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While the 49g+ certainly has things some people don't like, I don't know that I would jump and shout that the TI 89 Titanium has no issues.

Keyboard layout
No feedback on key presses
Development issues


There is no compelling case to claim that the TI 89 Titanium's CAS is particularly better than the 49g+ either.

So, "WigglePig", if you are a troll, enjoy yourself.

If you're for real (and your choice of moniker makes that doubtful), there's no real reason to switch that you've given.

I have yet to meet someone who dislikes the gold color of the 49g+ who shouldn't also dislike the pastel shift colors of the TI89 Titanium.


Aha! I'm no troll, thanks!

I am indeed quite serious and, no, I'm not getting the TI89. I had a 92+ for a while and decided I don't really like the CAS on it. I didn't much care for the one on the 49G+ either, for that matter. Basically, I have decided that I don't need or want a CAS on a calculator and I'll use Mathematica for that. My calculating needs, day to day at work and in my continuing studies, are largely numerical. For a long time now I've used a 15c and 41CV/CX for most of the time but I feel a bit guilty taking them out in the field where they get full of mud and muck and possibly lost/broken. A TI84plus SE it is for me then. I like the data logging stuff that's available too and the new direct-connect Vernier probes look good. Nothing like that is useable with the HP series of calcs.

I intend, in a couple of years, to do Teacher Training (to get QTS here in the UK) and I feel there's little point in bashing on with HP kit when I doubt that's what will be knocking around in schools.

BTW, I'm neither a troll nor a schoolkid...I work for a major broadcaster as a Research Engineer, mainly in RF measurements, so my calculating needs are quite practical and I never, ever, play games on my kit. I have a chessboard and a PSP for that. ;-)


WigglePig. :wave:


Wigglepig, if you haven't already done so you should try the 33s. It's really a decent alternative to going TI and algebraic.

Regards and good luck!



Hi Gene,

WigglePig has a long if infrequent record of involvement here--I'm surprised you had not remembered him.

But I completely understand what he is getting at. The same thought occurred to me just the other day--that if I were to feel the need for a new high-powered machine, I would probably have to get a TI. I have a 49G and it is generally more annoying than the 48G in terms of complexity, slowness (its garbage collection is worse than the 48G by far and etc), and I cannot imagine having to deal with the G+ and all its issues. I have not been able to see how it could be a true "serious" tool--so many of all those guys over on C.S.hpf8 were so ecstatic about the 49G when it 1st came out---with MK already integrated etc. What I have found is that it is clumsy and slow--like if you are working with someone else on something, it gets in the way and breaks upo the train of thought. By comparison, the 48G has rapid keypresses, does not hang up and think constantly---is a workable machine for serious work.

As long as I am happy with the relatively low power of the 32sii, I have been happy enough with the 33s when out on the road.

When OpenRPN is fully running, then we will have a real Alternative.



Edited: 18 Apr 2005, 4:06 p.m.


And I just don't believe OpenRPN will ever exist in a usable "calculator" product. Just can't see it ever really working.

Same thing for Qonos by JYA. Pretty prototypes are one thing, getting it to production is another.

I just don't see the issues with the 49g+, but perhaps I've been lucky.

I have a 49g+ that so rarely misses a keystroke that I just don't notice it.

And, there are lots of ways the 49g+ just beats the pants off the 89Titanium (SD card is a VERY good one...RPN is worth alot too).

So, sure, people can run off to join the Dark Side, but remember...all it takes are a couple of real Jedi to hold out against the entire Evil Empire. :-)


Gene, you believe, or you don't, what you want to. For any non fanatic one, it is crystal clear that the 49G+ has issues.

Of course, you can think that all those people with issues, here and at comp.sys.hp48, are just trolls, but that is neither very smart nor very kind. Issues don't dissappear that way.

