Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
11-22-2021, 03:11 PM
Post: #1
 Marco Polo Member Posts: 223 Joined: Jun 2016
Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
Despite the "pleasure" of handling physical calculators, i am using more and more emulators on smartphone.
As a matter of fact my 50g is getting lesser and lesser usage time, replaced by Emu48/Android.

I asked myself "WHY" i am slowly drifting to emulators.
The pros i found are several:
1) the calculator is always with me
2) i don't have to carry extra weight
3) i don't have to worry about battery life and carry four Eneloops in my office bag
4) the screen has much better readability compared to real ones
5) backups are very easy: state files can be uploaded to cloud with minimal efforts
6) loading of programs/data does not involve the use of connection software or SD cards
7) i can use any calculator i want: my 50g virtual clone or a super-pimped 48gx or whatever runs on Emu48 or other emulators/simulators (Free42...)
8) in any time i can have a speed boost by deselecting the "authentic calculator speed" option

On the other side the cons are:
1) ergomics: better the real thing
2) pleasure of use: no battle...well, maybe not true for 49g/g+ :-)

I would like to know your experience.

Cheers
Marco Polo
11-22-2021, 08:35 PM
Post: #2
 Albert Chan Senior Member Posts: 1,984 Joined: Jul 2018
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
With modern hardware, most day-to-day calculations can be done in an instant.
But, working with emulators, we have less typing.

For Free42, we can cut/paste numbers/code, quickly, and less error-prone. (*)

In fact, my most used "calculator" is not even emulator, but my text editor.
Just select text, and press a key to calculate.

I use Notepad++, with plugin NppExec, and this is my "calculator".

Code:
// Calculate selected
NPP_CONSOLE ?
SET a ~ $(CURRENT_WORD) SEL_SETTEXT$(CURRENT_WORD) = \$(a)

(*) Can emu48 do cut/paste too ?
How do we enter expression or code into it ? Type it, character by character ?
When I do Ctrl-P to paste, all I get is error: "The emulator is busy"
11-22-2021, 10:10 PM
Post: #3
 John Galt Member Posts: 227 Joined: Oct 2014
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
I use emulators too, but I prefer to use a real calculator.

You don't need to find the calculator app
They don't require any sign-in or similar "security"
They stay on for several minutes before going to sleep
It doesn't need to be recharged every day, and the batteries give me plenty of warning before they die
Real buttons, lots of them, and their legends are always visible
I can pretty much throw them across the room without risk of damage

Of course they're not always close at hand, but I'm usually at my desk when I'm working.

Along similar lines of thought I tried using a Kindle as well as various e-book apps, but the experience just didn't sit well with me. I prefer real books, with pages I can turn.
11-22-2021, 10:14 PM
Post: #4
 John Keith Senior Member Posts: 802 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-22-2021 03:11 PM)Marco Polo Wrote:  I would like to know your experience.

I still prefer using a real calculator with physical keys, but I largely agree with your points. Nowadays I seldom carry a calculator with me because emulators on my phone are adequate for most purposes. I have two 50g's and both have slightly wonky keyboards and I don't want to carry them around and risk loss or damage since they are now rare and costly. EMU48 on my phone is 50 times as fast as the physical calculator, and Free42 has 34(?) digits of precision.

I also do most program development on the PC with EMU48 because typing is faster on a QWERTY keyboard. The phone emulators are probably the worst option for programming but fine for everyday calculations.

That being said, I still want a DM48.
11-23-2021, 07:41 AM (This post was last modified: 11-23-2021 10:21 AM by StephenG1CMZ.)
Post: #5
 StephenG1CMZ Senior Member Posts: 943 Joined: May 2015
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
I don't have an up to date real calculator so I'm not comparing like with like.

The pros of the real calculator (a ti83) :
Physical touch and feel.
You know it will work offline.

