evolving attitude towards HP 33S



#63

It seems that impressions regarding the 33s are starting to become less negative, perhaps even favorable. That is true for myself. It seems that with the display and keyboard issues addressed, this calc is getting a second chance. Any comments?


#64

Many of us bashed the 33s to death.

The only person I am quite sure will never eat crow on this one is Wayne.


#65

And Valentin :-)

Edited: 23 Nov 2005, 12:33 p.m.


#66

Yup ! You're right ! :-)

Besides, being the proud owner of three HP-15C, two HP-11C, HP-41CX/Advantage/PPC/Cardreader, HP32S, HP32SII, HP42S, and last but not least three HP-71B/MathROM/HP-IL/160K/CardReader, not to mention a bunch of HP-12Cs, HP-16C, HP-10C, HP-25, ..., and not to mention my equally wonderful, quality SHARP handhelds ... who needs or wants this KinHPo thing ??

Not me, that's for sure. I won't eat crow, not while I have the finest gourmet-class meals at my disposal, not ever.

But I can understand people that wants or needs it. To each his/her own, horses for courses.

Best regards from V.

Edited: 24 Nov 2005, 11:32 a.m.


#67

Hi Valentin,

The great thing about the 33s is that for $50 you can have a piece of equipment that you can take on the road, in the field, down in the bilges, that will funtion in a mostly familiar way (RPN and programmable) and have pretty good tactile feedback and be reliable and able to take the basic abuse of field work, and all for only $50.

I use my "classics" when I am in the home office. But the 33s can take it, in the field.

I tried using some really cheap machines--including the 30s---in the field, but they were unreliable. The 30s has the bad habit of losing its memory if the case gets twisted, even while you are in the middle of a calculation. The 33s, for all its strange design, is a good machine for being out in the field.


#68

Hi, Bill:

Bill posted:

"I use my "classics" when I am in the home office. But the 33s can take it, in the field."

    Agreed, but then I used and abused my HP-11C for a year in a desertic environment, very near from Sahara Desert matter of fact, and it withstood heat, cold, dust, and frequent trepidation with nary a hitch, to the point that 25 years later it's still my cosmetically best HP-11C.

    Not that I would do that to it nowadays, of course ! Too valuable and a real "friend" ... :-)

Best regards from V.

#69

I agree. I did not think I would buy the Hp33s, but when I took the NCEES exam earlier this year, the exam had again changed to reducing the allowed calculators down to a select few. Well, I bought the Hp33s feeling that I would use it only for the exam and then dump it in a drawer (well, I have kinda done that, but it sets in a desk drawer at work, where it does see some use).

It is not a bad calculator. And at $50, is not overpriced for what it offers (in comparison to all other offerings, by everyone else). There is no other pocket programmable calculator available by anyone else (there are low end models with solvers, but these only offer one eq solvers, no real memory).

Could it have been better? YES!, could it have been a LOT BETTER? Yes, again. But then it may not have been allowed in the ALL IMPORTANT NCEES EXAMS either. The NCEES specifically banned the Hp41 and Hp42s along with graphics when they started banning calculators. With that thought in mind, Hp had to immediately reduce its offering to mearly an Hp32s clone or risk having this calculator banned (and embrace all the limitations of the Hp32s as well). But the Hp32s has been enormously popular (ebay auctions often have the HP32s outsell the far more cablable Hp41 and 42s).

My own opinion is that while the Hp32s and now the Hp33s are okay calculators, they are not in the same league as the Hp 41/42s line. But I am a 1% customer and the price/performance ratio and sales of the Hp42s with I/O might need a price of $80-100 and sell only 1 compared to 100 sales of the Hp 33s. Even the less than brilliant marketing group at Hp can make a good case to forget about little old me. And that 1 sale to me would be made anyway, with that fancy Hp49G+ anyway (Yeah, I own one of them too). But I would have rather had a re-vamped Hp43s with 32k (or 1 Meg) and a serial I/O (just provide me with an Hp48G+ w/o graphics and the size of a pioneer and you would have sold one or three to me).

nuff said, I'm sure.

#70

Can we at least hope that the crowd who complain about HP never responding to complaints will be a little less quick to chime in next time? :-)

HP, with much smaller resources than they used to have, have now 1) updated the 12c platinum to have parentheses and a much faster i-solve routine, 2) updated the display of the 33S and fixed some bugs, 3) updated the ROM of the 49g+ to fix all bugs of which I am aware AND addressed the keybounce issues, and 4) issued an up-to-date AUR for the 49g+, and 5) what's next? Who knows?

We can discuss all day long whether these issues should ever have been seen in a shipping product, but the modern corporate world is a difficult place to say "No, we won't ship this yet" to superious. Witness the apparent issues with the new Xbox!

