The Museum of HP Calculators

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Full Name (family, given): Hamilton, Neil
Account Name: Neil Hamilton (Ottawa)
Contact: Neil Hamilton (Ottawa)
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Entered: 19 May 2011, 7:23 p.m.

I was of the final generation to use slide rules and I was stubbornly the last holdout in my high school eschew calculators. No battery failures for me! (I still have an Aristo-Studio No. 0968.)

However, when I entered university in '76, I marched across town to the engineering university to plunk down my hard earned $165 CDN (I am looking at the actual bill of sale) onto the bookstore counter (really more of a "book cupboard" or exaggerated dent in the wall) for a sexy HP25. When I calculate the current buying power of that price (in 2011 $'s), it comes to something on the order to $650 -- and that money was earned from my paper route! That seems crazy to me now to send that kind of dough.

I diligently combed through every page in the manual to find out how this super-cool thing worked only to discover that about half the registered didn't work -- all the statistics registers were dead -- huh!! Back to the cupboard to exchange it for a another one.

That 25 took me through a physics degree, a few-year break for work, an engineering degree, and a decade of oceanography -- that calculator and I went some amazing places. I used it on the North Altantic and Indian Oceans, in the high arctic (we are talking *well* north of Alert -- living on the ice pack!), and a slew of other remote places.

I still have that 25 and resurrected it from its deep storage in the basement a few years ago. What a gorgeous keyboard, I never get tired of it. If only it was the continuous memory model...

I will admit to using my wife's TI-59 for my finals in electrical engineering. I spent hours writing and cramming filter solving programs onto those magnetic cards. (That 59 was in the same basement box as the 25 but I couldn't get it running again -- oh well, no great loss.)

Since then I have owned a few others: a 33E or 34E (can't recall which -- lent it to my brother who threw it out while living in Bangladesh: "where is the %$#& equals key"), my workhorse 11C (which I still use virtually everyday -- only changed the batteries twice that I recall), the awful 33s my boss gave me when he decided my 11C was just way too old (I can never find anything on that 33s keyboard), and a 35s as a backup for the 11C (I think the "+" key on the 11C has finally started to pack it in :-(, such a shame).

In addition I have free42s running on most machines I own (from iPods and Palms, to my desktop at work). An amazing project.

I just recently got both a 20b and (am impatiently waiting for shipment on) a 30b so can flash one or both of them with this very cool WP34s. Kudos to Cyrille for making it possible and to Walter and Pauli for making it happen!

For the life of me I can't understand why folks don't abandon this silly notion of algebraic (D.A.L. may be an improvement but it still has no stack) and embrace the purer vision of RPN. As my father-in-law says, "RPN just makes sense". (To bad he threw out a 67 before I got a chance to fix it!)


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