The cons of the real calculator:
Have to find a shop that sells one.
Zero connectivity (for me - although not if you have a budget for add-ons).
So typing everything in.
So unable to check results online or publish programs.
So no browsing or WiFi.
Also, need to be wary of shops selling old stock or not releasing version numbers. For example, you might have heard that the Casio Cg50 has Python. The original in the shops doesn't, you have to repair it first.

The advantage of the emulator (HP Prime on Android) :
Easy to update (but sometimes too easy - cannot regress to a working version).
Good connectivity (compared to real device, loading/uploads programs and data are possible - though not easily accomplished by a novice. It could be much better).

The disadvantage of the emulator:
Doesn't work offline so I'm looking for a new calculator (only some Android's have this bug).
The language changes with many updates (no backwards compatability, though hopefully that will be less of a problem with Python).
No Python.

The speed of the emulator is different to the real device (faster on my phone, which can be good, but also nonstandard).

Conclusion:
With the real device, you have an extra gadget to carry or forget, so you often won't have it when you need it.
With the emulator, there's nothing to remember, you'll think you have it until you try to use it and find it's broken or changed. But if it did work, the emulator would be preferred (unless I have add-on instruments). .

Stephen Lewkowicz (G1CMZ)
11-23-2021, 08:23 AM (This post was last modified: 11-23-2021 08:25 AM by Marco Polo.)
Post: #6
 Marco Polo Member Posts: 223 Joined: Jun 2016
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-22-2021 08:35 PM)Albert Chan Wrote:  (*) Can emu48 do cut/paste too ?
How do we enter expression or code into it ? Type it, character by character ?
When I do Ctrl-P to paste, all I get is error: "The emulator is busy"
Yes, it can.
Anything is pasted as string, regardless the real copied text.
So STR-> is necessary before using the pasted object(s).

When you do CTRL+P the CTRL is seen by EMU48 as Right-Shift (at least with the KML used for my HP50, "Eric's Real 50g"), instead use menu "EDIT"-->"PASTE STACK".

Anyway, Free42 copy/paste is much more useful, imho

Hope it helps
11-23-2021, 08:24 AM
Post: #7
 Marco Polo Member Posts: 223 Joined: Jun 2016
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-22-2021 10:14 PM)John Keith Wrote:  That being said, I still want a DM48.

Me too :-)
11-23-2021, 08:26 AM (This post was last modified: 11-23-2021 08:27 AM by Garth Wilson.)
Post: #8
 Garth Wilson Senior Member Posts: 526 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-23-2021 07:41 AM)StephenG1CMZ Wrote:  The cons of the real calculator:
Zero connectivity.

The entire reason I got into the HP-41 and later the 71 was HP-IL and the fact that they could connect to lots of things at once. (I've connected up to a half-dozen things at once.) I have the interface converters to connect to IEEE-488 lab equipment, and RS-232, and parallel, plus the 80-column video interface. I have two of the high-speed microcassette drives, and have interfaced to various printers. I have a card reader and bar-code wand. I never got a disc drive; but I have the 71B-TALK software to connect the 71 to a PC so it can use the PC's full-size keyboard, monitor, and its disc drive(s).

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
11-23-2021, 10:22 AM
Post: #9
 StephenG1CMZ Senior Member Posts: 943 Joined: May 2015
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
Good point - I've updated my post accordingly.