HP listens and HP responds where they can. I hope they listen MORE, but rants may not be the best way to get what we all want. :-0

Gene

P.S. I don't, however, think that we'll ever see a BIG enter key again. That appears to be a non-starter. :-(


#71

Quote:
I hope they listen MORE

I hope they'd talk more.

I really appreciate the work that has been going on to update the imperfections and support the latest products. However, I would like to see more interaction with hp, some sort of forums where the user base would be more involved. I am sure some projects to make this calculators better would be supported by more members of the community; what is missing is leadership. I would have volonteered to help on the AUR if I had been asked. I would volonteer to help developping some useful programs that could be downloaded from hp or hpcalc.org, I just need some guidance as I am not a leader and don't have many ideas or they are too hard for just me. I believe such guidance could easily and cheaply be given by hp. Here and on comp.sys.hp48 lots of able people would be glad to help. If hp was able to create a vibrant community, this would I belive have some positive impact on their sales.

The way I see it these days, hp listen and implement but the user is not really involved.

Arnaud


#72

Actually, one of the ways the user community and HP interact is through the user conferences, the latest of which, HHC2005, was held in Chicago in September. HP was there and made a presentation.

Those present this year saw a prototype not yet introduced and the AUR nearly 6 weeks before it was public.

I know for a fact that HP reads this forum, so things said here addressed to HP will be seen. Non-rants will usually be read more thoroughly. :-)

Legal aspects might restrict the ability HP has of offering programs directly on their website. As to the AUR, email me. :-)


#73

Are those words "saw a prototype not yet introduced" actually blinking in huge letters in that message ?

HP has done some things, and the good news is that they are still in the race. However, why no big ENTER key ? Who forced them into such a bad keyboard design for the 33S ? They could have done it cheaper *and* better to my taste with a more classic design. Recall the function placement on the keyboard is mind boggling.
I just say that they should not take extra steps to make a model less usable. Granted, the work done is nice compared to the small team producing it.


#74

Well, the "not yet introduced" item has been mentioned already on comp.sys.hp48, so don't get TOO excited.

The small enter key is to make it similar to the TI units, I'm sure. If the true market that buys these things are students, then making sure the unit is familiar to the student appears to be very important.

I would guess someone in marketing either thought the chevron keyboard was a good idea or they had a focus group of young people who thought that.

I remember my first reaction to the 33s (spoken to HP) was "why are the keys shaped this way?" Unfortunately, by then it was too late. :-)

So, I do think given their small resources, they are working very hard to address problems and improve their products. They are learning and trying to improve.

So, we can either encourage or rant. I vote to encourage! :-)

#75

Mr. Wright, I sincerely support your sentiments regarding giving HP a little credit. Granted it really isn't your professor's old HP (or even yours, with Compaq, DEC, and all that, with Agilent spinning off), but whoever they are, they have, at least to me, bent over backwards to put out a good, solid, ... dare I say it?... superior calculator product.

The 49G+ is a very complex machine as all you electronic and electrical engineers can attest to. These days, how many high-technology products are perfect right out of the box? Most of us have a more flawed out-of-the-box experience. My brother bought one of those Star Trek light-up Christmas tree ornaments, from an old, reputable brand name. The transparent sticker on the deflector dish was annoyingly misaligned. Okay, this is a petty example, but go talk to HP's, Dell's, Gateway's, Sony's, even ABS' or Alienware's customer service departments and if you get a straight answer, there isn't always gaiety among customers. Or, we can talk to Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, etc. How about Airbus or McDonnell Douglas??

Back on the ranch, even their support of the 33S is quite good! They are available, responsive, and generally knowledgeable... and fairly accomodating!

Does anyone know (seriously) if TI, Casio, Sharp, (or worse, the no-names) has good customer support?

At least with their calculator and PC and printer departments, their customer support is very good, in my opinion... and the products at the very least competitive with everyone else's, just to be very laid back about it.

(Edited for grammar, of all things!)


Edited: 26 Nov 2005, 1:43 p.m.


#76

Thanks, Ed.

Group, please don't get me wrong. I still think HP has room for improvements, perhaps even lots of them!

However, if they really didn't care, there wouldn't be that much of a reason to upgrade the 12cp, the 33s, or produce such a massive volume as the AUR.

I would suggest giving appreciation where appropriate. That's all. :-)

Now, what's next for them to do?

#77

No - I can never give them credit again. The HP49+ is a con in every sense of the word. The fact that they took over a year to fix such a deficiency on the classiest calculator in the world? Give us a break.

The HP48GX was a beautiful and brilliant calculator, the HP49+ a pure and unadulterated con. The most expensive calculator beaten in quality control by a $5 highstreet noname brand.

