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Discovered the HP-41C
Posted by Mark Meier on 26 Oct 2006, 11:26 p.m.
I discovered the HP-41C in 1979 when I was a Junior in high school. I came across it at a Jacobson’s Department Store of all places. For some reason they carried HP calculators. I needed a calculator for school and asked the woman working the counter about HPs. She said in this very charming way, “They were wonderful!” I asked about the fanciest looking one and she said, “Oh that one really does just too much!” Great I thought, how much? I think the HP-41C was almost $300 which was really a lot. I asked my parents if they’d get it for me, and (thanks Mom and Dad!) they did. I knew nothing about computer programming at the time but I took that calculator to the library on afternoons and weekends and sat in the quiet happily working through all the examples in the manual. Very few things captured my imagination as much as programming that calculator. I still have very fond memories of learning all the things it could do and thinking of all the things I could do with it. I really felt that the guys who developed this machine had a sense of exactly what users needed to accomplish and how to elegantly make it possible. It got me started on a hobby I’ve enjoyed ever since. It’s more than 25 years later and I still love that calculator. It’s sitting here right next to me. Beautiful. I wish I could meet some of the HP engineers who created it. They really have my respect.
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