Stephen Lewkowicz (G1CMZ)
11-23-2021, 11:07 AM
Post: #10
 Sukiari Member Posts: 174 Joined: Dec 2014
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
I am an emacs user and I always have it open and ready. We have calc mode which is an extremely powerful RPN calculator with hundreds of functions. I don’t know if any of you use emacs but if not you should give it a whirl just to try out the calculator which is of course programmable.
11-23-2021, 05:05 PM
Post: #11
 Hlib Member Posts: 242 Joined: Jan 2015
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
In the case of HP calculators, I prefer an Android emulator rather than a real calculator. The emulator does not differ in operation from a real hp-50g or hp-Prime calculator, but it is much more reliable and stable in operation. However, the fear of losing my hp-50g and ti-v200 calculators rendered me buy a separate smartphone and install go49gp (hp-50g) and Graph89 emulators (ti-83+SE, ti-v200) in it, respectively.
The other advantages of off-line emulators indicated here are not so important to me, and it is more convenient to me to use old calculators (from CASIO and TI) at work and at home, which withstand hundreds of thousands of keystrokes every year, are very economical in battery consumption and never fail (at least, this is my experience of using their main calculators).
The best ideas come to me while working with a real calculator using pencil and paper, and not with an emulator or PC :-)
11-23-2021, 11:21 PM
Post: #12
 toml_12953 Senior Member Posts: 1,915 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-22-2021 10:14 PM)John Keith Wrote:  I also do most program development on the PC with EMU48 because typing is faster on a QWERTY keyboard. The phone emulators are probably the worst option for programming but fine for everyday calculations.

That being said, I still want a DM48.

You could use a QWERTY Bluetooth keyboard on your smartphone, too. Both Android and iPhones accept a Bluetooth keyboard.

Tom L
Cui bono?
11-24-2021, 03:27 PM
Post: #13
 Claudio L. Senior Member Posts: 1,843 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
Working at a desk most of the time, I prefer real calculators. There's no "additional device to carry", just something else sitting on my desk.
My phone is also on my desk but just having to switch apps is a waste of time. Most of the time my phone is working as a phone (shocking), calls and texts only. On my desk I also have a PC with the email client always open, so I prefer emails on the PC and not on the phone. I do have all my email accounts on the phone, just don't look at them there, and I have calculator apps on my phone, but I reach for the real thing.

For the calculator, I just want to grab it, crunch the numbers and move on. Using an emulator on a PC is a similar experience: even with dual screens, switching apps is a waste of time just to use the calculator. I'd rather use the real thing. I do agree some time could be saved by doing copy/paste of numbers directly into whatever I'm working on, but that need is not very frequent, and because the number wouldn't come out formatted the way I need it, it's just as quick to type it rather than copy/paste then edit to round and format properly.

I guess a separate android device that's always on the calculator app would work too, but you lose the feel of the real keyboard.

That's my use case, of course field use would turn those priorities completely upside down.
11-25-2021, 07:17 AM
Post: #14
 KF6GPE Member Posts: 61 Joined: Jun 2017
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
I'm another "please hand me the real calculator" person, even though at my desk I also have a cell phone.

Most of the work I'm doing right now Is fairly straightforward and only requires base conversions, hexadecimal arithmetic and bit twiddling; for whatever reason I have found the 42S interface (I'm using a DM42) easier to use than the 16C (I also, sigh, have a DM16), and could just as easily be done in Free42. But to use Free42 on my phone I have to use the fingerprint reader and start the app, rather than just pushing "ON". There's less friction in using a real calculator.

(That said, I have Free42 installed on my phone and every computer I own, because when I'm away from my desk I want something to fall back on!)
11-26-2021, 04:56 PM
Post: #15
 Christoph Giesselink Member Posts: 222 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
As maintainer of emulators Emu28, Emu42, Emu48, Emu71 and V41 it's clear, I'm using emulators instead of the real calculator.

This is a story old days, so when you're not interested stop reading...

But what was my motivation to maintain Emu48 end of the 90'ies as first emulator?

Around 1994, 1995 I got the Horn Disk 4 with the HPTOOLS package allowing me to program my HP48SX in SystemRPL and Saturn assembler.

First I used my HP48SX with 2 128KB RAM memory cards, one to expand main memory filled with ~110KB of programs and data, the 2nd write protected filled with libraries for program development.

But when writing code in SysRPL or assembler it's only a function of time that you made a mistake and you get a memory loss and more worse you corrupted the user memory and don't recognize this. So after every programming session I restored the ~110KB of user memory with a backup copy. With the Kermit protocol this process took about 30 min. Later I put a XModem receiver program on the write protected memory card, and restoring the backup took about 3-4 min over XModem.