And dont say to compare apples to oranges - they had it right 15 years ago and more, but now they just want to rape their customers.

I will hold them in high esteem when their best calculator lasts more than a few poultry weeks on battery power and/or has signficant usability improvements.

I dont want to detract on the quality of the s/w for the HP, but the hardware sucks badly. So they deserve zero credit after taking my money for a useless paper weight (and a very ugly one at that).


#78

What you seem to be unaware of is that:

1) HP had hundreds of people working on calculators when they made the 48gx.

2) None of them are working on calculators now - they have perhaps 30 people total, but certainly not hundreds.

3) And, they had to change the models - the technology had moved on and was no longer available.

Let me ask you a question:

Why didn't YOU fix the problems with the 49g+ in a quicker time?

Let's see...you probably didn't have the time, resources or know-how, did you? :-)

HP calculators are probably in a similar boat.

They could either:

a) Not focus on any other products and fix the 49g+. That probably wouldn't do them any good, since their sales would fall and they could get the axe.

b) work on fixing the 49g+ as they could, while continuing to update their other products. This keeps the sales revenue coming in and puts off the questions from corporate about their ROI and allows them to continue producing calculators.

Alternative a is just a non-starter. All we would have if they did that is the memory of HP calculators with no hope at all for any future ones. I prefer hope and encouragement to HP to improve rather than using language such as you have done. The type of language you use is guaranteed to have HP not take you seriously.

Then again, for individuals such as yourself (and I know there are more than just you), there is a solution.

Keep buying 48gx calculators off ebay at higher prices than a new 49g+. Use them while they last. Take longer to do your calculations.

Sounds a tiny bit like people I know who are still using DOS and won't come to the windows world.

If you are unhappy with your HP product, rather than complaining here, call HP support and tell them. How else will they learn?

Sigh.
Gene


#79

Quote:
3) And, they had to change the models - the technology had moved on and was no longer available
Not being an HP insider but being in electronic product development myself (I'm our company's entire engineering department), I'd have to say it's more likely that the older technology's price wasn't falling fast enough to keep up with the new.

Quote:
1) HP had hundreds of people working on calculators when they made the 48gx.

2) None of them are working on calculators now - they have perhaps 30 people total, but certainly not hundreds.


The only way I can imagine it would take 30 people a year to correct problems with a calculator is if the correction required re-writing the software. Otherwise only a few of them would need to put some of their time into it for a couple of months. As for the key-debounce problem correction you mentioned above, that's a very, very minor thing to take care of in software. I always do key debouncing in my embedded software. It's almost trivial. That HP failed in something so basic is inexcusable.
#80

Quote:
Alternative a is just a non-starter. All we would have if they did that is the memory of HP calculators with no hope at all for any future ones. I prefer hope and encouragement to HP to improve rather than using language such as you have done. The type of language you use is guaranteed to have HP not take you seriously.


I think people tend to give corporations too much credit and too little. On the one hand, corporations, particularly multinationals like HP, are seen by some as either the salvation or the damnation of the world in general. Corporations have power, but so do people, if they will but use it. On the other hand, we expect corporations to act as if they have interests other than making the quarterly numbers, and we excoriate them when it becomes clear that they don't. Even people who work in corporations aren't very comfortable with that one, but it's generally true.

And corporations are made up of human beings. But that doesn't mean that a corporation acts like an ordinary human person, the legal fiction of its personhood notwithstanding. Toeing the bottom line doesn't mean you will always make short-sighted, selfish decisions. Often a corporation's interest coincides with something that is recognizable as "moral" or "community minded" or even "philanthropic" or "noble." More often though, corporate actions are described as "crass" or even "stupid" and "heavy handed." Either way, the labels are misleading, because they tend to make you think of the corporation as a person, rather than a highly organized hive intelligence.

It seems to me that HP, like IBM before it, purged itself of an older culture that valued people inside the corporation over customers outside. The organizations "had" to do this because the competition had made the transition, or else was born with the customer centered focus. In human terms, the transition at HP was famously painful and difficult. A lot of "crass," "stupid" and "heavy handed" decisions got made along the way. One of these, a very small one of these, consigned HP's in-house calculator division to near oblivion.

So that left many of us who loved the old machines, and who admired the old culture that produced them, scratching our heads, wondering where the hell the "customer focus" was in all of that. Well, it's another painful and difficult thing to swallow, but people like us, in our role as calculator enthusiasts, aren't HP's customers, at least in terms of the market research and sales figures.

I'm not saying there aren't good and committed people inside HP working to deliver the best machines they can given realities. I work for a giant corporation too, so I'm not unsympathetic to people who struggle to deliver quality with a human touch in what simply can't avoid being a dehumanizing context. But I do have two criticisms.

