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Calculator Wars at your School
07-19-2021, 07:02 PM
Post: #41
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
I was in high school from 1977-1981. The TI-30 pretty much took the school by storm. At $30, everyone could afford it so everyone bought one. I still have mine.

A few of us math geeks got into programmables. I talked dad into buying me a 29C sometime in 77 and I bought a 41C with my own money in the winter of 79-80(?)

A good friend of mine had a TI-58 and we had friendly debates over which was best. I recall HP / TI debates in the library, but other than that one friend, I don't recall who had what or who participated in those debates. I think everyone was TI or HP. I don't recall anything else.
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07-19-2021, 11:16 PM
Post: #42
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(07-19-2021 07:02 PM)David Hayden Wrote:  I was in high school from 1977-1981. The TI-30 pretty much took the school by storm. At $30, everyone could afford it so everyone bought one. I still have mine.

When I was in High School and first years of college, the big debate was about Slide Rules, not calculators. Post vs K &E vs Picket..., metal vs wood, etc.

I was a Post fan - loved the bamboo. I still have my Post Versalog model 1460 and the pocket Post 1441 which still has the magnifying glass.

One thing about using a slide rule is that you acquired the ability to estimate what your answer should be before you did the calculation. Especially what the magnitude should be and where the decimal point should end up. Over the years, that ability has stayed with me. And has come in useful many times. Especially when I look over a calculation of a co-worker and tell him that his answer he just did with the calculator is way off. Then the heated discussion starts.. such fun.

Smithville, NJ
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07-22-2021, 10:27 AM (This post was last modified: 07-22-2021 10:28 AM by isanchez.)
Post: #43
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
during the 90's at the School of Civil Engineering, UPV in Valencia, Spain. Three groups were cleary defined:

Casio PB850P: a marvel! bunches of useful programmes inserted, powerful programmability, solidly designed, flexible, communication capabilities...ethernal!!! (it is still like new on my desk)

Casio PB1000: Someone said 1000 is always better than 850...mistake, not in this case: weak points, specially the hinges...not compatible programming, keyboard not oriented to calculations...nearly all hinges contacts broken after 6 months...a mess.

HP48SX & series: what to say in this forum...(I have around 200 HP calculators in my collection, from hp35 red dot to Hp48 series...nothing remarkable after 48 series models).


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07-22-2021, 04:02 PM (This post was last modified: 07-22-2021 04:10 PM by bbergman.)
Post: #44
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
Ever since the moment I laid eyes on an HP calculator, I never wanted anything else after that. This would have been around 1979, when a friend took me to a little "tech" store next to the University of Washington's bookstore, where they sold calculators and typewriters and even some early PC's like the Apple II. My eyes lit up like it was Christmas at the sight of the beautiful HP calculators, and I ignored the Apple. Smile

Prior to that, my dad had bought a Commodore calc with the blue LED's, and that was a wonderful machine. The beautiful colored keys, the clean layout, etc. I wish it hadn't been tossed some years later when my mom was cleaning out the garage. I also remember buying one of the small Sinclair programmables from Radio Shack (I think?) around the same timeframe, but it was buggy as heck. Still, I loved the tiny form factor, and the red blinky display while it ran the program. I ended up breaking the case by accident, so I opened it up and after that it did work, but just mainly sat around in a state of disrepair. There wasn't much you could do with it, since the programming steps were few and...strange.

My first HP was a 25 (quickly upgraded to 25C about three months later), and all during high school (graduated 1981), I used either a 34C or a 19C. I loved the 19C, but it was pretty big to carry around on your belt pouch. And yes, I did. Smile The 34C won on a day-to-day carry basis. I still have my 19C, but lost my 34C somewhere and replaced it maybe 10-11 years ago for a used one. I convinced my advanced math teachers that if I could write a program to solve a general problem, then that meant I understood the solution well enough to explain my work, so they let me use it as often as I wished. I spent countless hours programming hundreds of solutions in, for problems I only answered once (ever). Ah, the energy of youth!

