|Re: praise for the 32sii|
Message #21 Posted by Mike Morrow on 15 Dec 2010, 9:38 a.m.,
in response to message #20 by bill platt
The 42s is an abysmal failure as a serious programming device, as it has no I/O.
Even the $1 walmart job has I/O. Or you're ignoring the HP42S keyboard, display, tone, and IR printer I/O devices. :-)
I've used several HP42S units for the past 15 years, including one that goes where I go daily. Even in the early days when I was experimenting with the debugging/system memory display/execution feature that's provided by the HP42S, I have yet to corrupt memory or cause a memory loss on any HP42S.
It would be great if a modern version of the HP42S had a bigger display, much more RAM, a real-time clock/calendar, financial functions, and a micro-SD card. But I don't think that writing to the SD card would be practical in a device powered by button- or coin-sized primary batteries. I suppose that I could live with a thicker design that used N-cells, as long as the battery compartment was better designed than that of the unfortunate HP-28C/S.
Perhaps it is the Holy Grail of RPN calculators--but it is certainly *not* the holy grail--not even close--of *programmable* calculators (that would have to go to the 41C of course).
I've owned several HP-41C models since it first appeared. I still have a HP-41CX with mag card reader and IR print modules that I bought new in 1984. It's a nice machine, in a third-of-a-century-old-technology sort of way. But for RPN programming, the HP42S is far better human factored for accessing functions, it is much much faster, it presents results with several orders of magnitude better precision and accuracy, its built-in firmware supports many functions that the HP-41C could only be programmed to do slowly and less accurately (including numerical integration, a numerical solver, a complete spectrum of complex number handling and matrix functions), it has IR printer output and a two-line "real" alphanumeric display, it comes with several times more RAM than the HP-41C could ever support, it's smaller, and it's much much more battery frugal.
OTOH, the HP-41CX has the best keyboard feel of any calculator I've ever used. The industrial design isn't bad (better than the Pioneers), except that HP decided to eliminate the classic black/blue HP logo found on earlier models. I won't be getting rid of my HP-41CX in my lifetime, but for actual RPN programming, years ago I converted my HP-41C stuff to run on the HP42S and if I write anything new, it goes on the HP42S.
With respect to the ultimate programmer's calculator (that exists today), I believe that honor clearly and unambiguously falls to the HP50G. This includes TI, Casio, and all other HP competition. The superiority of the hardware of the HP50G by itself (including the SD card and the display clarity) is enough to cause wonder about how, say, the latest TI-89 Titanium Hardware Version 4 would be more attractive to any knowledgeable person. (Now, if only the HP50G had the speed of the HP30b, which is about ten times faster.)
Edited: 15 Dec 2010, 10:04 a.m.