The Museum of HP Calculators

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HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #1 Posted by bluesun08 on 26 Oct 2013, 1:55 p.m.

You can kick me out of the forum but these is my opinion:
The HP 48 was a well designed calculator and cast in one pour. The latest successor HP 50g was a patchwork, have bugs, came to early and finally died.
The HP 38g was a well designed calculator and cast in one pour. The latest successor HP Prime is also a patchwork, have also (grave) bugs and came also to early ...
No harm meant but who is responsible for the same tragic strategy?

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #2 Posted by Nigel J Dowrick on 26 Oct 2013, 7:53 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

If we all had the same opinions this forum would be a lot less fun!

I bought a new HP-48SX in the early 1990s. Although I marvelled at its potential I found that its lack of speed and its very low-contrast display made me reluctant to use it unless I absolutely had to. To me, the HP-50g is the HP-48SX as it should have been! And it isn't dead yet, as far as I know.

I don't have a Prime. From the comments in this forum it seems that there are bugs, some serious, but the overall view (from a very demanding group of people) appears more positive than negative. The Prime probably was released too early, but the academic year wouldn't wait. I am curious about the decision to include an RPN mode: quite a lot of the reported bugs seem to involve RPN and if it wasn't there there might have been more time in which to tackle the non-RPN bugs before release. But that is just speculation on my part.

Nigel (UK)

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #3 Posted by RNav on 27 Oct 2013, 12:11 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

Strongly disagree as I own all the models you reference. But I can see how you could draw your conclusion by monitoring this forum. The 50g did not die, it merely peaked... Most 50g sales replaced aging 48's and the platform was not designed to compete with the campy education market. The Prime is the first ground-breaking calculator from HP in 20 years. Most of the "bugs" you are reading about end up not being bugs, but miss understood assumptions. Other "bugs" are from super users pushing the limits of the software, and the developers are responding in this forum. I do not find RPN buggy at all, but do see some conflicts when running some Apps when in RPN mode... These conflicts are easily avoided until they are patched. I welcomed the release of the Prime. Also note that HP did not mass release the Prime. Us dedicated HP users were pushing for an early release so we can use it and provide feedback. Most retailers are sold out, those retailers who have stock bumped up their asking price. I recommend you get a Prime and join the fun. The only tragedy in the past 20 years was the 49.

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #4 Posted by CompSystems on 27 Oct 2013, 1:27 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by RNav

I am happy with my hp50g, but not satisfied, especially the CAS is stood still, I hope the new improvements xcas as automatic simplification incorporated in HP50g, Super dialog boxes as GUI+

http://www.hpcalc.org/details.php?id=7282

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #5 Posted by Jan on 27 Oct 2013, 7:30 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by RNav

"The only tragedy in the past 20 years was the 49"

That's a fact. Unfortunately a major design-error (yes I do call it that way) of this ridiculous model slipped into the design of the 50g: a small enter-key a counter-intuitive place at the keyboard. Too bad since overall the 50g is an excellent machine (in fact I bough one last week (indeed as a successor for my aging 48G)).

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #6 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 1:33 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

Love my 48's I agree completely. Also LOVE my 50g. Do not have a Prime, but will get that one ASAP. But I feel you, it seems the longer they make calculators, the less most people like them. Hoping they turn it around with the Prime.

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #7 Posted by Walter B on 27 Oct 2013, 3:54 a.m.,
in response to message #6 by Les Koller

Quote:
But I feel you, it seems the longer they make calculators, the less most people like them.
I think that's a bit unfair.

Remember (if you can) those days of lore were different: NO internet, NO worldwide instant feedback, NO PCs, just individuals buying tools for their work or studies. If you did work in a university or in industrial R&D, you were just excited about the new opportunities the new calculators offered (remember they competed with sliderules in the beginning, then with older calculators). The most important and most frequent question was how and when you'll get the $$$ to get one fitting your needs. And almost nobody could compete with HP and TI.

Nowadays, you can get a scientific calc for 10US$ doing more than most buyers understand. You get powerful scientific software for your PC/Laptop/Tablet (please check) exceeding your needs. And those who don't remember the time I tried to recall above may be even 'digital natives' and may have a completely different approach to electronic calcs or calculating tools.

The vintage calculators covered by this museum (and those which should be covered, like the missing Pioneers, but that's another story) were often groundbreaking in their days. They showed, however, also severe bugs as you can read here on this forum. In another information 'culture' those bugs were known but the knowledge was spread far (!!) slower than today. And we learned to live with them since the advantage of owning a programmable calculator was overshining (?) all that.

