|Re: Really really OT|
Message #2 Posted by Michael Meyer on 12 Dec 2009, 11:00 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Don Shepherd
May not be ENTIRELY off topic. I was spending some time just looking at an HP-25 that I restored. Admiring its subtle curves and beautiful case design. This seemed as good a thread to make these comments as I've seen.
I've been trying to explain to people what it was like when I was in junior high and high school. They just see a calculator when I show them an HP-25 or TI-59. (My HP-25 was stolen. Probably why I have...several...of them now. Well, quite a few.)
I (we, I assume for many of us) didn't have access to a personal computer back then. And though there were lots of calculators in the late 70's, there were few programmables. Looking at an HP catalog was, for me, sort of like looking at a Playboy magazine... except I didn't have to hide it. Great passion for and longing for these amazing devices. And what I saw on the pages and in office machine stores was still out of reach, but maybe slightly more obtainable. Every model was uniquely amazing... spiritual. I saved lawn money for months.
When I bought my HP-25, it was instantly my most prized possession. I knew the keys so well that I could operate it in the dark (thanks to the LED's). I carried it everywhere, sharing programs with good teachers. My best friend had an HP-19C, and we wrote wonderful programs and games together. Another had an SR-52 that I could borrow for days at at time. Later, with a TI-59, I could write every FORTRAN assignment (done on punch cards) for my own, "personal", computer. Later, in college, I re-wrote every computer assignment for my own machine. It had enough program space to allow structured programming. I was lucky... I treated my 59 well, and it still works perfectly today. (Along with guite a few others I've restored).
I suspect most people, even those from my "era" cannot understand this relationship, but I try to explain it folks in these terms.
My wife probably wouldn't be pleased if I pursued anything from Playboy today. But she tolerates my calculators, and pretends to be interested.
You guys (and gals) "get it". Sort of like a beautiful old love song. A love song from an era gone by, but one that conveys a passion from that era that still applies to my collection. I know that there are simulators and emulators available... just as there are pictures of pretty girls. But being able to hold them in my hands and admire their beauty in real life... is the better love story than a fantasy...though the fantasy is not forgotten.