About JYA prototypes, I thank Hydrix for trying. I don't think that it is very easy for them to succeed, but what they are doing is better that what HP is doing now. Namely, to use old, good devices as -- what is the word for something used as a model for trying and doing something worse? antiprototypes?

As long as we know, current Hydrix problems to begin production of their prototype are financial. Could you point out what kind of problems HP has to continue producing good machines?

It would be enlightening to have access to statistics about 49G+ units returned by customers to HP. Have you? Has anyone else?

Of course, I am not identifying myself, so you can call me something, and ignore any disgusting thinkings which could arise from this message.


I'm not Gene but I do agree with the bulk of his message.

OpenRPN does not look like it will take off. Its been, what, a year? Have they even got concrete specifications yet? I wish them the best but at the current rate I don't think we'll see a finished product.

Hydrix has issues as well. We've seen pictures of a few PCB's on hpcalc.org. I don't know how much $$$ is needed to create real units but Hydrix says they don't have it.

Even if they found the money - I honestly can't see much of a market for this device. It's an amazingly expensive calculator. Outside of a niche of gadget addicts who has a real use for it?

Yes, the HP49g+ has problems. Perhaps a future model will fix them. I'm not holding my breath.



Indeed, OpenRPN will reach the one year mark this thursday. The first several months was essentially an open-ended discussion and served to help determine what we wanted to make and what resources would be required in the development effort. Group structuring always begins this way to some extent. Next we went about searching for suitable collaborative documentation software, which we finally found early this year. Over the past couple of months I have compiled an official project statement, hardware selection criteria, revised our documentation standards, began compiling a new FAQ, and more.

At the moment I am readying the design of our enclosures for CAD modelling, preparing several sets of specifications to obtain quotes, pricing equipment for production, selecting materials, creating production processes, and researching a few new technologies. Our internal goal is to have the first production prototypes by the end of the year. Our software developers will need to verify proper operation. Then we will produce and distribute a small number of release candidate units to ensure bug-free operation. If everything works we will order our first production run and start shipping units.

Having told you this, Gene and anyone with a similar view, what would raise your confidence in OpenRPN? If it's anything short of seeing a production unit on your doorstep, I would be interested to hear it.

Best Regards,


Hi Hugh. Don't get me wrong, I wish you success.

I just don't believe it is a financially profitable situation, same as JYA's trouble.

They have done all this work, perhaps hoping to sell it to a manufacturer, but then are sitting at the starting gate because they have no funds to make the units.

Risk, risk, risk.

How many OpenRPN units do you think it is really possible to sell? Many people online might say "I'd buy 10!", but when push comes to shove...

We'll see. Again, I DO hope you succeed, but call me a Skeptic! :-)


You're absolutely right regarding profitability. Our designs won't have anywhere near a high enough margin for a normal company to sell it. The only way we're able to get away with this is that we have low input costs from using an open development model. Our production process is optimized for low volume production. I don't anticipate any one person buying more than two units of one of our models, and our break-even point will be below 1000 units. Amazingly low risk.

As for Hydrix, I'm almost certain they spent enough on developing QonoS to produce 5000 units. I do hope they're able to pull it off, though. It would be nice to know if the prices they keep quoting are in australian dollars... If that is the case they'll have a winner on their hands.

I have no issues with skepticism and no one has wished ill of OpenRPN around here to my knowledge. However, I like to hear specific concerns in case there's something I haven't addressed and overlooked.



Good! I for one would enjoy being one of the first to say "Well done!"


I to wish you success.

But as I saw your project progress I also noticed you tried to accomadate everybody and therefore have made a tool for nobody (an expression, not neccessarily a fact).

Hp has done the same with the Hp48/49 series in a way. All I ever wanted was an Hp42 with real I/O (not the big bulky graphics palm type computer). Extras such as the 48's conversion features, 32K of ram and a clock would have been nice, but the I/O is what was needed most. I would have liked this in a 15c package, but the layout of the 42s is more practical for using softkeys. That Hp did not make such a device is solely due to their concern about robbing from their Hp48 line. That they only make an Hp33s is due to testing constraints and ROBBING from their Hp49 line.

