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Hardware

HP Calculator Department Closing 379

Beans writes "Today is a sad day for the engineering calculator world. HP calculator department is closing. www.calc.org has the scoop. Leaving employees just announced it on comp.sys.hp48. You can check google groups for the original posts."
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HP Calculator Department Closing

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  • LCD fun (Score:4, Funny)

    by bandit450 ( 118835 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:37PM (#2517125) Homepage
    Damnit...I guess this means no more calculator pr0n for the geeks in the back of math class.
  • My 12C accounting calculator has been with me since the 80's. She's old faithful!
  • by CalTrumpet ( 98553 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:39PM (#2517133)
    Sad
    enter
    Is
    enter
    This
    enter
    + + +
  • Dark days indeed... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:41PM (#2517141) Homepage Journal
    I loved my old 28C when in school used my wife's 48G today! The very first app I installed on the Palm was a HP calculator emulator. Hand me a "normal" calculator and I fumble all over the place.

    For me, the 48G was my first exposure to hacking hardware. They had port you could buy (not an option) or build an adaptor - and could use kermit to communicate with it.

    Students today have no idea what they are missing when they pull out their TI...
    • There are all sorts of hacks you can do to a TI graphic calc, including the installation of backlights, remote controls, overlocking, memory expansions, and homemade link cables. I don't think we need complain about the lack of hackable calcs, even though HP is gone.
      • Trust me, the hacks available for the TI are nowhere near as cool as those available for the HP:

        http://www.multimania.com/zdi/

        Instructions on building an 8bit sound card for your hp48gx. It fits in the expansion slot, and can play WAV samples directly. Beat that. :)

        Believe me, you can do a lot more hackworthy things with an hp48gx than with any TI out there.

        -gleam
        • And no other calculator could match the tactile feedback of HP's keyboards. They were rugged and were part of the most reliable hardware one could find in a calculator.

          When pushed rapidly or slowly, despite massive consumption of caffeine or lack of sleep of the user, that key was guaranteed to show up in the register.

          HP calculators were required when mistakes were not an option.
        • Uh, I remember playing ping-pong in Z-Shell 4.0 in stereo (*right speaker* blip *left speaker* blip *right speaker* blip) and listening to audio files on it ("Ah ah ah, you didn't say the magic word"). You had to go to RadioShack and get an adapter to go from the calc's comport to the 3.5mm (?) that your headphones used, but it worked. I also remember seeing grey-scale images on it. Mmmm 8-bit, 128x64 pixel porn.

          I guess it would be nice if the TI85s had IR ports and more memory (28k is a little weak) but it was neat at the time.

          Now I just use my calc for doing math, blah.
    • yes indeed... When I was younger I didn't think that I needed math, but later I found out that anything reaallly cool demanded a solid understanding of it. My math teacher and I were both trying to figure out how to use our new HP48GX calculators to do things, and it ended up that he would show me the math, and I would show him how to use the 'bloody thing'. I loved my HP48GX, took the HP48 programming course and bought the serial port 'experimenters' cable. RPN, excellent display abilities, and a simple command language, helped establish neural paths that were not there before. It was sad when the math dept. made the decision to use TIs and not support the use of HPs ... perhaps similar decisions by other math depts. contributed to HP's decision? ... but to learn of THIS... I'm shocked. I cannot imagine a world without HP making calculators. They made a quality product as those with functional models from the 80's attest to. I expect to have mine for many years to come ...I find it difficult to think about math without thinking in RPN. I have never been so attached to a piece of hardware. Thanks HP... wish that you'd reconsider.
      • What exactly is a RPN? I have seen the phrase often here. I plan to go to college this janurary so my knowledge on calculators is quite outdated. My Ti-85 was top of the line when I left high school many moons ago. :-)
        • Hey, It's all about the stack...
          &nbsp RPN stands for Reverse Polish Notation. The short history:
          &nbsp In the 1920's Polish mathematician (and philosopher) Jan Lukasiewicz developed "Polish Notation" where the operators preceded the arguments. This was in the interest of simplifying symbolic algebra. Later in the 1960's HP found this to be an efficient method of performing calculations and implemented it, but instead had the operators entered after the arguments - hence REVERSE Polish Notation. This allowed intermediate calculation results to be kept on the stack and evaluated later WITHOUT ROUNDOFF ERROR that resulted from copying down the displayed results and entering them later. So not only was this more efficient, it also became a more accurate methodology! Due to the technological limitations of the time, it also allowed full algebraic calculations to be performed.
          &nbsp You can read a lil more at the following sites: http://www.calculator.org/rpn.html [calculator.org] http://www.hpmuseum.org/rpn.htm [hpmuseum.org] http://www-stone.ch.cam.ac.uk/documentation/rrf/rp n.html [cam.ac.uk]
          &nbsp Best of luck going back to school. May you never stop learning!
  • by torako ( 532270 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:43PM (#2517150) Homepage
    Having used my HP49 for quite some time now I have to say that it really is a great piece of engineering.
    It is true that the main usage field for HP calculators is engineering and science, but in my opinion HP should have tried to sell more calculators to high school students and schools, because if someone is used to use TIs he is unlikely to switch to HP unless forced (after all, 170$ for an HP49g is not exactly cheap).
    It's a pity to see the HP calcs go. Let's hope the HP calculator community keeps being vital.
    • The HP49g is NOT a great piece of engineering. I've used a 48g for the past 5 years. When I heard of the new 49g I was one of the first to drop $200 to buy one. After only a week a was back to using my old 48g because I realized the 49 is just a colorful TI with an RPN OPTION! Did you notice that RPN is not the default mode, and the buttons are squishy, and the pixels on the screen are BROWN? HP's problem is that they didn't have faith in their (vastly superior) product. They noticed more people were buying TI so they tried to build a TI clone. But people don't want to pay $170 for a TI!

