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Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
06-12-2019, 04:44 AM
Post: #1
Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
For the past several years I have been using HP-11C, 12C, 35S, and Prime as my daily drivers for work, school, and personal use.

Recently I acquired a 41-CV and have noticed a different keyboard layout, concerning locations of numbers and arithmetic functions compare to the HP models after the production of the HP-41

Does anybody know why HP change or quit using the layout of the earlier models keyboards?
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06-12-2019, 12:36 PM
Post: #2
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
Picture please?

I am not aware of any change in the keyboard layout from the earliest BETA models with 191XA serial numbers to the regular production runs.
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06-12-2019, 12:50 PM
Post: #3
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
You're referring to the arithmetic operators being on the left, and in the order multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division, right? I believe they changed them over to the right side, and more modern ordering, with the Voyagers (12C, 15C, etc.). Couldn't tell you the rationale behind the change, though.
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06-12-2019, 01:32 PM (This post was last modified: 06-13-2019 01:21 PM by burkhard.)
Post: #4
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 12:36 PM)Gene Wrote:  Picture please?

I am not aware of any change in the keyboard layout from the earliest BETA models with 191XA serial numbers to the regular production runs.

I think you read it too quickly, Gene.
I think he simply means:
"Back 30+ years ago why did HP move the mathematical operators from the left (HP-41C) to right (HP-42S)?"

One more thing besides that actually... They monkeyed with the top-to-bottom order of the operands as well, something that actually gives me more grief than the left↔right interchange when I go to using one vintage of machine to the other.

I really hate that there were two layout flavors, but that is history. The coming exciting WP-43S project sadly adopts a 3rd convention for a classical RPN machine. They are putting the math operators on the left (like the older HP machines), but using the top-to-bottom order of the newer HP machines.

I will say, if you only ever use one model, it doesn't really matter much, but for a lot of us with a collection (or a pile, depending on one's perspective), switching back & forth is a little annoying. But, I take what I can get—I can't be content with just one, can I? :-)
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06-12-2019, 01:45 PM
Post: #5
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
While there no doubt was (at least what the dev. team thought was) a good reason for the shift from operators on the left on Classic through 41 models to the operators on the right on the Voyager and subsequent models (and the operator different sequence) that reasoning has never been published. The May 83 HP Journal discusses the challenge of jamming all the 15C functions into the small Voyager keyboard, but the 11C and 12C had already been around for some time by then.

My own theory is that some prescient UI engineer was planting the seeds to sow decades of debate about which is right (er... correct). Which is a shame since they had it correct from the beginning.

Massimo's tag line says it all "-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong" Smile

--Bob Prosperi
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06-12-2019, 02:26 PM
Post: #6
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
My own theory is that that: HP-41 - use your left hand to operate the keyboard and write results with your right hand. At that time intermediate results were usually written down too. That's what one of my professors in uni was teaching us. Latter either printers were more available/affordable or results were displayed on screen and saved and that was enough, approach changed. So now you operate the calculator with your right hand - hence ENTER & +-/* on the right hand side. Recently I had a chance to play with HP Prime my young colleague purchased. Absolutely loved keyboard feel and arrangement, disliked the display (far away from todays standards), hated the no-RPN/L.
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06-12-2019, 02:52 PM
Post: #7
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 01:45 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  While there no doubt was (at least what the dev. team thought was) a good reason for the shift from operators on the left on Classic through 41 models to the operators on the right on the Voyager and subsequent models (and the operator different sequence) that reasoning has never been published. The May 83 HP Journal discusses the challenge of jamming all the 15C functions into the small Voyager keyboard, but the 11C and 12C had already been around for some time by then.

My own theory is that some prescient UI engineer was planting the seeds to sow decades of debate about which is right (er... correct). Which is a shame since they had it correct from the beginning.

Massimo's tag line says it all "-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong" :)

Voyagers, the root of all evil: landscape and wrong keyboard. :(

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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06-12-2019, 03:16 PM
Post: #8
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 01:32 PM)burkhard Wrote:  I really hate that there were two layout flavors, but that is history. The coming WP-43S project sadly adopts a 3rd convention for a classical RPN machine. They are putting the math operators on the left (like the older HP machines), but using the top-to-bottom order (like the newer HP machines).

That’s a pity… we don’t need a third convention. Each of the two HP keyboard layouts has its own merit but mixing the two in a different one is just adding confusion IMHO.

Btw, the second layout with the operators on the right was used by HP as early as 1973 with the HP-46.
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06-12-2019, 04:42 PM
Post: #9
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 03:16 PM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  
(06-12-2019 01:32 PM)burkhard Wrote:  I really hate that there were two layout flavors, but that is history. The coming WP-43S project sadly adopts a 3rd convention for a classical RPN machine. They are putting the math operators on the left (like the older HP machines), but using the top-to-bottom order (like the newer HP machines).

