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RPN Tutorial in retro style
07-20-2014, 12:13 AM
Post: #1
RPN Tutorial in retro style
Hi all,

Recently I've been busy preparing an RPN Tutorial that explains the basics of using an RPN calculator. I tried to make it as generic as possible, so that it can be used by a starting user of the HP-35 up to and including the HP Prime.

Primarily I wrote it for our two (twin) sons, one studying Business and the other Civil Engineering. Both used TI calculators at school, and I tried to show them the joy of using an HP RPN calculator, but that was not easy ;-)

I was motivated to make such a quite extensive Tutorial when I found out that none of the online tutorials that I could find tells the whole (basic) story, and that even the HP Manuals (I have the MoHPC DVD) tend to be deficient in various ways for newbies.

Also I was inspired by the nice 'retro' lay-out of the HP-35 Owner's Manual, and by the recent WP Manuals.

My Tutorial is still not entirely finished. I plan to write a few paragraphs on the %-functions and on the use of the T-register as an automatic constant source. And I'm struggling to make it palatable for every modern browser (including those on smartphones).

You can find it here: http://hansklav.home.xs4all.nl/rpn/index.html
In case it does not render well on your browser, here is a .pdf version that shows how it should look like (and how it looks like using Mac OS X Safari 6.1.5):
http://hansklav.home.xs4all.nl/rpn/RPN_Tutorial.pdf

As you can see I'm not dogmatic about my ENTER: proposal.
The Tutorial uses the HP-35's ENTER↑ (incl. its blue colour) as a paradigm!

Let me know what you think of it.

Hans
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07-20-2014, 06:07 AM
Post: #2
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
Looks very good and understandable to me.
Bob
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07-20-2014, 11:24 AM
Post: #3
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
Hello Hans,

very nice extended tutorial for RPN.

But I've the impression it would be more cleary if you show parallel with the example calculations (first column) that what is happen internally (second column) (similar to appendix A) . Maybe that support a steeper learning success, and you don't need appendix A any longer.

Greetings peacecalc
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07-20-2014, 12:48 PM
Post: #4
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
I haven't read the whole thing, but it looks like excellent work.

Just one thing popped out at me though. In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before. Was that deliberate?

R.
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07-20-2014, 12:57 PM
Post: #5
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
(07-20-2014 12:48 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before.
This is how I learned division at school. It must be a European thing.

Marcus von Cube
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07-20-2014, 01:21 PM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2014 01:22 PM by Sylvain Cote.)
Post: #6
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
(07-20-2014 12:57 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  
(07-20-2014 12:48 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before.
This is how I learned division at school. It must be a European thing.

Well, may be not exclusively ;-)
In Quebec/Canada, in 1960/70's, I learned the division with the same symbol (÷).
Sylvain

PS: I have printed the tutorial and will read it later today.
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07-20-2014, 01:42 PM
Post: #7
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
(07-20-2014 12:57 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  
(07-20-2014 12:48 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before.
This is how I learned division at school. It must be a European thing.

Hmmm ... ÷ and / were the only division symbols I ever learned (in Ireland, Europe). A colon is used to denote ratios, however.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colon_%28p..._and_logic : "In some languages (e.g. German), the colon is the mainly used sign for division (instead of ÷)." And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelus has this to say about the ÷ sign: "The usage of the obelus to represent subtraction continued in some parts of Europe (including Norway and, until fairly recently, Denmark)".

Fair enough, must admit it's not causing German cars to fall apart. :-)
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07-20-2014, 02:30 PM
Post: #8
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
(07-20-2014 12:48 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before. Was that deliberate?

I'd guess. Colons are standard for divisions as center dots are for multiplications on this side of the pond. Hence, pupils learn simply "Punkt vor Strich" (dot prior to bar) instead of PEMDAS.

d:-)
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07-20-2014, 03:34 PM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2014 03:35 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #9
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
(07-20-2014 01:42 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  Hmmm ... ÷ and / were the only division symbols I ever learned (in Ireland, Europe). A colon is used to denote ratios, however.
I first saw the obelus on a HP keyboard, never at school.
There we used colons, or bars in long division.

