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A Godsend HP42S

Posted by John Triplett on 18 May 2000, 3:16 p.m.

I arrived on the HP scene a little later than most of you other geeks (compliment), but I have a story, too. I was in Civil Engineering at Mississippi State University in, oh, I think it was 1997. I had just bought a GX (I had already used a G for a few years, so i was pretty familiar with programming and everthing) when I was burning a few minutes in the Campus Bookmart (RE: earlier post about the 16C ) and I saw this smaller HP calculator in the display case. I was interested because I could stick this one in my pocket, and after reading the back of the box I realized that this one wouldn't leave me out in the cold for functions. So, I paid the $75.00 price and walked out with it (Stole it, didn't I!!!). Keep in mind, I bought this in '97--five or so years AFTER they stopped making it (WHY ON EARTH?). I'd use it every now and then and really got hooked on it. I was amazed at what this little thing could do, which was insignificantly less than a 48G. I was especially amazed by how easy to program it was, but yet how powerful still the programs could be (I hate programming a GX). (Remember, I was a Johnnie come lately with HP's). Well, one day my GX just grew legs and walked off--either with one of my roomates, or just some thief who came in my house and took it. This semester i just happened to be taking Open Channel Flow, and now without a GX. BUT--I did have my 42S, and no other choice. To make a long story short, well, you know that time an hour before an exam when everybody is calmly (yeah right) reviewing their notes? I was furiously typing in solver programs so i could find stuff like Yn for a trapezoidal section or Yc out of the Fr equation or many other headaches which were nothing on a G or GX. More subrouting calls than you can believe. I remember REALLY sweating the time in the exam doing the same thing while everybody else just punched SOLVE CHOOSE MANNINGS or something like that--but the little thing got me through that and many other classes. I finally scraped up enough to get another GX, but after using the 42S, i only used the GX out of dire need. My calculator of choice is now a 41CV I got brand new a few years ago. I had to look all over the world to get all the bells and whistles, but it was worth it.

Since then I have become much more experienced with HP calculators and have managed to get my hands on some more of the older models (which make me dislike the 48 even more). I was especially surprised when I learned just how fortunate I was to have found a 42S. I rarely use it as don't want anything to happen to it and because to replace it now will cost and arm and a leg. Most of you out there love the HP25 or HP67, but my favorite will always be my 42S.


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