When will HP make a good calculator again



#6

I was shopping for a calculator for my daughter this morning and I cam across a calculator that had a brushed metal face on it, a nice heavy feel to it, nice sturdy buttons, and overall, it was a quality looking unit. I was glad to see it. The only problem, it wasn't an HP. It was a TI BA-II Plus Pro.

When is HP going to wake up and make the quality units they used to?

- John


#7

No! HP has no financial interest in putting so much resources to restore the old HP glory in calculators. That glory is history now.

#8

Hp isn't going to make a quality calculator like the Hp15c or Pioneer line again, because the majority of engineers won't buy it. Look at the Hp12c (the new one, that lists for $65-). Add $20 to that cost for an Hp15c (different manual and startup costs, keys etc and market strength). So Hp could market an Hp 15c for $85. vs Hp presently sells the Hp33s for $50. Which would you buy as an engineer (99% of us are Cheap Ba#$%^'s!). The quality of the two would be the same (ie chinese Hp 12c is comparable to the Hp33s). Both are compariable to the quality of the BA-II Plus (I suspect a bit less, but I can't complain about the keyboard quality on my Hp33s, but the decimal point warrents someone getting a butt kicking!, though this has been improved in the most recent releases).

If you really needed the extra math features of the Hp15c, your money would be better spent on a graphics, and if you don't need the matrix features or complex math, the Hp33s is certainly more capable and easy to use for run of the mill programming and customization (AND its only about HALF the cost!!!). And don't underestimate the power of marketing (vs reality), 32K RAM vs a meager 0.4K (I am sure they could add more, but anything less that 32K would lose in the marketing snow job that would be shown on the box).

The simple truth is the market is flooded with $10-20 scientifics that are fairly capable for most people. RPN commands a premium, but that too is a very small market for Hp to exploit.

I would have loved to see a return of the Hp20s with an RPN selection option and priced at $30. But that would probably eat into the sales of the new Hp33s and take $20 (Hp33s at $50 and no better made than the Hp20s) of pure profit from Hp's (and nobody else's) pocket. As far as price vs quality, nothing really beat the Hp20s at $30. It was an algebraic only calculator though and not all that feature packed either. But it was a decent scientific, made with Hp quality. It was also an AOS vs the new idiot proof EOS system that is provided with all newer calculators (ie there are some exceptions, notiably the cheapest Sharps and some other low end calculators). I actually prefer the AOS over the newer EOS as you can save some keystrokes, but a moot point in most cases.

Ah well, I will end another rant.


#9

Ron,

Actually, I already have a 15C, a 48GX, 16C, etc, so I have good calculators, but I just wish HP would get their but in gear. I was shocked when I saw the TI with the metal face and the solid build. All very simple things to do. I just don't get why they don't do the same with the current models.

As far as the 33S, I'd never buy one because of the keyboard layout.

- John

#10

HP will never produce any decent calcs again until they stop outsourcing their engineering to the cheapest offshore firm (Kinpo) and bring R&D back under the HP umbrella. HP needs to make a firm commitment by forming a USA based calculator division staffed with the best and brightest. Only when this happens, which is probably just a pipe dream...


#11

I agree with you .. especially about the pipedream part ... so the folks who want to bring the HP-15C back should stop dreaming ... whip up your wallets and start ordering expensive HP-15C from eBay if you really mean it!!!

#12

HP will never make a good calc again - except by accident.

They're essentially order agents for customized Kinpos. The HP calc staff are marketing folks with a bit of consumer electronics background. Fred Valdez and that Goh chick are not math or engineering people. They're probably quite puzzled, in fact, at our fascination with older calcs, don't understand why we love real true 4-level RPN (as opposed to that multilevel crap on HP48s), etc.

Kinpo, in turn, is yet-another-schlocky-Asian company. They have no brand identity or reputation to maintain or build upon. They live from one contract to the next, and I suspect they throw their own name on production overruns for other co's.

