The Museum of HP Calculators

HP Forum Archive 02

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New HP 30S
Message #1 Posted by Bert K on 4 Apr 2000, 2:39 p.m.

Oh my God, they've done it again. Another algebraic calculator! Take a look at the very ugly HP 30S http://www.europe.hp.com/calculators/scientific/30s_info.html

Bert

      
Re: New HP 30S
Message #2 Posted by Joe Panico on 4 Apr 2000, 3:03 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Bert K

Bert,

Calm down. Take a sip of chamomile tea, sit back in your favorite chair. Sometimes these intermediate creations give way to some really great calc's.

Joe

PS: I keep telling myself!

      
Re: New HP 30S
Message #3 Posted by Les Bell on 4 Apr 2000, 8:04 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Bert K

Interchangeable bezels in different colors! Who's making these things for HP? Nokia?

I also noticed that they claim stats functions, but while the thing can do linear regression, it can't do mean and standard deviation. Maybe it's an error in the features table.

There is a major gap in HP's scientific calculator line between dumbed-down devices like this and mathematical pinball machines like the 49. They've completely lost touch with the needs of working engineers. . .

            
Re: New HP 30S, the cynical viewpoint
Message #4 Posted by Mike Sebastian on 5 Apr 2000, 1:44 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Les Bell

It isn't a matter of losing touch with the needs of working engineers, HP doesn't care about the needs of working engineers. HP is playing catch-up with TI, Casio, and Sharp for a share of the educational calculator market. The educational market is where the money is. Engineers buy a calculator and use it for decades. (There are still several HP-41Cs and an HP-45 in daily use in my office.) In contrast, there is a fresh crop of students every year buying their first calculator, and more students buying upgrade calculators. Besides, cheap calculators break easily, which means even more sales.

And, sales (presumably profitable sales) keep shareholders happy. Keeping shareholders happy is job one with corporate America.

                  
Re: New HP 30S, the cynical viewpoint
Message #5 Posted by Keith Dicks on 5 Apr 2000, 3:21 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Mike Sebastian

There is a rule in buisiness thet you survive by going upmarket, not down. TI, Casio etc. are gently improving their products and hence will improve their image and sales. HP are producing 'me too' products and playing the 'catch up' game by going down market. This is not a good long term policy, unless HP want a low end, poor quality image.

                  
Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #6 Posted by Menno on 5 Apr 2000, 6:51 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Mike Sebastian

It's true, making a top-quality product wil cause it to be used for decades. Be honest that's very enviroment-friendly. The 41's can be called the most enviroment-friendly electronic device !!! How much have been made and how much are in use today ???????

It all still makes me sad, and the longer I see things like a HP30 (algebraic ? YUK !!!) I will be more careful with my 42, In even started using a 32 for the simple calculations !. HP should know by now how I want my "43" to look like. I don't keep on repeating as a parrot.

Menno

                        
Re: Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #7 Posted by Steve on 5 Apr 2000, 7:19 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Menno

Just for fun, I've been taking my HP21 to work.

I get some strange looks, but hey, it still works. (I still have the HP41 with me for the more complex stuff. The HP21 replaced the HP48GX I used to carry as my second calculator :-)

                              
Good idea; using a LED-calculator again
Message #8 Posted by Menno on 6 Apr 2000, 2:28 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Steve

I don't have LED-calculators any more, I gave them away to the Dutch computermuseum. But I still have a slide-rule let's see what the reactions are......

Menno

                              
Re: Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #9 Posted by Reinhard Hawel on 6 Apr 2000, 10:01 p.m.,
in response to message #7 by Steve

I made an experiment and took another calculator from my collection to University every week (I did this only in a specific lecture). I just wanted to see how the young people react. They were rather worried about the fact, that I could use this machine (and that I could work without it too for some calculations).

An example: How many degrees are 15 minutes ? Hard to calculate, huh ?

I saw some guys taking their TI-92 out for such a calculation.

Generally I use one of my 48s most of the time. I own a 42S, but I don't use it really much. If I want to use a HP-41, I use one of my HP-41s. It's much more impressive.

I also use one of my 45s or 35s for calculations. Sometimes I even wear my HP-01, but that's very seldom.