The first is aimed at critics of giant corporations. Don't act like the huge hive mind is an individual who has wronged you. It's silly, and more importantly, it's factually wrong.

And the second is directed at individuals within HP's calculator division. If you can't hear criticism like some of the more dramatically stated stuff in this thread, then you really are falling down on your "customer focus." Even if this crowd doesn't represent the target demographic du jour, our sensibilities matter. Our sons and daughters are going to school now, and some of them will be influenced by our opinions about whether or not HP is worth buying.

Regards,

Howard


#81

Howard, I don't disagree with much of what you are saying.

However, discourse accusuing HP of "raping" their customers goes beyond the pale, IMO.

That sort of language is not helpful.

I am in no way wishing to discourage ANYONE who has an issue/problem with HP or HP's products from expressing their opinion.

Yet, it often seems that improvements when made, and there have been many, get ignored.

Somewhat like wondering why your 5th grader hasn't received their Ph.D yet when they are showing you a 100 on a spelling test.


#82

Mr. Wright, to be totally fair, I don't see any language or even allusion of the sort in his post. In fact, it appears that Mr. Owen was largely saying the OPPOSITE of that!

Edited: 28 Nov 2005, 12:03 p.m.


#83

I think he was referring to the post he originally criticised, Ed. Not mine.

#84

I never meant to say that Mr. Owen had used that language.

Mr. Fox did earlier in this thread. If you do a search on that word, you'll find it.

Apologies to everyone, including Mr. Owen, if anyone thought I was implying his language was inappropriate. Not my intent at all.

Gene


#85

And my turn to eat a little humble pie, if not crow: I guess I was a little too fast on the draw, and am not really used to this "new" forum post display structure yet.

I must say, we ARE a civilized little group! ; )

#86

No. No credit, none at all.

Gene, you (and most others here) seem to think of HP as an old friend who's made a few mistakes but should be encouraged to do better and given the benefit of the doubt. I used to feel that way, but no longer. For the last several years my attitude toward HP has been much like that of a hardened, cynical parole officer toward a repeat offender. It's not a matter of if but when his parolee will screw up again. He's just waiting for the parolee to make some little slip-up, because it's a case of "perfect behavior or back to jail."

That's just how I look at HP. They would have to make a lot of changes (and not just in the calculator division), and make a public apology for nearly everything they've done for at least the past decade, and be on their best behavior with no mistakes for at least the next decade before I'd begin to trust them again. Of course, I know they will never meet even a portion of my requirements, so I am resigned to never being pleased by HP or wishing them anything but ill, ever again. Nothing they do now or in the future could begin to "make up" for what they've done unless they first go back and undo much of what they've already done.


#87

Hi Wayne,

You are forgetting that HP is a corporation, not a human being. Your requirement for a corporate "apology" amounts to anthropomorphism.

Corporations change as the people who work for them and run them retire, as market conditions change etc. Asking htem to "apologize" is not meaningful in any real sense.

Basically, if you want or need a calculator with keystoke programming, or one with RPN, or both, or one with a similar set of features to the legacy 32sii, then the 33s, marketed by HP, is the *only* product out there.

That you don't like it is your own opinion--but note that you would not have the luxury of holding that opinion if there were not a large supply of reliable used machines out there.

HP is not a "parolee," it is a corporation.

Edited: 28 Nov 2005, 10:52 a.m.


#88

To me, it's a bit like demanding that Bill Hewlett rise from the grave and personally explain these decisions.

It's certainly something that will never happen.

It also shows (for good or ill) a fantasy-like picture of corporations and the US (and foreign) legal system.

Living in reality as we do, these requirements will never be done.


#89

Quote:
It also shows (for good or ill) a fantasy-like picture of corporations and the US (and foreign) legal system.

As I've said many times before, and as you never seem to understand, I don't expect HP to behave like any other corporation. I expect them to behave with a completely different set of rules, motivations, goals and attitudes. I see HP as a sort of pie-in-the-sky engineers' playground and expect it to behave accordingly. So saying "corporations aren't like that" or "corporations don't do that" is about as relevant to my opinions about HP as saying "a piece of caramel-flavored sunshine weighs more than that."


#90

But Wayne,

Why or how do you come to the position that HP was, and forever shall be, an utopic "engineer's playground?" That just does not sound reasonable. Not at all. I just don't quite get that--it's one thing to say that once upon a time, HP *appeared* to be a Utopia; it is an altoghether different thing to expect or demand that a corporation be held to some higher than reasonable or legal standard.

Like, that just becomes an unreasonable position that makes any discussion pointless.

