|Re: lack of i/o is not a flaw|
Message #21 Posted by Will Hartung on 4 Aug 2007, 2:59 a.m.,
in response to message #15 by Donald Williams
But in truth, HP-IL really wasn't abandoned. The names have changed, the protocol has shifted, but the functionality remains and had gotten much, much, better.
I don't think anyone praised HP-IL on its protocol, but rather it's format and functionality. Like the ability to control several devices on a single bus.
If anything, today, they'd lament one of it's physical aspects: the loop. Having to loop the equipment would probably be off putting to some folks, much like we used to have to terminate ethernet cables or tap those thick nasty cables at specific intervals. Compared to todays RJ-45 jacks and twisted pair, noone is looking back and saying "them were the days".
But serial protocols flourish today, and are the dominant form of communication by a wide margin. And, whoo boy, are they fast. Offering all of what HP-IL offered and more.
So, HP-IL itself may be dead, but it's spirit lives on and shines bright.
Calculators are spectacularly challenged today. The amount of power available today is astounding, but it's the form factor of the calculator that keeps us coming back.
I mean, look at the iPhone. That thing has 700MB of software on it. 700MB! For a PHONE!
But it can't do what this 35s does, I/O or no I/O. It has no staying power, needing to be recharged often. And it's got a lousy form factor compared to the 35s. No doubt someone will come out with some kind of better calculator application for it, but no one will use it. Anyone who's serious about using a calculator for anything more than calculating a dinner check will get a real calculator. The 12C sells for a reason.
And you won't see the vertical applications for the iPhone like you do calculators, particularly HP calculators. Notably solution packs, or things like surveying, etc. Again, the platform doesn't work. Do you see workers taking the iPhone in to the field? Middle of a dusty plain, trying to make it function with gloves on? Nope. No way. Buttons are good. Calculators are strong, they're durable. They're also cheap.
Folks will be using their 35s 10 years from now. The iPhone will be dead and in the landfill by then (and, well, maybe the Smithsonian, but that's a different topic...).
Today there is a lot motivation that folks feel like they need to cram everything they can in to the "hand held computing device". I think the high end calculators of today really take it about as far as it can go. They'll never stop surprising me of course. They can always make them faster. Add more capacity, etc. The motivation is there because it's so easy. CPU horsepower is practically free today.
I recall when the Game Boy Advanced came out. They wanted to be able to play original Game Boy games on it. But the GBA was an ARM chip, and the GB was a Z80. Did they give up? No. Did they emulate a Z80? No. They bundled a Z80 core into the machine. What's a Z80, 10,000 transistors? Pah! Childs play today. Drag and Drop in a VLOG editor. And that's cheaper and faster than the FLASH space for a Z80 emulator.
Calculators tho, they have to achieve balance. I look at some of the Casios at the local Office Mart. Solar powered, immortal, large LCDs, a zillion functions, and -- wait for it -- and ONE memory register. ONE! Uno! M+, M-, MR, MC. WHAT??? You can perform quantum physics on this thing but only save one value? What are they thinking?
Well, for one, they're $10. For another, that's what their market does. They do calculating, not so much computing. Kids doing homework. Sold by the pallet with free pencils.
The 35s is all about balance. As someone else mentioned, it's got as much memory as it needs. It simply, as architected, can't use anymore. All of the machine limits hit at 32K. And that memory is designed more so for macros, really, than applications. Shortcuts folks incrementally develop for the machine as they use it. For folks who go "Boy this calculation is a bear, it would be nice to not have to do it again", and sure enough you really don't have too (well, once more as you type it back in). Keystroke programming is the classic "watch me" macro recording process.
But kids doing homework, they're not redoing calculations. They do "work" with a calculator as much as they do exercises. And most of them will praise the day that they don't have to do ANY calculation again, much less the SAME calcuation again. So, programming is much less important.
I do agree that it would be a shame to have a lot of work in the machine and lose it to a battery failure. It would have probably been nice to have a back up button battery. I imagine it has SOME lifespan without the batteries (I know my 15C is like that, to survice battery changes), but for safety, it would be nice to have some back up like that.
32K of RAM is a not really a lot to type back in, but it's a lot to lose.
I love my 48gx and 49g. Just incredible machines. I love the 15C, it's form factor is, bar none, the finest ever. It's handiness and perfect "thumbabiity". Unfortunately, the 15C form factor can't handle the bigger LCD, or take more buttons (even tho the 15C had 3 less than the 42S). So, they just can't seem to cram as much as is necessary (apparently) today in to a 15C form factor.
I think form factor of the 35s is pretty good, and it's lack of I/O is not an issue. It's a calculator in all its glory (though the infrared printer would have been nice).
Its hard today to keep a calculator a calculator. Designers can pretty much do anything they want with the days technology, but go too far and you end up with something that's not a calculator. It loses its focus and comprimises what a calculator is used for by the people who use them. And that's a crime against both the users and the calculator.
The 35s is a calculator, and boy does it seem like a really nice one.