|Re: Calculator Keyboard standards?|
Message #5 Posted by Karl Schneider on 30 Aug 2007, 1:48 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Eric Smith
Hmm, your responses seemed a tad argumentative. That's OK; I've been known to be the same...
We had a debate about the HP-10C more than three years ago.
"At some point in the early 1980s, they apparently either forgot about that, or decided that it was unimportant."
"You can disagree all you like, but nothing you have written gives any evidence that either of my statements were incorrect."
It's quite difficult to refute or disprove any statement that includes the word "apparently". My view is that HP reconsidered the design, deciding that the arrangement used by TI perhaps made more sense for most users and adopted it -- not specifically to be consistent with TI, which, needless to say, would be clearly unimportant.
Almost every engineer I've ever seen use a Woodstock, Spice, or HP-41C/CV/CX routinely used it one-handed.
Are you guys burly field engineers with huge hands? I can't span the keyboard comfortably even on an HP-34C. That divide key is almost impossible to reach. Good thing it isn't needed all that often, or else it would have been centered within that region of the keypad. :-)
Are you unable to retain a mental image of where you saw the numeric keys a fraction of a second previously?
No, but why visualize when you could actually see?
But you might have a point: Visualization, or "eyes on the display, not on the keypad" was expected, as with typing in era prior to word processors or even IBM Correcting Selectric typewriters. That's why there was a raised dot on the HP-35's "5" key.
As Emmerson said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds
Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous quote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" is a non sequitur here. Division is to multiplication as subtraction is to addition -- both are pairs of inverse functions. There's nothing foolish about keeping a consistent positional relationship between them.
That argument ("The most common, '+', is conspicuous in the lower-right corner, just like adding machines.") might make some sense for a financial calculator, but not for a scientific. Many engineers would have moved from an earlier HP to a newer HP, but few would have moved directly from an adding machine to a newer HP.
That's another non sequitur. '+' (on a large key) was placed in the lower right corner for conspicuity and less-encumbered access because addition is the most commonly used arithmetic function for adding machines. That's probably also true to a lesser extent for scientifics.
For a horizontal form factor, (the HP-15C has) a good keyboard layout. I won't claim that I could do better, but I certainly wouldn't go so far as to claim that it had achieved perfection. You're far (too) quick to throw that word around.
"Far too quick"? The HP-15C has been out for 25 years, and I've had one for 24 of those. During that time, numerous models of calculators that just don't measure up as well in certain fundamental aspects have been introduced by HP and other manufacturers. Er, how much longer should I have waited?
Of course, anything can be judged only within the context of what it actually is or was, not whatever else might be subsequently developed. The HP-15C is a horizontal-layout, compact and affordable advanced scientific calculator with a 10-digit, 7-segment display and modest processing speed, ROM, and RAM space. There was hardly any room for improvement of any kind in the execution of its functional specification.
At least you must admit that I offered plenty of evidence in the archived post for the "perfect keyboard arrangement" argument... :-)
Edited: 31 Aug 2007, 12:16 a.m.