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Full Name (family, given): Reed, Don
Account Name: Don Reed (Atlanta)
Contact: Don Reed (Atlanta)
Entered: 3 Dec 2013, 5:16 p.m.

I received my first calculator, an HP 25, as a gift from my father while I was in college. The year was 1976, and it took me about two minutes to get the hang of RPN. All calculators should work like this!

I had taken an introductory class in computer programming during my first year of college, the only computer science class available then to undergraduates. But it was the HP 25 that taught me how to program. With a maximum of 49 instructions, and no power-off memory retention, keeping the code short and efficient was the way to go!

Prior to this I had heard of HP instruments, but knew little about the company. The HP 25 impressed me so much that I started reading as much as I could find about the company. I decided that one day I wanted to work for a company like HP.

Fast forward four years to 1980 - I was working in an analytical lab, and we bought an HP 5985B mass spectrometer. I will bet some of you didn't even know that HP made mass spectrometers, am I right? The HP 5985B had a very powerful (for that time) data system, and in my spare time I sat at the keyboard and learned to program it. I actually created some software that was useful in our business, and more importantly, I reinforced my interest in programming and my respect for HP. My growing programming skill also attracted the attention of the local HP guys when they came out to our lab for sales or service calls.

In 1983 I learned that HP was looking for a new employee in the local sales and service office. It took me a few days to talk myself into it, because it meant a completely new career, leaving the analytical chemistry field that I had enjoyed so much for several years. But I did apply for the job - and I got it!

Today is my 30th anniversary, first at HP, and then starting in 1999 at Agilent Technologies (the HP spin-off where we still make mass spectrometers!). Currently I design and build applications and the databases behind them for Agilent.

I have owned several HP calculators, of course, and currently use two HP calculator simulators - an HP 10 series simulator for Windows that I wrote myself (resembles most closely the 11C, but with a few extra features), and the great open source Free42 application that simulates the HP 42S very closely, on Windows, Android and iOS.

And I still have the HP 25 that I credit with starting this journey of thirty years!


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