|Re: HP 39GII|
Message #19 Posted by Oliver Unter Ecker on 19 Jan 2012, 5:11 a.m.,
in response to message #18 by bill platt
You build for a market.
Yes, but in tech you often shape (or even create) the market too.
One of Steve Jobs' famous lines is "The customer doesn't know what they want." It worked out for Apple, didn't it?
If HP has a spine, they'll continue to have RPN in their future high-end machines. Because *they* know it's better for many use cases. The customer will come around to it, if the explaining is made so that it actually sounds as simple as it is. (Starting an explanation of what RPN is with that it stands for "Reverse Polish Notation", however, is guarantee for instant implosion of interest in newbies.)
Nothing wrong with Algebraic and RPN living in perfect harmony, btw.
Algebraic is often derided here as inferior, but I've not (in my one year here) seen a discussion about what's intimately tied to both: stack vs. notebook.
If you assume former, RPN is the way to go (and you can prove it with keystroke counts, and chaining behavior) and RPL is the *natural and simplest* programming language.
If you assume latter, ALG has the clear edge (because entry looks like math on paper) and any of most modern programming languages, with their free (and robust, highly-optimized) implementations, are the way to go.
A calculator--even in smartphone or tablet form--is different from a computer-based math environment, in how it's used. (Even if there were feature-parity.) Picked up for a few seconds, a few calculations done, little programs want to be written with least of amount of effort and keystrokes.
These observations benefit to keeping the stack and RPN/RPL around.
<< sqrt >>
You have two chars to key in to write this program.
There *is* no more efficient program than this here to take the square root of: a number, a complex number, all elements of a vector/list, an algebraic expression, etc.
A stack gives you zero declarative overhead for inputs and outputs. RPL gives you a richer host of math-relevant types than any stock computer language I know, and you can start using it as soon as you know that a program starts with << and is, in its simplest form, just a chain of the instructions you'd apply in interactive mode.
I'm *hoping* (and kinda trust) HP knows that what they created isn't dinosaur technology, and that this tech will be moved into new (possibly hybrid) machines.
Edited: 19 Jan 2012, 5:17 a.m.