Everyone in high school pretty much had a TI calc (yes, the TI-30), with the exception of the math geeks and those into computers. My HS had one of the first "computer science" classes offered in Seattle, and about half the class owned HP's by the end of the year. We all got started because the first couple of months of the class were devoted to programming a Monroe desk calc. Clackety-clack-clack, but it was amazing at the time. I still vividly remember what it sounds like when that Monroe ran a program to compute some value, or plot some curve vertically up the paper. When we moved up to punch card Fortran programming, a whole group of us went down and bought HP calculators to fawn over the rest of the year.

Great memories!
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07-22-2021, 05:58 PM
Post: #45
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
When I was in high school, 1971-1975, I had a sterling plastic slider rule that
you could buy at a five and dime store (the forerunner of the dollar stores).

In my sophomore year the math department aquired at least one hp-35 calculator
which I was allowed to take home overnight or the weekend.

During this time we had access to a ncr century computer via paper tape in BASIC
or Fortran and COBOL via punch card. I did simpson's rule in COBOL :) and basic
and fortran.

The slide rule was used for chemistry and physics. The BASIC language came in
handy when grokking data. I used the hp35 to crunch numbers for a
parabolic reflector for which an article was published in scientific american.

Later on I used a TI58 with a printer to crunch some numbers. I did a bubble sort
and did some creative string handling. Of course with the TI58, there was
no persistent memory so keying in and using the program was a bit problematical.


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07-23-2021, 12:53 PM
Post: #46
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
During my time in high school in the late '90s (USA), there wasn't really anything that could have been called a calculator "war". I would say probably better than 80% of those who owned a "high-end" calculator - graphing, programmable, etc. - had a TI-83. And probably at least 98% were using something from TI, with a few 80s, 81s, 86es, 89s, 92s, etc. mixed into the population. Those of us with 92s or 89s might thumb our noses at the 83s, but that was about it. Wink

I got a 48GX when I was in 10th grade, and still have it. I later got a 49G when it came out; can't remember if I was in 11th or 12th grade. I'm the only person I know that owned/used an HP at my school. There might have been a couple of Casios floating around, but they were a vanishingly small minority.
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07-23-2021, 06:48 PM
Post: #47
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
My compatriots (USSR) did not have good calculators either at school or at university, because they did not know anything about them. When I was studying at a higher educational institution in the mid-90s, I noticed that only some foreign students in my city had valuable calculators. At that time, they used TI-59; CASIO PB, SHARP PC (I don`t remember the model numbers). One of them even had a TI-85. When I got to know the TI-85 better, my dream was to go to the USA, because that`s where I would be able to buy the best calculators :-)
I got information about HP-48g calculators from printed sources, but I couldn`t even dream about it at that time.
The world has changed. Any product can now be ordered with home delivery without getting up from the chair. I was very disappointed in some HP calculators. However, the 48gx and 48gii (256kB variant) remain my favorite calculators from HP.
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07-25-2021, 03:32 PM
Post: #48
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
I was in a community college 3 year electronics class in the mid 1970s. I had spent the summer before the fall start of classes learning to use a Post slide rule borrowed from an older cousin. After becoming somewhat proficient with the Post, I received a letter from the community college telling me that slide rules would no longer be used be and scientific calculators were required. Money was tight back then and I bought a TI 30 at the college's book store for all of $29. The TI worked reasonably well, but felt cheap. The class was evenly split between the HP calculator users and the TI 30 and other algebraic calculators. Every one not owning an HP calculator envied their quality construction and keyboards but believed the HP calculators were less accurate and used a "weird" entry method. There were numerous speed/accuracy contests. After a year of using a TI 30, I bought a second hand HP 21. I loved that calculator and it was the first of many HP calculators I have purchased since then.

RPN rules!
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