      As for me -- I'm going to go out and buy a 48gx as quickly as possible.
    • Another problem -- in grade school we used scientific calculators, high school, graphing calculators ...

      Then you get to college and their so afraid people will cheat (by storing notes in their calculators) -- its no calculators for most classes -- and when they're absoultley necessary -- a shitty scientific is allowed

      This is how it is at UCR atleast ... I hope its different somewhere else :) I've often wondered -- when there would be an emergency engineering situation where neither calculators nor books are avaliable (a situation that coresponds to testing).
    • Actually, HP has quite a good reputation as a financial calculator, too. I use one for my Finance class, the HP 10BII (which, incidentally, costs the same price as the competition from TI).

      One of the things I like about the HP is that they use quality keys. They're very stiff and provide great tactile feedback. Not like those little rubber thingys that you wonder if you pushed it in right.

      OTOH, I used a friend's HP12c the other day, and was a little surprised at how slow it ran. I was doing an IRR computation, which cannot be solved directly but requires the calc to "plug and chug" a bunch of numbers until it finds the right one. My 10BII solved it in a couple of seconds; the 12c took significantly longer. That may not sound like a big deal, until you consider that the 12c costs more than twice as much, and is one of the best on the market. It tells me that the 12c internals hadn't been refreshed in a long time. (Makes me wonder if closing the calc division hasn't been a long time coming.)

      My guess is that the market is too saturated with competitors and the margins are too thin for a "premium quality" calculator to be mass produced at competitive prices.

      What a shame. It's like the same situation with keyboards; so many crap keyboards flooded the market in the past decade that its near-impossible to find a decent quality keyboard anymore.
  • ...for the geek community.

    Sorry.
  • I know HP's cutting back because of the economy, but I wonder how much more of this is simply Texas Instruments' dominance in calculators. I know of only one high school in my area that uses the HPs and none of the departments at my university use them either.

    I never could understand the reverse polish notation, but I always thought the IR in the HPs were a much better idea than the physical link cables of the TIs.
  • Anyone remember the time when Erwin [userfriendly.org] was stuck in an old HP Calculator [userfriendly.org]?
  • HP reminds me of DEC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:54PM (#2517181)
    HP of today reminds me of DEC and Lucent. None of these companies seem to be able to market and profit from the fruits of their massive engineering talent. None can dispute the quality of the hardware and software in HP's calculators, but HP are not able to turn it into a long-term successful business unit. HP have spun of most of their best products into the mismanaged and unable to execute Agilent. Note the parallel with Lucent. I don't know why these companies let their best products go adrift but I find it depressing.
  • by crlf ( 131465 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:55PM (#2517182)
    I've been using HP calculators since I was in grade 5. I remember the first day I received my trusty old 32SII. It was awkward at first, but RPN grew on me very fast. I continued to use this calculater, learning every function for it that I could. I used to laugh at my classmates for not even being able to add 1 + 2 on my calculater. It allowed me to be both pretentious and productive at the same time. It gave me a new unconventional way to look at the problems at hand.

    Come university, I went out and splurged for my 48GX. Although I have yet to take the time to learn all of this beast-of-a-calculater's functionality, I know that if I did I would be even more productive. HP calculators are truly ingenious tools.

