|Re: HHC2007 HP Handheld Conf 9/29-30 in San Diego|
Message #9 Posted by Rich Messeder (US) on 29 Apr 2007, 8:07 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Jake Schwartz
While I cannot attend due to prior commitments, I have a few items, (that I think are probably on the minds of others, as well). I used to be active in the PPC back in the 1980s, and have many fond memories of the club, its activities, and the Journal.
I am involved in University activities now, and wish that HP would return to the position that it had decades ago as preeminent in the HHC field. It is noteworthy to me that college texts refer to TI machines, and many professors don't even know how to use RPN machines. Yet, in the past year alone, my discussions of the benefits of RPN have led several Engineering and Physical Science students to borrow one of my calculators and eventually purchase their own. Two of them were outspoken critics of the idea that RPN could be worth considering in light of TI's dominance in the field of education and the fact that TI machines are used extensively in grades below college. One of their comments, prior to actually testing an RPN machine, was that RPN was too difficult for beginners to learn. My own experience contradicts this belief, and their opinion on the subject changed, too, once they had tried RPN.
I don't know where the future of HHCs is headed, but the need for them appears to be still strong. Education should be about providing our students with the most efficient tools and methods to acquire knowledge and to explore the scientific world. I think that HP HHCs have been the best tool for the job until the recent past. Though I still will not use anything but an HP, I opine that HP has lost the edge.
HP should give serious thought to making inroads in the lower educational circles, to getting their products showcased at universities and high schools, and to getting the benefits of RPN into texts.
WRT the latest offering at the high end, the HP 50g can benefit greatly from an upgraded display (more resolution), increased data entry history, and a host of other features that have been mentioned here. I hope that HP will have folks at the conference who will take the suggestions of attendees seriously.
I recall a number of years ago when I was working at a nuclear facility. I used an HP HHC extensively in my work, and was well-known at the site for my opinions about the benefits of RPN in general and HP's quality in particular.
On one occasion, I was working on reactivity calculations with another engineer who was critical of the "weird-ness" of RPN. The small group of engineers present suggested an impromptu face-off using the calculations at hand. The HP 15C was a clear winner, and, as a result, one of the Ph. D.s switched to HP within a few months (after asking me to demonstrate further capability that the 15C had that the current TI devices did not).
On another occasion, I had moved up to a new machine, and that new product had keyboard problems (sound familiar, HP 49 users?). I had been used to entering my data and being confident that the result would be correct. When I discovered that this was not the case, I called HP, //who assigned a field engineer to handle my problem// because they were concerned about their reputation in the nuclear field. I eventually wound up with a new device in the same series that did not have the problem (which I still have). Can you imagine this in today's HP climate?
I look forward to hearing about the conference and to seeing the direction that HP chooses for the future. We don't need a rah-rah nostalgic look at the past as much as we need dedication to quality and excellence in the future.