I also have a hard time believing that it was a utopia. People were hired and fired there; products soared or bombed, most of their calculators had bugs or deficiencies of one sort or another. Heck, they had a board of directors!


#91

Quote:
Why or how do you come to the position that HP was, and forever shall be, an utopic "engineer's playground?"

While it was never an engineer's Utopia, it used to be a lot closer to that ideal than it is now. I used to know HP employees who delighted in the fact that many product decisions were made more on the basis of "this will impress other engineers" than on how well they would sell. That may not have been the official position of the company but it was at least tolerated when some of the employees practiced it. But as the rest of corporate America became more and more focused on profits and less on technical excellence, HP went along with the crowd, rather than going further and further in the opposite direction as a reaction against the mainstream. That's primarily how I saw HP -- as a rebel that thumbed its nose at the way the rest of the technology industry did business. I can remember reading the works of business columnists in the '70s and '80s who criticized HP for this very attitude and it was one of the things that most endeared the company to me. But they've swung around in the other direction and fallen into line with the rest of the corporate world, and I'll never forgive them for that.


#92

Well, the problem with this hindsight is that it tends to gloss over all the deficiencies. Bug in early 32sii fraction implementation; 32sii annoying "unary minus" different from sutraction bug is one that stands out. Look at where the "technical playground" led---straight to hell in a handbasket. Straight to the 48 series--and ultimately to hiring the c.s.hp48 crowd to develop the 49. What a disaster.

Sometimes it takes some business sense to say, "this is crap" or "this will not sell" or " this is cool but not useful".

I work in a technical field--I develop technical solutions--practical technical work--quality is important because that is what your customers want and expect. I understand what qualitiy means, from a technical standpoint. We would not be *in business* if we did not mind our quality. But we would also be out of business if all we thought about was "technical prowess." There never was a conflict between quality and good business decisions. But there were quality problems all along at HP--even in the near-utopia--which is such an important thing to remember.

Why do we like their stuff? Becasue it had higher quality than Ti. But that does not mean that they were as good as they could have been at the price.


#93

This isn't aimed at anyone personally. I'm just stirred up by the idea of living in the past.

To be fair, the world was paying HP's price back then, whereas they were less willing to later. That HP lost the calculator market wasn't enirely HP's fault. There was intense competition from TI, with Casio right on its heels. TI delivered low-cost and simple machines for the burgeoning education market, and marketed them to the hilt. HP kept designing for engineers, when that segment had moved on to cheap PCs on every desktop, then in every briefcase.

So sad. HP of old lost the calculator market. HP got rid of the "HP Way." The nineties consumed corporations large and small, new and old like a ravening beast. HP survived the 90s to become the tottering giant in PCs it is today. So sad. So completely irrelevant.

How about trying to recreate a human-friendly culture in the corporations of today? How about latching on to the upcoming age of micro-manufacturing to deliver custom hardware to people with nearly the same flexibility that software is delivered today? Talk about room for creativity and engineering "cool!" The future has got a lot to offer. But it won't be possible to transplant yesterday's values directly onto tomorrow. We have to be smart and flexible, if we want to preserve what we think is valuable about the bygone era.

For me, the old HP calculators embody several things that are worth preserving, and even (*gasp*) improving on. In their particulars, these qualities are numerous, but I think they all stem from a deep understanding of and caring for the engineering calculator user. These folks truly were designing for themselves, and they knew their own needs very well indeed. And as long as a significant share of the engineering world looked like them, well they were successful at selling their product.

So what I would preserve is not so much this or that particular feature, although several would make my personal list, but that deep understanding and care for the user. I know that quality is rare in any field of endeavor. I also know it stands out with startling clarity whenever it's present. If we really are moving toward an age of small-scale, decentralized manufacturing, then products are going to proliferate. There will then be an even stronger business need to stand out from the crowd than there is today. Given that the old HP quality embodied an approach that can confer that sort of differentiation, perhaps something of the old style will come back into vogue. Wouldn't that be cool? 8)

#94

Quote:
Well, the problem with this hindsight is that it tends to gloss over all the deficiencies. Bug in early 32sii fraction implementation; 32sii annoying "unary minus" different from sutraction bug is one
that stands out.

I never claimed the older products were perfect. But those problems were honest technical mistakes. I think I can guarantee that the fraction bug was not introduced because someone in Marketing thought it would make the 32sii less "intimidating" to non-technical users. I'm sure they didn't add the "unary minus" problem to make it more appealing to people who didn't want to look too "geeky" while using an HP calculator. But what other conceviable reason is there for the chevron keyboard of the 33s, if not to appeal to the "fashion sense" of the average user? (Whether it succeeds in that respect is immaterial; the attempt is what I find offensive.)