    One thing I must say though is that I don't think it's fair that some educational institutions *make* students buy other more conventional calculaters. Specially in the fields and engineering and computer science. Students miss out by using the old-fashioned calculator, eg: the TI-8[69?]. Students learn and become dependent on their calculaters as they don't ever learn different ways of attacking the given problem. Blame the schools for not letting their students use a real calculater.
  • by archivis ( 100368 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:56PM (#2517186) Journal
    I shall not to it tell this sad and dire news. It will be happier to believe that it's family still lives and grows. I cannot so crush it's spirit by telling it that that loathsome monster of poorly-designed calculating devices, TI, shall be triumphant.

    Alas.
  • Very Sad (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mad Marlin ( 96929 ) <cgore@cgore.com> on Saturday November 03, 2001 @06:57PM (#2517188) Homepage
    I have been using the Hewlett Packard calculators since high school. I wrote a software package for the HP 49G that provides a lot of additional functions, and is free. I was using my HP 49G just this morning to get my MAT 3701 homework done. I will be using the HP 49G a lot longer then I had planned, apparently. I really prefer RPN. Anybody interested in providing startup capital for a new calculator company?
  • by mooseman ( 146859 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:04PM (#2517211)
    I started college in 1981 and HP-41C's where state of the art at the time. You could solve 16 simultaneous equations at your desk, as opposed to walking to the lab to use a mainframe or TRS-80. My girlfriend at the time bought me a top of the line HP-41CX for Christmas and she called it "baby Hewey" (of course I had to marry her after that!)

    The were some of us hackers who used a backdoor to do "synthetic programming". One trick was to get the goose to fly backwards. Anybody remember that? How many of us have grown up to be linux/unix hackers? I bet most of us . . .

    Oh the good old days . . .

    Smokin' Joe
    • I've still got my 41C, despite the difficulty of finding those oddball batteries. Its reliability is exemplary. I loved it when I got it, and this is one bit of computing history that I'm *never* going to offer up on e-Bay.

      -jcr
    • Indeed. I still have my 1980s vintage 41C calculator that I saved up for in High School. The thing is freakin' indestructible with the greatest keys ever made. And yes, I have my PPC module. :)

  • Someone Explain! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The link mentioned in the topic is trashed. I searched the newsgroup and checked hpcalc.org and they make it sound like ACO is closing, but the calculators will still be made. HP's website still has the calculator section, with no mention of shutting it down. Man... Want to get the full scoop before I break the bad news to my father. He's sworn by HP calcs for 25 years. Can anyone clarify what is actually happening?
  • sad to hear this (Score:2, Interesting)

    by juno ( 70153 )
    I've been using HP RPN calculators since I was a little kid. My dad's 25C is about as old as I am and still works. My 48G got me through high school and college math with much more style than my TI-using friends :p I get teased about being old-fashioned for liking RPN, but I still think it's a much more fluid way to think and compute than infix notation, and there was this neat kind of bond between all the HP users. Kind of unhappy to know that there will be a lack of RPN calculators in the future.
  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:09PM (#2517230) Journal
    I am signing up for college this january and I still have my old ti-85 with 32k of ram from 94 back in high school. From what I have seen is that the hp calculators are more programmable and more powerfull then TI calcs. I also know my plam m100 is alot more powerfull then either one. My palm has has a much more powerfull processor ( 20 mhz I think) and 2 megs of ram not to mention its alot more programable. I can download python, a lite version of java, as well as free c compilers for it. Perhaps we (as in the fsf community) should write some gnu calculator and mathmatical utilities for it and try to convince palm to focus on this market. My math skills are not quit there to write some of these utilities. Palm is hurting for marketshare and if they could sell palms to graduate engineering and science students who want a powerfull graphical calculator plus a few other goodies then they could gain some mindshare and more profits.

    Lets compare. $179 for a top of the line HP calculator vs $149 for a palm m100 with a todo list, games, calender, alarm, free compilers out on the web, and a scientific calculator sounds like a much better deal. Students need to plan time and the palm could do this as well as be a calculator. Not to mention you can beam programs back and forth with the IR port. A pda is like a calculator on steriods. Its really a mini computer. The only difference is you have virtual buttons on the screen rather then physical ones. Graphing is slow as hell on my TI-85 and I fear IT may harm innovation if they dominate. I do not want TI to dominate the whole calculator market.
    • 1.) Standardized testing and exams. For both of these in college, a lot of the time you will be required to use a standard graphics calculator. When that happens, having a high-end TI or HP calc is very nice.

      2.)Speed. Maybe it's just me, but I find I can enter numbers a lot faster on my TI-83+ than I can on my Revo Plus, which has a keyboard, stylus, and a variety of graphics calculator apps which really blow the 83+ out of the water.
    • The Palm has serious limitations on screen size that prevent getting a useful number of keys on the touch screen, in addition to having a touch screen instead of the fine feel of the HP 11C/28C/32SII keys. (I haven't touched one of the newer 48/49 series, so I can't respond to someone claiming the 49G had squishy keys.)

