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HP Forum Archive 13

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HP12C Platinum Observations
Message #1 Posted by Stan (Sg) on 1 June 2003, 9:28 a.m.

I decided to go ahead and purchase an HP12 C Platinum. After using it for a short time, here are my thoughts (in no particular order):

* Looks: The HP12CP looks better "in person" than in the pictures that I have seen. After using it for a little while and setting it beside my HP12C, the 12C looks old fashioned. I will give it a thumbs-up on looks.

* Case: The case (leather?) that it comes with the calculator looks nice much better than the original 12C vinyl case. Thumbs up on this also.

* Speed: Solving a typical TVM problem it is very quick with everything but i (I used PV=100,000, FV=0, n=360, i=6). Solving for PMT takes only a second or two. If I store zero in i and solve for i with the payment calculated above, it takes about 30 seconds. Solving for i again takes another 30 seconds, which implies it does not use the prior solution to start the next problem. For reference my 49G takes <2 seconds to solve for i, the original 12C takes 16 seconds (first time) and 4 seconds (second time) and my 42S takes 5 seconds (first time) and 3 seconds (second time). Note, I programmed the TVM equation into the 42S, so it is subject to my programming skill or lack thereof. I tried some quick programs on the 12CP and it seems faster than the original. Thus, I will call this even.

* Display: The 12CP numbers are taller and thinner than the original and are easy to read.

* Keyboard: The keys feel okay and have more of an audible click than my other HPs. The real test of the keyboard will be its longevity (so time will tell). Regardless of how it compares to older HP models, the keyboard is better than any other brand on the market (IMHO).

* Mistakes on the back label: The mistake on the 31/5/1998 example on the back label has been corrected (5 changed to 05), but two others have appeared. The 1998 and 1999 from the original 12C examples remain, even though the examples have been updated to 2003/2004. Thus, it instructs you to enter 6.0320041999 instead of 6.032004. Oh well. Perhaps these will be corrected in later production models.

In my opinion, this is a good calculator and a step forward from the latest 12C. I applaud HP for producing new models. I would like to see more frequent incremental updates on the new models - how about a 12CP+ with trig functions for 2005 release????

      
Re: HP12C Platinum Observations
Message #2 Posted by Wayne Brown on 1 June 2003, 9:46 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Stan (Sg)

Quote:
* Looks: The HP12CP looks better "in person" than in the pictures that I have seen. After using it for a little while and setting it beside my HP12C, the 12C looks old fashioned. I will give it a thumbs-up on looks.

That's exactly my problem with the "new" 12C. For me, "old fashioned" is almost a synonym for "classic." I'm not interested in any "new" Voyagers unless they look just like the old ones.

      
Re: HP12C Platinum Observations
Message #3 Posted by R Lion on 1 June 2003, 9:47 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Stan (Sg)

Quote:
how about a 12CP+ with trig functions for 2005 release????

...better a *real* scientific: 15CP with 2x memory and 2x speed.

Raul

            
Re: HP12C Platinum Observations
Message #4 Posted by Stan (Sg) on 1 June 2003, 10:14 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by R Lion

I agree completely. I would love to see a 15C platinum (or titanium, etc...). My comment was regarding what happens after the new scientifics are released later this year. I am hoping that HP wont stick with that line up for 10 years. Adding a few incremental features each year will help satisfy users and add to sales. eg. how about selling a 15c "as is" next year (for those that didn't get one the first time around), then a platinum version in 2005 (with more memory / faster processor) and a platinum+ in 2006 with I/O capability?

                  
12CP and other (Long)
Message #5 Posted by bill platt on 1 June 2003, 11:35 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Stan (Sg)

Stan, R.Lion etc,

First, one of the most fascinating aspects of this newsgroup is that there is a constant (healthy) tension between two worldviews here--the collecting worldview, and the "what should be happening now" worldview in terms of calculators. And even more fascinating, most of the personalities here are living in both worldviews!

