|Not even a Sharp|
Message #22 Posted by Valentin Albillo on 24 Oct 2003, 12:15 p.m.,
in response to message #21 by Thibaut
Not even a Sharp. One of the features I've always liked the
most about the HP-41C series was its card reader.
The sheer fact that you could have a very powerful calculator-cum-computer plus a card holder or two with most if not *all* of your programs, all in a small, easily pocketable zip case, was amazing and invaluable to me.
Main RAM could be erased accidentally or on purpose and no big deal, just take a small mag card from the holder, stuck it in the card reader slot, and there you are, your program and/or data loaded in seconds ! Your whole program library always with you, at all times, anywhere !
That you can't do so conveniently with most any modern calculators. Yes, the 42S is faster, larger RAM, but that's no big deal if you have to enter all your programs using the keyboard. You are so aware of just how boring and painful entering programs is that you'll usually enter the ones most useful to you, then find yourself reluctant to enter any other, lest you would have to purge some to make room. Yes, the 48/49 can hold tons of programs in their largish RAM but then it may get corrupted, or erased, or whatever, then what ? Linking to a PC ? Is then a PC a 'required', vital "accessory" for the calculator ?
On the other hand, with the 41C/Card Reader you wouldn't give a second thought to purging some program to make room for another, nor would care if MEMORY LOST would appear while sleuthing synthetics. Loading an status card with the precious synthetic assignments was easy as pie. Deleting that 3-module Checkers program to load a 3-module Othello program for a quick game was done almost without thinking. Just imagine a 42S user considering doing the same !
Which is more, with the 41C/Card reader, you could even afford to lose not just the RAM, but the entire machine (say it dropped from your hand to that ravine below) and you could borrow another from your pal out there in the field, feed the card with your program and continue working, within seconds. And don't even get me started on plug-in ROM modules !!
Most Sharp models can be connected to a normal audio tape recorder via a small 'docking station' or else there are small docking stations including printer and mini-tape where the unit can be docked, but locating/loading/saving programs is far, far slower than using magnetic cards, and the docking stations themselves, though small, are many times bigger than a 41C/Card reader, and not pocketable at all.
That being so, I rest my case. There's nothing as convenient as a 41C for many taks, nor a best combination of features, excellent engineering, and usability will be achieved any time soon.
Best regards from V.