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The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
08-31-2014, 08:57 PM (This post was last modified: 09-07-2014 12:52 AM by Joseph_21sv.)
Post: #1
The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
First of all, for those of you who do not own the HP 12c Platinum, the HP 17bII+ and the HP-30b side by side and those who do, but do not have my gripe about the way HP made the 30b, here is the data arranged in descending order of relevance—not that much of it is particularly relevant to my gripe—so that you may understand as readily as possible what exactly my particular gripe about the calculator’s design is:
Relevant:
Programming features:
Storage: 12c Platinum: 399 steps; 30b: 290 bytes (>=1 byte/step); 17bII+: 30K
Model: 12c Platinum, 30b: “Fully” merged keystroke; 17bII+: Formula
Editing: 12c Platinum: Overwrite capability; 30b: Auto-insert entry; 17bII+: Formula display
Flow control:
Loops (literal): 12c Platinum: no; 30b: ISG/DSE (-9999<=start<=9999, 0<=end<=999, 1<=step<=99); 17bII+: any
Addressing: 12c Platinum, 17bII+: direct only (indirect addressing essentially rendered impossible by contextual branch targeting); 30b: indirect addressing only for registers
Non-programming features:
Non-financial functions:
Display size: 12c Platinum: 10 digits; 30b: 8 characters+12+3 digits; 17bII+: 2x22 characters
(Display type: 12c Platinum: 7-segment; 30b: Hybrid dot-matrix/7-segment; 17bII+: Dot matrix)
Binary operator logic: 12c Platinum, 17bII+: PEMDAS, RPN; 30b: Chain, PEMDAS, RPN
Statistical storage: 12c Platinum: 80 data points; 30b: 50 data points; 17bII+: 30K
Numerical precision: 12c Platinum: 10 digits; 30b: 15 digits; 17bII+: 12 digits
Communications: 12c Platinum: no; 17bII+: IR for printing, outbound only; 30b: USB/serial cable for re-flashing, apparently inbound only
Mode settings: 12c Platinum, 17bII+: continuous; 30b: semi-continuous
Business/Financial functions:
TVM solvers (literal): 12c Platinum: standard, odd-period; 17bII+: standard; 30b: standard, Canadian
TVM shortcuts (literal): 12c Platinum: n=x*12, i=x/12; 30b: only n=x*P/YR, 17bII+: none
Cash flow capacity: 12c Platinum: 80 groups, frequency<=99; 17bII+: 30K; 30b: 50 groups, unlimited frequency
Not so relevant to irrelevant:
Programming features:
Display: 12c Platinum: Keycode; 30b: Mnemonic; 17bII+: Formula display
Flow control:
Branch target: 12c Platinum: addressed by step number; 30b: addressed by label; 17bII+: contextual
Unconditional branching: 12c Platinum, 30b: yes; 17bII+: no
Conditional branching (literal): 12c Platinum: x=0/<=y; 30b, 17bII+: any
Subroutines (literal): 12c Platinum: no; 30b: CALL (label) nn; 17bII+: local formulae
Non-programming features:
Non-financial functions:
Redefinable keyboard: 12c Platinum: no; 17bII+: only softkeys; 30b: yes
Binary operator logic: 12c Platinum, 17bII+: PEMDAS, RPN; 30b: Chain, PEMDAS, RPN
PWR, MUL, DIV, ADD, SUB: 30b: yes, with shortcuts for x^2, sqrt(x), x!, e^x, 1/x, %, %change, %total; 12c Platinum, 17bII+: yes, with shortcuts for x^2, sqrt(x), n!, e^x, 10^x, 1/x, %, %change, %total
Logarithm bases (literal): 12c Platinum: e; 30b, 17bII+: e, 10
Trigonometric functions (literal): 12c Platinum: no; 17bII+: no, but shortcut for pi; 30b: plain, INV, HYP, pi, DEG/RAD angle modes
Statistics: all: 1 variable weighted/unweighted, 2 variable
Measures of central tendency (literal): 12c Platinum: Mean x, x weighted, y; standard deviation x, y; 17bII+: Mean x, x weighted, y; standard deviation x, x grouped, y, Median; 30b: Mean x, x weighted, y; population/sample standard deviation x, x grouped, y; sample standard error x, x grouped, y; covariance; Minimum, Q1, Median, Q3, Maximum x, y
Regression models (literal): 12c Platinum: linear; 17bII+: linear, logarithmic, exponential, power; 30b: linear, quadratic, inverse, logarithmic, exponential, power
Probability distributions (literal): unique to 30b (Normal, t, F, chi-squared, binomial)
RNGs (literal): unique to 30b (presumably only pseudorandom)
