|Re: hp 35s hexadecimal math....what were they thinking?|
Message #6 Posted by Bruce Bergman on 23 July 2007, 8:38 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by Chuck
Coals? No -- you've asked a reasonable question.
As a programmer, I probably use hex or binary once a week or so. I probably do at least some sort of basic functionality in these bases that often, sometimes more. It's generally limited to switching between bases, but frequently includes basic math, and basic logic operations too.
Personally, I think the issue is less about how MUCH we need it, but more about how EASY it is to use.
I would really prefer to use the 16c for this work -- as you postulated -- but it is such a rare and valuable calc that I won't subject it to use at work; dust, spills, theft, etc., are all concerns. If the 16c's were still in production, or available in copious quantities, then yes, I would totally be using that calc instead. There has been nothing like it since it came out.
Since they aren't prolific, I rely on my "desk calc", whatever model that is, to do my occasional base work. Here lies the second half of the problem...
If it's difficult to use, or not obvious in how to do something, then I have a big problem with that calc. Partly because I want to be able to just pound out my answers, but also because I have to trust the numbers. If I have to really carefully watch as I type in each number, make sure I've pressed the right operation, check to see the number makes sense, no errors, etc., then I've worked too hard at it. Some would argue that I should *always* do that anyhow. True. But with the 16c, for example, I never have to doubt my work -- it was so intuitive that the results were rock solid. With the new 35s (and the 33s before it; the 50g which is still different yet; etc), I always had to make sure I clearly was doing the right thing and the answers were plausible in context. That sucks. It needs to be easy to use, and rock solid in what it does without making me doubt my work.
A good example is what someone already posted. Go into hex mode and enter a number. Notice that if you enter "25c", it complains of syntax error. Ugh. If I just enter "25", it takes it and converts it. Dangerous. I have to go put a "h" at the end to make sense in that context (a multi-keystroke step). At that point, I'm working too hard. That's not even talking about math or logic -- that's just entering a number.
I still think a program to emulate the 16c behavior is needed -- or something of that sort. Anyone else have ideas or comments?
My $0.02 anyhow.
Edited: 23 July 2007, 8:44 p.m.