Greetings,
    Massimo

-+×÷ ↔ left is right and right is wrong
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07-20-2014, 03:57 PM (This post was last modified: 07-21-2014 06:57 AM by walter b.)
Post: #10
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
Looks very nice in first view, reminding me of the times when HP manuals were first class tutorials using meaningful colors all over. I started reading it - and wanted to do it using the pdf since I prefer pages (being still younger than the library of Alexandria where they had their texts written on papyrus rolls). Trying that I came across two minor things which reduce my reading fun:
  1. The symbol used for "minus" is significantly wider than the other ones which looks suboptimal.
  2. The pdf appears on just one (!) extra-long page which takes extreme times for loading and makes it quite difficult to read. *Right now, accessing the pdf doesn't work at all anymore for me. Tried on two different systems.*
Both may be caused by my OS (Win 7) which, however, is not as exotic so I guess there may be more people out there appreciating an improved design. If, however, the problem is in front of my laptop, I'd be grateful for advice. TIA.

d:-)

P.S.: Not sure about the fonts you used for the key labels. Personally, I think Luiz Vieira's KeySet4 font of 2004 is a good choice returning all key labels in consistent size.
P.P.S.: You claim you wrote your tutorial based on the layout of the HP-35 but want to write a generic tutorial for all RPN calcs. You write, however, f LASTx, f x^2, and f x! (with f standing for the golden shift key). I don't quite understand why. Maybe I've missed something. - I concur with your statements written in Appendix E.
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07-22-2014, 05:06 AM
Post: #11
RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
Thanks for your replies.

(07-20-2014 11:24 AM)peacecalc Wrote:  (…) But I've the impression it would be more cleary if you show parallel with the example calculations (first column) that what is happen internally (second column) (similar to appendix A) . Maybe that support a steeper learning success, and you don't need appendix A any longer.

I hesitate to do that. Because I tried to explain the basics of RPN without too much reference to the stack (for didactical reasons). Most HP Manuals treat the details of the stack in an appendix. But maybe a limited explanation of the workings of the stack early in the tutorial would be good. I'll think about it.

(07-20-2014 12:48 PM)r. pienne Wrote:  (…) Just one thing popped out at me though. In the paragraph "What is the correct way to calculate 6 : 2 × (1 + 2) ?" a colon is used throughout to represent division, which I have never seen before. Was that deliberate?

It was. To be more "impartial", to emphasize that the problem is not due to the use of a certain symbol, I deliberately used the colon division symbol here to use a symbol different from those used by Casio and TI (who use ÷ and / ).

I must admit that I did not expect to be this symbol completely unknown as a division symbol in certain parts of the world! In The Netherlands, just like in most countries of continental Europe, this is the symbol with which everybody learns to do division in primary school. I think this is mainly due to Leibniz, who was the first to use it both for ratio and division (which can be read here).

(07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  (…) I started reading it - and wanted to do it using the pdf since I prefer pages (being still younger than the library of Alexandria where they had their texts written on papyrus rolls). Trying that I came across two minor things which reduce my reading fun:
  1. The symbol used for "minus" is significantly wider than the other ones which looks suboptimal.

True. Fixed that.

(07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  
  • The pdf appears on just one (!) extra-long page which takes extreme times for loading and makes it quite difficult to read. *Right now, accessing the pdf doesn't work at all anymore for me. Tried on two different systems.* Both may be caused by my OS (Win 7) which, however, is not as exotic

  • I suspect that is a problem of my hosting provider, because it is only a small file (529 KB). I have the same problem when loading it from the website (using Mac OS X), but not when loading it from a local hard disk. Maybe just pressing "reload" (F5 on Windows) helps.

    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  (…) so I guess there may be more people out there appreciating an improved design. If, however, the problem is in front of my laptop, I'd be grateful for advice. TIA.

    I made the Tutorial as a web page (using only HTML and CSS) and at the moment the .pdf is just a copy of the web page (for the internet generation that will be no problem ;-). In the future (when the Tutorial will be finished) I will produce a paged .pdf, but because that is not easy (for me) that will have to wait a little bit. Just try to read the web page, which will always have the most recent version. But today I also updated the (one-page) .pdf.

    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  (…)
    P.S.: Not sure about the fonts you used for the key labels. Personally, I think Luiz Vieira's KeySet4 font of 2004 is a good choice returning all key labels in consistent size.

    I just use a Sans-Serif font and CSS for the keys. After your reply I tried to find the KeySet4 font, but the links on the Forum do not work anymore. I will contact Vieira and try the font.

    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  P.P.S.: You claim you wrote your tutorial based on the layout of the HP-35 but want to write a generic tutorial for all RPN calcs. You write, however, f LASTx, f x^2, and f x! (with f standing for the golden shift key). I don't quite understand why. Maybe I've missed something.

    I changed the 'example' shift key to the golden shift key everywhere. Think the golden shift key is the most generic shift key on HP calculators.

    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  - I concur with your statements written in Appendix E.

    I'm glad you do!

    Hans
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    07-22-2014, 07:27 AM
    Post: #12
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  
    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  I started reading it - and wanted to do it using the pdf since I prefer pages (being still younger than the library of Alexandria where they had their texts written on papyrus rolls). Trying that I came across two minor things which reduce my reading fun:
    [list=1]
    [*]The symbol used for "minus" is significantly wider than the other ones which looks suboptimal.

    True. Fixed that.

    Thanks.