I wonder about the accuracy of their transcendentals, how they do rounding, etc. No Kahans in Taiwan, and no one takes the time to do things right.

HP calc div can now barely spec a decent calculator, let alone validate its correct/ proper operation (a la HP12C-Platinum bugs, etc.) - so how could they design one??

HP calc build quality has gone way down but may burble upwards just by sheer luck (I like the new HP10BII) - and it's a nice design. Wish they'd take that pacakge, put an RPN prog calc on it with a large ENTER key, and I'd buy 10 of 'em.

All the HP calc brains have gone. They probably can't even find source code or algorithm documentation or architecture manuals for any of their earlier calcs. And since Nut, Yorke, etc chips aren't made now they wouldn't even comprehend doing emulation of an old calc and would try to write code from scratch, introducing even more bugs since QC staff/procedures so trimmed-down. (A Sunplus 65C02 platform could emulate a 41CX quite nicely.)

Wouldn't be surprised if HP stopped making calcs. It's such a small line item it wouldn't even be noticed in their budget...


Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA


#13

That "multilevel crap on HP48s" is one of the things that made the 48 series so good as it was similar to a pc. Could you imagine a pc math program, such as Mathematica, without a multilevel history?

The rest of your comment is dead on. All the good heads have long been let go. I'm sure all programming/manufacturing procedures have been lost as well. Heck, Kinpo couldn't even get HP to find manuals for the old calcs! Remember when Dave Hicks had to send copies of the old manuals to them?

It really does make one wonder, who is charge of the (modern-day) HP calculator I'm using? If no one is employed that is truly capable of programming it, how accurate are its results? How can I trust it for anything? Jeez, I might as well use a TI, sigh...


#14

In my humble opinion...

We should address some of our concerns and desires to Kinpo, not to HP. Two things that can be said about "schlocky Asian companies": they pay attention (especially to matters which others ignore) and they learn from their mistakes.

On such matters they can be relentless. Yes, they are price-conscious, but quality also means something to them. Asians like to win on both price and quality.

Some of us are old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" was considered a mark of junk rather than of best-quality.

A generation ago, the best thing that you could say about a Toyota Corolla is that "it's a Chevy II, too bad Chevrolet doesn't make them any more." Nonetheless, people who wanted to buy a Chevy II bought a Corolla; and presently came to decide that a Corolla was a pretty good Chevy II. A damn good Chevy II.

Today, nobody thinks of a Toyota as the car you had to settle for instead of a Chevy.

This doesn't mean that Kinpo will listen to us and 6 months later come back with our dream machine. It'll take time, and there'll be ruts in the road along the way.

And let's face it. We know the type of product that we want. It doesn't matter if the label says HP or Kinpo. Since HP wants to market the cheap stuff, they wouldn't mind if Kinpo came out with its own line in the US. Who knows, maybe in 10 years we'll talk about Kinpos as being "the good stuff that HP used to make" or even "what HP would have made if they hadn't stopped making the good stuff."


#15

Okaaaaaaayyyy! Who will contact Kinpo????


#16

I'd be happy with a new model HP-35. To my mind, the HP-35 achieved perfection. There really needs to be a non-spacecadet RPN scientific calculator with HP-35 style standard display.

There's no rhyme nor reason to the layout on the HP-33s, and that chevron is ridiculous. The layout on the HP-30s is better, but its algebraic.


#17

I think the HP35 is a very fine calc, but it misses the engineering display format. And some simple form of programmability, just to
allow for quick evaluation of functions, with maybe some simple conditional jumps, but nothing for which I'd need a manual, such as the ISG or DSG, or fancy indirect addressing. I don't need this on a calc, and if needed, I'd use a notebook computer and a real compiler instead. And it should have a good LCD display and good keyboard and need no battery (use solar cells). EEPROM technology would allow to keep programs stored even in darkness.

