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NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #1 Posted by Norris on 15 Nov 2006, 1:02 p.m.

NCEES has released the list of "approved" calculators for the 2007 FE/PE and FS/PS exams. They are:

Hewlett Packard HP 33S
Casio FX 115MS or FX 115MSPlus
Texas Instruments TI 30X IIS
Texas Instruments TI 36X SOLAR

The 2007 list is significantly smaller than the 2006 list, and basically includes only the most popular models. The HP 30S and 9S have been eliminated.

This action preserves a major market for the 33S. NCEES is reportedly considering standardizing on one of these models in the future, and issuing the selected calculator in the exam room to all examinees. The 33S apparently is one of the candidates.

Edited: 15 Nov 2006, 2:52 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

      
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #2 Posted by Jeff O. on 15 Nov 2006, 1:33 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norris

Well, since the 33S has both algebraic and RPN capabilities, it would seem to be the only one that could "satisfy" all users. I put "satisfy" in quotes, because I'm guessing that the Casio and TI users would probably not like it one little bit. Also, such action could either really help or really hurt the market for the 33S. If they issue every test-taker a shiny new 33S that they get to keep (the price of which is built into the test fee), then the market will increase quite a lot, since all of those TI and Casio users will be forced to buy a 33S. On the other hand, if the NCEES just buys a bunch of 33S's which they only loan to the test takers for use during the test, it could quite likely be the death knell for the 33S. Without the portion of the market caused by the NCEES requirements, HP would likely discontinue the 33S. Then when the number of 33S units purchased by the NCEES dwindles low enough due to damage and theft, they will have to do a wholesale switch to a TI or Casio model.

            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #3 Posted by Bill (Smithville, NJ) on 15 Nov 2006, 1:47 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Jeff O.

Hi Jeff,

Quote:
On the other hand, if the NCEES just buys a bunch of 33S's which they only loan to the test takers for use during the test, it could quite likely be the death knell for the 33S.

Why would that be? Even if they only loaned them, wouldn't every one still purchase one to prepare for the test? I'd hate to walk into a test and be given a different calculator than I was used to using. I'd be sure to buy one ahead of time to get familar with it.

Of couse the best would be for them to give one to each person to take home afterwards. Then HP would be selling two per person. Each person would still buy one so that they would be familar with it before taking the test and NCEES would also be buying one to give to each person.

The key here is that the HP-33S needs to win out over the others in being the only one allowed. I wonder how likely that will be....Time will tell.

Bill

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #4 Posted by Jeff O. on 16 Nov 2006, 7:20 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Bill (Smithville, NJ)

Quote:
Even if they only loaned them, wouldn't every one still purchase one to prepare for the test?
Good point. I guess it's hard to say what might happen. Maybe the current hp aficionados would still buy one to prepare with and then use after the test. For the Casio and TI users, perhaps a few more would get purchased and then sold on eBay.
            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #5 Posted by Palmer O. Hanson, Jr. on 15 Nov 2006, 9:57 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Jeff O.

Quote:

"Well, since the 33S has both algebraic and RPN capabilities, it would seem to be the only one that could "satisfy" all users. I put "satisfy" in quotes, because I'm guessing that the Casio and TI users would probably not like it one little bit."

The TI and Casio users will rightfully complain that the algebraic mode of the hp 33s is poorly implemented. Note that parentheses, which are an ssential element of the algebraic methodology, have been relegated to a second function. How would the RPN community respond to a "common" calculator in which ENTER was relegated to a second function?

The TI and Casio users will also rightfully complain about the user's manual of the 33S where coverage of the algebraic mode is relegated to a thirteen page appendix which is poorly written. The manual tells me that the 33S supports thirteen levels of parentheses but so far I haven't been able to find the limit on pending operations. I'll have to do some testing.

      
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #6 Posted by Happy HP User on 16 Nov 2006, 9:51 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norris

I have both machines right beside me. The Casio 115 FX beats the HP33s in a number of ways:

(1) No goofy keyboard.

(2) Numeric differentiation, integration, root finding, simultaneous equation solving right out of the box. No need to input programs for finding roots or solve systems of equations like on the HP.

(3) Cost of Casio: $15 at Walmart. Cost of HP:$45 plus shipping.

Now, considering that this calculator will be used solely to take this one FE test, which one is the average student more likely to buy?

            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #7 Posted by Norris on 16 Nov 2006, 11:59 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Happy HP User

The Casio is unquestionably a good deal for $15, and there is no doubt that plenty of people pass NCEES exams with this model.

