Consumer Reports likes Numworks
10-22-2021, 05:11 PM
Post: #1
 celltx Member Posts: 50 Joined: Sep 2018
Consumer Reports likes Numworks
ConsumerReports.org: Meet NumWorks, the Modern Graphing Calculator.
https://www.consumerreports.org/electron...085390330/
10-22-2021, 06:03 PM
Post: #2
 John Keith Senior Member Posts: 1,027 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
Unfortunately the article makes no mention of the HP Prime, while there are many comparisons to TI calculators. There are passing references to HP and Casio, and to RPN.
10-22-2021, 06:29 PM (This post was last modified: 10-22-2021 06:31 PM by celltx.)
Post: #3
 celltx Member Posts: 50 Joined: Sep 2018
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-22-2021 06:03 PM)John Keith Wrote:  Unfortunately the article makes no mention of the HP Prime, while there are many comparisons to TI calculators. There are passing references to HP and Casio, and to RPN.

At least, one of their remark regarding the duplicated minus keys - a sign and an operator - remains valid for HP and Casio, as well as for TI. Indeed, it's hardly explainable legacy in modern algebraic-mode calculators.
10-23-2021, 08:02 AM
Post: #4
 Wes Loewer Senior Member Posts: 453 Joined: Jan 2014
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-22-2021 06:29 PM)celltx Wrote:  At least, one of their remark regarding the duplicated minus keys - a sign and an operator - remains valid for HP and Casio, as well as for TI. Indeed, it's hardly explainable legacy in modern algebraic-mode calculators.

I guess I fall in the other camp. I've often lamented the fact that the symbols for subtraction and negation look so similar. I wish they looked completely different from each other so that students would not confuse the two operations.

It's not unusual for a student to write something like d/dx e^cos(x) = e^cos(x)-sin(x). I have no way of knowing if they intended multiplication by a negative, or subtraction stemming from the error of adding the chain rule instead of multiplying. A different symbol would remove the ambiguity.

I prefer the way that TI enforces the different operations, while HP and Casio are more forgiving and will assume that a subtraction is really a negative if that makes more sense.

With most calculators, pressing a binary operator first, like +-*/^, generates Ans+, Ans-, Ans*, etc. With the NumWorks not having a separate negative key, all the operators work in the same manner except for subtraction. NumWorks assumes you are entering a negative number, which is logical if you don't have a separate negative key. Of course, you can manually enter ans-, but I prefer consistency. (I really hated how list processing on the 50g worked for all the math operators except +.)
10-23-2021, 09:55 AM
Post: #5
 toml_12953 Senior Member Posts: 2,091 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-22-2021 06:03 PM)John Keith Wrote:  Unfortunately the article makes no mention of the HP Prime, while there are many comparisons to TI calculators. There are passing references to HP and Casio, and to RPN.

Is the article from the USA? If so, that's why there's little mention of other brands. Here, TI has such an overwhelming lead in educational calculators that they're the benchmark for others. It's hardly worth mentioning Casio, Sharp, HP or other calculators in an educational calculator article that focuses on the USA.

Tom L
Cui bono?
10-23-2021, 03:07 PM
Post: #6
 John Keith Senior Member Posts: 1,027 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-23-2021 08:02 AM)Wes Loewer Wrote:  I guess I fall in the other camp. I've often lamented the fact that the symbols for subtraction and negation look so similar. I wish they looked completely different from each other so that students would not confuse the two operations.

With most calculators, pressing a binary operator first, like +-*/^, generates Ans+, Ans-, Ans*, etc. With the NumWorks not having a separate negative key, all the operators work in the same manner except for subtraction. NumWorks assumes you are entering a negative number, which is logical if you don't have a separate negative key. Of course, you can manually enter ans-, but I prefer consistency. (I really hated how list processing on the 50g worked for all the math operators except +.)

HP calculators use either CHS or +/- for negation and - for subtraction, which is non-ambiguous, but also necessary for RPN since subtraction is a 2-argument function and negation is a 1-argument function. Having two different keys on an algebraic calculator is not necessary since the - in [b-]4-2[/b] is the same symbol as in -5. The Ans operation in modern calculators is a valid reason for two separate keys but they should be easy to distinguish as they are on HP calculators.

The inconsistency regarding + vs ADD for lists is an unfortunate legacy of using + to concatenate lists on the earlier RPL calculators. When listability of functions was implemented in the 48G, they had to use a different function name or else break compatibility with earlier models. NewRPL attempts to correct the situation by switching the meanings of + and ADD but I personally find ADD to be less than intuitive for list concatenation.
10-23-2021, 07:52 PM
Post: #7
 Wes Loewer Senior Member Posts: 453 Joined: Jan 2014
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-23-2021 03:07 PM)John Keith Wrote:  Having two different keys on an algebraic calculator is not necessary since the - in 4-2 is the same symbol as in -5.