I think it even might be possible to achieve this with some of the larger japanese 4-bit microcontrollers they use in watches. If using a watch chip is not possible, and lowest possible power consumption is desired, a full custom chip needs to be done, but for an old and simple architecture like Classic or Woodstock this may use up only a man-year or so, if the designers do know all the secret tricks of the micropower guild. All this may be well within the reach of a smaller enterprise - and if they really want to do it, I think they still could find the brains who are able to it.

But somehow it did not happen yet - most likely, they don't see a profitable market. Otherwise, we could buy such calculators already.

Probably they did not forget the lesson from the 1970s when making calculators turned from a cash cow into a cutthroat business. The long and winding road of calculator history is littered with bankrupt and defunct companies that made them. I do always wonder how HP's calculator divison did survive these rough waters. There must have been some magic in their calcs. We all pretend to know that feeling - else we would not collect those calcs - but do we really know what it was ? Are we able to distill the essence of the special HP calculator feeling from our memories and calculator collections and will there be some daring entrepreneur who succeeds to put this essence, this soul into a new machine, so as to bring the feeling back ?

Then we would take such a new calc, admire its finish and quality manufacture, press some keys - aha - and if the magic is there, we will happily open our wallets and buy them. But if the magic is not there, and the feeling is missing, the project will be a certain failure. No good news for our daring entrepreneur - he might lose all the money he invested.

And we will wait forever for a good calculator.

Maybe the more viable road would be to set up a non-profit foundation which collects donations but guarantees nothing except that when enough money has been collected, a truly professional attempt will be done to design and build a few prototypes. Then, if this succeeds, and the prototypes happen to have that magic, starts to take prepaid orders and when a reasonable minimum lot size is together, have them manufactured and distributed.

Much like a lottery in which the player might win a damn good calculator, unavailable on the open market. What a thrill !

And also the acid test for the real - world feasibility of the business model - do those who now pretend to want good calculators back really dare to risk some $50 or $100 on such a venture ? If not, we could not reasonably expect some daring entrepreneur stand up and put his own money at risk.

Which is the current situation !

#18

Quote:

On such matters they can be relentless. Yes, they are price-conscious, but quality also means something to them. Asians like to win on both price and quality.


I don't know about the generalization, but if you look at what Kinpo has up on its website, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the models they make for HP represent their highest quality effort. Or at least those closest to what this group would define as "quality."

How much leverage do we have with a global company like Kinpo? How large a percentage of the overall calculator market do we represent? Is the (fast disappearing) cachet of the old HP prestige enouh to overcome our lack of market weight? I don't think so.

Guitars are mass produced, both in Asia and the United States. (Perhaps in Europe too?) The Asian versions used to be trash. But around the same time Japan set out to seriously conquer the North American automobile market, they also seriously attempted to make decent guitars. In one year, 1980, they bought nearly all of the world supply of straight-grained spruce suitable for acoustic guitar tops. In that year, Martin, then a premier American guitar maker, came out with the D25-K2, with top and body made out of Koa, a Hawaiian wood normally used for ukeleles. (I have one. Sweet instrument.) The Japanese crop that year, from Yamaha and Takamini were of good to excellent quality. Subsequent years saw the guitar market, both for electrc and acoustic instruments, tend toward two extremes. The mass produced instruments were of better quality, and could be priced so as to grow the size of the target market. They were not of the quality demanded by discriminating musicians, but those folks represented a small part of the market - numerically. In monetary terms though, a small fraction of that fraction had more weight, of course. And successful professionals simply weren't going to use inferior instruments in their careers. So at the other extreme, you saw the growth of hand made guitars by expert luthiers charging astronomical prices. The instruments they produced were and are reportedly of exceptional quality. I wouldn't know, not being able to afford one.