I agree that incremental improvements are imoprtant to product sales. This is precicely what has kept microcomputers selling all these years. Except that with calculators, a large part of the market (how large, we do not really know) does not want or need new features--the product has sort of reached a plateau in that respect. It's kind of like knives---good designs have been around for 1000's of years and so the choice of appropriate design is more a matter of taste and specific application, rather than getting a better one.

Second point is that the speed of the older calculators is noticably inferior, and in my opinion unacceptable. I feel this way because of my viewpoint:

I used an 11c for 12 years, until I lost it in'96. Bought a 32sii--and the transition was so absolutely seamless--I barely had to read the manual. And the 32sii had a bunch of new features--which was nice, and I was glad to have them, becasue they did not "interfere" with my core understanding or needs, but they were right on the keys, and handy, and I use them!

Then, recently, like 3 months ago, I finally bought a 48GX. That was also a pretty good transition for basics, though it took a significant amount of time (about 16 hours) of reading the manual and using it, to understand even the basics of the whole new system. And while the speed for the calculations is good, the menus are slow--they feel slower than my 1 Ghz pc. And it really is not as convenient for gneral use, as there are almost always more keystrokes than the 32sii, when looking for handy calculator features.

Finally, I got crazy and bought an old 41cv. Now that gives perspective. Having been in 32sii land, and then 48 land, I can see that there is Never a reason to reintroduce that venerable 41c. Never. It is cool, to be sure; it is easy to program--being regular rpn, but my god, it is clumsy, like an ALpha Register?! That is clumsy, in retrospect. But necessary, when you have not invented sysRPL yet, I guess. And the solve times are slower. And there are no built-in handy functions on the keyboard. But it really was not a calculator--it was a proto-PC sort of--or better yet a blank fully customizable tool. You can see how, (I admit, even today) by using overlays and USER mode, you can make a custom tool for some specific application--like you hand the tool to the guy on the line and say, "now you just do this and that, and then bring the machine in and plug it over there at the end of the day..." But today, you would rather build that onto a pocket pc or a palm tungsten T? or W? (the one with the key board).

I also recently found an old 11c. So nicely made. But having been on the 32sii, I find that it runs REALLY slow---almost unbearably after having gotten used to the modern world. And I have really come to like having the alphanumeric, rather than keycode, programming, and the equation editor/solver. I suppose that if i were an "EE and used complex math, then I would not even consider the 11c (it would have been 15c anyway).

Products do have to keep up with the times. They *must* work faster than old ones. Speed is really important, for the user to accept the product as being up to date.

It seems to me that the new 12CP is headed for failure, if it is taking 30 seconds to solve for the interest rate, on a TVM computation. Like, I could do that faster by hand!

Just my $50. wrth ;)

-Bill Platt

                        
Re: 12CP and other (Long)
Message #6 Posted by Ernie Malaga on 1 June 2003, 11:57 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by bill platt

Quote:
Products do have to keep up with the times. They *must* work faster than old ones. Speed is really important, for the user to accept the product as being up to date.

I wish someone would explain to me, using babytalk if necessary, why speed is so important. Even an HP-65 (a really slow calculator) performs calculations a hundred times faster than pencil and paper -- or, perhaps, even abacus.

IMHO, speed is not an important issue. It's nice, yes, but not vital. More important issues are ease of use and physical sturdiness.

Sorry, but I find that I cannot agree with you.

-Ernie

                              
Re: 12CP and other (Long)
Message #7 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 1 June 2003, 1:30 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Ernie Malaga

Hi;

I'm not daring to explain others, instead I'm posting my own view to "the need for speed".

IMHO, speed is important when new features need more and more system cycles to compute final "result", being this result manifested as, for example, a higher-resolution screen. We all, at least most of us, use some sort of graphical O.S. in our computers. Chances are (and we have one of our contributors as an example) we may face a text-only access through a dummy terminal, what would be extremely desirable about fifteen years ago. To support such high-quality images, enhanced O.S. and to handle large amount of memory, speed must be increased so we do not have to pay with "waiting time" for the new enhancements.