Date entry: all: month/day/year, day/month/year
Date calculations (literal): all: 30/360, actual/actual
Clock, appointments: 12c Platinum, 30b: no; 17bII+: yes
Menus/Prompts: 12c Platinum: no; 30b, 17bII+: yes—scrolling menus on 30b, soft keys on 17bII+
RPN stack roll: 12c Platinum: only down; 30b, 17bII+: bidirectional
Radix mark: 12c Platinum: always .; 30b, 17bII+: selectable ./,
Thousands separator: 12c Platinum, 17bII+: always on; 30b: toggleable
Number formats: 12c Platinum: FIX/SCI; 30b, 17bII+: FIX/FLOAT
Equation Solver: 12c Platinum: no; 17bII+: programming model; 30b: yes
Memory for variables: 12c Platinum: 20 registers; 17bII+: 30K+10 registers; 30b: 10 registers (directly addressed)+100 registers (addressed by register 0)
Absolute value, integer truncation (literal): 12c Platinum, 17bII+: only integer truncation; 30b: both
Storage operations (literal): 12c Platinum, 30b: MUL, DIV, ADD, SUB; 17bII+: PWR, MUL, DIV, ADD, SUB
Business/Financial functions:
Cash flow analysis (literal): 12c Platinum: NPV, IRR; 17bII+: NPV, NFV, NUS, IRR; 30b: NPV, NFV, NUS, IRR, MIRR, FMRR, normal/discounted PBP
Bond calculations (literal): 12c Platinum: actual/actual semiannual only, price and yield; 17bII+: all types, price, yield, coupon rate, accrued interest; 30b: all types, price, yield, coupon rate, accrued interest, normal/modified Macaulay duration
Amortization: all: accumulated interest, balance
Depreciation calculations (literal): 12c Platinum: Straight line, Declining balance, Sum of Years’ digits; 17bII+: Straight line, Declining balance, Sum of Years’ digits, US Accelerated Cost Recovery System; 30b: Standard/French Straight line, Declining balance with or without crossover, Sum of Years’ digits, French Amortization
Markup calculations (literal): 12c Platinum: no; 30b, 17bII+: percent of cost and price
Break-even analysis (literal): 12c Platinum: no; 30b, 17bII+: yes
Black-Scholes equation (literal): unique to 30b
Technically, only the very first item is particularly relevant to my gripe about about the calculator’s design. However, it would be nice for a programmable business calculator to have a merged keystroke programming model à la HP 32/41 series, but without the silly limitation on what loops can be constructed literally which is imposed by the firmware of those calculators; alphanumeric display capabilities—whether via segmented display à la TI-62/66 and HP-41 or dot matrix à la essentially every contemporary programmable calculator (just not an HP-20b/30b-style hybrid display—whoever thought of that must have been consuming too much absurdist art) and bidirectional communications à la essentially every contemporary graphing calculator.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that the HP 30b has so many preprogrammed functions—business and otherwise—which are unprecedented among business calculators in general. But do any of you agree that it could have used more program space and a more “normal-looking” display?
Sidebar: Not that it is particularly relevant to my gripe about the calculator’s design, and thence to this discussion, but no programmable business calculator exists which is pre-programmed for TVM calculations with advance or gradient payments or variable interest rates, real estate calculations beyond basic amortization or cost/sell/margin calculations or any such one which does is extremely obscure even though HP and Casio have made ones with multi-kilobyte program storage and programming models which are very close to Turing-complete or a graphical display. Is it at all strange that I find this simultaneously annoying and hilarious?
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08-31-2014, 09:24 PM
Post: #2
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
I put it this way: Just once needed to program the 30b, I was surprised I could access the TVM variables. Everything went smooth, programmability reflected what I was needing. So, in my limited view on the 30b it is as good as I need it to be. It was even better than expected.