The point is, if we, as an elite group that understands what exactly it takes to make an excellent calculator, are willing to pay the frieght, then there is room for one or more "boutique" vendors of excellent calculators. I see also where several folks have had the idea of producing a community designed and built machine, presumably with donated talent and money. That might work, but there seems to be a lot of negativity hearabouts toward those efforts. I don't know any of the history, so please forgive my ignorant blundering if I'm stirring a pot in the wrong direction.

My final point is that it is useless to bemoan the decline of a company like HP. Without the willingness and capacity to fight corporate battles on a global scale, you don't have a chance of changing the behavior you object to. The way forward, it seems to me, is to take your desire for better quality to a new venue, like a community effort, or a boutique startup, or else move on to something else. There are still plenty of areas in this world that could use and would not scorn a fine sensibility of craftsmanship and quality.


#19

Quote:

How much leverage do we have with a global company like Kinpo? How large a percentage of the overall calculator market do we represent? Is the (fast disappearing) cachet of the old HP prestige enouh to overcome our lack of market weight? I don't think so.


Wrong approach. We're not talking about reviving the old HP prestige; we're talking about a currently-unsatisfied market for a line of high-quality calculators. Concidentally, that market was once served by HP.

Put another way; we'd not be asking Kinpo to resume the production line on old HP calculators. We're asking Kinpo to produce new calculators that happen to share charactistics with the old HP calculators.

#20

Quote:
We should address some of our concerns and desires to Kinpo, not to HP. Two things that can be said about "schlocky Asian companies": they pay attention (especially to matters which others ignore) and they learn from their mistakes.

Maybe Japanese companies. But given Red China + HK (and to some extent Taiwan's) make-the-price-number at any cost, I've not seen good stuff come out from there.

The Chinese products offer a function, while Japanese products offer a quality end-result. Compare a Chinese vs Japanese stereo or digital camera - in general, the Japanese product is not only known for build quality but for quality output (images and sound).

Quote:
Today, nobody thinks of a Toyota as the car you had to settle for instead of a Chevy.

I do. Of course, Chevy's not making the Caprice V8 anymore - too bad, the idiotic soccer moms won.

There's not a single Toyota I'd want, including their pickup trucks.
If I were given one, I'd sell it - and buy a Ford.

Some of us simply won't accept low-torque, front-wheel drive tin boxes designed for midgets.

Quote:
This doesn't mean that Kinpo will listen to us and 6 months later come back with our dream machine. It'll take time, and there'll be ruts in the road along the way.

Kinpo doesn't care what we think. We are never their customer. They're an OEM house. Kinpo's customers are HP and maybe TI and Casio.

This is much like the cellphone biz. Oftentimes we can't get phones w/features we want because Motorola, Nokia, etc. all sell into the carrier channel and only fraction of market is direct-to-consumer sales. So phones take on the characteristics that the marketing folks at cell carriers want, and there is less consumer pressure because folks are locked into contracts, averse to changing carriers, etc - that is, phone features are somewhat decouples from marketplace and phone vendor is isolated from end-user.

Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA USA


#21

Hey Bill,

I think you are taking a flyer on the Toyota thing. Seriously, Fords have really poor maintenance records compared to Toyotas. I know--I use them both--the fords have bad transmissions. The toyotas are more expensive, but have far more reliable transmissions.

Of course the Fords today are much better than 10 years ago--and have narrowed tha gap that was so extreme in the 80's.

I would say that the european ford (the focus) is superior to the domestic (contour, taurus). There was one bad year though. And the focus costs less than the Toyota and offers a better small wagaon platform. I may get one.

For GM, the small cars are nowhere near as good as the Toyotas--they are noisy, mushy, schlocky over-designerd fashionmobiles. Yet a Oldsmobile 88 (or the Buick equivb.) with 3.8 liter V-6 is a reliable battle wagon with superbe quality for the price. And at 22 mpg around town for a full-size car, is phenomenally efficient. And has leather and all that jazz. Perhapts the best total value in automobile today.