Imagine the HP48 with the same clock available in the HP41. It would run as a turtle! There are lots of instructions in an HP48 being performed after each keystroke that simply did not even exist in an HP41. Also, the new enhancements lead to more memory so new data may be stored. And new O.S. are more software dependant, demanding more and more cycles to accomplish each task.

I see the HP12CP as an enhancement in a way it "emulates" an old system in a new design. And this is something some of us (I included) are trying to do. As this old system is partially hardware dependant, I mean, many instructions in the HP12C's original O.S. were based on its internal architecture and had to be "translated" to the new one, the "emulated" system had part of this code adapted to the new HW and part of it was completely rewritten. It could be avoided if the new system emulated the original HW completely, as a virtual machine, what would allow the original HP12C O.S. to be entirely used. In this case, which processor would they use in the HP12cP? I imagine the best cost performance was chosen. At least when HP's new staff viewing is considered. and if we have the same set of resources being offered by a newer equipment, let's enhance it's performance so we can "see" results almost instantly. At least it is enough to justify the upgrade.

Not that I agree with it, but I cannot deny the fact.

Suggestions, comments, flames...

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil

                                    
Re: 12CP and other (Long)
Message #8 Posted by Ernie Malaga on 1 June 2003, 2:44 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Luiz:

Quote:
Imagine the HP48 with the same clock available in the HP41. It would run as a turtle! There are lots of instructions in an HP48 being performed after each keystroke that simply did not even exist in an HP41. Also, the new enhancements lead to more memory so new data may be stored. And new O.S. are more software dependant, demanding more and more cycles to accomplish each task.

But Bill's post was not about newer, more advanced machines. He was talking about a HP-12CP. What's the rush, that a 15-second computation is intolerable? That's what I'd like to know.

Next, we'll be using holographic displays and 8 GHz Pentium XII chips on a 4-function calculator that needs no keyboard because it reads your mind. Yeah, yeah, I know -- I'm taking it to an unacceptable extreme. 8^)

-Ernie

                                          
Re: 12CP and other (Long)
Message #9 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 1 June 2003, 3:16 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Ernie Malaga

Hi, Ernie;

you wrote:

Quote:
What's the rush, that a 15-second computation is intolerable? That's what I'd like to know.

For human beings delving into an whatever design, no matter at all! A coffe break, why not! What bothers people is that if someone gives an answer faster than the others, its a wrong analysis to consider him the best; he's been the fastest, at least at that particular moment. But some mannagers (not all of thenm) cannot see this way.

Quote:
Yeah, yeah, I know -- I'm taking it to an unacceptable extreme. 8^)
You're talking about today, right? If you said "2GHZ microprocessor for home and office application with 80GBytes HD and 512 MBytes RAMM, 266 MHz RAM clock", say, ten years ago, you'd add: Yeah, yeah, I know -- I'm taking it to an unacceptable extreme. 8^) too.

Right?

Best regards.

Luiz C. Vieira - Brazil

                              
Speed and the TVM equation
Message #10 Posted by Karl Schneider on 2 June 2003, 4:22 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Ernie Malaga

I agree with Bill Platt that higher computational speed is important in calculators (though not as much as for PC's), and that updated number-crunching products should keep improving their speed of execution in order to stay modern and competitive.

Slow computational speed is my only criticism of the Voyager series, and it may have been a result of the CMOS technology of the time. The HP-15C takes almost a full second to calculate a trig function -- a minor annoyance. The 32Sii and 42S are about 4x as fast as the 15C, and it shows.

Faster computational speed helps to eliminate this "annoyance factor", makes programs run faster, and makes graphing practical.

Those of you familiar with the TVM equation know that, of the five variables, only %int must be iteratvely solved by numerical methods; direct equations can be written for the other four.

                                    
Re: Speed and the TVM equation
Message #11 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 2 June 2003, 7:07 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by Karl Schneider

Karl wrote:

"Slow computational speed is my only criticism of the Voyager series, and it may have been a result of the CMOS technology of the time."

On the other hand, you get an utterly incredible battery life, lasting several (many) years from a single set, even using the machine a real lot. I'm still in the third battery change for my 22+ years-old HP-11C, and it has seen very heavy, daily use all the time. Try that with any other calculator at all, past or present.