I was thinking about this subject on the drive home from the office tonight, and I realized that I could explain my viewpoint on this in fewer words than I used earlier. Essentially, this is it: In the battle between techies and non-techies, the war of geeks and nerds (or as we said in my day, "eggheads") against the rest of the world, I always considered HP to be on "our side." But that's no longer true, and that is what makes me so hostile to the "new" HP. They no longer project the image of "pocket protectors are more valuable to us than stock portfolios" that they once had. They've sold out to the "normal" crowd and abandoned those of us who are proud of our "Poindexter" image.

#95

I think we all understand your position quite well. We just don't agree with it.

The HP of old has been dismanetled and carried away piece by piece. And besides that, it never was as good as our fondest hopes made it seem. I've been offered a stool at the local barbershop where I can spend the rest of my life complaining about how debased the world of today seems; how much better things were back in my youth. The idea turns my stomach! I'm still a part of life today. I'm still looking for value and meaning right now. Screw the past!

*ahem* Sorry for the outburst.

#96

If they behaved according to your post they would be out of business, plain and simple.

#97

Quote:
The only person I am quite sure will never eat crow on this one is Wayne.

Absolutely right. Not only do I think the 33s should be discontinued, but HP should offer a public apology for ever introducing it in the first place. It could have 10,000 times the features and 100,000 times the speed of anything else on the market, and retail for 10 cents, and that keyboard still would make it an insult.

#98

The main issues for me are still the "V" shaped keypad and the Enter key size and placement.


#99

I'm not saying that there aren't any issues with the thing, but I dont' consider it the total piece of cr@p that I used to think it was. Once I accepted the fact that the golden age of HP calculators is long long gone and aint coming back I found this calculator more palatable. I had once vowed never to use it but now I use it every day. It's not great, but it aint bad either.


Just curious, since I have two with the old display.


Yes, right here in this forum! Here's the thread:

Larry McClellan's post

(Warning: it may load slowly depending on your computer.)

I actually have one now with the new display and it IS MUCH better.

Oops.

The pic does not exactly show too well how much better the new decimal point is. But I'm sure one day very soon someone will post a comparison.

Edited: 23 Nov 2005, 2:29 p.m.

Well, yes, just took one today. I was hoping for better quality, but this shows the difference pretty well:





The discoloration in some of the characters in the new display is an artifact of the imaging process. In person, all pixels are nice and dark. As Ed states, the new display is much nicer. The characters seem "crisper", and the background is slightly less green which looks better to me, although this does not really show up in the above image.


The only other thing I might add is really rather subjective: I sort of preferred the aspect ratio of the original display characters. Alas, their very size and shape contributed to the legibility problems of the decimal point and comma.

But hey, the new display, though featuring "thinner" characters is much easier to read and that ultimately is most preferable.


Since I failed to reproduce the images at equal scale (the image of the old display needs to be scaled by a factor of approximately 0.97 to be the same scale as the new display image), it may not be immediately obvious that the new characters are the same height as the old. The new are about 15% narrower. Put another way, the height to width aspect ratio of the old is approximately 2.2:1, the new ratio is approximately 2.6:1.


You did a great job with the pictures, actually! (Well, maybe if you reduced the "zoom" on both so that one doesn't have to scroll... but that's just a nitpicker's nitpick.)

But I don't see the "less greener" side of it. Both backgrounds appear so far to be of the same shade.


Quote:
But I don't see the "less greener" side of it.

What kind of Display do you use? It is immediately visible on my old Eizo T67 CRT-Monitor.

Thomas


LOL!!

I meant between the two 33S models I can physically look at! They both look about as green in their displays.

Yes, there is a big difference in those of the posted pictures. Sorry for the confusion!


Perhaps the difference in "greenish-ness" differs from unit to unit. On my 2 units, (one of which is an original "Walmart" CN4... unit and the other a CNA532..), the difference in the shade of green of the background is noticeable.

Regarding the size of the image and the need to scroll, I agree, having noted that after I posted it. I considered changing to a reduced size, but I guess I didn't want to have to bother Dave to put a different version in my guest folder here.

I went to Wallyworld last night and confirmed my suspicions:

There are (at least) *two* improved versions.

The older improved display has bigger comma and decimal point, perhaps more space, but the aspect ratio is close to the original

The newest display has more space between numbers, and numbers have a taller aspect ratio.

But *more important* is that the roms are different.

The 1st improved display version has the buggy rom. I only tested the rect-polar bug.

The newer improved display has the polar-rect bug fixed.

Also, the 1st improved display had a "Business 2.0" subscription deal sticker on the packaging, but the newer ones did not.

