200802121

Unless you have been flat NOT paying attention you would realize that we moved. One of the things I appreciate about moving is that many of the things that have been lost around the house turn up.

One of the bad things about moving is.... Well, except for what I said above, I suppose everything else about moving is bad.

One thing I find particularly disagreable about moving is the tendency for things to get lost during a move. I do believe more stuff gets lost than (at last) found. One thing that has disappeared is my Hewlett Packard 15C calculator. I received that calculator as a gift in 1981. It went with me through all of my undergraduate college years.

One very frustrating thing about the whole business is that I had seen and used that calculator at least twice since we moved. Each time I thought something like, "Where can I put this calculator so I will be able to find it next time." Since it was either in a box or stashed with a bunch of other stuff I generally moved it to some catagorically more appropriate stack. The last time I handled it I took out the collection (five or so) of programs I had written for use on that calculator. For old times sake I keyed in one of the programs and ran it. I recall that the running of the program was really slow. The program had only, oh, 25 or 30 steps and it still took two or three seconds to run. I remember when I first wrote a program for the calculator that it really razzle-dazzled me to be able to run a program on my hand calculator. Even with the slow processor, this calculator would be extremely useful to me in my new capacity as an electrician apprentice. Keying all those steps (from the example program) by hand would take at least five minutes. Three seconds is a terrific improvement.

I am going to miss that calculator. It is (wherever it be) in mint condition. It still runs like new.

Interestingly, HP has re-released the sister calculator of my favorite 15c, namely the 12c.

The 12c is a financial calculator - used for money garbage. I guess it was a sufficiently popular calculator for the company to justify equipping it with a faster processor and re-releasing it. My favorite (15c) is a scientific calculator. It has useful features such as trig functions, hyperbolic trig functions, statistical calculations (which may be on the financial one too)... it would even integrate.

If HP were to re-release the 15c I would be tempted -- depending on the price. In 1981 it was over $100 - in 1981 dollars! I doubt I would be willing to fork over that kind of money today - in 2008 dollars. On the other hand, I came real close to buying (as a replacement for my lost 15c) 50g which is quite pricey. I was just thinking that it might be useful in my homeschool - since my oldest is getting close to math topics that involve graphing. But in the end I decided there are other solutions to getting a quick graph. I suppose there are websites out there in which I can key in a function and get back the graph. I suspect there are many java application out there that do the same. If not, I could probably spend a couple hours and write a couple. In college I sat down and wrote a program - on an Apple 2E - that would graph angular (polar) functions. I was taking classes and junk but still found time to write that program.

Today, I have less time than I did in college.

And here I am writing a blog that nobody will read.

I broke down and bought myself another calculator. Since the 15c is no longer available I did some comparitive shopping and ended up with a 35s. It has everything that I appreciate about HP calculators and a few things features I don't know what are. It'll do the trick. I don't know how to key in a program on this calculator; but it comes with a very lengthy PDF user's guide on an enclosed CD.

If HP ever folds or is absorbed into another company that doesn't care about quality I hope somebody else starts marketting quality calculators that support RPN logic. RPN was an ingenious innovation. But many people see it is the logic of geeks.

But I'm not a geek.