That your device may end up using a PDA and a pen stylis or some other crippled entry system has me at a distance, as these types of calculators are already available. If you do develop hardware, be careful not to develop a me too product.

In many ways that is what the Hydrix is. While I may end up buying this (and certainly would have when I was in the process controls industry), it will compete with 4 different sectors, each with a better basic product and can only win out where a customer wants and needs two or three of these features combined.

As a number crunching tool, if will lose out to an Hp49 or Ti-89 unless it is a ballpark price range ie not more than 50% or at most twice the cost ie $200-250 dollars. If you want a really good calculator, you would buy an Hp or Ti (or a Casio Classpad).

If you want data acquistion, it is very attractive, but Ti sells limited equipment (school type hardware, CBR & CBL) that can do many of the basics. This is production equipment available now.

Older Hp 48's were the basis of some really good data collection hardware and software developed by the surveying fields. But it did not stop there. Since the Hp48 series had a relatively standard RS232 port, IOMEGA engineering offered a data collection system that is/was available as well as others.

While these were not cheap (actually more costly and probably less featured than the Hydrix offering), they are available to the labratory of today. Hydrix is trying to sell this technology to the individual. If it were marketed correctly, Hydrix could sell 5000 units, but labs are funny (usually run by bean counters, "WHAT? You want a $400 calculator, to gather data?, whats wrong with Ti-30?" vs "Oh, you need a new Septillian PC, super Delta 5GHz workstation with a data port and its only $12K." Guess which gets bought because it looks impressive vs able to carry out of the lab in your pocket.


Early on I thought it would be possible to make something that would please everyone. While that isn't possible we can still please 95%+ of our target market. The designs we've arrived at are rather spartan compared to what you might have seen early on.

A major design requirement since the beginning was to exceed the reliability and quality of build seen in classic HPs. I think you may have read someone commenting that we're making a "PDA with keys" which is far from the truth. Calculators are embedded devices with similar needs to PDAs in terms of low power consumption, size, heat, etc. We have to use embedded hardware to make it work, and that's not a bad thing. Thanks to modern technology you'll get 96-bit BCD math, more flash and SRAM than most people could ever need, a battery you'll only need to recharge once a year (and never needs to be replaced or removed from the machine), a better display, and convenient interfacing with computers.

If you go to our site, click on "wiki" from the toolbar, and you'll be able to find basic renderings of the portrait layout. You will get everything you described and a bit more: A dedicated row of navigation keys, I/O, a higher resolution (and slightly larger) display with excellent contrast, and it's 0.5" shorter than a 42s. I think you'll like OpenRPN as it exists today much more than what you might have seen early on. (the site isn't up right this minute but should be by later tonight).

Thanks for responding!


Outsider: Gene, you believe, or you don't, what you want to. For any non fanatic one, it is crystal clear that the 49G+ has issues.

Gene: Perhaps closer attention to the text of postings might help here. I did say that I might be lucky. My 49g+ does not miss keystrokes. Of course I see reports of people who DO have missed keystrokes. It might be the way they push the keys. I am a key-poker, pressing down vertically. I have seen people who push the keys like they are playstation controls by "mushing" them with their thumbs. They seem to have more missed keystrokes than the "key-pokers".

Outsider: Of course, you can think that all those people with issues, here and at comp.sys.hp48, are just trolls, but that is neither very smart nor very kind. Issues don't dissappear that way.

Gene: Again, closer attention to what someone actually posts would be helpful here. I never said those with issues are all trolls. However, people posting here as "WigglePig" deserve skepticism.

Outsider: About JYA prototypes, I thank Hydrix for trying. I don't think that it is very easy for them to succeed, but what they are doing is better that what HP is doing now. Namely, to use old, good devices as -- what is the word for something used as a model for trying and doing something worse? antiprototypes?