That’s a pity… we don’t need a third convention. Each of the two HP keyboard layouts has its own merit but mixing the two in a different one is just adding confusion IMHO.

Btw, the second layout with the operators on the right was used by HP as early as 1973 with the HP-46.

I agree, a 3rd convention isn't needed, 2 layout styles is enough and the 43S should stick with one of those.

IIRC (and maybe I don't) when the vote took place, the question was for left vs. right (original 43S concept, based on 34S, was the latter style) and the winner was left. I'm sure the vote was presumed to be a left w/original sequence vs. right w/later sequence by most voters, as a combination was not likely considered an option. Will have to raise this over on the SM Forum.

And I never noticed the 46 uses the "later" arrangement, including the later operator sequence; nice point Didier. I'd guess the operator sequence was driven by the historical use of the large "+" on the bottom as used by accountants on adding machines; a convention still used today on most desktop machines of that type.

--Bob Prosperi
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06-12-2019, 06:01 PM
Post: #10
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
Hi,

For what it is worth, a presentation was made at the 2000 HP conference in Los Angeles, surveying calculator keyboard keypad layouts from the HP35 up to the (ill-fated) Xpander. The presentation paper is located here and a copy of the presentation slides, comparing images of all the keypads is here..

Jake
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06-12-2019, 06:51 PM
Post: #11
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 06:01 PM)Jake Schwartz Wrote:  Hi,

For what it is worth, a presentation was made at the 2000 HP conference in Los Angeles, surveying calculator keyboard keypad layouts from the HP35 up to the (ill-fated) Xpander. The presentation paper is located here and a copy of the presentation slides, comparing images of all the keypads is here..

Jake

Your usual thorough and amazing work Jake, thanks for these links, it makes it easy to see just about every HP machine through 2000 at a glance.

As a side effect, the images also confirm (as if this needed to be confirmed) that the orginal HP-10 is about the weirdest machine HP ever introduced. Look at that keyboard! But I still wish I could get my HP-10 printer working...

--Bob Prosperi
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06-12-2019, 07:13 PM
Post: #12
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
Ah, and yes I did read it too quickly. Oops!
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06-12-2019, 10:42 PM
Post: #13
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
Thank you gentlemen for the answers.
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06-13-2019, 07:02 PM
Post: #14
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-12-2019 04:44 AM)Bobby_Engineer Wrote:  Does anybody know why HP change or quit using the layout of the earlier models keyboards?

Regarding the order of the arithmetic keys, one possible explanation maybe was to align the calculator family with the numeric pad of HP technical desktop computers.
The order has always been / * - + starting from the HP9100, then the 98x0, the 98x5, up to the series 80 and series 200 (98x6).

J-F
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06-14-2019, 01:49 PM
Post: #15
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
The numeric keypad layout of the IBM PC and derivatives (and, to a lesser extent, video "dumb terminals") may have had an influence. After 1981, people all around the world got familiar with the "operation keys on the right column, plus key on the bottom" layout of such alphanumeric keyboards.

Andrés C. Rodríguez (Argentina)

Please disregard any idiomatic error.
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06-14-2019, 02:25 PM
Post: #16
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-14-2019 01:49 PM)Andres Wrote:  The numeric keypad layout of the IBM PC and derivatives (and, to a lesser extent, video "dumb terminals") may have had an influence. After 1981, people all around the world got familiar with the "operation keys on the right column, plus key on the bottom" layout of such alphanumeric keyboards.

The original PC keyboard layout was short-lived, the AT layout 2 years later (with Fn keys on top) changed the bottom to a 2nd Enter key, and operators wrapped from the top line around the right (with /, *, and - on the top and + a double sized key on the right above Enter).

But the knock-off clones had already started, so many of the original layout were produced before the clones switched to the AT-style.

--Bob Prosperi
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06-14-2019, 02:41 PM (This post was last modified: 06-14-2019 02:48 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #17
RE: Keyboard Layout HP-41C and early models
(06-14-2019 01:49 PM)Andres Wrote:  The numeric keypad layout of the IBM PC and derivatives (and, to a lesser extent, video "dumb terminals") may have had an influence. After 1981, people all around the world got familiar with the "operation keys on the right column, plus key on the bottom" layout of such alphanumeric keyboards.

In '81 you had IBM 327x (not even dumb) terminal keyboards without numeric keys on the right side, just arrows and insert, delete, control keys...
IBM model F keyboard had numeric keypad on the right with a small "-" and a taller (3x) "+" under it; "-" and "*" where on the main keyboard plane. The "*" also on the left of numpad. Function keys on the left side.

It was model M (1984) "enhanced" keyboard that standardized the current setup, with numeric and operation keys on the right side and function keys on top.

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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