|Re: Is the HP33S is the only game in town?|
Message #4 Posted by John Noble on 14 Nov 2009, 10:53 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Bruce Bergman
Katie, Bruce--thanks for the suggestions.
Yes, I have looked hard at Casio's various fx-9860 models. I actually have the PDF manual up in another window as I write this, and I looked at a fx-9860GII (and its little brother fx-9750GII) in person at Best Buy yesterday. They are very appealing, and the price (c. $65.00 for the fx-9860GII at Fry's) is nice.
After mulling it over, however, I decided that my 33S probably serves my needs better. It's smaller, lighter, has greater battery life, is cheaper, and requires the bare minimum of fiddling in the dark.
My math requirements are fairly lightweight: for example, the main program I use computes the altitude and azimuth of a target given the target's right ascension and declination and the observer's latitude, longitude, date, local time, and time zone. The math is limited to HR<->HMS, trig functions and their inverses, IP/FP, and basic arithmetic. My first cut at it runs to c. 200 instructions and uses 6 labels; only two of the labels are executed directly by the user (setup and main program). In use, I just hit XEQ A, enter no more than three numbers, and get my alt/az coordinates in the display.
If I want something more powerful, I have a couple of excellent planetarium applications for my iPod Touch that do everything but look through the scope for me. But I'm getting tired of dropping my nice $300 iPod in the dirt, and if I forget to look away when turning it on I trash my carefully acquired night vision--there's no way to suppress the "Slide to Unlock" screen.
I've gone on at some length to describe my peculiar needs, but I think there are a lot of people with similar demands: a small, rugged, and not too expensive device that can automate numerical solutions in the field with a minimum of fuss.
I still might grab a fx-9860 just to play with it, though. :-)