    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  I made the Tutorial as a web page (using only HTML and CSS) and at the moment the .pdf is just a copy of the web page (for the internet generation that will be no problem ;-).

    Advantage to generation Alexandria. If people don't learn from history, they've got to make the same experience once more. Wink

    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  
    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  Personally, I think Luiz Vieira's KeySet4 font of 2004 is a good choice returning all key labels in consistent size.

    I just use a Sans-Serif font and CSS for the keys. After your reply I tried to find the KeySet4 font, but the links on the Forum do not work anymore. I will contact Vieira and try the font.

    I can send you that font if you provide me an address ... Smile

    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  
    (07-20-2014 03:57 PM)walter b Wrote:  You claim you wrote your tutorial based on the layout of the HP-35 but want to write a generic tutorial for all RPN calcs. You write, however, f LASTx, f x^2, and f x! (with f standing for the golden shift key). I don't quite understand why. Maybe I've missed something.

    I changed the 'example' shift key to the golden shift key everywhere. Think the golden shift key is the most generic shift key on HP calculators.

    Sorry, the point was: Why do you print a shift key at all? You could easily claim there are keys like [LASTx] etc. on your generic calculator.

    d:-)
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    07-22-2014, 09:17 PM
    Post: #13
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    (07-22-2014 07:27 AM)walter b Wrote:  
    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  I made the Tutorial as a web page (using only HTML and CSS) and at the moment the .pdf is just a copy of the web page (for the internet generation that will be no problem ;-).

    Advantage to generation Alexandria. If people don't learn from history, they've got to make the same experience once more. Wink

    Well, apart from the fact that you have to scroll a web page more or less like a papyrus scroll, I see more differences than similarities. In Alexandria they didn't have hyperlinks to circumvent that a scroll is not directly accessable somewhere in the middle, they didn't have different screen sizes (from smartphone to >30"), and the scrolling was much less convenient (no keyboards, touch screens, trackpads, mouse wheels, multi-touch mouses). So the juxtaposition of book scrolls and web pages is a bit far fetched ;-)

    (07-22-2014 07:27 AM)walter b Wrote:  
    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  I just use a Sans-Serif font and CSS for the keys. After your reply I tried to find the KeySet4 font, but the links on the Forum do not work anymore. I will contact Vieira and try the font.

    I can send you that font if you provide me an address ... Smile

    Thanks! I'll contact you.

    (07-22-2014 07:27 AM)walter b Wrote:  
    (07-22-2014 05:06 AM)hansklav Wrote:  I changed the 'example' shift key to the golden shift key everywhere. Think the golden shift key is the most generic shift key on HP calculators.

    Sorry, the point was: Why do you print a shift key at all? You could easily claim there are keys like [LASTx] etc. on your generic calculator.

    To learn that some (many) functions can only be accessed via a shift key is an important thing for first time users of HP Calculators (imho). And showing a golden key here and there makes the ’retro‘ page even more colourfull ;-)

    But I'll add an explanation that the addition of a shift key to the pseudo-HP-35-Manual is a form of cheating...

    Hans
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    07-29-2014, 07:49 PM
    Post: #14
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    A great tutorial Hans! Simple and straight forward.
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    08-04-2014, 04:15 PM
    Post: #15
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    Excellent! Beautiful explanations with colors and examples..!

    Best Regards
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    08-26-2014, 06:00 PM
    Post: #16
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    Hi,

    thanks for this tutorial. It was really helpfull reading while waiting for my 31S manual to arrive.

    Antti
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    08-26-2014, 07:16 PM
    Post: #17
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    Nice work! - Your page has been bookmarked. :-)
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    08-30-2014, 11:17 AM (This post was last modified: 08-30-2014 11:20 AM by toml_12953.)
    Post: #18
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    Very nice! I'd have put the cheat sheet at the bottom and shortened the intro but I guess that's why I'm not a writer! I was fortunate enough to get an HP-45 as my first calculator so I sort of grew up with RPN and now it's second nature to me. It was fun to watch fellow college students when they borrowed my calculator. "Where's the equals key???"
    Although I've been using HP calculators for years, I never knew the shift keys had names! It seems you *can* teach an old dog new tricks.

    Keep up the good work!

    Tom L

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    08-30-2014, 01:20 PM
    Post: #19
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    Hans, I like it. Smile

    There seems to be font problem on my Mac (OS 10.8.5) as can be seen in the picture:

       

    What's missing here?

    Marcus von Cube
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    08-30-2014, 01:49 PM
    Post: #20
    RE: RPN Tutorial in retro style
    (08-30-2014 01:20 PM)Marcus von Cube Wrote:  What's missing here?

    SOUTH EAST ARROW CROSSING NORTH EAST ARROW
    You can use the Browser Test Page.

    Cheers
    Thomas
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