So I guess you really have to look at the details--or the specific offerings.


#22

Quote:
Hey Bill,
I think you are taking a flyer on the Toyota thing. Seriously, Fords have really poor maintenance records compared to Toyotas. I know--I use them both--the fords have bad transmissions. The toyotas are more expensive, but have far more reliable transmissions.

Of course the Fords today are much better than 10 years ago....


Well my comparison set is small simply because I will not purchase a front-wheel drive car. (In fact, they should be firebombed ;-)

Front wheel drive cars are good occasionally for soccer moms in wet weather, but the prime motivation for their being sold is that it takes 10-12 minutes less vehicle assembly time. (About 7 years ago, I toured the NUMMI plant in Fremont, CA - it produced small Toyota pickups and the Geo Prizm, which was really a Corolla. It took 10+ min less to build the more complex, option-laden Corolla than it did to build a strippy truck since the powertrain could be dropped in at once w/front wheel drive setup.)

So now I am limited to the cars I can buy even in US: Crown Victoria/LTD (cop car), Mustang, Vette, pickup/SUV. A coupla years ago I could've still gotten a Camaro or Caprice (cop car).

I care little about JD Power ratings. Those essentially equate minor issues (doorknob failure, say) with major ones (engine stops running) and just go by count.

I've owned new Fords since 1989 (trucks, and a Thunderbird) and one GMC truck. Never had problems other than a (Japanese) fuel pump. When you buy rear-wheel drive you get a real transmission, and if it has problems it's much easier/cheaper to work on than a front-wheel drive.

Toyota's now making almost-full-sized trucks. They're having quite a few engine problems w/that "I-force V8".

Glad I have a new F150. Next year or so I might get a Crown Victoria.


Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA USA


#23

Hi Bill & Bill,

How are you?

If there is a thing I reeeeeeaaaaaally like about America then this is a pickup :-)

I bought a brand new Nissan Pick-Up Navara Double-Cab, 133HP, 2.5 liters, turbo-diesel (I think it is called Frontier in USA) 3 years ago and I cannot describe the enjoyment of driving a big rear-drive truck compared to the regular car. Of course, there is some electronics inside the engine (unfortunatelly, you cannot buy a car without electronic engine management these days) but everything else is a pure mechanic including transmission (2H, 4H and 4L modes with limited-slip differential on the rear axle) and as primitive as you can expect from the 4x4 vehicle (more than 20 years old technology).

Other pickups you can buy here are Mitsubishi L200 (115 HP) and Mazda B2500 (109 HP). I don't know if Toyota HiLux is available. The only non-japanese truck is Ford Ranger (perhaps this is a F150 variant for Europe) but it comes, in fact, with an 109HP engine from Mazda B2500.

Best regards.


#24

Quote:
Hrastprogrammer wrote:
If there is a thing I reeeeeeaaaaaally like about America then this is a pickup :-)

I bought a brand new Nissan Pick-Up Navara Double-Cab, 133HP, 2.5 liters, turbo-diesel (I think it is called Frontier in USA) 3 years ago and I cannot describe the enjoyment of driving a big rear-drive truck compared to the regular car. Of course, there is some electronics inside the engine (unfortunatelly, you cannot buy a car without electronic engine management these days) but everything else is a pure mechanic including transmission (2H, 4H and 4L modes with limited-slip differential on the rear axle) and as primitive as you can expect from the 4x4 vehicle (more than 20 years old technology).

Other pickups you can buy here are Mitsubishi L200 (115 HP) and Mazda B2500 (109 HP). I don't know if Toyota HiLux is available. The only non-japanese truck is Ford Ranger (perhaps this is a F150 variant for Europe) but it comes, in fact, with an 109HP engine from Mazda B2500.


Hi, Hrast...

Congrats on your truck. Yes, they are called Nissan Frontiers here and have a pretty good reputation.