"The HP-15C takes almost a full second to calculate a trig function -- a minor annoyance."

Very minor. I don't mind at all that it takes 1 second to compute a trig function to 10 places, instead of 0.01 second or 0.000000001 second, I'm never in such a hurry to get my trigs. If I were, I would be using my 2.4 Ghz PC.

On the other hand, wasting time changing batteries which happen to be low when least expected or when most necessary (Murphy's Law) would really amount to a lot of seconds wasted, not to mention the fact that if you're running such complex programs on your calculator that time is paramount, just think how much time you've already used writing, testing, and debugging said programs in the first place. Perhaps the running time amounts to just a fraction of the grand total.

"The 32Sii and 42S are about 4x as fast as the 15C, and it shows."

If running speed were the main concern, you might as well use most any vintage SHARP pocket computers instead, they can run rings around any 32S or 42S. But it isn't, don't you think ?

Best regards.

                                          
Re: Speed and the TVM equation
Message #12 Posted by Ernie Malaga on 2 June 2003, 7:29 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by Valentin Albillo

Valentin:

Quote:
I'm still in the third battery change for my 22+ years-old HP-11C, and it has seen very heavy, daily use all the time. Try that with any other calculator at all, past or present.

Yeah! I have a HP-32S that I bought in 1988 (give or take a year) and is still on its original batteries.

Quote:
Very minor. I don't mind at all that it takes 1 second to compute a trig function to 10 places, instead of 0.01 second or 0.000000001 second, I'm never in such a hurry to get my trigs.

My point precisely. What's the big rush? I think the "I can't wait" opinion comes from not putting things in perspective. I remember using log tables to calculate trig functions, and that was time-consuming. Then I used a slide rule, and although it was somewhat faster, precision wasn't good enough. So what if the calculator takes one second?

-Ernie

                                                
Re: Speed
Message #13 Posted by Ellis Easley on 2 June 2003, 8:16 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Ernie Malaga

A comedian named Joan Rivers made the following joke when Elizabeth Taylor first gained weight and microwave ovens were new:

" Elizabeth Taylor is the only person I know who stands in front of the microwave yelling 'Come on!' "

The joke isn't as funny now that microwaves are the norm.

                                                
Re: Speed and the TVM equation
Message #14 Posted by David Smith on 4 June 2003, 3:28 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by Ernie Malaga

If you just need one, a one second trig is no problem. If you need a zillion of them when running a program they begin to add up really quickly.

                                          
I just don't believe it should get SLOWER
Message #15 Posted by Gene on 2 June 2003, 9:06 a.m.,
in response to message #11 by Valentin Albillo

There is no real excuse for a product made 20 years after the original to solve %i with half the speed.

None. Period.

:-)

Gene

                                                
Re: OH YES THERE IS! A sorry excuse! (no text)
Message #16 Posted by Ron Ross on 2 June 2003, 9:43 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by Gene

.

                                          
Battery life. Was Re: Speed and the TVM equation
Message #17 Posted by James M. Prange on 2 June 2003, 8:32 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Valentin Albillo

Quote:
I'm still in the third battery change for my 22+ years-old HP-11C, and it has seen very heavy, daily use all the time. Try that with any other calculator at all, past or present.

Although they've long been in the "rarely used" category, I have two that are still on the original batteries.

The oldest is from about 1980, a Lloyd's Accumatic 608, model E608, series 713C. Only 8 digits, and the most advanced features are square root and a user memory. Uses a pair of 625R batteries, which are so odd looking that I wonder whether replacements will be available when they die. Maybe the batteries will outlive me?

The newer one is from 1988, a Radio Shack Cat. No. 65-658A, Model No. EC-4004. A 10-digit "scientific" keystroke programmable, uses one CR-2025 cell. I'm pretty sure that it's a re-badged Casio.

Perhaps this says more about the battery quality than the calculators. I'd have thought that these batteries would be dead by now even if they were just sitting on a shelf in their original packages, so I find it rather amazing that they can still run the calculators.