      I thought about trying to emulate the 11C/12C on the Palm, but the 11 keyboard is too large to fit on the screen, without even thinking about the fact that the keys each have three functions on them.

      The holistic experience of using one of these fine calculators is just not easy to achieve on a Palm.

      I don't care about graphing or solving equations or matrices or playing Quake on my calculator, I just want something with all the mathematical functions I need, plus RPN, that doesn't make me curse. The mid-range HPs are great for me.
    • Yes, a Palm makes a good replacement.

      There are several calculators you can get. I have had RPN [nthlab.com], one of the best ones, for years. The latest version of RPN has graphing features!

      One person noted screen real-estate limitations. RPN works around these by having two key areas: the bottom area has the most commonly-used keys, and always looks the same; the top area has remappable keys. There is a pick-list you use to choose which function set the top keys will be right now. Doing metric conversions? Choose the conversions keyset. Doing stats? Choose the statistical functions keyset. Have some weird project? Define your own keyset.

      There are situations where a good HP calculator is exactly what you want... but I always have my Visor Deluxe with me anyway, so I pretty much always use it when I want a calculator.

      steveha
    • College math professors used to shrug at the prospect of students bringing calculators into exams. They have an attitude of, "If you don't know the material, your calculator won't help you on my exams."

      I showed one of my professors the Computer Algebra System on my HP49g earlier this semester. Not only did it symbolically solve an integral that would have otherwise required a mastery of integration by parts to solve on paper, but it also showed all the intermediate steps that could be copied down on paper. It caused him a small paradigm shift.

      In a day and age where handheld PC's can have wireless network cards, one has to wonder how accepting university professors are going to be of these new technologies. All you need is a page scanner to feed the book through and a PDF reader in the handheld, and a student could potentially have access to the entire text for the class while taking the test with his "calculator."
    • There are some reasonable Palm apps for RPN calculators:
      • RPN 2.46 [wincecity.com] is a freeware RPN calc for PalmOS
      • MathU [creativecreek.com] from creativecreek.com is a $20 program which is basically an HP 15C emulator
      • Financial calculator [landware.com] from landware.com is a $30 calc app that has the financial stuff built-in from the 12C built-in as well
      • RPN [nthlab.com] an $18 shareware RPN calculator for Palm with scripting and nice features as well

      There is a comparison page on geekazoid about various Palm calculators, RPN and otherwise. [geekazoid.com]

      It should be a good indication of the excellent design and utilty of the HP calculators that it has been so imitated... Of course, some of that has to do with the sturdy hardware- it is quite remarkable what can be done to an HP calc and still have it work perfectly...

  • I have to say, i was given a 48gx by my family for chistmas one year in high school. I remember sitting around figuring out how to write games for it, i remember using it in calculus class, and i keep it on my computer desk and use it almost every day. I love that poor old calculator. I love the fact that it has a hierarchical filesystem. It just plain rules. Plus on top of that it's really burly and indestructible...
    Goddamn.
  • by philipsblows ( 180703 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:19PM (#2517262) Homepage

    Somebody already asked about a Palm Pilot being a suitable replacement (er, successor). There are certainly scientific calculator apps for Palm Pilots and similar devices, and there are already hp calculator emulators in various states of functionality for various platforms.

    I wonder what HP is going to do with the many years of development that went into the roms and downloadable software that we've all come to know and love. Would Bruce Perens be able to swing an open source release so that the hp calcs can live on? And if that were to happen, what would be the best way to make use of such software? Would a Palm Pilot with perhaps a native port of a 49G rom be feasible? A strongarm port? A transmeta-based super-calc?

    By the way, I still have my 28s somewhere, my 48GX was stolen, and I have a 49G right here next to my keyboard. At least I'll have it to show to my grandkids, or something like that.

  • rpn on ti89 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:24PM (#2517274)
    I own an HP49, and was familiar with the HP48G. I know most HP users think TI's are crap, Mostly because of the lack of RPN, (they do have a nice interface though :)

    However, to my original point, the TI 89, (which the HP 49 was built to compete with) uses RPN internally. Every time you evaluate an expression on the TI 89 command line it is run through a parser that tokenizes it into RPN statements that end up on the expressions stack. It would be very easy to write an assembly program to provide an interface similar to the visual representation of the stack present on the 48/49. It would be even easier to write such a program using tigcc. In fact, to do symbolic manipulation using tigcc you have to feed all the data into the expressions stack then process it in RPN. The fact that the TI89 uses flash technology means you could add this functionality permanently to the calculator's featurelist. This would be a fun program to write if someone wanted to give it a shot, and all you'd really be doing is taking out the middleman.
  • by Milo77 ( 534025 )
    In highschool I was apart of the math and science team. One of the competitions with which we competed against other schools was a calculator competition. The whole idea was to be able to answer as many questions as possible correctly on a hundred or so question exam without the use of any paper (time limit of course). *Everyone* used an HP32SII. You wouldn't get cought dead with anything else (at least not expect to win). Why? Because with RPN you *never* have to waste keystrokes on a parenthesis. Not to mention the most high quality keypad available. I love my HP32SII - in fact, I have it right here.