Actually, HP, Casio, and TI calculators all use slightly different symbols. The unary negative symbol is smaller and more elevated than the binary subtraction symbol. (TeX uses the same symbols with different spacing to distinguish the two.)

(10-23-2021 03:07 PM)John Keith Wrote:  The inconsistency regarding + vs ADD for lists is an unfortunate legacy of using + to concatenate lists on the earlier RPL calculators. When listability of functions was implemented in the 48G, they had to use a different function name or else break compatibility with earlier models. NewRPL attempts to correct the situation by switching the meanings of + and ADD but I personally find ADD to be less than intuitive for list concatenation.

Even though I knew the history of + vs ADD, I still didn't like it. Here's a thread with my suggestion back in 2010 to remedy the situation (https://groups.google.com/g/comp.sys.hp4...rvP3IHIdEJ), but it didn't gain any traction, and probably for good reason. I still think my idea would have worked, but it just wasn't worth the effort.
10-23-2021, 09:18 PM
Post: #8
 toml_12953 Senior Member Posts: 2,091 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-23-2021 03:07 PM)John Keith Wrote:  The inconsistency regarding + vs ADD for lists is an unfortunate legacy of using + to concatenate lists on the earlier RPL calculators. When listability of functions was implemented in the 48G, they had to use a different function name or else break compatibility with earlier models. NewRPL attempts to correct the situation by switching the meanings of + and ADD but I personally find ADD to be less than intuitive for list concatenation.

Some languages use & for concatenation.

Tom L
Cui bono?
10-24-2021, 04:23 PM
Post: #9
 bbergman Member Posts: 57 Joined: Nov 2017
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
I purchased one of the first NumWorks calculators that came out, blemishes and all. I was super excited about the concept, and it looked good. However, as I quickly found out upon receiving it, anyone who has used HP's will have heartburn with it. The keyboard is mushy, and while I've never had any double-presses, it just doesn't feel solid to me. Also, the color scheme is terrible (yellow or grey on white), to the point where I used to get so frustrated that I just wouldn't use it. Yes, some of that is probably my age, and maybe the younger crowd don't care, but I was certainly not the only one who complained about this to them. They mostly ignored the crows, but eventually did a revision with a "darker" shade of yellow. Go figure.

I much prefer the Prime screen, and of course the Prime outperforms it at virtually anything. NumWorks had Python long before the Prime, which was nice in thought, but it was painful to use. I will say that the firmware upgrade process, and the transfer of information, was so much easier with NumWorks, but HP has been pretty solid and simple for a while now.

Ultimately, I just couldn't love the NumWorks. I "liked" it, but not love. I'm biased, of course. But I'll take an HP over the NumWorks any day.
10-24-2021, 05:50 PM
Post: #10
 toml_12953 Senior Member Posts: 2,091 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Consumer Reports likes Numworks
(10-24-2021 04:23 PM)bbergman Wrote:  I purchased one of the first NumWorks calculators that came out, blemishes and all. I was super excited about the concept, and it looked good. However, as I quickly found out upon receiving it, anyone who has used HP's will have heartburn with it. The keyboard is mushy, and while I've never had any double-presses, it just doesn't feel solid to me. Also, the color scheme is terrible (yellow or grey on white), to the point where I used to get so frustrated that I just wouldn't use it. Yes, some of that is probably my age, and maybe the younger crowd don't care, but I was certainly not the only one who complained about this to them. They mostly ignored the crows, but eventually did a revision with a "darker" shade of yellow. Go figure.

I much prefer the Prime screen, and of course the Prime outperforms it at virtually anything. NumWorks had Python long before the Prime, which was nice in thought, but it was painful to use. I will say that the firmware upgrade process, and the transfer of information, was so much easier with NumWorks, but HP has been pretty solid and simple for a while now.

Ultimately, I just couldn't love the NumWorks. I "liked" it, but not love. I'm biased, of course. But I'll take an HP over the NumWorks any day.

Totally agree. I suppose in a brightly lit classroom the keyboard would be readable but here at home, I have to wear a headlamp most of the time if I want to use it. The HP Prime is in a totally different ballpark from the Numworks. I do like the fact that it's so easy to update, though. You connect your calculator to the PC, visit the update site and immediately see if you need an OS update. If you do, two or three mouse clicks and you're all updated. With Prime, you have to visit the site, know what version you're using and check to see if the latest available is later. Then you have to download it to a specific directory, run the Connectivity Kit and run the update. The automatic updater in the CK has never worked for me.

Tom L
Cui bono?
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