|Re: Why II, que?|
Message #1 Posted by Frank Wales on 14 May 2003, 10:33 p.m.
I can see how the HP calculator suffix thing can be confusing, but it's all really quite straightforward, if you understand the big picture.
'II' just means 'second edition' or 'second version'. Hence, the 32SII followed the 32S just as the 19BII followed the 19B and the 10BII followed the 10B.
Early machines' part numbers did end in 'A', but they weren't designated that way on the calculator faceplates, mainly due to the Great Alphabet Famine of 1973.
Of course, 'C' started to be used when the miracle of continuous memory first arose as a magic distinguishing feature. The Spice models were originally 'E' for "it's the Economy, stupid", but even they got some 'C's eventually; so the 33E become the 33C, the 38E became the 38C, and 'Mel E' became 'Mel C'.
After the 41C, everything got continuous memory, so 'C' lost its differentiating purpose. This allowed various bits of early plot-losing to happen: the 75C has a variant called the 75D, but it doesn't have some amazing distinguishing feature beginning with 'D', it was just the letter after 'C'. Similarly (but more obscurely), the 71B was so-called because there was a 71A (with less RAM) in the works along with the 71B, but the 'A' version got canned. So, by the miracle of retro-active continuity, 'B' came to mean 'BASIC'.
I have heard it rumoured that the true meaning of the 94F is too disgusting to report in polite society. So if any of you know about it, please post it in a follow-up to this message.
Always the early pioneer, the 41C begat the 41CV,
which had fives times as much RAM as the 41C, hence 'V', which is Roman for '5', which is Arabic for 'five' (except apparently it's really Indian, but that's not important right now). The 41CV then begat the 41CX, which incorporated eXtended functions and memory, thus starting the great 'E'-avoidance tradition that continues to this day, due mainly to the War on Drugs.
Then the real Pioneers came along with the 'B' 'S', and ran off with the 'X' for their piece-de-resistance, the 48SX, which was both 'Scientific' and 'eXpandable'. Wooo.
By the early 1990s, HP seem to have settled on 'II' for all their second editions. So, the second edition of the 48S was the 48G, the second edition of that was the 48G+, the second edition of the 12C is the 12C Platinum, and the second edition of the already-second-edition 19BII looks like it'll be the 19BII+.
Seems all pretty consistent to me, at least compared with things like 'V42 bis', where 'bis' is International Standard Lingo(*) for "second edition, but in a smug, smartypants kind of way".
I hear that the second edition of the 9S will be the 'Richard Feynman special quantum edition 9S+ Unobtanium turbo, with extra bongos too'. How all this will be printed on the face of the calculator is left as an exercise for the reader. God knows, the designer won't get it right. At least it will finally allow the support staff who run HP's price list system to forget about the long-standing bug that prevented the entry of hyphens in calculator product names.
(*) Strictly speaking, this should be "International Lingo for Standardisation", but I just worked out the number of people who actually care about this on my new 12C Platinum, and the answer was 0.000000000000531, which is pretty close to zero, even for accountants.