    I hated it in college when they wouldn't let me use it on tests because it was "programmable". It takes me at least twice as long to do anything on an infix calculator.

  • HP and my 11c (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhracturedBlue ( 224393 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:29PM (#2517289)
    My history with HP...
    I've been using my 11c since around 1987 (I actually got a second one in 1989, but it croaked about two years ago). It's been my favorite calculator since I got it. I've owned lots of calculators, including a casio 8700g, a TI-89, and my current HP48-gx. They're all fine, but I use my 11c more than anything else (I can do almost everything faster with it). Without any text entry/dispaly, it can do most everything I require on a daily basis; it can be programmed (203 steps, 4-level subroutine depth) to do more complex tasks, has more storage than I normally need (21 locations). It doesn't look fancy (no LCD matrix), so it could fool any of my math teachers into thinking it was an 'ordinary' calculator (now remember this was '87, and it had already been out for 6 years). It is by far and away the most useful single (i.e. never replaced) piece of electronics that I use on a daily basis. HP you have served me well, and will be missed (from the calculator business). I don't know what I will do when this HP-11 dies. Maybe I should keep a lookout on ebay.
    A great resource on older HP calculators can be found at: http://www.hpmuseum.org
  • TI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Deanasc ( 201050 )
    Cause the TI-89 kicks all a s s. No seriously, this is probably HP's response to a market place that is dominated by Texas Instruments. For calculus class we're told to buy a "graphing caluclator". No brand names. Everyone comes in the next day with some TI-8X. No one ever buys a Casio or HP.

    But I will miss Reverse Polish Notation. It's funny to see the look on peoples faces when you loan them an HP cause they forgot their calculator and there's a test in 5 minutes.

  • by rechlin ( 241251 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:35PM (#2517314)
    I run hpcalc.org and would like to clarify this article.

    HP is not ceasing the production of calculators. Instead, HP has shut down the department that develops new calculators.

    This is nothing unusual. In the mid-1990's, HP already effectively shut down calculator development for several years.

    The manufacture of calculators is completely separate from the development, and production will continue.
  • I recall the glory days of my Engineering school. There were two classes of engineers, those with an HP and those without. The thing ate matrix algebra (the kind used in RLC circuits) for breakfast. It did graphing of calculus functions. It calculated 253! faster than my 80286 did 49!.

    My HP28S _STILL_ enjoys a place of respect, even if changing the batteries is a pain in the ass (and it uses an odd size too) and even if all I do with it now is basic math/trig/etc. I don't need the powertool for what I used it for since I'm now a software engineer, but I still can't use normal calculators - RPN has spoiled me.

    RPN has got to be one of the most sensible ways to do things for anyone who ever understood computer systems - stack operations just make so much sense!

    But alas, RPN hurts the heads of the mass of the uninitiated or the uninformable. And so, a legend of quality goes to the boneyard. People would rather have the sub-capable alleged "calculators" on the Palm100 (what a piece of crap) than have something that can _really_ do complicated math (even complex math and convolutions and all sorts of neat stuff) with brutal speed. I guess that's probably because math (the kind done by people, rather than expensive software packages) is largely a dying art.

    Ah, the memories.... the first time I heard someone play all of Star Wars from the HP... the first time I aced a mid-term because my calculator reduced the mindless number crunching to a manageable task.... the first time I encountered complex numbers because the HP spit back an odd result (x,y) and the y part was the complex component.

    Sad day indeed.
    • This is scary. I have an HP28S, but I am afraid of what to do if it ever dies. Tonight I am going out to buy some N Types for it.

      BTW, does anyone know if this is the only item to use these types of batteries? I hope not or else we will have to do something drastic to use them. :(
      • This is scary. I have an HP28S, but I am afraid of what to do if it ever dies.

        Me three. Indeed, my 28S is showing signs of its age. The plastic battery door is gone, but the metal part is still there, so it still works. It's more precarious, though. More distressingly, somethings come a little bit detached on the right side keyboard, so that the faceplate is a little bit loose and occasionally the keys bounce. But I'd be very very sad if I had to do without this, or some other HP.