More memory means more programs means more grey matter based memory needed to remember what all those programs are for ;-). Just kidding, I understand your point, of course.
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08-31-2014, 09:56 PM
Post: #3
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
The limit on the 30b is RAM inside the CPU. There is 2kbytes for everything.

Since programming seems important to you, upgrade your 30b to a 34s and enjoy the additional capabilities.


- Pauli
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09-01-2014, 03:54 AM
Post: #4
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
But the 34s still has the weirdly-arranged hybrid display which is one of the other things I think the 30b shouldn’t have had. Moreover, aren’t numerical constants in 34s programs still unmerged? However, I do like the 926 steps of program storage that the 34s can be configured to have and that you do not need to use a menu to type letters on it. Even so, the real point of my complaint is that HP did not make the 30b the “Super 12c Platinum” that it could—and should in my opinion—have been, and not just in the area of programming capacity: It can store fewer cash flow groups—albeit with no limit on frequency—and statistical data points (insofar as I presume) than the 12c Platinum can and it needs to be programmed to do TVM calculations which are preprogrammed into 12c Platinum firmware. The horrible thing about the lame freak that HP made of what could have been a new classic business calculator is that it so clearly smacks of them not believing strongly enough in the existence of such an ideology as “progressive conservatism” to notice even the faintest whiff of it in the business community. Preprogrammed functionality being equal, assuming that HP did indeed want the calculator use a hybrid display, why didn’t they just put a full row of dot matrix like other hybrid display calculators? All such calculators other than the two-line TI-BAII+, although not intended for business calculations, have programmability at least just intelligent enough and at least just enough memory space (program steps plus data registers) that a clever enough user can find a way to teach them to do certain business calculations; so there is really no sound excuse HP could have had for arranging the 30b’s display so weirdly. Speaking of programmability, that of the 30b and that of the 17bII+ are roughly equally intelligent, the only real difference being that the 17bII+ has two orders of magnitude more program memory than the 30b does. I, however, am not trying to imply that the 30b should have been anywhere near like a keystroke-programmable 17bII+, but wouldn't it have been nice if the 30b could have consumed just one half-byte of program memory per digit written into programs and had just one quarter of an order of magnitude more cash flow/statistics storage than HP made it with? By my calculations; giving such a calculator a repurposed HP 32s series programming model, preprogramming it for odd period TVM and making alphabetic letters accessible directly from the main keyboard would make a decent “Super HP-12c Platinum”—even with only 290 bytes of program memory. Now somebody tell me that that, if it already existed, isn’t a business programmable that only I would want.
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09-01-2014, 04:12 AM
Post: #5
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
Joseph;

Yes; the 20b/30b display is sub-optimal, but it's cheap. What Marcus and Paul got it to become in the 34s is nothing short of miraculous, and they gave us that for free.

Yes, HP could have made a better platform. A 42 with I/O would have hit a home run. But then; we'd be saying "why doesn't it have a THREE line display?" Then four. Then four with menus.

Wait for the 43s. THAT will be a calculator.
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09-01-2014, 06:07 AM
Post: #6
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Yes; the 20b/30b display is sub-optimal, but it's cheap.