A decade ago I used to do 'power chips' for many cars, Nissan included. Their engine control units at the time were by a div. of Hitachi and used HD6303 CPUs (glorified 6800 variant) w/special external timing controller chip. Later, as I got out of that racket they were switching to a MELPS CPU (Mitsubishi 65C02 variants). Good chance they've switched to Hitachi H8s now.

The Mazda trucks are re-wrapped/re-badged Ford Rangers. The 105hp variant I believe is a 2.4L 4 cyl but not sure. Lotsa folks buy these trucks in US with 3.0L or 4.0L V6 engines.

These Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, Toyota pickup (we don't call 'em HiLux here, that's a non-US designation) are all considered small trucks in USA. The F150 is a full-size truck, and GMC and Chrysler (Daimler) also have rough equivalents in size, horsepower, tow capacity. Some of these trucks have V6 engines in 200HP range - my last GMC truck, in 2000, had a 4.3L Vortec V6 which was a solid engine, great lifespan, zero maintenance other than oil changes. My current 2004 F150 has a tried & true 4.6L V8 with around 240HP, and automatic. Large portion of trucks here ship w/automatic trans - esp as these days an auto tranny can shift as well as 90% of the population and no longer requires manifold vacuum to perform shifts.

You prob won't see too many F150s or GMC Sierras in Europe due to gas costs/taxes. They're a bit slow here too since gas has spiked to $2.75/gallon, but that's likely to drop back to $2.20 in a month or so. I get 20 miles/gallon on level freeway when no stop & go traffic.

I like my F150 because it has 2 regular doors and 2 smaller 'suicide' front facing doors to let you get at cargo behind the seat (there's around 18" of space there at bottom). I put a cross-bed toolbox on my bed and I now have more storage space, combined w/rear space back of seats, than most cars have.

I like trucks because I'm over 6'5" tall (that's 196+ cm) and I fit nicely. And, being rear-wheel drive, they're easy to fix.

Plus, this is America. You can put a gun rack on your truck - which'd be kinda silly on a Honda ;)


Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA USA

#25

Bill, I don't like to drag out admittedly off-topic discussions, but several statements I couldn't let pass without rebuttal...

Quote:
Well my comparison set is small simply because I will not purchase a front-wheel drive car. (In fact, they should be firebombed ;-)

Front wheel drive cars are good occasionally for soccer moms in wet weather, but the prime motivation for their being sold is that it takes 10-12 minutes less vehicle assembly time.


Huh?? FWD is ideally suited for compact cars without excessive power. A transverse-mounted in-line 4 or V-6 engine and one-piece transaxle (differential/transmission/axle) aligned with the front wheels provides a light and compact arrangement. Weight over the driving wheels, and no space-encroaching driveshaft well.

Of course, RWD is needed for carrying or towing heavy payloads (remember the low-powered, FWD Volkswagen Rabbit pickup of the 1970s?), and RWD (or especially AWD) is best for powerful cars.

I have two German cars from the 1980's -- one FWD and one RWD with limited-slip differential. The FWD car is surer-footed and much better-behaved on wet or slippery roads, even taking its newer all-season tires into account.

Quote:
When you buy rear-wheel drive you get a real transmission,

What does that mean -- higher torque and power ratings? That would be meaningful only if the vehicle has and needs the power...

Quote:
and if it has problems it's much easier/cheaper to work on than a front-wheel drive.

That would depend on the manufacturer and type of vehicle. There ain't nothin' cheap or easy about advanced performance cars from Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari ...

-- KS

Edited: 18 Aug 2005, 3:03 a.m.


#26

Quote:
Bill, I don't like to drag out admittedly off-topic discussions, but several statements I couldn't let pass without rebuttal...

That would depend on the manufacturer and type of vehicle. There ain't nothin' cheap or easy about advanced performance cars from Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari ...