        I've had this thing since 1988. One of the best Christmas presents I ever got.

        -Rob

      • The 28S is the only calculator I've seen that uses N cells.

        My 28S was the very first purchase I made on the first credit card I got back in university. Lots of money to shell out for someone fresh out of high school (back in 1988), but after an engineer friend of mine showed me his, I had to have one.

        It's been the only calculator I've ever needed ever since, and still serves me faithfully, although I don't have the occasion to use it quite as often as I used to. I've heard people complain about the clamshell form factor, but it's the toughest and most durable calculator I've ever seen. I had a bit of a scare a few years back when I pulled it out and discovered the batteries had leaked all over it. Thankfully, cleaning off the battery contacts brought it back to life.

        My brother got himself a 48GX a few years ago, and was bragging about it, but I could still calculate circles around him with my 28S. :)

        BTW, the 28S currently exists as a financial calculator in the HP line.
  • Then we could distribute x48 complete, and HP would live on forever....
  • They had to wait... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @07:50PM (#2517355) Homepage Journal
    ...for both Hewlett and Packard to die to do this.
  • Hi. I'm Jean-Yves Avenard, working for HP (not for much longer) The closure of ACO has nothing to do with calculators. In fact, HP stopped the development of new calculators two years ago and started to work on low-end PDA. It's the economic downturn that's forcing HP to restructure itself and there were two divisions working on PDA (APCD in Singapore and the Jornada) I would have other comments, but I've just signed a paper saying that I can't say anything bad about HP, and there's lot to tell :) Cheers Jean-Yves
  • You guys did some magnificent work, and your products will be sorely missed. Thanks for all you did, from a very satisfied customer.

    I love my 41-C, and I'll probably keep using it for the rest of my career.

    -jcr
  • sad

    HP is no longer a job for life
    HP no longer does the R&D

    HP no longer has the guts to just go for it

    read history and see whats comeing

    regards

    john jones
  • The HP-35 [hpmuseum.org] was the original hand-held scientific calculator. I worked all summer carrying garbage to buy one for $495 back when $495 was worth something, men were men, women were women and they didn't joke about it.
  • http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:2BlWEqnbO7E:w ww.calc.org/+&hl=en [google.com]

    It is very unfortunate that this story linked directly to www.calc.org. They have been having server troubles for a few weeks now, and getting slashdotted doesn't help. At the moment, www.calc.org is the only (TI) calculator website with a decent archive. www.ticalc.org [ticalc.org] (by far the largest archive) took it's archives offline because of some 'bad content' which stems from the CD that they made in conjunction with texas instruments.
    The ti community could use some help right about now...

    Greg www.geocities.com/gdietsche/ [geocities.com]

    and yes... Gravity still works! (and some times that can be problematic)

  • hang on a minute... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Saturday November 03, 2001 @08:14PM (#2517415) Journal
    According to hpcalc.org, it's the *Australian* HP calculator group that's closing. Is that the entirety of HP's calculator development operation?

    IIRC, the HP-41 was developed at a facility in Oregon. Did they move the whole group to Australia?

    Anyone from HP available to comment, please?

    -jcr
    • The Corvallis development operation was shut down in the early 1990s (1993?); development was moved to Singapore and then essentially shelved until 1997. In late 1997, high-end calculator development was started up again in Australia; they released a few high-end calculators (most recently the HP49). So the demise of the Australian development shop most likely means that high-end calculator development at HP has stopped.
  • HP10C (Score:2, Insightful)

    I still use my HP10c on a near daily basis. It is from the mid '70s. If it dies before me, I'll get another HP calculator. However, it seems that it is one of these "buy once in a life-time" type things. Great for the consumer, but not so good for the producer. HP hadn't yet heard of engineered d obsolescence then, I guess.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
  • by ThrobbingGristle ( 62723 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @08:26PM (#2517449) Journal
    Not that they're likely to fly off the shelves but I've been meaning to get an HP for a while now and all of a sudden they're going to vanish completely.

    Not to mention the fact that I'm not even sure where to buy an HP calculator. The few places I've looked just have Casio's and TI's. Didn't Wal-Mart used to sell some HP's at least?
    • Well, I don't know much about the 49, except that it doesn't have an IR port, which sucks if you want to trade stuff with somebody. Plus it's a little bit more expensive than the older models.

      48GX - IR and a card slots (to add memory, or buy cards with things such as chemistry, etc.)

      48G+ - Same as GX, but cheaper but no card slot. Best bet for just about anybody since it's only $83.

      Check out this online reseller [wholesaleproducts.com]. It's the cheapest I've found when I briefly looked around. It's where I bought my HPGX 4 years ago for $213. It's amazing how prices have gone down.

