 1 location
#3 - 2 locations
#5 - 2 locations
#6 - 1 location
#7 - 10 locations
#8 - None
#9 - 1 location
#10 - None
#11 - 2 locations
#12 - 1 location
a total of 24 of these 26 locations. C'mon HP, you've got 2 locations free!
Gene
P.S. The unused locations are: yellow shifted locations of the STO, RCL,
CHS, EEX, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, ., E+, /, *, -, + keys; blue shifted locations of the STO, RCL, /, *, -, + keys. Note that being able to use the yellow shift locations of 0 - 9 REQUIRES a FIX function.


#31

Hi,

I had read this posting more than once and every time I thought: "why not?". After all, there have been at least a do-everything (except for programming) calculator before: the HP-27. Perhaps as a second Voyager-style option.

Maybe what some of us really want is a new 15C, but that's definitely out of question.

This longing for discontinued products makes me remember what happened here in 1993: former Brazilian President, Itamar Franco, an Electrical Engineer, convinced VW to make the beetle again after it had been discontinued for years. And just because he believed it was the best popular car ever made . Despite jokes like "the President prefers the beetle because he does not know how to run Brasília" (Brasília = capital of Brasil, and another VW popular model, 'run' =same as 'drive' in Portuguese) he made it, retired VW were called back to factory and the beetles started to be made again. For two or three years beetle lovers had the chance of their lifetimes...

Anyone of you wanting to run for President? Vieira? :)

Regards,

Gerson.


Edited: 27 Mar 2005, 7:40 p.m.


#32

... do something even if I am the President; anyway, thanks for your vote, Gerson...8-). Well, at least I am an Electrical Engineer already.

Back to the issue: may I play a Devil's Advocate? I read a lot of posts about poducts (calculators) being brought back to production, and some of them called my (enginer) attention because of a particular issue: profit. Some guys called my (our) attention to the fact that if the HP12C has not been sold in quantities that justify having them in production AND if, even so, it is not profitable, it was no longer under production. Dom Shepherd's post emphasizes these facts again, and he also calls us a very tiny minority; for me, he is not far from the truth. You see, today's needs demand professionals able to operate tools that did not exist, say, thirty years ago. And todays professionals must improve their skills to go ahead and be prepared for what's to come. One thing I tell my students everytime I can: 'If you have a good idea and you want it to become a product or any sort of goodies to interact with people, do not waste more than three months developing it, because if the idea does not become an actual product in less than six months, all of the environment you created it for may no longer exist and your product will no longer be needed.' I am almost sure that others in here that worked on R&D a few decades ago remember that a product should leave production line without any potential flaw. Today we got used to read about 'recall', 'replacement', 'countless patches', meaning that neither the producer has an idea about how good or bad the products are. Why? R&D can no longer spend time in testing, adjustments, corrections and the like because whatever needs to be corrected will actualy make a difference when someone finds it out. Otherwise, correcting everything prior to put a product for sale is money loss. So, engineers should not waste their time and company's resources by computing and computing and recomputing to reduce production line losses and enhance product quality, just let financial staff to compute and recompute how much money we gain when reducing product quality to an acceptable level and how much money we lose (investment in R&D, production delay,...) if quality is enhanced and all products need more than the necessary time to leave production line. In a financial view, it is a loss.

To improve design and testing, powerfull workstations run all sort of CAx (CAD, CAM, HDL environment, etc.) and close-to-real simulations, so a good idea goes straight from the workstation to produciton line in a flash, and final products are packed and sold in a couple of months after being conceived.

A few decades ago we could afford using our personal, powerfull (HP) calculators and take months to refine a product based on many simulations that ran in RPN-based programs. Many HP calculators themselves needed some time from their conception till the day they were 'made public' and finaly sold.

Yeap, I know, this is 'cold water', but we must face current facts and have a solid proposal. I guess the best personal computing device is about to come, and either the Xpander or the newer Qonos are the HP's demonstration that it (HP) wants to set standards again.

I believe it can be done. I'm not quite sure if it will be.

Quote:
I’ve always thought the 12c would be a good platform to teach assembly language programming at the community college, but that would be a very unmarketable skill these days.
I'd go further: a "blank" Voyager with upgradable OS. Whatever you need, simply set your prefered pack of functions and download it from a PC. I think this so called 'Voyager' should have a two-line grahics display (like the HP42S) or a four-line (like the HP28S) and offer the standard arithmetic plus financial functions in some 'hot keys', while others close to the display would work as softkeys, with shift functionality. That would be a great platform for doing everything, even to "teach assembly language".

I wrote too much, again.

Cheers.

Luiz


Edited: 28 Mar 2005, 2:47 a.m.


