|Wrong? Nothing. It's just not RPN...|
Message #7 Posted by Randy Sloyer(US) on 30 Dec 2002, 7:36 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Stan (Sg)
What they said.
Yes, all valid points and good insight. IMHO, the 28 series represented a shift in thinking away from the classic 4 level stack RPN to RPL. If a 28 series machine was the first HP calculator you ever held in your hands and learned to use, it was great, which made the 48 series even better for you.
But, if you where born in the 40's or 50's and spent years waiting until you could afford an HP and your first machine was a classic, a Woodstock or a 41, the 28 series seemed foreign. Quick, open your 28S and give me the sine of 49.5, without having first reading the manual to find the function on the trig key. It was just, well, different. Too different for me. I didn't need a new calculator, so I just handed it back to the salesman and said "Thanks, but no thanks". Along with the 48 series machines, they were not a calculator to me, but something I didn't want or need to spend the the time to learn. I had 4 level RPN and I was VERY happy. Call me an vacuum tube guy in the solid state world, but I just didn't like it. I had a computer for that stuff. If I wanted to add 100 columns of sales commissions, give me 1-2-3. But , when I wanted to find out how fast to spin a shaft on the plant floor somewhere, give me my 42S any 'ol day.
I think it important to note that the timing of the 28 series also caught HP with their proverbial pants down in the PC market. The paradigm shift that occurred in the mid 80's through the early 90's was so huge, it caught just about every major engineering based company flat-footed. HP was no exception, at least in the PC area. They where always 6 to 9 months behind everyone else, but anything they put into the marketplace always had the proper HP feel and quality. I think that the mindset of the times led to creeping feature-ietus which crossed over to the calculator product line. After all, didn't technology demand new designs every 18 months? Somewhere along the way, the line between computer, calculator and hand-held got very blurry. I can't find an ounce of fault in what they did, or in their products. But somewhere in there is a lesson. The paradigm for a hand-held calculating device has not changed. You cannot ignore the fact that we still have the same ten fingers and two eyes with which to operate the device. Adding more keys with menus only hides the basic functions we use 98% of the time. Why make it harder to do the basics?
I still think the best thing that could ever happen to the calculator product line is for it to be given/sold to the Agilent group. I often imagine the "real" HP engineers with HP-41CX's on their desks wondering to themselves what will they do when their trusty 41 dies. Go buy another on eBay?