So, that makes the ROM list look like this (so far):

So far, I have delineated:

REV   Description              Screen  
beta --- (1)
- Walmart initial release. (1)

A Change Alg swap (1), (2)

B. Bugs fixed (3)

Notes:
Screen (1) small dec point
Screen (2) large dec and comma, close space standard aspect ratio
Screen (3) large dec and comma, wide space / tall aspect ratio

ROM (B) has "New" as opposed to ROM (A) ALG swap behavior.
ROM (-)and (A) both have same bugs, but ALG swap behavior is different


Edited: 1 Dec 2005, 5:26 p.m.


Bill,

my unit (CNA 51500163) has the display with the taller aspect ratio and still has the rect/polar bug.

Marcus


Hi Marcus,

Thanks for that information. This means that machines with the Rev A rom have been built with all three versions of the display.


Edited: 5 Dec 2005, 8:33 a.m.

One more point about the 33S:

Most of those here are old enough to remember when a trusty calculator, not a PC, was the primary number-crunching tool on a professional's desktop. Those days are gone...except in one respect.

If you need to take professional licensing exams in engineering or surveying, then you are required to turn back the technological clock and kiss your PC goodbye. Your trusty calculator becomes your best friend again, just like in the 1970s or 1980s. And if you want RPN or programmability, then only one model is allowed under current NCEES rules. It is, of course, the 33S.

There are thousands of engineers and surveyors (myself included) that are required to rely on the 33S in a career-critical situation. If the 33S gets me through the rest of the PE exam process next year, then I expect I will hold it in affectionate regard for the rest of my career, just as an old-timer might feel about his old reliable 41C or 42S.

Edited: 23 Nov 2005, 9:23 p.m.


Norris,

I am in your camp regarding the 'requirement'. In terms of ergonomics (the engineer's analogy to...style) I'd say there are a few things that could be improved. Aside from the ENTER key location, and canted kbd, I tend to wish for more acreage between the keys.

Functionally, we will not need to invert a 5x5 matrix on the licensing exam, however not being able to solve such matrices keeps me dragging along my 48g, for those instances.

ECL


So you all like the new display?
I don´t, the older ist much sharper and the digits are not that bulky to read.


I agree. I think the latest "fix" went too far in spacing the digits apart. There's no pleasing everyone.

> The main issues for me are still the "V" shaped keypad and

I didn't think I'd be getting into this one, but I must say the keypad shape is something I cannot get past to give the rest of the unit a fair trial. I don't usually care so much about looks, and I don't care if something is ugly because they didn't put much styling effort into it. But when they try too hard and come up with something that looks just plain stupid, I am strongly repelled.


This is the sort of thing people will have differing reactions to. If their focus group said the target market would think it was "cool" I can understand that. But neglecting to consider the older audience of 32SII users, and the (on average) even older collector community seems to me to have been a less than optimal decision.

Having said that, I'll repeat that for me, the keyboard shape quickly became a non-issue. It turns out I can key stuff in reasonably quickly, and I can find stuff I'm looking for without too much trouble. I do not conciously register an impression of "cool" or "weird" as I use the 33S. The distinction disappears as I use the machine as a calculator. Before I started using the 33S, I would have predicted, based on experience in adapting to other input mechanisms, that I would eventually get to where the shape wouldn't matter to me. But I was suprised that I got there so quickly in this case.

So I'm willing to cut HP some slack on this one, as far as it goes. My major whine is that "as far as it goes" is barely past the 32SII. I'd like to see a truly updated RPN calculator, with modern CPU, memory, I/O and software. What the latter would look like is the most interesting question, in my view. There are other threads here that try to provide some answers to that question. (hint, hint 8)


I have a question regarding the outsourcing of fabrication and software. Recall the HP6 was a rebranding of a Kinpo model. Due to the good quality of math on this machine, I believe the math library may have come from HP (anyone ?).
Also recall that no-brand copiies of some Casio low-end graphing calculators are surfacing in the recent years, there are even official re-releases of some of these by Lexibook (here in Europe at least). The 'new' machines sometimes differ with new functions or modification to the general behavior.
So my question is : are we going to see HP machines copied by sub-contractors who have gained the knowledge through current OEM contracts ? I know there are legal issues, but I think asian makers coule build upon the experience and create improved products (not the quality we expect maybe) ?
If I were such a builder with in-house capability to recreate the "functionality" of the 32S (quotes here because I have the 42S...), I would think about issuing something better, different legalese-wise.
Maybe HP and others are laying the foundations for the upcoming takeover of the market by those new makers. Original models by these people tend to be quite buggy, but this may be smoothed with time (a la 49G+...).


Hi, GE:

(All that follows, IMHO)

GE asked:

"Recall the HP6 was a rebranding of a Kinpo model. Due to the good quality of math on this
machine, I believe the math library may have come from HP (anyone ?)."

