|Re: What I changed (was Re: Trivial news of the 43S (no Prime))|
Message #98 Posted by Han on 21 Nov 2013, 8:37 a.m.,
in response to message #94 by Walter B
and I'm still convinced that applies to you as well. It means that you learned adding before subtracting before multiplying before dividing in primary school mathematics - and all of that a long time before you could even handle an HP-25. Thus I wrote about all of us. And thus I see the order + - × / as kind of 'natural' order of arithmetic operators, regardless of what any engineers of HP may have wanted to tell me in 1972.
If that is the case, then by the same logic the numerical pad should read:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
or something similar (top down).
The reason why any key layout "make sense" is simply because we arbitrarily -- yes, arbitrarily -- put meaning into that order. Why is it that the operators should be read "top to bottom" and not the same for the numbers? Did you learn to read from the top of a page to the bottom, or vice versa? The reason having X on top and + on bottom is simply to have it align with the fact that the numbers also count from bottom to top. But again, even this choice is arbitrary, even if accepted as convention.
And thus I see the order + - × / as kind of 'natural' order of arithmetic operators, regardless of what any engineers of HP may have wanted to tell me in 1972.
From what I can see, you are willing to go against the grain only as it fits your own personal view because I am 99.99% positive you did not learn to read from the bottom of a page to the top (referring to the number keys).
The other heavily discussed topic is the location of the arithmetic operators. Some folks insist they are on the left along with the ENTER key because they use their left hand and their thumb does most of the work. If that is the main reason for left-sided arithmetic operations, then why don't you also redesign the layout so that the most often-used keys are on the left? Even more logical would be to lay the keys out in as close to a "radial" manner, centrally focused at approximately where the thumb would be.
What is just as interesting is how there is so much effort to make an efficient calculator through keyboard layout as well as RPN, and yet an even easier way to be more efficient is to actually use TWO hands when using a calculator (I use two thumbs to do most of my key presses). Much like pecking on the keyboard with two fingers is less efficient than touch-typing, I do not see a strong argument for using only one hand.
You may present the idea of holding the calc in one hand and writing in the other. I don't know of very many people who simultaneously write (and presumably look at what they write), all while pressing keys on a calculator and making computations (and looking at the screen to make sure they pressed the right keys). Even if you do hold a pencil and one hand and calc in the other, you don't use these two tools in parallel. We do these two tasks serially -- compute, then write, then compute some more, and write some more, etc. So really, there is an advantage to putting that pencil down and holding the calc with two hands (if for no other reason than to not be as likely to drop the calc). Once you get away from using a single thumb, it is quite easy to see the merit in placing the arithmetic keys opposite of the enter key -- for the same reason the QWERTY and DVORAK keyboards don't have keys lined up alphabetically: faster input by pressing keys using the opposing thumbs every other button press.
In the end, it _is_ your project. And if you want to make the calculator be a certain way, I see no reason why it should not be as you want it. I also do not see any problem in sharing your ideas and process by posting progress reports on the forum. The only issue I have is that sometimes the discussion is a bit dishonest wherein many other folks have been lead to think that what they think matters. A simple bit of disclosure (i.e. that the responses will in no way affect your decision-making) any time you ask for a "discussion" or "poll" would save a lot of folks time and emotion. In summary, just do it -- and share what you want to share. All these discussions and polls are just getting you sidetracked from the real work in getting your project completed.
[You note that it is nice sometimes to have a break from the HP Prime threads. Though I agree -- I personally do not see the MoHPC as an appropriate place to do bug reporting -- there are those who would see these intermittent threads about a calc they have no say in as a distraction to more important discussions about a calculator that they _do_ have a say in. The HP team, after all, is at least listening and considering the feedback here.]
Edit: The layout for the number keys is likely due to a "natural" fit with the right hand on a PC keyboard. This likely got "imported" to desktop calculators (Or maybe it was the other way around?) and then left there as the calculators evolved to handheld form. So while you are rethinking where to put arithmetic keys, it may be a good time to also rethink number key layout (esp. since there is a preference to use the left thumb).
Edited: 21 Nov 2013, 10:18 a.m.