|Re: Irrational HP 50g Lust|
Message #9 Posted by Dave Hayden on 5 Mar 2007, 3:13 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Don
Go for it! That's what I did.
I was in high school from 77-81, right when programmable calculators became accessible. When I started high school, text books had tables in the back for sin(x), tan(x), ln(x) and you had to learn on a slide rule. Then the TI-30 came out. It cost about $30 as I recall and it did scientific calculations with great speed an accuracy.
Anyway, I got hooked on programming with an HP 29C. Graduated to a 41C when it came out, and got a 41CV in 1981 in college. I've used it steadily ever since.
Fast forward 26 years and my daughter needed a good calculator for math. I got her a TI 84+ (they recommended the TI83, which is compatible). "Hmm. I wonder what HP has done with calculators over the past 26 years?"
Within 3 weeks I bought an HP50g and I've been playing with it ever since. It's quite a fun machine!
A couple words of warning though:
1. When you aren't editing a value, the right arrow key executes x<>y (which is now called SWAP). This highly usful fact is buried deep DEEP in the documentation.
2. Don't even bother opening the "user's manual" that comes with the calculator. Download the "Users Guide" from the website. It's an expanded version of the manual. The manual will be good as a "quick reference guide" after you learn the thing.
3. Even the User's Guide is pretty awful. Just stick with it. You'll probably find yourself reading and re-reading the first 3 chapters before you can figure the thing out. Some of the big changes are:
- the stack size is limited only by memory
- it does symbolic math
- the programming language is completely different
4. When you get to the chapter on programming, put down the User's Guide and download the HP 49 Advanced User's Manual (AUM) instead. This describes programming the calculator in far more detail, which is to say that it's more-or-less adequate.
The bottom line is that calculators have made gigantic advances since you and I used them heavily. I've been playing with mine almost every evening for a couple of weeks. Great entertainment (okay, I've a serious nerd). The downside is that the documentation is truly atrocious.