So in 1994, 1995 there was the wish having a system where it's possible to restore the user memory of the HP48 immediately with a mouse click. The system has a name, called emulator or simulator. At this time I found x48 0.4.0 in the Internet, a source code package of an emulator for the HP48SX and GX running on a Unix OS. 1994 and a Unix derivative? I'm not Rockefeller. So I bought a S.u.S.E. Linux distribution in 1994 with Kernel version around 1.0. First job were minor modifications on the makefile to compile and execute the x48 0.4.0 sources on this Linux distribution.

x48 0.4.0 at this time already emulated the serial port so in was possible to load programs over Kermit from local host or over a Null-Modem cable over RS232C from a different PC. So my first "professional" SysRPL development platform consists of two PC's, one running x48 on Linux, the 2nd a DOS PC with Editor and HPTools compiler and a Kermit client. Both PC's were connected over a Null-Modem cable. So I wrote and compiled the HP SysRPL programs on the DOS PC and transferred them with Kermit to the x48 emulator on Linux. Then I tested the program on x48 and was glad not restore my real calculator after such a debug session.

Things changed in 1997, meanwhile I had Windows NT4.0 and a found the freeware Emu48 v0.99.1 from May 1997. But Emu48 v0.99.1 was too bad for running it on NT4.0, so no further progress. In August 1997 with publishing Emu48 v1.0 as binary and source code everything changed. Because of the source code it was possible to fix the bugs in Emu48 to run this emulator on Win NT4.0 with less problems. So the idea, fixing the bugs in just one or two month, and then enjoy the HP48 programming/debugging in SysRPL and Saturn assembler with editor, compiler, emulator just on the same PC. As I told you, this was the plan with the focus on the HP48 program development and not working and spend time on Emu48 over decades.

So what has this to do with Emu42 and all later emulators?

Let my answer this question in the famous words of George Mallory. On the question "Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?" he answered "Because it's there". In my words, I was able and had the knowledge to write an emulator for the HP42S, so I done it. There was never the question, "Could I replace the usage of real HP42S calculator with an emulation on the PC?" Also the next calculator emulation in Emu42, the HP28S in 2002 some month later, was a question of nostalgia. I had a HP28S from 1988 to 1991, so I wrote the HP28S emulation and filled the user memory with all the programs at had used in 1991 saved as raw print files on disk.

At this time in 2000+ I always carried a real HP15C with me in my jacket. Because the HP15C becoming very expensive on the following years, I replaced the 15C in the jacked pocket by a HP32SII, a HP32S and finally by a DM15C.

At the moment I carry no calculator or a smart-phone with me. The only calculator I have on the way, is the original calculator program of a > 10 years old Nokia phone.

When I need a calculator at home or at work, I use my HP48SX emulation on Emu48 with all of the 110KB data I talked above (just restored the backup in the HP48SX emulation) on the desktop PC.

What is the fascinating part of pocked calculator emulators for me?

My first answer is the speed. Have a look on Erik Ehrling's "Miller-Rabin Primality Test for the HP-42S" with Prime number: 999,999,999,961

Some results:

Real HP-42S

ROM REV A: Std clock 1MHz 5m 48s
ROM REV A: Dbl clock 2MHz 2m 52s

2x E5507/2.26GHz/800MHz/DDR3 / 4 GB / Windows 7 SP1 (x86) / Emu42 v1.14

ROM REV C: Max 2s Auth 5m 25s

ARM PXA310/640MHz / Win Mobile 6 Classic / Emu42PPC v1.10

ROM REV C: Max 17s Auth 5m 26s

Samsung Smartphone M31 / Emu42 for Andriod v1.4

ROM REV C: Max <1s

When I had my HP48SX calculator last in hand? That's definitely some month ago checking the batteries for leakage.
Enjoy you calculator as original hardware or as emulation on external hardware, desktop, notebook or smart-phone, what ever you prefer...
11-26-2021, 10:03 PM
Post: #16
 rprosperi Super Moderator Posts: 5,433 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
@Christoph - I'm glad you're a curious guy and these challenges 'are just there' in front of you, as your various progeny have enriched my, and many thousands of other people's lives. The wide variety of emulators you've made available have allowed folks to 'test drive' a particular model to see how it feels, always have their favorite calc. with them and even allowed the folks that like to run extended calculations for many hours more efficient by now running them in minutes or even seconds.

