|Re: Comparason of Old Computers and Calculators ....|
Message #9 Posted by Jim Horn on 11 Mar 2010, 12:06 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Dimitri Simitas
Well, back in 1975 - 1977 the computers available were hobby toys, not practical machines for most folks. The Altair 8800 had 256 bytes of RAM and no provision for any I/O of any sort (1975). The TRS-80, Apple ][ and Commodore PET didn't arrive until 1977 and they were generally 8k RAM (4k for the Apple), limited video (often upper case only) and I/O but priced high (the PET was $799 but hard to find; the Apple was well over $1000 with 4k). Printers started at about $1000 for Centronics and similar pin-feed monsters and went up - way up from there. Floppies weren't out yet and when they did arrive held 128k of data unless you went for the enormous 8 inch 1M drives at well over $1000 each.
The HP-65 was $795 in 1974. The HP-67 came out in 1976 (I had mine in August '76) for $395 as I recall. Not cheap on a second lieutenant's pay of $6700 per year but worth every penny. I seriously lusted after a computer - but bought the '67. And gave my HP-25 to my brother Joseph. "And now you know... the Rest of the Story."
The HP-65 Users Club (later to become PPC, etc.) published scores of pages each month of programs to analyze circuits, do math, etc. The HP-65 Users Library (via HP) had exotic code to do satellite orbit analysis, etc. The RAND Corporation published "Hand Calculator Programs for Military Officers" that derived orbital trajectories accounting for a non-spheroidal earth. Meanwhile, Byte, Creative Computing, Dr. Dobb's Journal (of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia - "Running Light Without Overbyte") and such were publishing 2k byte Tiny Basic interpreters, how to gut a cheap TI LED watch to add a real-time clock circuit and such.
Computers were lots of fun (and still are). Calculators were serious workhorses (and still are - though computers are too now). Both sets of user groups were priceless.
Gotta enjoy 'em both! And my eternal gratitude to Richard Nelson and the myriad wonderful folks who made all this so worthwhile!
Jim Horn (older^2 than dirt; PPC 1402 usw.)