Enough stories from the past.

d:-)

                  
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #8 Posted by Paul Dale on 27 Oct 2013, 4:04 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Walter B

Quote:
The vintage calculators covered by this museum (and those which should be covered, like the missing Pioneers, but that's another story)...

Where is the 34S entry :)

- Pauli

                  
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #9 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 12:40 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Walter B

Walter, I meant to say "The longer HP makes calculators, the less people seem to like HP calculators (as evidenced by the low use of them in colleges I visit and the absolute absence of them in Secondary School)". Does that change your response any at all? I was one of those who sat around reading Scientific American and looking at all the beautiful color ads and lusting heavily for an HP or a TI, back in the late 70's / very early 80's. I will always love calculators, even new ones (if they are deserving). I have an Android phone and tablet, and an iPad. They are chock full of calculator emulators, xcas, etc....but they are for times when I don't have a calculator (or the right calculator) at hand for a problem. Long Live HP!

                        
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #10 Posted by Walter B on 27 Oct 2013, 2:57 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Les Koller

Les,

Quote:
I meant to say "The longer HP makes calculators, the less people seem to like HP calculators (as evidenced by the low use of them in colleges I visit and the absolute absence of them in Secondary School)". Does that change your response any at all?
Yes it does. Nevertheless, I think times were/are simply different and that's what I wanted to point out. I'm confident you can agree on that.

d:-)

                              
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #11 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 3:01 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by Walter B

Absolutely! I think we think alike.

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #12 Posted by fabrice48 on 27 Oct 2013, 3:34 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

I'M TOTALLY AGREE. HP48 : the best

HP49: screen not visible, bad rubber key, paint on the key dissepear in the time

HP49G+ : simply a joke, keyboard bugged, even a beginner in electronics know how to do a correct keyboard debouncing.

HP50: bad case, bad plastic, bad design, bad screen cover.

HP-PRIME : the firmware is tinkerd, the interface was not correctly designed, but the hard is good. No IR no serial port no communication for user, even with usb hid class. sometimes keyboard stop to respond. screnn freeze sometime. the connectinity kit is a joke

for me the hp prime i have waited over the year with in my mind wowo hp will do a new hp48 is a TERRIBLE DECEPTION.

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #13 Posted by Gilles Carpentier on 27 Oct 2013, 4:26 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by fabrice48

HP48 : awfull screen, no cas, bad keyboard disposition, bad speed, very few memory

HP50 is better in _all_point except beyboard feeling

"HP50 : bad case, bad plastic, bad design, bad screen cover."

Is this a joke ?

I also like very puch my HP49G+ : no keyoard bug for me

But i agree for the 49G, just the worst keyboard of all times

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #14 Posted by Martin Paech on 27 Oct 2013, 12:46 p.m.,
in response to message #12 by fabrice48

To write my dream of the next-generation graphics/CAS/RPL companion for engineers and scientist from HP in one simple "equation" (please, no comments about the "units" etc.):

HP 51G = HP 50g software - bugs + HP Prime hardware + IR port + serial port + SD card slot + beeper + (let's say) 50 US$ per unit for a bit more robustness

But, I see the economical (esp. development resources and costs, price of the final product) and technical (e.g. compatible management of larger RAM, display resolution compatibility with the HP 82240B printer for industrial applications---tell me if I'm wrong) problems for HP...

The (nearly*) perfect solution for pure numerical/RPN/keystroke-programming applications already exists: WP 34S. And I can't wait for it's successor with a (*) better display for "heavy duty" daily use: the 43S...

Martin

(sitting near a HP-UX C360 workstation from 1998, which needs at most one maintenance reboot per year...)

Edited: 27 Oct 2013, 12:55 p.m.

                  
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #15 Posted by Walter B on 27 Oct 2013, 3:25 p.m.,
in response to message #14 by Martin Paech

Martin,

Quote:
The (nearly*) perfect solution for pure numerical/RPN/keystroke-programming applications already exists: WP 34S. And I can't wait for it's successor with a (*) better display for "heavy duty" daily use: the 43S...
Dankeschön! For the 43S, please see my post in the other thread and also message #4 therein (which I'm afraid I cannot link directly anymore).

d:-)

                        
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #16 Posted by Martin Paech on 28 Oct 2013, 5:37 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by Walter B

Good morning, Walter:

Quote:
Dankeschön!

Nicht dafür! I've tried to get a panoramic view on the whole 34S project and I sense the countless man-days and the enormous commitment---barrels of "Herzblut"---of the primary developers and the supporting members of this forum... My deep respect!

And thank you very much for the link to this 43S thread! (I wish I could already now supply more than my respect and some useless comments, but this horrible Ph.D. thesis...)

Martin

Edited: 28 Oct 2013, 5:39 a.m.