My favorite among your emulators is undoubtedly Emu71/Win because of course of my fondness for the real 71B. This one is surely the most unique among the stable due to the very different nature of the 71B, with files, multiple languages, etc. It is very satisfying, after a spectacularly failed exploration which has led to Memory Lost, to simply close Emu71, saying "No, don't save" and I'm instantly back where I was, to attempt a slightly less extreme exploration.

I truly do prefer real devices for most actual calculations, but for exploring new s/w & f/w, and getting new programs running, your emulators let one safely and efficiently focus on the goal, and not have to waste time ensuring the safety of host system.

Thanks very much for all of that!

--Bob Prosperi
11-27-2021, 06:28 PM
Post: #17
 Peet Member Posts: 138 Joined: Oct 2020
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
I do most calculations directly on the PC. In addition to math software and spreadsheets, a good little RPN calculator is almost indispensable for me here; the v41 currently fulfills this function. But I also always have a real pocket calculator (currently an HP-35S) on my desk, as it happens every now and then, that I have to do some quick calculations after I've just shut down the PC. Since this is mostly just about simple arithmetic, almost every RPN calculator fulfills this task for me, the HP-35S could just as much be done by an HP-12C or the Prime.

For "playing around" e.g. with "historical" program collections, I prefer emulators, my real HP48G is usually equipped with a finished configuration from the emu48.

For me, physical pocket calculators fulfill two functions 1. They are quickly accessible, 2. They are collectibles / play items similar to wristwatches - which no longer serve any real practical purpose, but are still fun as personal rewards, memories or jewelry. It's also quite simply more fun to play an old calculator-game on a real calculator than just on an emulator.

Unfortunately, no actual pocket calculator meets the haptic and qualitative requirements that I place on a high-quality watch, for example. Modern calculators are Swatch or Casio instead of Omega or Rolex. The 35S, 12C Platinum or Prime are OK, but don't feel as high-quality as an HP-41 or HP-11C from 1982.

My calculators - former: CBM PR100, HP41CV, HP11C, HP28S - current: HP48G, HP35S, Prime, DM41X, DM42
11-29-2021, 01:51 PM
Post: #18
 nickapos Junior Member Posts: 37 Joined: Sep 2021
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-26-2021 04:56 PM)Christoph Giesselink Wrote:  As maintainer of emulators Emu28, Emu42, Emu48, Emu71 and V41 it's clear, I'm using emulators instead of the real calculator.

This is a story old days, so when you're not interested stop reading...
Snip
When I had my HP48SX calculator last in hand? That's definitely some month ago checking the batteries for leakage.
Enjoy you calculator as original hardware or as emulation on external hardware, desktop, notebook or smart-phone, what ever you prefer...

My friend you are a legend. Thank you very much for your work.
11-29-2021, 04:33 PM
Post: #19
 Hlib Member Posts: 242 Joined: Jan 2015
RE: Real Calc vs Emulator - My Experience
(11-27-2021 06:28 PM)Peet Wrote:  Unfortunately, no actual pocket calculator meets the haptic and qualitative requirements that I place on a high-quality watch, for example. Modern calculators are Swatch or Casio instead of Omega or Rolex. The 35S, 12C Platinum or Prime are OK, but don't feel as high-quality as an HP-41 or HP-11C from 1982.
TI sometimes makes pleasant surprises in this capacity. For example, the ti-84+ in the K-0310Q series has an ideal keyboard and a very accurate quartz oscillator - the accuracy of the built-in clock is no worse than +-1sec per week in the temperature range of 10...30 °C.
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