                                    
Re: Yes, we're using them for everything
Message #10 Posted by menno on 7 Apr 2000, 2:50 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Reinhard Hawel

Making calculation by bare brain (it that a proper translation?) is not much used anymore. Everything you don't use dies, including brains. On my University we got an exam and within 10 min we had to give an estimation of the answer(s). The next 2 hours we had to work it out. Bonus point were given if the estimation was within a certain range.

I have seen persons using their HP32SII which was the adviced calculator on my sector of the university; (chemical engineering, analytical chemistry and bioprocestechnology) as a basic 4 function-calculator ! After 2 years they started to read the manual. Only for this fact they had to be kicked off university. Most of the times they were begging for a copy of the programs I made, because the calculation took so much time and they had to remember the formulae. In the beginning I gave programms away later on I stopped doing that. The system of university in the Netherlands is different then US. In the Netherlands your co-students are colleagues, not competitors.

Menno

                                          
Re: Yes, we're using them for everything
Message #11 Posted by Reinhard Hawel on 7 Apr 2000, 9:25 p.m.,
in response to message #10 by menno

It makes me go crazy, that most of the calculations are more a test of intelligence than a complicated struggling around with facts and numbers, but some guys don't even get the method.

The guy I mentioned before entered a formula into his calculator. (That's the same example which includes the minutes -> degrees calculation).

It was an error calculation for a wattmeter and he had to think about the transformers to convert voltages and currents into the right range (This is common practice for measuring electrical power or work of some high voltage/current circuits). The error he calculated was 53% (!!!). That was no problem for him. The calculator put it out and so it has to be correct.

If your power station calculates the electrical work used from their customers that way, they are broke in 3 days.

I finally found out, that he made a mistake (forgot entering a zero in a number). After he corrected the input the error was 5.3% (which is correct).

Yes, I'd support the method of guessing the values first. Maybe we should learn to use slide rules again (which brings a great impression of typical values besides the knowledge of logarithms).

Sometimes I don't use calculators for some calculations just for being in training. A big for the people problem seems to be the "shortening" of fractions (is that the right english expression for saying 15/60 = 4/20 =1/4).

Maybe we should only allow calculators without a divide key in schools ?

Then we could try to teach them PI=22/7 or other sufficient representations for very exact values.

That will surely bring more understanding of math and science than getting results like F=0.5347886565446789008...

Fortunately in the universities here the students are colleagues too and not competitors. Seems to be a major difference between the European and American university systems.

                                    
Re: Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #12 Posted by Steve on 7 Apr 2000, 7:47 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by Reinhard Hawel

Recently I was working on some code that involved date and time calculations. I deftly pulled out my HP-41CV, did the calculation, and put it back away. Somewhat to the astonishment of my collegues who were writing this in code because it was so hard.

My comment "Oh, it's only about 20 years old" when asked about the calculator also solicited some dropped jaws :-)

I started using the HP21 for routine calculations when I started using my computer in rather subdued lighting (so as not to disturb others).

                                    
Re: Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #13 Posted by Xose on 11 Apr 2000, 10:26 a.m.,
in response to message #9 by Reinhard Hawel

Hei! That ain't that unusual!

I've seen pre-university students taking their Casios from their bags to 'translate' Watts into KiloWatts!

And me, waiting the whole day for an opportunity to use my HP42S, how stupid!

                                          
Re: Yes, we're using them for decades
Message #14 Posted by Mark Palmer on 18 Apr 2000, 12:26 a.m.,
in response to message #13 by Xose

Here's one for you boys of brilliance- I own a truck leasing company and use my woodstock and spice series of HP calculators in my trucks as they are durable, accurate, and best of all----EASY to see at dawn and dusk--- I want to do the best I can to make sure my log calculations are accurate!

            
Re: New HP 30S
Message #15 Posted by Dave on 5 Apr 2000, 8:14 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Les Bell

If you hope HP will make good upscale calculators, they have to build a profitable, competitive business. They need these calculator entries to compete. Please let us encourage HP to continue their operation and keep up the good work. It is great to see new ideas and approaches being taken by HP. They have not abandoned the high end, but they have to build a stable, profitable calculator operation which requires volume sales and low cost manufacturing.