The two key advantages of the 33S over the Casio are (1) RPN, and (2) programmability. There are clearly people who value (2), because several different vendors currently sell NCEES exam software for the 33S. Such software is probably more useful on the surveying exams than on the engineering exams, but it can be convenient even on the FE exam. For example, it is significantly easier to solve engineering economics problems on the 33S than on the Casio, because you can store the time-value of money equation.

However, if NCEES starts issuing calculators in the exam room, then advantage (2) will be negated. You won't have any opportunity to program your 33S. So the only distinctive advantage of the 33S will be RPN. But it is likely that fewer and fewer students are familiar with RPN, and so this may not be enough of an advantage to offset the obvious difference in cost.

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #8 Posted by Happy HP User on 16 Nov 2006, 8:52 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Norris

Slaves to RPN had better learn to adjust to an algebraic - real fast. The NCEES is a law unto itself, with no apparent check or balance from anywhere. They will do exactly as they please, and future testees are just going to have jump through whatever hoops are in place.

                        
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #9 Posted by Norris on 16 Nov 2006, 9:36 p.m.,
in response to message #8 by Happy HP User

Quote:
Slaves to RPN had better learn to adjust to an algebraic - real fast.
That's unnecessarily alarmist. As noted in the first post, the 33S is fully approved for use throughout 2007, so any RPN addict planning to take NCEES exams next year has no need to panic.

Even under the worst-case scenario, RPN is safe until the April 2008 exams.

Edited: 16 Nov 2006, 9:53 p.m.

      
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #10 Posted by lacraft on 21 Nov 2006, 7:47 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Norris

Yes I was very dissapointed at the shortened list. I sent the board an e-mail indicating the documented log error that the TI units have had for years and suggested the addition of the CASIO 250 and 260 to the list. I used a CASIO fx 82 variant in college, and for the EIT The 250 is essentially the updated version (and the 260 is the solar version) that I typically use at work. I got a TI 36x to try and its typical TI miserable. Poor keyboard, poor display, shiny display cover with lots of reflected glare and needs lots of light to go. The CASIO 250 has larger keys and display and costs half as much. Being an old single line calculator user I am having trouble adjusting to a 2 line CASIO 115. Im loking at taking the PE this year and not a happy camper about not being able to use my 8 dollar CASIO 250. AFA RPN, Why doesnt HP start producing the 11C again? They already produce a business model with esentially the same case as the old 11C and I bet RPN afficianados would snap up a new version of the 11C in a second. The chevron key layout of the 33s is just goofy.

            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #11 Posted by Happy HP User on 22 Nov 2006, 10:01 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by lacraft

Emailing the NCEES is fruitless. From their attitude, protestions are probably passed around those offices for laughs.

After reviewing the choices, and buying several for a hands on comparison, the Casio FX-115 is best. The poor keyboard of the HP33s ruins an otherwise decent machine. Shame on the designer, and more shame on whoever approved the design.

In September, the NCEES royalty issued another edict: if you want your PE, you have to accumulate another 30 credit hours in your field. That's basically a master's. Better get at it before they change it to a PhD...

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #12 Posted by lacraft on 22 Nov 2006, 2:08 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Happy HP User

I assume the 30 credits you are talking about is the continuing education credits required to maintain PE registration?

Yup, got a CASIO 115, good keyboard, good display. I guess I'll have to learn how to deal with 2 lines and VPAM. I have used a single lind AOL type calculator since college, so its a little strange to enter the formula as written. Guess it would not be such an adjustment for a graphing calc user.

TI hasnt seemed to improve thier calcs since the 80s. I had a TI-30 solar back then that I gave up on because it would not work in the dim conference room I had lectures in. The TI 36x (solar) seems to take alot of light to get it going, so I assume its the same poor design.In comparison the CASIO 260 operates in very low light levels.

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #13 Posted by Norris on 22 Nov 2006, 4:50 p.m.,
in response to message #11 by Happy HP User

Quote:
In September, the NCEES royalty issued another edict: if you want your PE, you have to accumulate another 30 credit hours in your field. That's basically a master's. Better get at it before they change it to a PhD...
This is misleading. NCEES has no power to issue "edicts" on PE education requirements; only state legislatures and state engineering boards can do that. NCEES does make recommendations, which are presented in the NCEES "Model Law" for engineering licensure. However, the NCEES "Model Law" is only a guideline: individual states can adopt it or ignore it, as they see fit.