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #17 Posted by Gilles Carpentier on 27 Oct 2013, 4:15 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

Just my opinion but the 50G is far better than the 48 in all points expect the keybord 'feeling'.

"tout ce qui est excessif est insignifiant" (Talleyrand)

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #18 Posted by fabrice48 on 27 Oct 2013, 4:53 a.m.,
in response to message #17 by Gilles Carpentier

NO CAS on hp48 ? are you really sure.

i use it often, you can manipalate expression, compute calc step by step write it as real paper transform your own formula with ISOL command for example

                  
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #19 Posted by Giancarlo on 27 Oct 2013, 6:40 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by fabrice48

Hello, I agree that a forum where we all have the same opionion wouldn't be fun.

I am not involved with hp at all, i didn't contribute to the developmet of this calc therefore i am free to think and do whatever i have in mind.

I don't like emulators so i decided not to even try the Prime calc on my laptop waiting for the real one. Received it a couple of weeks ago, i can say that the hardware is there. The keyboard is solid, no bouncing keys, the screen is bright, the touch screen works fine for me.

I am facing to a whole new concept of calculator. My last calculator was the 49g+. This one had a buggy keyboard and Hp kindly replaced with a new one. I don't know how much hp spent for this replacement campaign but i think they learned their lesson. The rom had some bugs and was not updated for a long time but I used my hp calc as a student and i became an engineer in the meantime.

The Prime firmware can be updated so that one day (we hope soon), it will be updated removing big bugs for first, then the minor ones and then probably new apps. I am not sure it will happen but, if hp decided to invest (again) in the calculator industry, they will have to support their product. Some of us think that this is the last opportunity to have an active role in this market.

This calc has not beeing made with only professionals in mind. My collegues are using 4 banger calculators, they do not have in mind to buy a sofisticated one and looks at me as a gadget buyer. If my (insane) environment is like that, it is better to think about students market like Ti.

Finally I think that if we learn how to the Prime works, we can build our professional apps, converting units with few keystrokes and so on.

I am personally living the same wonderful experience i had in the early 1990 when i learnt using and programming my hp28s, the 48 family with rpl, system rpl and assembly. Like in the past we have a new hardware with a lot of capabilities and its development strongly depends on how we mentally approach this new calculator. A negative approach won't help our creativity and i strongly believe that this calculator will have some secrets to reveal.

It's up to us to decide to complain or to be the pioneer of a new era.

Giancarlo

                        
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #20 Posted by peacecalc on 27 Oct 2013, 8:58 a.m.,
in response to message #19 by Giancarlo

Quote:
The Prime firmware can be updated so that one day (we hope soon), it will be updated removing big bugs for first, then the minor ones and then probably new apps. I am not sure it will happen but, if hp decided to invest (again) in the calculator industry, they will have to support their product. Some of us think that this is the last opportunity to have an active role in this market.

That is my hope, too. But I'm not shure wether it comes true. The hardware cycles are short in a manner, that a software update (it is an investment for hp too) bring enough profit selling "old" hardware (or there are enough people buying this). I'm wondering nobody calculates (here in this forum) with the reactions (the new ones) of TI, Casio, and so on...

Greetings peacecalc

                              
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #21 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 12:45 p.m.,
in response to message #20 by peacecalc

"...a software update (it is an investment for hp too)"

Excellent point...have you seen the thread on "crowd-sourcing" the software updates here in the forum also?

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #22 Posted by Mike Morrow on 27 Oct 2013, 12:58 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by Gilles Carpentier

Quote:
Just my opinion but the 50G is far better than the 48 in all points expect the keybord 'feeling'.

That expresses exactly my thoughts, as an ancient HP calculator user going back to the original HP-35 in 1972 (It was borrowed for work on my EE degree...I could not afford my own). I was an early purchaser of the over-praised HP 48SX in 1990, followed by two HP 48GX units a few years later. In every detail except keyboard, the performance and capabilities of the 48-series machines are grossly inferior to those of the HP 50G (and even the 49G+) using every objective measure.

                  
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #23 Posted by Martin Paech on 27 Oct 2013, 1:20 p.m.,
in response to message #22 by Mike Morrow

That's true, I agree absolutely! Apart from my dreamed HP 51G (see above) I would be very happy with a revised 50g with a much more "conservative" case and a much better keyboard with the slanted design and the classic color scheme.

                        
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #24 Posted by Charles Bennett on 27 Oct 2013, 2:49 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Martin Paech

I'll take a 51 with a backlit screen and 'prism' keys, SDHC support and a WP34s mode. Oh.. and stereo speakers, mp3 player, FM radio and drum machine.

