|Re: Discontinuing HP-12C Financial ?|
Message #20 Posted by Ellis Easley on 11 Mar 2003, 1:54 p.m.,
in response to message #19 by John K. (US)
I just got a 3 volt unit (sorry, John, I paid $25 clearance price for an unopened unit at WalMart!) And while I haven't opened the case yet, I did notice that the back looks different (in addition to the different battery door). The original Voyagers had a quite thick metal plate (with the instructions printed on) glued to a recess in the plastic back with the only opening in the plastic under the metal being where the ESD protection spring goes through to make contact. On my new unit, the metal seems to be thinner, judging by the fact that the edge of the metal curves back toward the case MOST of the way around. I've seen this on other items and it seems to be done to give more stiffness to thin metal. I say most of the way around because there are two spots where the edge of the metal is flat. One is just below the top left (from an "in use" perspective) rubber foot and the other is along the left calculator edge just above the bottom left foot. Unless those spots are just omissions from the tool that forms the metal, it looks like something structural is going on under them.
One other note on quality: a while back I got a Chinese 3 button unit (also at Walmart, also clearance priced) with S/N CN0 vs CN2 on the 3 volt unit. I didn't notice till I got home that it was a 3 button unit - I had heard the Chinese units discussed here and I thought they were all 3 volt. This unit looks like earlier Voyagers in the plastic molding (other than the color) and the metal plate on the back. Around the opening in the case back for the battery door, the surface texture continues perfectly along a narrow strip of plastic. The 3 volt unit has a larger battery door and the strip of plastic surrounding it is narrower, but it is not textured and a very unattractive effort was made to transition from the textured to the smooth surface. It's a small thing and probably based on practical considerations but it is an additional degree of cheapness. I'm afraid to open the unit for fear of seeing ugly unfinished surfaces on the inside! I know it doesn't matter but it seems to me that the appearance of the inside of molded pieces is a reflection of the care that the manufacturer has taken in the whole process.
My Chinese 3 button and 3 volt units look pretty much identical on the top side. The printed keys are the same, even the "enter" keys with the letters appearing to be crooked or tilted or sliding off the key!
I just remembered something that I saw when I first got the Chinese 3 button unit, which has been propagated to the 3 volt unit: I was comparing every inch of the 3 button unit to my earlier 12C (the one I found in the street in pieces on election day, 1988 while waiting for a bus) when I noticed that in the instructions on the back, they had changed the years in the dates used for examples. I guess they did it to keep the machine from looking out of date - the original years were around the 80's and they were changed to the late 90's and the new millennium. The book says the calender functions are good till 4046, so I don't think it was a Y2K change, just a cosmetic one - something like a botox injection! But on the second line of the first example, they enter the date in D.MY mode incorrectly - 31/5/98 is entered as "31.51998" when it should be "31.051998". This same error is on the redesigned metal plate on the 3 volt unit. The examples portion of the graphics is shorter (to make room for the URL) and wider. It could just be a photographic alteration but some details make me think the text was re-set: the relative size of the triangle vs. the letters in "[delta] DYS" and the vertical centering of the characters in the boxes representing the "X<>Y" and "roll down" buttons.
BTW, regarding the fact that WalMart seems to keep closing out the 12C, I don't think that reflects the idea that HP will discontinue it. The recent letters from HP that have been posted here say HP means to keep it and the fact that they have made efforts to cost-reduce it, while we might not like the changes, suggests that they want to keep making it. There are certain things that WalMart sells at clearance periodically and then later re-stocks. It is my belief that a lot of WalMart's success has to do with creating the impression of freshness. Things are frequently moved to new locations and I think they do this to clean out the dust and create a newly stocked appearance. Whenever I go there in the middle of the night I'm amazed at the amount of activity.
The continuing popularity of the 12C has hatched a conspiracy theory in my mind. Apparently, accountants and business administrators like the 12C (judging by the fact that it keeps selling). They used to be in charge of the computers, back in the old days, and when personal computers and networks became available, I understand they put up a certain amount of resistance to the free distribution of the data they had previously controlled. My point being that the bean counters like having control over things. Bean counters also have a lot of influence over the selection of products to be manufactured and sold. MAYBE THE BEAN COUNTERS WANT RPN FOR THEMSELVES!