Regards,
James

                                                
Re: Battery life. Was Re: Speed and the TVM equation
Message #18 Posted by bill platt on 2 June 2003, 9:37 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by James M. Prange

Long Battery Life:

My Wife has and still uses her Sharp Elsi-Mate EL-230 (with Auto Power Off) regularly--for instance the checkbook (she keeps the books so that I can logon to calculator forums) and she has used this nifty little rubber-buttoned beauty as a regular use tool since 9th grade. 9th Grade was 1981. That's 22 years, and NOT sitting in a desk drawer. To get to the batteries, you have to unscrew the back. Never been done.

Even more interesting, and perhaps even heretical, is that the buttons are really good. They do not have the positive click, but they have no keybounce, either. And they all still work perfectly. and they are sensitive--it is pretty much impossible to push a button and not get a number.

So, evidently, HP is not the only maker that has produced quality goods in the past.

The real challenge that I am afraid we all agree on, is whether there will be any good quality in the future.

                              
Need for Speed
Message #19 Posted by Bill Platt on 2 June 2003, 4:45 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Ernie Malaga

Ernie et al:

Well, thanks for your replies. Good discussion.

Speed is important for a number of reasons.

1. Because we are trying to always save more time. Speed is a Direct Competitive advantage.

2. Because speed is percieved as being advantageous, better, smarter, or proof of worthy engineering. Partially, this bias is due to item(1) working both consciously and unconsciously in the buyer's mind.

3. Because not all users use functions in single press, occasional fashion. If there is an iterative loop, (which is quite likely with a *programmable* calculator) then a 1 second trig problem goes from being slightly annoying to becoming downright useless.

4. Because the calculator is *always* in competition with other tools. It must be the *best* it can be, in order to be attractive to the user---otherwise it goes away. A slow calculator is a dead calculator. It has to be better than any built-in or freeware PALMtop emulator--and not just the keys. See my other post regarding economics:

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/forum.cgi?read=35261

In other words the calculator has to keep market share to exist.

5. Because the market for calculators is over saturated. Look at how many different models are generally available. Look in a wholesale office supply catalog---mind-boggling! So an HP must STAND OUT!

I think it is also important to strip away all of one's nostalgia in this, too--the moving forward part---and consider that for HP or any other (Say PlattCalc? or RossCalc or MalagaCalc, Or SmithCalc or PrangeCalc, or better yer, VieiraCalc {I like the sound of that one;) }) to survive, there must be a singlemindedness about Unity of Design, Function, Price. The product must be better in a functional way, as compared to any other calculator. No, it doesn't have to have the same click. It does not need a particluar color. The equals key does not have to be where it was on the 34. But it has to work better than what came before. Like when I switched up from 11c to 32sii. Better. And that is a *very* difficult goal to carry out.

Regards,

Bill

                                    
OOPS
Message #20 Posted by Bill Platt on 2 June 2003, 4:52 p.m.,
in response to message #19 by Bill Platt

Regarding Economic, I quoted the wrong previous post. See the following:

http://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/forum.cgi?read=35260

                                    
Re: Need for Speed
Message #21 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 3 June 2003, 4:30 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Bill Platt

Bill posted:

" But it has to work better than what came before. Like when I switched up from 11c to 32sii. Better. And that is a *very* difficult goal to carry out."

Indeed ! So difficult it doesn't even succeed in most cases. Are you implying that the 32SII is *better* than the older, "slower", HP-15C ?

Well, my old, "slow" HP-15C inverts a 7x7 matrix in 49 seconds, and solves a 7x7 system of linear equations in 25 seconds. Will you please tell me the times for your "newer", "better", "4x faster" HP32SII ? Thank you.

Best regards.

                                          
Re: Need for Speed
Message #22 Posted by Bill Platt on 3 June 2003, 1:15 p.m.,
in response to message #21 by Valentin Albillo

Hi Valentin,

The 15c is superior to the 32sii--it is a higher level model.

The 32sii is superior to the 11c--and was (I think) its replacement. 32sii was less expensive than the 11c and did more and faster.