Stop beefing and enjoy the show!

                  
Re: New HP 30S
Message #16 Posted by Keith Dicks on 5 Apr 2000, 1:21 p.m.,
in response to message #15 by Dave

Sadly the people 'beefing' have every right to. There is no evidence that HP 'have not abandoned the high end', in fact the evidence points to the reverse:

No RPN pocket calculators since the HP42. (HP48/49 are too big, heavy and complex to be classed as pocket calculators).

HP49G is a reduced cost, warmed over revamp of the HP48G. (But without the manuals to support it)

All development work now focused on lower end, mass market products. (HP: 6, 20, 30, 38, 39, 40)

HP could try to return to the higher end of the market but many of the buyers may have lost trust in HP by then. (Trust in: product support, good manuals, high quality products etc.)

I do not 'enjoy the show' when it involves the abandonment of many of the principles that made HP calculators so good in the past. It's not that HP shouldn't go into the market they are currently focusing on, it's the fact that they have turned their backs on the profesional end. If you think a profesional is going to use any of the latest offerings you must be joking, they either look like kid's toys or are far too flash (no pun intended!).

It IS possible to grow in the lower market and keep the higher end supplied with a trickle of developement money as they are not looking for the latest colors / fancy screens. Those people at the profesional end would be more than happy (actually very very happy) if HP were to simply re-issue the HP42 as an interim calculator. This would be a fairly low cost option as they already make the case, keyboard etc. for the HP32SII.

                        
Re: New HP 30S
Message #17 Posted by Dave on 5 Apr 2000, 2:36 p.m.,
in response to message #16 by Keith Dicks

It would be silly for you to believe Hp still makes the cases, etc. for the 32 series... These will dry up when current manufactured quantities are sold. The techniques for these older units are too expensive for the current prices calculators bring. Again, you cannot base a profitable business these days by pleasing a limited market represented by the technical community that enjoys the old style HP calcs. They need to effectively tap into the educational market which provides a constant (and larger) demand for calculators and this market DEMANDS algebraic types and also is attracted to flashier cosmetics (not military brown or tan syling). HP is late in realizing this market need and tried too long to cater only to high end users (They presumed incorrectly that there was a sufficiently large market for a Cadillac) They now realize (and rightly so) they need a broad offering for success.

Once this foundation is established (and all us techies better hope they succeed) they should be able to rexplore the high end of the market. If this strategy does not succeed they will be forced to withdrawal from the scientific calc market they pioneered and I seriously doubt any of the other calculator manufacturers will step in to fill the void.

Again, let us support HP's efforts to the fullest, much more complaining and whining is counterproductive and will destroy all hopes for future high end calculators. Get your childrens schools to endorse HP!!!

                              
Re: New HP 30S
Message #18 Posted by Steve on 5 Apr 2000, 7:31 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by Dave

You seem to contradict yourself.

First you say that the build quality of the "high end" calculators is no longer viable.

Then you say we should stop complaining and quietly wait for another "high end" calculator.

If it's not viable, and there's no customers asking for it, then there's two reasons why it won't happen.

Personally, I think the HP48 series _was_ a high end calculator. Just too bloody high end for me. It's more a computer than a calculator, and the user interface just got in the way (for me).

I too find that the sweet spot was the HP41 (or HP42 - it really depends on whether or not you have a fettish for modules). The HP41 in its case is about the same size as an HP48, and neither are too large for me.

Unfortunatly I can't see a calculator in the future of HP that I am likely to buy. I hope I'm wrong. I have enough HP41's to last me for quite a few years yet.

Anyone want to put in a bid for a few well used HP41s in about 30 years time?

                              
Re: New HP 30S
Message #19 Posted by Les Bell on 5 Apr 2000, 8:20 p.m.,
in response to message #17 by Dave

"Again, you cannot base a profitable business these days by pleasing a limited market represented by the technical community that enjoys the old style HP calcs."

Let's see: over the years, I have bought (new) a 45, a 65, a 67, three 41's (plus modules, card reader and printer), a 16C. I made the mistake of buying a 48, which sits unused. Too cumbersome, too complicated. If they brought out a 42-style machine, I would buy it in a flash.

