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Hewlett Packard's Cult Calculator Turns 30 318

Hugh Pickens writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Hewlett Packard's HP-12C financial calculator has remained outwardly unchanged since its introduction in 1981. 'Once you learned it on the 12C, there was no need to change,' says David Carter, chief investment officer of New York wealth-management firm Lenox Advisors, who has owned his 12C for 22 years and still keeps it on his desk. 'It's not like the math was changing.' The 12C, which costs $70 on HP's website, is HP's best-selling calculator of all time, though the company won't reveal how many units it has sold over the years. The 12C still uses an unconventional mathematical notation called 'Reverse Polish Notation,' which eschews parentheses and equal signs in an effort to run long calculations more efficiently."
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Hewlett Packard's Cult Calculator Turns 30

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  • by Tamran (1424955) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @04:54PM (#36041746)

    This is the scientific version of the same calculator, complete with RPN, a stack, plotting functions, matrix functions. I've had mine since 1991. It's a shame they tried to replace it with one that is crap.


  • Re:Unconventional? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:27PM (#36043218)

    There is nothing more awesome than being able to compute a quadratic formula without using grouping symbols.

    Sex is more awesome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:07PM (#36043528)
    Because sometimes you just want to pull out a simple tool, punch in a few numbers, and get an answer instead of waiting for an application to load, remembering the exact syntax the app wants, and THEN getting around to the actual inputting of the numbers.
  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @11:58PM (#36044546)

    >A quick buck and an increase in stock value means EVERYTHING to a non-engineer CEO who is only going to be there for 5 years

    The thing is that the day after she left, the market cap of HP bounced up 3Billion. Yes, with a B. This means that the market thought that Carly was worth a *negative* 3 billion dollars.

    Then she had the audacity to go crying on 60 Minutes about how the culture at HP was demeaning towards her.


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