The 42s would be the replacement for the 15c, yes? And it was slightly less exensive than the 15c?

Regards,

Bill

            
Scientific, The Next Generation
Message #23 Posted by Patrick on 1 June 2003, 2:37 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by R Lion

As I've mentioned many times, I am a big fan of the 15C. We see others (in this thread even) who think the Voyagers are too slow, and they are probably right. I'm wondering to what degree the Voyagers were student rather than professional calculators. Can a professional actually solve a real problem with so little speed and, especially, memory?

I think a cross between the 15C and 42S with some enhancements would be a fabulous machine, for a lot of folks. I like the 42S two line dot matrix display. Imagine this packed into the form factor of a 15C. Please, no more graphic displays with the commensurate brick sized device you end up with. The 48GX is a great desktop device, but I never carry one with me.

Now, to this 15C/42S hybrid (HP-45S?) add gobs of memory (and I mean *gobs* ... memory is now cheap). Then add wireless communications. I would suggest Bluetooth since it is low power. You really only need to be able to transfer memory to/from your PC when you are next to it. Now imagine that there was a PC emulator for this machine that came with it upon which you could develop (KEYSTROKE!!) programs for the handheld.

To get really fancy, imagine that processor speed is selectable (and programmable!!). Normally, you would keep the speed low to conserve power. Occasionally, you would floor it to get that 50x50 matrix inverse finished within your lifetime.

Ah, yes... "Hello? HP? I'd like to order 25 of those new HP-45S's please. Yes, that's right, 25 of them... What's that? Well, for your information, I actually do have 25 rooms in my house! Ok, here's my credit card..."

                  
Re: Scientific, The Next Generation
Message #24 Posted by R Lion on 1 June 2003, 3:19 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Patrick

If I need "more than a calculator" (integrating, solving, CAS...) then the speed (and features) of the 48GX is great. GREAT.

And I don't care if it does not fit in my shirt pocket: I can carry it with my books and diary in my bag.

But when I need "only" a calculator for numbers, I love the 15C.

And it doesn't matter if it is sloooow.

Raul (just MHO)

                  
Re: Scientific, The Next Generation
Message #25 Posted by Stan (Sg) on 1 June 2003, 7:13 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Patrick

I agree that a new model with bluetooth, etc... would be great. The problem is that this type of model would require a significant amount of development time and money. Thus, I doubt HP is going to do that. If they did, they would need to get into TI's "mass education" market. It is hard to see how this would happen. The Xpander was an attempt at this, but apparently they concluded they could not tale-on TI even with a completed design. HP's current strategy seems to be capturing the niche high-end professional and college student market (the 12CP sells at a >$50 premium versus a comparable TI). A "platinum" version of an existing model takes less time to develop, and in the case of a 15C, has a proven design (form factor, etc...). Heck, they can even reuse the manual versus writing a new one.

                  
Re: Scientific, The Next Generation
Message #26 Posted by JimC on 2 June 2003, 12:25 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Patrick

While I agree with the majority of your post, I must (humbly) submit some minor quibbles. Your ideal calculator sounds great and would perhaps be a better match for a larger audience, but perhaps not for someone like myself.

I think that we are looking at two different markets here. On one hand, HP needs to capture the youth/student market for growth. I think the student market is another issue that I am not qualified to debate as I believe it concerns a certain compatibility with TI. On the other hand, I believe old folks like me are looking for a classic type RPN calculator. The question is, does HP need to meld these into one Uber-calculator? Personally, I don't think so. My perspective is that I would REALLY LOVE a classic RPN type calculator (41/42 Titanium? Nobelium?) only not bought off Ebay, with the classic HP support.

My 41 does really only one thing but it does it uncommonly well. It crunches numbers easily. (It also looks rather handsome on the desktop but that's another issue). It fits in my pocket and in my hand. As another post mentioned, the 15 is not as comfortable in ones hand. I tend to agree, although it does fit better in a shirt pocket.

I wouldn't mind some connectivity to my PC, and a couple MEGs of RAM. A slightly larger screen for my aging eyes....


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