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RE: Calculator Wars at your School - KCC - 08-04-2022 01:07 AM

Maybe you would want to know calculator war in another part of the world, i.e. Hong Kong.
I was in my high school in mid to late eighties, and in fact, there was no calculator wars, because there was only one big nation, i.e. Casio, which conquered 90% of the market, with the remaining 10% being Sharp. Then in around 1990 HP tried to enter the market, promoting HP-20S and HP-22S. I remembered in one of its advertisements it asked students to solve something like 'x + sin x =2', and which of course could not be easily solved by hand but HP Solve could handle that easily. It was at that time I started to know there was a calculator brand called HP, and then fell in love with it. And where is TI? Sorry, never heard of that during my whole life as student.

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - cruff - 08-04-2022 02:09 PM

Dug out the circular side rule my grandfather gave me that I used in high school chemistry classes. I also had one of the simpler TI calcs with square root, but I didn't like bringing it to school much because it was so expensive (for someone who scrimped from a paper route to get it).


RE: Calculator Wars at your School - rprosperi - 08-04-2022 05:40 PM

(08-04-2022 02:09 PM)cruff Wrote:  Dug out the circular side rule my grandfather gave me that I used in high school chemistry classes. I also had one of the simpler TI calcs with square root, but I didn't like bringing it to school much because it was so expensive (for someone who scrimped from a paper route to get it).

Nice! I got one of these from a friend around 1972. These units came with many brands printed (they were advertising giveaways) on them, but also with many different sets of content on the back and both sides of the inner insert. I believe the earlier ones had a simple list of elements on the back, while later ones had a Periodic Table of the Elements. My original unit, a model 600 with sponsor "Enjay" had a periodic table that included elements up to number 103, so one element newer than this one. BTW, the "Enjay" logo appears to the same color & style as used by Esso (forerunner of Exxon) but no idea if they are related.

Update: Enjay Chemicals was the original name of Exxon Chemicals, and so the logo appearing similar to the Esso (Standard Oil of NJ prior to rebranding as Exxon) logo is not a coincidence.

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - Eddie W. Shore - 08-07-2022 11:25 PM

(06-20-2021 09:17 PM)lmamakos Wrote:  In high school chemistry, probably 1976 or so, my teacher only allowed us to use a slide rule in class and for exams. He said that his 4 year old daughter knew how to use a calculator, and didn't know what she was computing; we were going to have to know the units and orders of magnitude to get the correct answers.

We all got the option to buy this one "Concise Science Tabls and Circular Slide Rule" through the class. I think it was probably $5 or $7 at the time. If you knew what was good for you, this is what you ordered! It had a periodic table of elements on the back, and a plastic insert card with a bunch of constants and formulae that you didn't have to memorize for the exam. And since it was a circular slide rule, you never ran off the end.

I loved this thing, but somewhere along the way I lost track of it over the years. So of course I had to buy a replacement from eBay for $40 or $50 for absolutely no good reason..

By the way, if you're into slide rules at all, you must know about the International Slide Rule Museum web site! Another labor of love, with so much useful historical information.

I like the circular slide rules. If I was in school ten years earlier (I went to school in the 80s-90s), I would probably would have a trig slide rule with a simple calculator as a compliment.

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - RPNerd - 08-08-2022 07:11 AM

There weren't really any "wars" as such at the school when/where I was (early '80s, Europe).

The school had a relationship with a TI representative who offloaded old stock TI-57 LED calculators at an attractive price, so nearly everyone had that model.

I was a bit of a rebel at heart so I didn't take the school up on the offer. I had the opportunity to acquire an HP-15C instead. Needless to say, everyone was jealous of the sheer capacity of the calculator and the non-volatile memory. They just couldn't get their heads round RPN so people didn't want to borrow it. "Where's the '=' button?!?!" was a very common question...

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - redglyph - 08-08-2022 09:51 AM

Those circular slide rules remind me of the flight computer we use in aviation.

It's very handy for the multitude of units we have to deal with (UK/US gallons, mile / nautical mile / km, knot / kph / mps, ...), but also to calculate the wind drift. All that while holding the yoke (or not...). Big Grin

[Image: PXL-20220808-094146305.jpg] [Image: PXL-20220808-094156555.jpg]1

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - johnb - 08-28-2022 07:00 AM

(06-22-2022 07:22 AM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  
(06-22-2022 06:14 AM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  Maybe someday I'll be in a position to make videos to demonstrate. The slide rule is quick, if you're skilled. However, every video demonstration I've seen shows that the operator didn't know how to quickly get a vernier effect with the fingers to home in on super accurate settings of the slide or even the cursor. I am out of practice now, but I stand by what I said. When I was using it all the time, I really could get answers just about as quickly as I could with a calculator. It doesn't take any skill or much understanding to punch buttons though, which was a major attraction for the calculator.

The instructor mentioned since this was a 101 elementary electronics class that he also taught students how to use a slide rule so much of that 40 minute time may have been spent assisting students with using their slide rules on the problem. These were also fairly complex problems involving multi-step formulas and R->P conversions. The excerpt below (from the HP-27 Owner's Handbook) shows an example of calculating the AC impedance on a simple resistor-inductor-capacitor circuit. If memory serves, the problems had a number of these circuits in parallel and we also had to calculate the voltage and currents across some of the components. There were a *lot* of calculation steps involved and it was complex even using a calculator to do it.

I can confirm the speed of a SKILLED slipstick operator. When I started college in 1980, my chemistry professor would hold calculation races in the last few minutes of class: he and his trusty slide rule, against his entire class, all on calculators. He won about 75% of the time with answers to 3 digits precision. If there were big swings of unit conversions, he'd win hands down because he just slid the decimal point around in his head while doing the more important calculations on the rule (while most students were typing 1000x 1000x 1000x).

Mostly I didn't bother to compete: I'd watch his amazing show! Zip! Zap! The hand moves quicker than the eye, the answer is nine-pi! He would carry intermediate results right on the scales; he knew the vernier tricks and all sorts of others. He was amazingly fast.

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - johnb - 08-28-2022 07:04 AM

(08-08-2022 09:51 AM)redglyph Wrote:  Those circular slide rules remind me of the flight computer we use in aviation.

In the US, we'd call that "the ol' trusty E6B."
I have one on my watch right here (a Citizen Skyhawk).

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - TRS80 - 10-31-2022 12:32 PM

At my school, early to mid 1980's, the standard calc was the HP11 with about 30 users. Its bitter rivals were 2 people each with HP41's and the TRS80 PC-4. The courses were instructed to the HP11, so having a different calc/computer meant you were on your own.
EDIT: Those of us with PC-4s were instantly recognizable by the Radio Shack cordless telephone case we wore on our belts to house the PC4.

RE: Calculator Wars at your School - born2laser - 11-01-2022 02:06 AM

In high school I must have been in the last class to learn the slide rule (and to use log tables to make calculations, hated that!).
I was the last in my class still using the slide rule, and was faster than anybody else using calculators, but had to give up when we started calculating structures, there are too many sums and the slide rule does not help there. I got a CASIO FX21, and I loved it (smuggled into Argentina, imports were closed at the time). My cousin had a FATE 10 calculator (built under license locally) that introduced me to RPN, but that calculator was a beast, 6 AA batteries and the red LED display just ate through them.
In college I had the opportunity to play with an HP33E, and again fell in love, now with programmables. By the time I could buy my own most people had TI58 and 59, but a dedicated minority (myself included) ponied up for the HP41