Gene: Why thank them for spending time and money only to fall short of actually producing units? Any business plan should have included FINANCING as a big part of it all. Funny, it appears the engineers could have used a good bean-counter. It is also odd how you would think that JYA's "vaporware" not-available prototypes are better than the actual produced machines HP makes and sells. Yes, they sell a great number of them.

Outsider: As long as we know, current Hydrix problems to begin production of their prototype are financial. Could you point out what kind of problems HP has to continue producing good machines?

Gene: Well, with a new calculator team at HP, I would have been (pleasantly) surprised had they not had hickups along the way. I have seen them respond to the problems brought to their attention. It took guts to recall the 48GII because of the battery problems like they did. It is all a work in progress, but that's the key word...progress.

Outsider: It would be enlightening to have access to statistics about 49G+ units returned by customers to HP. Have you? Has anyone else?

Gene: I'm sure these are internal to HP only, but if it were substantial (and that's not a level I can in any way define), they wouldn't be profitable and in today's business climate, that's a sure-fire way to get closed down. And, therefore, since they continue to make products, it is a good bet they are profitable.

Outsider: Of course, I am not identifying myself, so you can call me something, and ignore any disgusting thinkings which could arise from this message.

Gene: Not much need to do that. You probably want the same thing I do, which are good products that work all the time. I just am not sure we'll ever have that from anywhere.

Example: The first VCR I bought was in 1985. It lasted 12 years. In the 7 years since, I have had to buy and dispose of 4.


In an effort to reduce costs, things just aren't made the way they used to be.

The market for people willing to pay $2500 for a 2005-equivalent HP65 quality-made calculator with gold contacts and that would last like a tank is what? 5 or 6 people?

For $110, you can get a 49g+ that runs circles around the old machines in terms of capability.

I see progress from HP, while others live in the never to be repeated past. While others are not willing to wait-and-see, others continue to progress.

I do suppose you can always go buy a TI.

And, the anonymity is humorous, whether from a wigglepig or outsider.


Hi Gene,

Why are you so skeptical on the basis of "WigglePig"?

I have seen this distinctive name a number of times on the calculator forums. Indeed, I believe it is only one person, as the facts tend to fit.

Here is an example of an old post of his:


If you search "wigglepig" you will find his post.

In other words, his person is not very opaque--even if his alias is "unconventional".

In fact, the remarkable thing about this forum is the extent to which most of us identify ourselves with regular names. Most forums are loaded with names like "dragonslayer", or "sexybuns" or "twistedtoes" etc. In that sense, I can see your skepticism. Yet it is ironic that in this case, for WigglePig, his true identity is far easier to find than for most of us here with "real" names (of course you and I are also easy to identify because of our commercial identities being broadcast here).

Best regards,


Edited: 19 Apr 2005, 11:57 a.m.


Indeed Bill, you are partially correct.

That was indeed a post by myself a while back but my nick doesn't come from my son...although it might be quite apt now! It actually came from a Captain Beefheart lyric: "WigglePig went snout-first into a tree" from "Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat". :-)

AND I'm not that anonymous although I try to keep from using my real name much online, as is traditional. I have a domain wigglepig dot me dot uk but I have not finished my website for upload yet...this is something I hope to get done this Autumn.

Tra for now.



Hi Jason,

I try to keep from using my real name much online, as is traditional.

This is true--in fact this forum is quite "untraditional" in that sense.

Perhaps you remember "Norm" who used to post frequently here? He made a variation on the tradition: he would post as "president bush" or etc, but fill in the email address with his own--so we still knew who it was...I laughed a lot when he did this--often the fake identity was the whole punch-line.

It is interesting that there are a number of other forums or usenet groups which also show mostly "real" name usage, though. It is an interesting social thing which I have not seen explored yet....some of them are among people who actually meet each other in person--see rec.sport.rowing for instance.....


