|My personal experience|
Message #5 Posted by Artur - Brasil on 30 Jan 2006, 6:48 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr.
Well, I'm talking from Brazil, where things happen different way.
The vast majority of our public secondary schools don't have computers and, where I could see they have these machines, the teachers are not interested or prepared to use them.
About my life with calculators, I've started with one very simple 4 operations, used to help me with those long chemical calculations.
Since them I've been upgrading, but I have the luck to see a cousin of my friend using one HP41. Man, I was impressed with the power of that machine! He told me about cassettes, card readers, printers - a dream machine! So, I spent almost my mother's salary to buy my first HP: HP-11C. I was starting in University, and it took to me less than 4 hours to make my first finite integral program.
Well, the rest of my time I've studying, I used one HP calculator. For me, RPN logic was almost natural, I don't know why. For my coleagues, usally afraid of HP calculators just because the RPN logic, just 15 to 30 minutes and they were proficient HP users.
I must agree with makority posts in this thread: the problem was the HP marketing, or the lack of it.
Also, removing models like 15C and not keeping the HP42S line was two great mistakes. Not I don't like the 48/49 series, but because the portability and quality of those machines.
About using calculators at University, I have to say that there was nothing I couldn't do with HP calculators. When 48 series arrived, so, really nothing! Even litteral calculus!
This bring to me a problem - let's take the Algebra course. I was always interested in the mechanic of things. After that, I implemented a program and, well, the problems were transformed in just typing numbers in the calculator - thanks to my devoted HP 15C or 48GX.
Now, I assume that it would be important to take more care about the principles, the math basis, the theorems around each problem. Even today, a decade after, I'm always interested in making programs and relegate to a second plane the mathematic basis.
When I discovered this gold mine called HPMuseum Forum and was prompted for some ardue mathematics problems proposed on the "challenges", I could see the brilliant brains working on both hands: the mathematics basis and the applied solution unsing 15C, 41C or other machines!
I believe that my choices were wrong: I am actually a programmer (calculator programmer ;>), not a proficient one, neither a mathematician, probably worst than the programmer.
Best ragards and forgive the grammar mistakes...