NCEES recently changed the "Model Law" to require an MS degree (or equivalent) for licensure. But this decision will have no real-world impact, unless the states agree to follow this model, and amend their laws and regulations accordingly. The states could do this with or without NCEES.

Will they? Well, note that the previous version of the NCEES "Model Law" called for an ABET-accredited engineering BS degree as a prerequisite for licensure. Yet many (most?) states have never adopted this proposed rule; it is still possible to get a PE license without an engineering degree in many jurisdictions (e.g. California). Since many states haven't even adopted the NCEES recommendations on the BS degree, it seems unlikely that they will rush to adopt the NCEES recommendations on the MS degree.

Quote:
The NCEES is a law unto itself, with no apparent check or balance from anywhere.
NCEES does have the power to issue "edicts" on exam calculators, because they prepare and publish the exams. Any state that wants to use NCEES exams -- and every state does use at least some of them -- is required to enforce the NCEES calculator policy on those exams.

Note, however, that states are free to develop their own licensing exams, and to establish alternative calculator policies in such cases. For example, California uses state-specific PE exams in Civil, Structural, Geotechnical, and Traffic Engineering, and they continue to allow HP48s and other graphing calculators on those exams. California only enforces the NCEES calculator policies on NCEES exams.

Edited: 22 Nov 2006, 7:11 p.m.

            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #14 Posted by Walter B on 22 Nov 2006, 1:09 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by lacraft

Quote:
Why doesnt HP start producing the 11C again? They already produce a business model with esentially the same case as the old 11C and I bet RPN afficianados would snap up a new version of the 11C in a second.
The HP15C shares the same case and has even more power. There were many discussions in this forum already about a comeback of the HP15C. You will find them when you search for "bring back the HP15C" and the like. The arguments there hold for the HP11C, too.

Summary: This forum would appreciate, but it will not happen. Such is life d:-/

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #15 Posted by lacraft on 22 Nov 2006, 2:13 p.m.,
in response to message #14 by Walter B

Guess I wasn't the first one with that idea. Thanks for the forum tip. I remember all of the RPN calc users in engineering classes when I was in college having HP 11Cs. I actually have a couple of engineers at work who are still using those 20 year old calculators (exceeded HPs life expectancy?).

                        
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #16 Posted by Walter B on 22 Nov 2006, 7:09 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by lacraft

I strongly believe these old calcs don't exceed but *meet* the quality their designers wanted them to have. Please read the Statement of Corporate Objectives on page 0 in old HP calculator manuals!

                        
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #17 Posted by Donald on 23 Nov 2006, 2:38 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by lacraft

I remember having to hold on to my HP15C to use in exams as the newer HP28C was banned because of it's Alpha numeric abilities.

It was not for about 4 years after graduating that IBM PCs were rolled out on to engineers desks. For that time the power balance was with the calculator : a HP48SX at that time.

Now with a PC and an OS X box on my desk, I once again appreciate the HP15Cs handy size and function set. I also hope HP are now realising the market has gone full circle and expand the HP1xC line to include the HP15C again.

The only things I would change on a HP15CmkII are more memory, and complex number / matrix storage without needing to separate Re/Im parts.

            
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #18 Posted by Klaus on 23 Nov 2006, 4:40 a.m.,
in response to message #10 by lacraft

some HP-fans want to create a super-calculator: the openRPN project. A google search will bring you to their homepage.

                  
Re: NCEES calculator update -- 2007
Message #19 Posted by Walter B on 23 Nov 2006, 5:08 p.m.,
in response to message #18 by Klaus

... and there you can read:

Quote:
The OpenRPN servers are currently being upgraded and reconfigured. If you need to contact us you may email the Project Manager at Hugh.Evans@openrpn.org or the Webmaster at chad@openrpn.org.

Our apologies for the inconvenience, we will try to complete the process as soon as possible.


No idea when this was posted nor when the site will be open again. Customer orientation??

                  
OpenRPN = Vaporware
Message #20 Posted by Happy HP User on 27 Nov 2006, 10:04 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by Klaus

It is common knowledge that the OpenRPN project, while well-intentioned, lacked sufficient resources to get off the ground. Another sad case of Vaporware.

If only they just kept quiet enough to actually produce just one item, their dreams might have had a better fate. But they fell victim to the classic Vaporware scenario, trumpeting grandiose pipedreams when in reality they had nothing tangible.


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