      • I have to recommend the 32S II. I have that and the 48GX (both RPN calculators.) The 48GX is big, with every bell and whistle you would ever want in a calculator, and is priced to match - over $170 at Fry's. It usually sits on my desk, being too bulky to carry around.

        The 32SII is about $50, and is simply a marvel. It's small enough to fit in my pocket, and is programmable! I carry it everywhere. The only quibble I have with it is the four element stack (there are some tricks you can use with short stacks, but I'm not enough of an RPN wizard to employ them.)

        If you want to get a HP calculator, by all means get an RPN one. It's a very efficient system, even if it takes some getting used to (GNU Calc [gnu.org] is a great HP calculator emulator, you might want to check it out first.)
    • You can breathe easy... HP calculators aren't going away, just their development team. Production of the existing line is apparently going to carry on for some time.
  • That not everyone needs or wants a calculator that is unusual or difficult. I am a college CS student, and for my Calc/probability/discrete math classes, even the TI-89 is vastly overpowered. I need to do occasional simple graphs, use a few functions, and every once in a while use a non-cartesian coordinate system. My favorite use for my TI, in fact, is the function that converts decimals to fractions. Also, being able to input a messy fraction with multiple terms is useful (and with factorials in it).


    I would find it a real pain in the ass to have to learn even the HP way of entering in simple algebra....Of course, I'm not saying that HP shouldn't keep making calculators, but there are a lot of people complaining that TIs are cheap crappy imitations, and for most people thats just not the case.

    • by kelv ( 305876 )
      This completely misses the beauty of using a stack/RPN based system. The more complex the equations you have to deal with the more you appreicate RPN.

      With RPN you will never have to use bracketed notation. The stack can very easily take care of all of that. You simply work across the rows of fractions and functions, nomatter how complex of bracketed it might be to write down. This is the beauty of RPN.

      It just happen that it maps across to hardware and a stack much easier than any other system and that's why HP orignally went with RPN.

    • Parent posting is Insightful!?!?, If you haven't even used the both calculator, how can you comment on 'the HP way of entering simple algebra'

      Open your mind... You should never be afraid to try something new... In HS, I too laughed at the bizarre RPN that was used by HP calculators, but as I continued studies in college, I gave RPN a chance, and found that it was definitely with the learning curve. Problems in Engineering and Physics were much easier with the HP then they would have been on a traditional calculator.

      Once you get into industry, are you going to tell your manager, no I don't want to learn to do that, it seems like a pain in the ass?

  • HP-41CV Rules (Score:3, Informative)

    by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@geekbiLISPker.net minus language> on Saturday November 03, 2001 @08:55PM (#2517491) Homepage Journal
    I still have my HP-41CV. I've had it since HP first released it. This little baby was THE calculator in its time. I went so far as to do assembly language programming on it (required special hardware). My 41 still sits on my desk for whenever I need to do some quick math.

    Recently, I needed to buy a calculator for my daughter. The school specified a certain TI model. So I bought her a Hewlett-Packard calculator. I refuse to let the school dictate what companies I will do business with. Besides, TI calculators are junk.
    • Way to go. Your way or the highway. I am sure your daughter is real pleased with your statement. Why didn't you at least buy her a calculator with AOS? RPN is to AOS what command line computing is to GUI. Both have their place but quite stupid to force your daughter to use Bash/Korn when eveyone else is using System X.
  • HP calculators were the bane of my existence when I was a tutor in the math lab. There are very good reasons why TIs are more popular.

  • So much history... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spagthorpe ( 111133 )
    I was the geek in HS that was walking around with this crap Novus RPN calculator that I won in a contest. It was cool, but wasn't much more than a calculator for me. When the 41C was announced, I was in heaven. Aside from it being $300, and myself having no money, it was what I wanted most in this world. I even cut out the ad for it from an OMNI magazine (remember those!), and framed it.

    That year for xmas, after everything was open, and we were milling around the house, my mom told me there was one other present under the tree. I could have died when I got the wrapper off. I taught myself to program with that calculator. I would spend hours sitting around and write games for it, learning to convert bases, it got me into learing math that my teachers were never able to get me interested in. It set the course for my life as an engineer. It wasn't until years later that I was able to get on a computer, and learn to do anything more.

    A few years ago, I was in a pinch, and sold my 41C on Ebay. I felt like shit after it was gone. So much time, so much passion went into that little box of electronics. I have had other HPs since then, up though the 48s. No matter what they do to the HP calcs, there will always be a warm spot in my heart for them. I doubt I would be where I am now without them.