The typical college kid: a 38 or 48. Which he later sold on eBay. He won't buy another HP calculator.

Who represents the more lucrative market?

                              
Re: New HP 30S
Message #20 Posted by Wayne Brown on 6 Apr 2000, 8:01 a.m.,
in response to message #17 by Dave

I just don't believe that HP can be trusted to "rexplore the high end of the market" if we sit back and wait for them to conquer the educational world first. Besides, why do features like RPN and decent keyboards have to be reserved for the high end? I just gave my fifth-grade son a 41CV because I got tired of waiting for HP to produce an inexpensive RPN calculator suitable for children. If HP really wants to capture the educational market, why not get kids sold on RPN early so that they'll be ready to pay bigger bucks when they get to high school and college? You can walk into any department store (or grocery store!) and buy a basic algebraic calculator for $9.95 or less. If HP would come out with an RPN model in that price range, I'd be willing to buy a handful and donate them to the local school. (HP could afford to donate more than a handful.) Some companies give away little credit-card-sized calculators with their logo on it, simply as promotional items. HP could do the same with small RPN giveway models.

All this talk of profits and cheap calculators and capturing market share is a little unpleasant, though, when it comes to HP calculators. HP's calculator division has always had the reputation of putting everything else second to Quality. I'd much rather see them keep that image, even if it means their calculator business stays small and high-priced, than become just another me-too company that's always looking for the easiest way to make a buck. HP is a big company, and they can afford to "carry" the calculator side of the business if necessary. I'd prefer to see them put pride in being the best ahead of anything else, including profits.

When it comes right down to it, if HP offers only the same old thing we can get from TI and Casio and everyone else, then I'll buy from everyone else and not HP. I expect better from HP, and if they're not going to keep to their old standards, then I'd rather see them go out of the calculator business altogether.

                                    
Re: New HP 30S
Message #21 Posted by Bill Holmes on 6 Apr 2000, 8:29 a.m.,
in response to message #20 by Wayne Brown

I think it is highly unlikely that HP will come out with an updated HP-42 as sad as that is. I think the day for a top quality, engineering calculator has passed.

I have a HP42S and it is great. When I started working a few years ago and didnít have a computer of my own, the HP42 was an indispensable tool and I ran circles around my co-workers with their TI calculators. Well a few years have passed and my PC with the right software can run circles around my HP42.

Now that their engineering market is shrinking, they are trying to compete with TI for the education market. While this by itself is not a bad idea, they have a long way to go to catch up. I recently looked at the HP6 for every day use in order to preserve my HP42 and found that it is not a very good calculator. I bought a TI-30X IIS instead and it is a great calculator, It wonít last for 10 years like HP calculators do but for $12 is doesnít have to.

I will continue to keep my HP42S knowing I have arguably the best calculator ever made but I hope I donít forget that RPN entry system too soon.

                                          
It's starting to sound like a funeral ?
Message #22 Posted by Menno on 7 Apr 2000, 2:31 a.m.,
in response to message #21 by Bill Holmes

More and more the whole story becomes into a sort of funeral-mood. I keep on the positive thought that a shirt-pocket-compatible RPN-calculator will see daylight. And yes, it will have a different colour than "militairy brown" as somebody in this forum called the 32 and 42. As Bill did I am using a 32SII for the simple calculations, and the 42 for the complex things (many people don't see the difference in a meeting). I started to toy around with a slide-rule but that's long ago.....BUT the understanding of math you get with a slide-rule is unequalled, you have to make a estimation.

If in the next year I don't see a new RPN-calculator from HP I will send them my condolence

Menno

      
one word: YUK !!
Message #23 Posted by Menno on 5 Apr 2000, 6:58 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Bert K

A typical me too product. the target market is quantity NOT QUALITY !!! and highschoolpopulation not for universities Please HP keep the technicians happy give us RPN. give us that "HP43S"

Menno

            
Re: one word: YUK !!
Message #24 Posted by Reinhard Hawel on 6 Apr 2000, 10:22 p.m.,
in response to message #23 by Menno

A HP49 with a good manual, quality keyboard and decent colors would be enough for me. (I just like features.)

I always bought the top-of the line product from HP, but I didn't buy an 49G til now (I'll need one for my collection sometimes).


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