The display is again a function of the CPU chosen. The processor can directly control a maximum of 400 LCD segments. That is how many there are on the 30b's display. Controlling any more would require an external chip (more expensive) or a different CPU (probably also more expensive at the time).

The build cost for the 30b is likely at the low single digit dollar level. There really isn't a lot of room to do anything at these levels.


- Pauli
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09-01-2014, 06:33 AM
Post: #7
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Yes; the 20b/30b display is sub-optimal, but it's cheap. What Marcus and Paul got it to become in the 34s is nothing short of miraculous, and they gave us that for free.

Hmmh, was that now provoking or "passive agressive" (a logically interesting term invented here, with this spelling)? Search the archives and find out.

Quote:Wait for the 43s. THAT will be a calculator.

We all hope for the HW. And we'll make it something good, be assured. Compare the WP 34S.

d:-)
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09-01-2014, 08:49 AM
Post: #8
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
The original post "cries" for table formatting.
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09-01-2014, 09:44 AM
Post: #9
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  A 42 with I/O would have hit a home run.
for sure, a dream......


(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Wait for the 43s. THAT will be a calculator.

another dream....
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09-01-2014, 12:50 PM
Post: #10
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 08:49 AM)Don Shepherd Wrote:  The original post "cries" for table formatting.

+1.

d:-I
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09-01-2014, 12:54 PM
Post: #11
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 09:44 AM)aurelio Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Wait for the 43s. THAT will be a calculator.
another dream....

The 34S was called this for a long time......

Sometimes dreams come true Smile


- Pauli
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09-01-2014, 01:30 PM
Post: #12
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 12:54 PM)Paul Dale Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 09:44 AM)aurelio Wrote:  another dream....

The 34S was called this for a long time......

Sometimes dreams come true Smile

... with people working persistently enough to make them come true.

d:-)
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09-01-2014, 03:55 PM
Post: #13
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 06:07 AM)Paul Dale Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Yes; the 20b/30b display is sub-optimal, but it's cheap.

The display is again a function of the CPU chosen. The processor can directly control a maximum of 400 LCD segments. That is how many there are on the 30b's display. Controlling any more would require an external chip (more expensive) or a different CPU (probably also more expensive at the time).

The build cost for the 30b is likely at the low single digit dollar level. There really isn't a lot of room to do anything at these levels.


- Pauli
But honestly, how much more expensive is a CPU that can directly control as few 90 more display segments? How much more expensive would a CPU like that have made it to build the 30b at the time in question (the beginning of the 30b development cycle)? Just twice as much, probably? And it isn’t exactly like HP doesn't have enough money that they could have spent what little extra it would have cost to use the CPU they should have used originally to build the 30b and not even come close to going bankrupt even accounting for everything else they are doing, so why didn’t they just do it? Is it that HP’s philosophy is so narrow that it does not dream of the existence of a “progressive conservative” ideology so that they may notice people with such an ideology in the business community? After all, HP even already makes a programmable business calculator with a normal two line display, and it sells well even in spite of its awkward programming model. So, why didn’t HP just put down the extra money so that they could make the calculator they were probably actually thinking of making? Allow me to say it once again, HP, as a company, just has too narrow a philosophy to dream of enough of the things their calculator customers and individual employees are thinking about the calculators that they are making, used to make and may make at any time in the future. This is why HP calculator fans need to independently build the calculators that HP itself is probably thinking of building but seems too narrow-minded to actually build. This includes the “HP 12c Super-Platinum” referred to in my previous post.
As for the 43s, I am interested in getting one if it ever sees the light of day. However, the discussion of it—and the 34s—here misses my point that the programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been is still fundamentally a financial calculator, notwithstanding that it might still be preprogrammed for un-financial functions such as trigonometry in degrees and radians.
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09-01-2014, 06:51 PM
Post: #14
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 03:55 PM)Joseph_21sv Wrote:  This is why HP calculator fans need to independently build the calculators that HP itself is probably thinking of building but seems too narrow-minded to actually build. This includes the “HP 12c Super-Platinum” referred to in my previous post.

