HP Forums

Full Version: HP-35 versus DC-8 (Chuck House presentation on HP history)
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
There's a story I hadn't heard before in this 1986 presentation on HP's new venture into personal computing in the 60s, and how it is to enter a business you know nothing about. See transcript below - but the whole talk is worth a listen if you have an hour.

Full video - intro starts at 1m15 and Chuck House is on at 3m08.
"Hewlett Packard and Personal Computing Systems" [Recorded: January 10 ,1986]
Presentation given by Chuck House at the ACM Conference on the History of Personal Workstations

The bit about air travel starts just after the 20min mark:
<snipped: the 9100 sales forecast out by 2500%>
<snipped: the story about the HP-35 ROM bug>
Quote:...and that's one of the fun things that happens in this business

another is we had never really thought a lot
about RFI, EMI
although we did do that kind of thing
in some of our other products
but we didn't think about the problem of
three or four people carrying these on first class
on an airplane
and jamming the electronics communications systems

remember that?

and then pretty soon they started saying
you can't use your pocket calculator on these machines
because it'll crash the DC-8
which is an awkward situation

Point is
you get into businesses you don't really understand
and if nobody's really put them out there in quantity
you do your learning and your testing of your environment
is all in the world
and that's fascinating

Another we had is these things were banned in many
elementary schools
Texas banned them for a time in general
Drexler University banned them until 1984
You couldn't use a Hewlett-Packard pocket calculator
in a final exam in the civil engineering department
until the Fall of 1984.
<snipped: criticism of shifted keys as a user interface>

Edit: just found the accompanying article as a free PDF here: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=66923
Quote:...we had never really thought a lot about RFI and EM!. All of our products, of course, were tested for such concerns in industrial environments, but we didn't think especially about the problem of three or four people carrying these into the first class section on an airplane and jamming the electronics communications systems. Remember that? Then pretty soon, especially as lower-qualified competition proliferated, airlines began saying you can't use pocket calculators on airplanes. The point is, you get into business you don't really understand and, if nobody has really put them out there in quantity, you do your learning, your testing of your environment, on the world, and that's fascinating, sometimes.
Reference URL's