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Ahh... HP calculators

Posted by bbeamer on 10 June 2009, 11:59 a.m.

My father was an electrical engineer at HP and one day in the early ‘70’s, when I was about 6 or 7, he brought home an HP 35. I had used calculators before, but I had never seen the kind of buttons that this one had. “sin”, “cos”, “ln”, “xy”, that big “enter” key and no equal sign. Well, my imagination was fired.

Then in high school, I suffered through my first physics class with a TI, with all the problems they were known for. Things had to change. I scraped together the money that I earned at the fast food job I had and got the coolest calculator HP had then, the 15C. I loved that calculator! I wrote a program to solve the quadratic for real and imaginary roots that all my classmates were jealous of, even into college, where I studied physics and mathematics.

Then the 28C came out. All those buttons! And graphing. And the solver. I had to have it. But like an idiot, I sold my 15C. I loved the 28C almost as much, though. Then one day, the screen stopped working on the 28C. That was a bad day. My life had gone away from math and science, so I went for a long time without a “real” calculator.

Eventually, my life turned back toward math and science, and now I’m the proud owner of a 50G. It’s a very nice calculator. I do miss the big horizontal “enter” button, though. Thanks to some lessons learned in my “alternate” careers (and sniping on ebay), I have a 15C and a 28C back in my possession and my collection is growing. I still get a hit of nostalgia whenever I pull out the 15C and run the quadratic program (which I rewrote as soon as I got it).

Edited: 7 July 2009, 2:44 p.m.


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