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Once More Through The Rinse Cycle, Please!

Posted by Brian W. Haren on 16 Feb 2001, 10:28 a.m.

Way back in the late '80s I was working as a geographer for the US Army at Fort Bragg, NC. My constant companion was my HP 11C. It fit just great in the cargo pants pockets of camouflage uniforms we wore. I went to work one day and realized I'd left my 11C at home. Not to worry, the Army in a (very) rare fit of good judgement decided to make a bulk purchase of 10 & 11C's and issue them to our various sections, so I had something HP to work with. What I didn't realize is that I'd left my 11C in my pants pocket and just tossed them into the dirty laundry bin. My wife had (and still has) a standing laundry policy - "Empty your own damned pockets, or else!"

I got home that night and my wife greeted me with a wet pair of camouflage pants freshly out of the spin cycle. "You left something in the pocket" she growled, "and I'm not responsible!" I felt the pocket and instantly realized that my beloved 11C had been washed along with the pants.

I pulled the calculator out of the case - it was wet, but there was no condensation in the display (a good sign!). Remebering HP's boast that you could spill coffee on their calculators and they'll still operate (do they still make that claim?), I pushed the 'ON' button. Nothing. Gulp. I took out the batteries and set the calculator aside to dry. A few weeks later new batteries went in, a trembling finger pushed the 'ON' button, and there was life! The only long term effect from the washing is that the little 'HP 11C' sticker fell off.

Now, 13 years and 2 sets of batteries later it's still ticking along. Long live HP!


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