-- KS


Karl,

Rear-wheel drive American cars (and for that matter the few Japanese cars, more likely trucks) are simply easier to work on. When you work on a FWD car, the packaging's awfully tight to fit everything in engine bay.

And the 'advanced' things about transmissions (BMW, MBZ, etc.) are often not the things that fail - simple things like valve bodies, etc. are the parts that fail.

Out here, the labor costs of work, diagnostics, etc. often exceed the actual parts costs given that labor is often $70+/hour. A transmission overhaul can cost a decent fraction of a car's price.

Since I, and many other Americans, refuse to buy underpowered compact cars, we avoid FWD cars too. We want horsepower and torque.
Plus RWD cars often handle better, no torque steer, etc. - I note the significance that BMW & MBZ car lines, at least in N. America, have no FWD cars in it. They're all RWD, with a few AWD (all-wheel drive) variants. In my area, we don't have snow or ice so FWD benefits are especially moot.

It is pretty common for Ford Crown Victoria sedans (large V8 RWD sedan often used as police cars) as well as pickup trucks that are used as commuter vehicles, to have not had any transmission work other than oil/filter changes for 250K miles. Mustangs and Camaros, do well too provided they're not abused with racing-like starts.

Unfortunately car makers want to spend less assembly time and the buying public is willing to spend more repair $$ 100,000 miles later, with FWD.

I know of two Crown Vics in my area that have not had major engine or tranny work and have almost 300K miles.

I will never, never buy a FWD car.


Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA


#27

HI all.

Couldn't resist this (very) off-topic thread.

This comment is rather sidways to the general line of discussion but:

Twenty odd years ago I suped up an old Chrysler Valiant
(Dodge) 265 c.i. sedan (VH, 1972). I love old cars and the
beauty of these beasts is the kettering spark system (no
electronics at all ;-) and rear wheel drive makes engine and
gearbox replacement do-able. No expensive c.v. (Not hp41...)
joints to wear out and cost u and arm and a leg...

All I did was drop a 350 Holley carb on it and slipped in a
custom high-lift 25-65 camshaft. Dramatic performance improvement and if one drove sedately it gave about 27 m.p.g. on the highway.

If you got under it, the thing would do about 50 m.p.h. in first gear, 85 m.p.h. in second and heaven knows what in top.
Engine revs to just under 6000 rpm. Never been stupid enough to have it valve bounce.

The sad shock absorbers were replaced with vari-rate gas struts
and I dropped soft compostion Yokahamas on the wheels to improve the fairly sad stock handling.

The result: a nice old car.
Recently I found out that 25-65 is indeed the "magic number" and
was common in speedway racing valiants in the 1970's...

Of course I would like to own a Lamborgini Diablo or Countach...

My last car was a Holden (Isuzu) gemini and it's a big step
down to 1.5 litres (!) But I have found that it's how smart
you drive that counts. I like watching people passing me in their
fairly exotic BMW's Merc Benzes etc., (nice cars, of course) and then passing them (!)later on; the gemini will just do about 90 mph.

Don


#28

HP (also) means horse power. I'm beginning to believe that we're busy mixing up things here.


;-)

#29

I had been resisting since it's so O.T., but I guess I'll give in and say something.

> Weight over the driving wheels

Not a valid argument. Some well-designed RWD cars (which are rare in the U.S. now) are approximately balanced anyway. Then when you add torque to the driving wheels, even more weight is borne by the rear. Unfortunately American and Japanese manufacturers like to put the front wheels too far behind the front bumper, and the rear wheels too close to the rear bumper, and then they get a much heavier load on the front. European automakers seem to have figured this out.

> and no space-encroaching driveshaft well.

That "space-encroaching driveshaft well" strengthens the body though, so I suspect it allows the same amount of strength with a thinner, lighter sheet metal. It probably does not offset the greater weight of the driveshaft and rear end though.

I must second what someone said about reliability though. I don't know why there should be a correlation, but our FWD cars have needed multiple expensive transmission repairs, and the RWD ones have not.