    Not a chance.
"So my question is : are we going to see HP machines copied by sub-contractors who have gained the knowledge through current OEM contracts ?"
Ditto.
"I know there are
legal issues, but I think asian makers coule build upon the experience and create improved products (not the quality we expect maybe) ?"

    Asian makers, specially Chinese ones, couldn't care less for legal issues, copyrights and such. They'll gladly copy en masse anything that seems profitable, and the Chinese government will usually leave them alone. But I rather doubt that "RPN calculators" are deemed 'profitable' enough to bother copying them.
"If I were such a builder with in-house capability to recreate the "functionality" of the 32S (quotes here because I have the 42S...), I would think about issuing
something better, different legalese-wise."

    You'd do *nothing* of the sort, because you'd be gambling with your own money, not some fictitious builder's money. And you'd probably come to the conclusion that your money would be best dedicated to some other actually (not imaginarily) profitable endeavours.
"Maybe HP and others are laying the foundations for the upcoming takeover of the market by those new makers."
    If you're referring to the hypothetic RPN market, you'd better wait at some comfortable place. Within a generation, RPN and probably RPL will be lost forever. No "asian" makers are "taking over" the RPN business, actually they're fairly intelligent (if not exactly international-law-abiding in many cases), and want to make money, not lose it. Wait and see.

    And, if you're referring to non-RPN, non-RPL HP machines, what's the use in merrily copying an HP product which (like the 6S) is itself a copy of a Citizen-branded product which, in reality, is a no-brand design produced by Kinpo with the 'brand' of any company who cares to pay ? Or did you do for a moment believe the 6S was an HP design ?

Best regards from V.

Quote:
Asian makers, specially Chinese ones, couldn't care less for legal issues, copyrights and such. They'll gladly copy en masse anything that seems profitable, and the Chinese government will usually leave them alone. But I rather doubt that "RPN calculators" are deemed 'profitable' enough to bother copying them.

Aurora, a Taiwanese company, has decided that one RPN calculator, the HP-12C, is worth copying. Their copy, the Aurora FN1000, sells for a fraction of the cost of a 12C (at Fry's, the FN1000 is $24.99, the HP-12C is $69.95, and the HP-12C Platinum is $79.99).

So yes, it's demonstrably feasible for Asian calc manufacturers to clone HPs. If Aurora can copy the 12C, then they could probably copy the 15C as well. However, the market for a 15C clone would surely be much smaller than the market for a 12C clone, given that the 12C must be (by far) the best-selling RPN calc in history. So Aurora is probably not interested.


Given the turnover of new models from all calculator makers, shouldn't the HP12C be at least approaching contention for the title of "most popular calculator of all time?" Or maybe "most popular over $50.00."


It would win HANDS DOWN for over $50.

Might win, no matter what.

But Ti has sold a Ti-30 in all types of flavors since 1977 (or therabouts). And sold lots of them. Ti's original Ti-30 might be eclipsed by the Hp12c, but I say, might be eclipsed, because Ti did sell so damn many of the original Ti-30 over a 2-3 year time span. The Hp12c might beat it with its longivity (which would translate into continued sales), but that Ti-30 outsold everything else Ti ever made in its day.

So, while I suspect the Hp12c is the overall top seller, until the two total sales are known, it is speculation.


Quote:
Ti's original Ti-30 might be eclipsed by the Hp12c, but I say, might be eclipsed, because Ti did sell so damn many of the original Ti-30 over a 2-3 year time span.

Yeah, I bought something like six of them. They kept breaking on me. False economy if there ever was one. But I now have a pristine (and rarely touched) TI-30 in my collection because it was the first calculator I used extensively.

That's why I added the qualifier of "over $50.00." I wonder if that can be determined, one way or another?

This thread has certainly wandered a lot. The fact of the matter is, the 33s is more capable than the 32sii by virtue of its larger memory. True, you can't fully take advantage of it, but you can have a library in your calculator that contains more than a couple of programs. I can fit 2 in my 32sii, with one equation, and I have to clear variables every time I use a program.

The weird design of the keyboard, and the color scheme of the 33s are certainly annoying to me, and I don't like them. But what I more care about are results. With the improved display and tactile feel of the keyboard, the 33s does funtion adequately as a basic RPN calculator. I am grateful to HP that they gave us the 33s, because the alernative is to buy an extremely expensive vintage HP on Ebay when the vintage HP that you have been using dies. Therefore, HP, if you are listening, Thank You. The vintage HP's are great, and I love them, but they don't last forever.

My old 32sII's and my 11C are treasures, but I don't use them on a daily basis because my 33s is more capable, even if it doesn't match them in terms of design.


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