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HP Forum Archive 13

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Continuing: from another post
Message #1 Posted by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil) on 9 July 2003, 12:33 a.m.

Hi, folks;

this is a new post (thread) that continues my reply to Valentin's Qwiz. I was afraid this reply could misdirect Valentin's interesting post and consequent thread. I would not like seeing a not-related thread growing after the starting post because of my answer. Maybe there is no answer and I'm overestimating my lines, who knows...

Valentin wrote in his original post:

Though noone posted a solution to my latest HP-15C Quiz/Challenge, "Matrix Trilogy", and though it's pretty clear to me by now that most people participating in this forum are hardware/collector-oriented, being the unrepentant software guy that I am, here is yet another HP-15C Quiz/Challenge for you to try, the last one for a number of months to come.

I can't agree with your statement as a whole, my friend. I (amongst others?) read all your challenges, and when I figure out that I cannot contribute with some significant solution, I keep waiting till someone shows a reasonable one. Some get closer, some don't.

Now I have a wide open question: what good is a working calculator for if not for using it to accomplish the job it was designed for: computing?

I'm almost sure I'll be flamed for that, but if I have a (programmable) calculator in hands, I'll be scratching my head for as long as I need to understand how to use (program) it. My sin: read manuals from cover to cover, going to the next page only when I understand the one I'm reading now. I printed all manuals I found for the HP71B and I'm reading all of them. I cannot help avoiding this... I know others use calculators differently and I would never criticize them. I'm just mentioning my concerns and procedures.

But I assume: I'm a hardware guy. But God d..: I still want to know what good is a working calculator for if not for using it somehow! Why restore, repair, rebuild... if you are not going to use it the best way?

I wrote a lot of programs in some languages, RPN-like and RPL included. I like to use the "tools" as much as I enjoy repairing them.

Now, for your quiz: I cannot connect my existing knowledge base for the three specific subjects in the same time: polynomial solving, applicable matrix arithmetic/manipulation and HP15C matrix&programming related resources. I think this is because I am a bad Chess player: I cannot think of dynamic relations between subjects from different origins. I deal a lot with digital signals, analog signals and I used to "see" relations between digital data in time charts easily, but this is easy when compared to the three "universes" mentioned above.

Sometimes I delve into the problem till I find a reasonable solution and I post it, as I have done a couple of times. But sometimes I feel like waiting for an answer arise in my head so I can write it down here, but there are moments when I simply wait... and wait... and wait... and nothing! I feel I'm a typical Brazilian "Regular Joe": a specialist in general subjects. I program, deal with, use and can repair (brief repairment) at least 20 different models of HP calculators and devices. But I'm no expert on any of them.

I wish I was.

Well, that's why I decided to post this "reply" in another thread. I'd be sorry if wasting one possible answer to Valentin's Quiz with non-related subjects.

Please, Valentin, forgive me.

Best regards.

Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 9 July 2003, 1:00 a.m.

Re: Continuing: from another post
Message #2 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 9 July 2003, 5:01 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Vieira, Luiz C. (Brazil)

Hi, Luiz:

Luiz posted: "Now I have a wide open question: what good is a working calculator for if not for using it to accomplish the job it was designed for: computing?"

I fully agree with you, but I'll play devil's advocate here: many reasons, for instance:

  • a working calculator is preferred for display purposes in most collectors' vitrines; obviously, a cosmetically perfect but otherwise non-working one would do as well, but most collectors will opt for a working unit, even if much more expensive. No collector is really proud of a mint-looking but non-working unit, and they'll jump at every chance to replace it with a working one.

  • a working calculator is a much more valuable property than a non-working one, so every collector and seller out there will certainly prefer them, if only for economic reasons.

  • it gives you such a warm feeling having that mint HP-70 in your vitrine, even if you wouldn't be caught dead actually using it for anything.

etc, etc. As you can see, there's no shortage of reasons why many people do own calculators they'll never use for computing.

Anyway, I fully agree with your position, which is mine also: I only own handhelds that I actually intend to use, and the ones I do not want to use I do not plan to own, the HP48/49 being the most noticeable permanent absences in my collection. Matter of fact, I wouldn't trade a single Sharp PC-1350, say, for a box full of HP48/49's, not even to sell them for a profit.

"I wrote a lot of programs in some languages, RPN-like and RPL included."

Sticking to a single style of programming will cause stagnation and chauvinism in the long term. I suggest you begin to write programs in BASIC/Forth/Assembler for your wonderful HP-71B and so refresh your programming muscle a little. RPN/RPL are very smart and very cute and all that jazz, but they aren't necessarily the best ways to program there are, you know. Take my advice, you'll be glad you did.

"Please, Valentin, forgive me."

There's nothing to forgive, of course, and much to be indebted to you, indeed. I always read and appreciate your clear, honest, well-meaning messages, and really admire your commitment to try and help your fellow HP fans. If you're really the "average Brazilian Joe" as you put it yourself, Brazil must be a really amazing country and one fully deserving of having a top priority in everyone's travelling agenda.

Best regards from V.

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