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HP Forum Archive 20

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15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #1 Posted by Pal G. on 14 Sept 2011, 2:43 p.m.

.. folks about this great paper, written by W Kahan:

Mathemtics Written in Sand.

"ABSTRACT:  Simplicity  is a  Virtue;  yet we
continue to cram ever more complicated circuits
ever more densely into silicon chips,  hoping all
the while that their internal  complexity  will
promote  simplicity  of use.  This paper exhibits
how well that hope has been fulfilled by several
inexpensive devices widely used nowadays for
numerical computation.  One of them is the
Hewlett-Packard  hp-15C  programmable shirtpocket calculator ..."

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~wkahan/MathSand.pdf

      
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #2 Posted by Howard Owen on 14 Sept 2011, 3:25 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Pal G.

Simplicity! LOL

[The paper] had been typeset on an  IBM PC  and printed on an  EPSON FX-80  at
draft speed with an unreadable type-font of the authorís devising,
and then photo-reduced. 
      
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #3 Posted by Mike Morrow on 14 Sept 2011, 3:44 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Pal G.

The advanced features of the HP 15C are not very simple to use, but in 1983 (the date of the cited paper) the 15C was the best thing out there for complex domain, matrix, integrate, and solve functions. Not even the HP-41 series with Advantage Module matched it.

But...having spent more time since Friday with the 15C/15C-LE than I have since a HP 42S replaced my 15C 15 years ago, I can say honestly that I'd forgotten how terribly awkward and convoluted it is to use those features. But...it is pretty, and isn't that the most important thing? :-)

Simplicity of use had to wait for the HP 42S, a monumental and stunning advancement over the 15C. It is bizarre that some fall head-over-heels for 30 year old yet oddly immature technology, as opposed to 20 year old mature technology.

Edited: 14 Sept 2011, 4:00 p.m. after one or more responses were posted

            
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #4 Posted by Howard Owen on 14 Sept 2011, 3:51 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Mike Morrow

Quote:
It's bizarre that we're still falling head-over-heels for 30 year old technology.

I believe it's not as much a matter of the head than of the heart. Fans of the 15C's power as a calculator might disagree.

                  
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #5 Posted by bill platt on 14 Sept 2011, 4:18 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Howard Owen

If you go back over Valentins's excellent stuff, even he minced no words in the superior nature of the 42s over the 15c.

But to me, neither is worth much programming effort: no I/O = No Start.

            
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #6 Posted by uhmgawa on 14 Sept 2011, 5:21 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Mike Morrow

Quote:
But...it is pretty, and isn't that the most important thing? :-)

Especially the box -- don't forget the box. I mean can you recall when you've seen before (if ever) so much thought and design go into a cardboard box for a consumer electronic device? I'm afraid to touch the thing with an ungloved human hand for fear I may affect its perceived value. Plastic overwrap designer cover too for that matter.

                  
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #7 Posted by Howard Owen on 14 Sept 2011, 5:46 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by uhmgawa

Apple.

                        
Re: 15C re-release may be a good time to remind..
Message #8 Posted by Lincoln R. on 15 Sept 2011, 12:57 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Howard Owen

One could argue that people like us (and probably RPN users in general) have the same sort of fanaticism for HP calculators that Apple fans do for the latest iPhone. Admittedly, my first reaction when I found out the 15C reissue was real was "where can I get one?" shortly followed by "will it be priced such that I can afford one?"

And I'm quite thankful that I didn't have to stand in line at an HP store (which I know does not actually exist) for hours to get one either :-P


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