Bill (1234 to delete)



Well, it seems I may have stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest, which was not my intention.

To quell those who think I might be a troll, my name is Jason and I work here:


so, I'd assert that I'm a real, live engineer who uses his calculator each and every day. (I got through 2 sets of batteries on my HP15c in that last year, plus a set every month or so in my G+.)

I don't think that the current HP offerings are bad units, despite the problems which doubtless exist and neither do I believe that TI units are flawless. My point is just that the issues I have had with the current HP units make me unwilling to persist with them and I simply don't feel like continuing with only vintage calculators which really don't deserve to be beaten up in my bag and dropped in the mud.
So, I bought myself a TI84SE, which is a fine device. It's pretty quick, does all the things I need and the keyboard is just fine. Incidentally, the keys have a very soft clicky feel which is actually quite pleasant. I find the unit quick, responsive and powerful enough for my daily needs and is easily replaced if it gets trashed. I can connect it to my PC, easily, with USB and the Vernier probes that work directly with the calc are superb.

I do find I miss RPN but I'm not too hung up on it as I use the device as a tool and I am more concerned with the outcome of my work than the details of the tools I use to do it.

TI produce a pretty polished product, probably more so than HP at this time, and I just want to use the tools.


WigglePig, aka Jason. :-)


... and using a TI doesn't completely rule that out! How can you make use of RPN on a TI, sounds like music to my ears ...



RPN on a TI-89


I looked into RPN for the TI-89 a few years ago. At that time, I was disappointed to learn that there were serious issues using the RPN software with the then-current TI hardware (HW2). For example, the RPN 2.02 User's Guide (available from the site listed by John) has a section on "Crashes", which specifically states (p. 6):

"It is truly unfortunate that RPN will not run on the latest TI hardware and software. Future developments may solve this problem."

So, did future developments solve this problem?


I am a bonafide calculator NUT! I have a sizable collection which just so happens to include the Ti-89.

And it is fast, much faster than an Hp48G series or the recently discontinued Hp49G. For many symbolic Integrals it is also faster than the newest Hp49G+ despite being 1/5 the clock speed. And the keyboard does not miss keystrokes.

If you are a student, your support base will probably be better if you have the Ti.

Which would I want? Well I am not a true power user, but I do appreciate it. The Ti-89 has some glaring faults from an operational aspect that keep me using Hp (an Hp48G, though I also use my Hp49G+ fairly often too).

Ti's unit manipulation is poor in comparision to the Hp48G (or the newer Hp's if you select the RPN option and set flag 117, else it behaves as badly as the Ti).

Ti has a very poor keyboard layout for engineers in comparision to the Hp's (trig functions and others 2nd shifted). Ti is not nearly as nice to work with vectors either. I find the Ti menu system fairly easy, but awkward to navigate and use efficiently. The Hp, while more cryptic, is faster when it is configured to behave like the 48 series ie set FLAG 117.

Ti now uses EOS keystroke methods which is the least efficient key entry available (and probably possible), AOS is more effecient, RPN most. But this was a deliberate design to make it exactly how you see in a textbook is how you enter the work. And for early learners 3-6th grade, it is definitely the way to design a calculator. Ti has to adhere to this since, 2/3rds of its buyers of the Ti-89 have no reason or need to buy this calculator other than to carry them through a class they are required to take. But Ti is the market leader for a reason. All calculators now offer an EOS option, even the Hp 48Gii and Hp49G+ (in fact that is how they are configured out of the box).

And lastly, I do like an Hp click, which the newer Hp's have and like Gene, I do not miss keystrokes with the clock off (this is still not excusable, and I still use an Hp48g for much of my work). The Ti keyboard is mushy. It works and is reliable and to a working engineer, that may be the the only thing you can base your decision on. I switched over to Hp for this very reason about 20 years ago.

Programming the Ti is fairly straightforward and certainly easier to edit than RPL.

Just my 2 cents.

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