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HP 50g - How to log and edit RPN expression entry?
03-02-2024, 06:05 PM (This post was last modified: 03-03-2024 08:41 AM by smnsparty.)
Post: #12
RE: HP 50g - How to log and edit RPN expression entry?
Sorry to be bumping an old thread, but I think this is actually a very helpful discussion (full disclosure: I've been a TI-89 user since 1999, and have owned an HP-50g since 2013).

The 50g has remarkable computational and programming potential for the price (while it was still in production), but unfortunately, unlike TI products the stock HP software/firmware has a very Jekyll-and-Hyde nature, which can be quite jarring for the uninitiated.

The OP's observations are also my main concerns from the standpoint of having easy and convenient access to a sophisticated CAS in a handheld device, but I believe the following are also worth adding to the list (since I'm relatively inexperienced with the device despite having owned it so long, please feel free to point out any system flags or scripts/workarounds which might easily address the items below).
  1. Textbook mode (aka Pretty Print in the TI/Python universe) for the stack seems not to have been fully implemented; the moment I hit UA to browse the stack, the display regresses into looking like a TI-83 of yore, complete with nested-parenthetical one-liner infix notation entries forming a veritable wall of ASCII -- in fact, I swear I actually end up staring at algebraic mode (as opposed to EQW or textbook mode) expressions at least 3x longer on the 50g than I ever do on the TI-89!
  2. RPN mode seems to rely a fair amount upon UNDO to fix mistaken entries or operations, but it inexplicably offers only a single level of undo, and to add to the confusion, whilst 'redo' is technically feasible, it's hidden inside the cryptically named CMD feature -- to compound the confusion even further, despite the name, CMD only captures the 4 most recent operands pushed onto the stack, and instead entirely leaves out the operators and functions that had been applied!
  3. The 50g strongly favours all-caps, even in CAS mode -- if one wishes to use lowercase letters, any keystroke advantage provided by RPN or the EQW relative to other devices instantly vanishes due to the repeated Alpha-LShift nonsense (and locking lowercase alpha isn't much better, as it overrides critical items like the inverse, exponential, trig functions, etc.)
  4. The system font is horrendously ugly, and the smaller fonts are often illegible (especially when using a lot of lowercase letters) -- rather surprising from a company with a long history of solid PostScript support for its printers
  5. The only way COPY/CUT/PASTE seem to work in RPN mode is if they're accompanied by the BEGIN + END markers -- these seem like unnecessary additional keystrokes to me, and this might've been a missed opportunity to instead, for example, allow holding LShift whilst using the cursor keys to highlight the desired items, just like we're used to doing on computers or calculators from other manufacturers
I would be very interested to know if there are easy fixes or workarounds to the above points.

Last but not least, I haven't been very impressed with the calculator's documentation, and have instead lurked on various fora over the years and watched YouTube videos to find out what I currently know about the 50g (which admittedly isn't much -- the above drawbacks have held me back from delving deeper into its feature set). To be fair, the manuals for the TI-89 Titanium aren't great either -- in stark contrast to the original TI-89 Guidebook -- now that document is an absolute masterpiece of accessible, hands-on technical writing with beautiful illustrations and overall typesetting, and a very large reason why I know the 89 like the back of my hand.
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RE: HP 50g - How to log and edit RPN expression entry? - smnsparty - 03-02-2024 06:05 PM

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