Feel free to start your “HP 12c Super-Platinum” project. Personally, I focus on the 43S, but there are many other people here. May well be you find supporters for such a financial calculator.

d:-)
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09-02-2014, 02:21 AM
Post: #15
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 04:12 AM)Den Belillo (Martinez Ca.) Wrote:  Joseph;
Wait for the 43s. THAT will be a calculator.

Well, I've been waiting since Nov 2005. I'll believe in it, if and when I ever see an emulator for it. Forget waiting for the hardware. Just give me an emulator for it and I'll be happy.

Meanwhile, I'll use what I actually have and not worry about what might be someday.

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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09-02-2014, 01:55 PM (This post was last modified: 09-02-2014 05:53 PM by Tim Wessman.)
Post: #16
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 03:55 PM)Joseph_21sv Wrote:  But honestly, how much more expensive is a CPU that can directly control as few 90 more display segments?


You would actually be surprised. You would also be surprised how much a "simple chip" being added in can drive up the final price and cost. Usually, you have not just the chip but quite a few other components that needs to get added on. That includes all the simple caps and resistors, but very often includes changing power supply chips and other expensive things.

At the time there was selection in process for a chip to run the 10bII+, 12c, 15c, 20/30b, that chip was the best option available. Picking a chip is not simply a matter of "here's this one on the side that will run more pixels", you have to balance everything from physical interlinks on the chips that support certain protocols, power requirements, external components, to assembly costs (which package does that chip come in), testing costs, and a slew of other considerations.

In fact, the absolute best option that would have been available would have been to put a complete SECOND system-on-chip of the exact same variety on the board. Any other chip we could have chosen at that point would were deficient in one way or another and could not function without severly driving up the cost.

TW

Although I work for the HP calculator group, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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09-02-2014, 05:10 PM
Post: #17
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
(09-01-2014 06:51 PM)walter b Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 03:55 PM)Joseph_21sv Wrote:  This is why HP calculator fans need to independently build the calculators that HP itself is probably thinking of building but seems too narrow-minded to actually build. This includes the “HP 12c Super-Platinum” referred to in my previous post.

Feel free to start your “HP 12c Super-Platinum” project. Personally, I focus on the 43S, but there are many other people here. May well be you find supporters for such a financial calculator.

d:-)

Well, one thing it could use is a shorter label than “12c Super-Platinum”, wouldn't you agree to that? After all, think of the WP-34s, what if it were instead labelled something like WP-32s Superior? Would it still have gotten as much support? Or do you think whatever functionality Pauli and Walter could have given the calculator would not have helped it get over having such a long label?
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09-02-2014, 09:42 PM
Post: #18
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
Joseph, it's your baby so you can baptize it as you like. I just used the name you introduced.

d:-)
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09-03-2014, 05:08 AM
Post: #19
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
Since I am thinking that its programming model, if keystroke, should merge digits just like all other instructions and its keyboard should be arranged so that basic alphabetical letters do not need be accessed via a menu as is the situation on the HP-32S, maybe the calculator should have the number 32B. As to the display, I am thinking that if the calculator has the 15 digit precision of the HP 30b, it should just be able to display all 15 mantissa digits on one line rather than modifying the internally-stored number to fit it into a smaller output buffer, and of course it will have multiple lines, most likely a 7x83 dot matrix on top of a seven segment display of a 15 digit mantissa and a 3 digit exponent. For programming, I am thinking it should have 576 (4 gross) steps of space in RAM and flash memory for storing a library of programs. What do you think?
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09-03-2014, 06:41 AM
Post: #20
RE: The programmable calculator the HP-30b should have been
Dreams are free. Though what for do you need a 3 digit exponent in a financial calculator?

d:-?
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