Edited: 20 Aug 2005, 6:18 p.m.

#30

If you look on Kinpo's web page, you'll see that they're an OEM for Citizen (a Japanese company) as well. So I wouldn't be too quick to play the "Japanese stuff good, Chinese stuff crap" card.

It's a progression. The quality of goods coming out of Taiwan is steadily increasing. The same market forces that affected American companies is affecting Japanese companies -- Japanese workers are too expensive for consumer goods, and Taiwanese, Chinese, and Korean OEMs are stepping in to fill the void.

To return to the car analogy; a few years ago Korean cars were widely (and justifiably!) derided as crap. This year's batch, though, is getting some reluctant praise as being "not bad, not bad at all."

Don't forget as well that the cheap stuff (e.g., the four-function calculators on their web page) is what pays for the R&D on the good stuff.

Furthermore, I don't think that we should take our opinions so lightly. We aren't just calculator collectors (and thus easily dismissed as crackpots); we are also engineers who would pay a premium for the product we want.

What we want is not a single "one shoe fit all" calculator. I think that we want a product line with variation in feature set but with some characteristics in common (e.g., rugged construction).

#31

Quote:
That "multilevel crap on HP48s" is one of the things that made the 48 series so good as it was similar to a pc. Could you imagine a pc math program, such as Mathematica, without a multilevel history?

Many of us despise the 48. It's too much, and in the wrong product. If I want to solve 'big math' stuff, I use Matlab, Maple, etc. on a PC. When I'm playing with numbers on a hand calc 4-level RPN is just right - I don't want that 'infinite' stack.

I disliked my 48 so much I gave it to a friend. Still happy with my 41CV.

Bill Wiese

San Jose, CA USA


#32

You echo the sentiments of many here who yearn for a return of an era of small, pocketsize RPN calculators. Nothing wrong with this opinion, HP should do a remake of say, the 15C with the 32/33 ROM. For anything higher you say you use a pc based program. If you can order your work around this, fine.

For me there are times when a pc with my favorites, Mathematica and Matlab are not available. And then, my 48/49 series have done a terrific job with integration, systems of equations, unit conversions, even a difeq or two. Of course these are later checked on the pc, but the initial work was set up by hand, and done with the calc. I also have dozens of small RPL programs that quickly take the grunt work out of many operations Truly, my 49 is a useful, valuable tool that no scientific could ever begin to approach.

To despise the 48 is a shame. It may very well be the best all around calculator ever produced by any company.


#33

The Chinese are learning how to make decent calculators. One measure I use is the lowly one-dollar calculator.

I'll occasionally buy a one-dollar calculator to examine. I'll check out its usability, which includes the feel of the keys, how the keys are laid out, display readability, and how comfortable it is to hold (or how well it sits on a flat table). I'll also examine its general fit an finish. Then, I'll take it apart to check its internal construction quality.

In general, the quality of one-dollar calculators has improved dramatically in the past few years. The internal construction has improved dramatically. For most models, the PCB etching is clean and precise, the solder joints are clean (fewer cold solder joints), and the heat-seal is lined up squarely between the PCB and LCD. The quality of the molds, which directly affects the fit and finish has improved dramatically. And, the keyboards are also improving.

There are still junky one-dollar calculators being sold. But, there are others that are good quality and would be a good value at twice the price.

Edited: 16 Aug 2005, 9:49 p.m.


#34

Does anyone remember a company called SHEEN?

Or CORVUS?


Don
Remember the '70's?

#35

Ditto ny friend!!!

#36

I said no text!

#37

Hopefully the quality will pick up again since Carly is gone. HP still has great software, but the hardware needs work.

The fact that HP recently downsized does not give me much hope.

On a side note, didn't HP use to manufacture HPs in America?


#38

What about the flickering screen, poor battery life, missing or badly debounced keys?

.


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