Nothing sucks more than failure of the imagination.

Also - let's get that Prime emulator into the Play Store, eh?

                              
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #25 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 3:03 p.m.,
in response to message #24 by Charles Bennett

Yeah! Get it in the Play Store! Yeah, yeah!

                              
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #26 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 3:20 p.m.,
in response to message #24 by Charles Bennett

And a backlit keyboard on the real deal. Yeah. WITH a flag or switch to set it on/off. Gotta think about battery life.

      
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #27 Posted by Charles Bennett on 27 Oct 2013, 2:40 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by bluesun08

God only knows why HP keeps trying.

The 34C I bought as my first calculator ever was amazing although it broke the night before a stats final and had to be round-tripped for keyboard repairs.

The 15C I bought after getting my first job stayed with me for 20 years as a daily friend.

My wife bought me a 12C for doing the house books on her HP employee discount. [DISCLOSURE] My former employer was acquired by HP so between us we have $2E8 in HP equity. We knew it would get ugly when Agilent - the REAL HP was spun out. I take HP's behavior very personally. You don't want my opinion on printers after the LJ5...

I bought and sold 28S and 48GX being incapable of getting my head really wrapped around RPL.

I replaced my 15C with a 32Sii. Until the 35Sii you'll pry that calculator out of my dead cold fingers.

I was a first-day buyer of the 35s. It sits in a drawer. It was worthy of a class-action lawsuit. Missing P<>R was a major tip-off but it's a freaking hive.

I was a first-day buyer of two (2) 15CSE, one for me and one for my son. They sit in a drawer - what the hell kind of fun is keystroke programming on a machine that can't PSE?!

After the 15CSE thing I swore I'd not buy another HP calculator.

I replaced my son's 15CSE with an NSpire (what a pig that is).

After working some of his homework with him I bought a 84+C: McGraw Hill gives problem solving in TI keystrokes. The NSpire has it's 84 pad installed full time. I bought the C because I can't really see LCD's any more. I promptly bought the white keypad overlay so that I could read the shifted legends.

My desktop at work sports a Canon F-792SGA. Bases, complex, vectors, stats in 1/2 variables with distributions and confidence intervals, matrix ops, solve, integrate, 4x4 linear equations, exact math and on and on. $5.99.

As for Prime - I bought one on DAY ONE. 1. it was made available after BTS shopping season. I took this as a clue that HP intends to start marketing this for school use in the spring. Until it's end-capped at Staples, Best Buy and Walmart it's not a contender. When you see it there, it means that HP is ready to *crush* the 84/nspire/89. 2. it's field upgradable. Combined with 1. and the horror shows of earlier devices I assumed that if they didn't mess up the mechanicals they'd be working with the various calc geek and educational communities and pumping out updates fortnightly. Eventually we'd get a calculator that works and they'd fling the doors wide for mass-sales for *next* school year.

My experience: - I can't read the legends on the number keys. I have 20/20 but unless I point a flashlight at it, it's illegible. So, no - they did not get the mechanicals right. - as you can tell from above, I'm an RPN-only guy. I'm eager to see the RPN issues fixed before I go very deep on this machine - I'm very surprised that they left so much 28/48/50 DNA behind but it's not too late. More of that can come as the core calculator is reworked for better RPN support - I bought a 50g this week. Looks like I'll be keeping an LED headband with my calculators... how geeky is that? - I'm amazed that the 'apps' appear to be written to the calc substrate, not a lower-level ARM API. -- How cool would it be to have Graffiti in all apps? -- How about an app that's pretty much the whole Palm stack? -- How about Squeak/Scratch/Alice? Scheme instead of RPL... -- How about a working 35s/RPN keystroker as an APP?

So far I'm cautiously hopeful. At the moment it's hard to judge until the next update for RPN support. The will need to be a mechanical update because the colors are illegible.

The only tragedy would be HP getting all nSpire on the thing and trying to lock us out.

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #28 Posted by Charles Bennett on 27 Oct 2013, 2:56 p.m.,
in response to message #27 by Charles Bennett

A camera would be handy in the next rev. TI makes a big deal about being able to push pictures into the C/CX devices - why not just point the calculator at the sail boats, detect triangles and open the triangle solver?

And why not learn about FFTs using onboard audio???

            
Re: HP 50g - HP Prime tragedy
Message #29 Posted by Les Koller on 27 Oct 2013, 3:07 p.m.,
in response to message #27 by Charles Bennett

I feel you on the head lamp idea. Fortunately, I can still read every calculator display I have except for the TI89 Titanium, and the F1-F6 functions on the 92 and 92+. SO far, the HP's remain readable without light, but I do have to wear the old glasses.


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