    Thanks HP!
  • Using my 48sx to solve the problems in electronics class that they taught us to solve graphically. My answers were more correct because I could more accurately pic the spot where they intersected (I forget the actual problem, but the answer was the point which both curves intersected....i got a severe case of CRS...). Nice calc! I remember seeing ANIMATIONS done on this thing and these had IR transfer BEFORE palms did. I even seen games done on this, but not many. I miss my 48sx....damn thing dropped through a hole in my backpack when I was still in college. Damn.....had ot buy a casio to replace it and i never recovered since! I even had a IR thermal printer too! You could print your graphs and pics out on them. Very nice. I need to get another HP calculator.
  • by murr ( 214674 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @11:17PM (#2517782)
    Many of the comments here see HP's exit from calculators as a victory for TI, but personally, I'm wondering whether the real reason is not that the use of high end calculators as such is declining.

    I still own 2 programmable calculators myself and use them with some regularity, but it must be more than 10 years since I last programmed a programmable calculator. It seems to me that by the time I would bother to write a calculator program for a task, I'm sufficiently out of the spontaneous use space of calculators that I might just as well sit down at a real computer and use a spreadsheet or perl or C for the job.

    Is there anybody here who really writes and/or uses programs for programmable calculators on a daily basis?

  • My trusty Keuffel & Esser sliderule model # 4041, patented June 5, 1900... You're all posers.
  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Saturday November 03, 2001 @11:51PM (#2517846) Journal
    Can you just imagine having to put your command line args in RPN?

    MyCalc%> mv file1 file2
    error: argument missing
    MyCalc%> file1 file2 mv
    MyCalc%> cat /etc/passwd | grep fascdot | cut -d: -f7
    cut: error: argument "|" is invalid
    (I was going to re-write that in RPN, but I can't even figure out how pipelining would work--so forget it)
  • It must have been 25 years ago when I first saw an HP caclulator. They were bolted to the workbench in a University Physics Lab. It left a lasting impression. The Rolls Royce of calculators ...

    A few years later, I brought my first HP calculator - an HP34C, I think - I used it when I first started my first job as a Structural Engineer. Some ten years later, I sold the HP34C to a 'serious HP collector' in Australia. I hope it still working hard for him too.

    A succession of employers have given me HP's for my daily work, mainly HP41 variants. They were all quality machines that provided years of solid service under heavy use.

    I fondly remember the HP11C(?) that the Surveyors lost when being chased by a dog. They got it back the next day - from the offending dogs kennel - by a clever diversionary tactic. The dog had been chewing the calculator overnight, and teeth marks were clearly visible on the aluminium band. And the calculator? Well it's still in daily use.

    I'm going to miss HP calculators ...
  • Something's not quite right here... The linked article said the group's been in operation for four years. I used HP calculators 15+ years ago, and they were well-established then.

    What gives?
    • Re:Waitaminnit... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      HP calculator development group was at Corvallis. I believe they developed everything from the HP-35 to the HP-48GX. It was shut down after the HP-48GX. A new calculator operation was started in Singapore, it didn't last very long. Later, HP started a new calculator operation in Australia. That is the group that developed the HP-49 and is now being disbanded.

      HP is going to hell in a handbasket. They have sold or spun off all of the divisions that made HP's reputation in the first place.

  • Love my 48GX, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Sunday November 04, 2001 @02:06AM (#2518019)
    I love my HP48GX...you couldn't get me to give it up for the world. I've loved the calculators (and purchased them) since I bought my first HP25C about 20 years ago.


    I have to say, though, that the HP49 is some kind of utter nightmare. It's as if HP turned its back on all of the good things that evolved over the years and decided that Texas Instruments was the holy grail or something. While the calculator is quite powerful, I find that it's useability is just horrendous and the calculator is actually slower than both the HP49GX and the TI92Plus. In fact, nobody that I know in academia or in engineering gives the 49 a passing glance.


    Nonetheless, everyone is entitled to a mistake, I guess. On the other hand, HP has made a significant marketing mistake by not grabbing the hearts and minds of students. Texas Instruments is the king in that regard, if only because of their academic program that gives teachers calculators free of charge based on the number of TI calculators that their students use.


    Amazingly, Hewlett Packard has the single largest corporate site in their organization here in Boise, Idaho, yet you'll find that the dominant calculator in use (by far) at the local university is the TI. Why? Because TI gives calculators to the faculty free of charge if their students use enough of them. What is the dominant brand of calculator in the university's bookstore? Yep, TI. And this is from a university that has the 7th best public engineering program in the nation. And is just 10 miles from a huge HP campus. Go figure.


    Still, I'll be sad to see them go. But I wouldn't blame Fiorina for the loss...I think it's been a long time coming.


    -h-

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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