|Re: Celebrating 30 years since I bought an HP-55|
Message #5 Posted by Howard Owen on 25 Aug 2005, 1:27 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Namir
Yup. For me it was the 41C. It was the first programmable I ever saw.
Since taking up collecting (quite recently) I've had the opposite experience of learning how less capable - but not necessarily older - HP calculators were programmed. For some models that has been a real pleasure. I'm thinking of the HP-97 and [11|15|16]C here. For others it has been a cruel ordeal. Perhaps that's overstating it, but the HP-20S just sucks as a programmable. Never mind the limited memory, it's an algebraic that programs without mnemonics! So not only do I have to decode the keystrokes, but I have to completely rearrange the programming part of my brain. So Euclid's algorithm (my standard "benchmark" of programming simplicity) is really screwed up. And not just because there's no "MOD" function:
This monstrosity of a programming model, wherever it first showed up, seems to me to have been the beginning of the end. It's obvious the marketing guys had fought a battle over AOS vs RPN, and partially won. At the same time Wiliam Wickes et. al. were producing the 42S, this chimera between two incompatible phylae of calculation hit the streets. I don't know if its so terrible simply because that's how keystroke programming on an algebraic has to be, or because the team implementing the programming believed that it was.
However that may have been, it makes your reverence for your first HP all the more appropriate. The models we admire really were special and unusual, as the example of mediocraty that is the HP-20S shows.
Edited: 25 Aug 2005, 1:38 p.m.