#33

I have to disagree. I read in the electronics industry magazines all the time about "increasing time-to-market pressures", but they're obviously referring to the big markets-- cell phones, PC products, MP3 players, etc.. Niche markets don't work that way. Their market windows are extremely wide by comparison. Two of our own products (high-end intercoms for private aircraft) have been out for about ten years and the competition still hasn't caught up. I developed each for about $20,000, the retail price of about 20 of one unit and 40 of the other. We don't have to compete with big companies like Sony because although it's a valid market, it is nevertheless a niche market, too small for them to be interested. We might see a similar situation with OpenRPN.

To answer your comment about R&D no longer being able to spend the time to finish making a design correct: Many people, including our customers and including me, don't tolerate that idea. If I buy something and find out from experience that it was slopped together to get it out the door fast, I won't buy that company's products again. They get one chance only, and I expect the product to work right as long as I want to use it. I rather go without than to buy another product that's full of bugs or not durable. My experience with 1980's HP handhelds has been outstanding. But from what I read of the newer HPs, there's no chance I'd buy one. "Disposable" is acceptable for paper towels and certain other things, but not calculators.


#34

Hi Garth, all;

Garth, I'm not sure about what do you disagree with, but based on what you wrote I think you are right with your thoughts. In fact, I actualy focused on the big market, the one that can be felt all over the world. I am not sure if I am wrong about what I'm writing now, but niche markets are mostly local, right? HP calculators, our main issue here, is world wide, it can't be a niche market; am I right?

You see, I'm an engineer and I must think of enhancing quality and increasing production line and, as much as possible, at a smaller cost. Although I do not accept it quite well, it seems to me that today the 'at a smaller cost'-part comes as the main issue. I read this and this posts right now and it makes me think I'm not too far from what is actually going out there.

In Brazil we are able to see, thru cable TV, some north-american series. I've been watching two of them with some interest: The Aprentice (Trump) and American Chopper (Orange County). I do not see all of the episodes, but I see these as two different aspects of the economy nowadays. If I had to choose, I'd go for the Orange County. If I am a business man, I'd probably go for Trump. Because I'm an Engineer I cannot simply close my eyes to the business universe, but I'd surely never be a part of it as I am, I'd need major changes in almost all of my values to effectively be a part of the business world.

You see, that's why I agree with you when I think of the way I act. I'm mainly a DIY professional when I'm in my working field, and I interact with all other areas as I can, but when dealing with business, corporation and administrative structures I'm an expectator. I'd barely suggest changes...

Quote:
To answer your comment about R&D no longer being able to spend the time to finish making a design correct: Many people, including our customers and including me, don't tolerate that idea. If I buy something and find out from experience that it was slopped together to get it out the door fast, I won't buy that company's products again.
I myself, as a customer, think, feel and act the same.

Thanks for postings about your thoughts after mine. It is always good to read things we'd not actually write, although they are in the heart of the matter.

Cheers.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 30 Mar 2005, 12:30 p.m.


#35

I apologize if I seemed a bit abrasive. It was late.

"Niche" market just means it's specialized, something that only a small group of people would be interested in. There is no one on my block, and very few in our city, who would be interested in my designs that are flying in small aircraft all over the world. Yet my next technical-service call might be from someone installing our equipment in an aircraft in a hangar in South Africa, Australia, or the other side of the U.S., wanting to do something unusual in a custom installation. This market is very different from the kinds of products you'd find in Circuit City, Fry's, or Best Buy where you see lots of people who don't know anything at all about electronics (and don't want to) looking for a big-screen TV or a digital camera or a hiker's GPS, and who will lose the manual as soon as the box is open.

We who appreciate the HP calculator products of the 1980's are definitely not part of the general public, or of the group that is buying a calculator from Wal-Mart for our child because the teacher requires it. Yes, we make up a small market, but I don't think it's impossible to address that market again. Some things have changed, but not others. Technology has advanced, but certain needs remain. Certain myths remain as well, like that a 4GHz PC can always replace a slower HP hand-held.


#36

Thanks, Garth;

Quote:
"Niche" market just means it's specialized, something that only a small group of people would be interested in.
As you see, I was not aware of the meaning of the word, but I am aware of what "niche" reffers to. It's enlightment, and I am always interested on new info. Thanks! I see now that, based on the meaning, highly advanced calculator users' are actually attached to a niche market.

Quote:
Technology has advanced, but certain needs remain.
I like vintage technology for both private and learning reasons. By analyzing the circuit diagram and board wiring of an electronic equipment from the 70's/80's, one can always find some interesting arrangement. You se, I have some vintage Philips cassette recorders, about 95% "discrete" components (almost no IC's) and following their 'blueprints' is the same as to study electronics.

Quote:
Certain myths remain as well, like that a 4GHz PC can always replace a slower HP hand-held.
That IS a myth...

Cheers. And there's no need to apologize; we're amongst friendly, reasonable and mainly passionate people around here... like when we're home ;-)

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 30 Mar 2005, 2:19 p.m.


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