Calculator Wars at your School
07-19-2021, 07:02 PM
Post: #41
 David Hayden Senior Member Posts: 405 Joined: Dec 2013
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. 07-19-2021, 11:16 PM Post: #42  Bill (Smithville NJ) Senior Member Posts: 459 Joined: Dec 2013 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.

73
Bill WD9EQD
Smithville, NJ
07-22-2021, 10:27 AM (This post was last modified: 07-22-2021 10:28 AM by isanchez.)
Post: #43
 isanchez Member Posts: 226 Joined: Dec 2013
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).

Regards

Ignacio
07-22-2021, 04:02 PM (This post was last modified: 07-22-2021 04:10 PM by bbergman.)
Post: #44
 bbergman Junior Member Posts: 44 Joined: Nov 2017
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.

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. 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!
07-22-2021, 05:58 PM
Post: #45
 Liamtoh Resu Member Posts: 116 Joined: May 2021
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.

...

Thanks
07-23-2021, 12:53 PM
Post: #46
 Dave Britten Senior Member Posts: 2,140 Joined: Dec 2013
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.

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.
07-23-2021, 06:48 PM
Post: #47
 Hlib Member Posts: 242 Joined: Jan 2015
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 dont 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 thats 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.
07-25-2021, 03:32 PM
Post: #48
 DaveBr Junior Member Posts: 46 Joined: Jun 2018
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!
12-07-2021, 11:15 PM
Post: #49
 Trond Member Posts: 139 Joined: Sep 2017
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
With me and my friends in the mid-90s, it was the HP guys who didn't have graphing. We were two HP-nerds with HP 32sII (and both our fathers had older HP calculators) vs two guys with Casio and TI graphing calculators. Us HP guys did the math and equations faster, but I have to say the Casio guy took his graphing calc to the limit. He programmed some kind of D&D-like maze game on his calculator.
12-10-2021, 07:58 AM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2021 07:58 AM by nickapos.)
Post: #50
 nickapos Junior Member Posts: 37 Joined: Sep 2021
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
I finished high school in 1998 in Greece and calculators were not allowed in any form. Nor slide-rulers which were not taught.
I had a calculator for use at home, i think it was a casio.
HP calculators were unknown to me, same TI.
I used the same calculator in uni and eventually went into programming on a computer instead of a calculator.
I only recently discovered the rich history of programmable calculators and i love it.
06-22-2022, 04:31 AM
Post: #51
 RichieHH Junior Member Posts: 3 Joined: Jun 2022
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(06-20-2021 09:25 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:
(06-20-2021 08:15 PM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  I also remember when I attended my first college level electronics class in 1980 that there was still a giant working model of a slide rule hanging at the front of the classroom. One day we did a series of complex calculations that took about 5 minutes on our calculators. The instructor pointed to the giant slide rule and said a few years ago we were still using slide rules in this class and the problem we just did in 5 minutes took about 40 minutes to finish. Most of us were shocked since even in 1980 most of us had never used a slide rule.

Hmmm... I'd say someone was not very skilled at the slide rule! Someone who's skilled at it should be able to get answers just about as quickly as with a calculator. The big difference came when calculators became programmable and could carry out ten instructions per second. That's where I left the slide rule behind.

I'm wondering if you're joking here. There's a reason slide rules were replaced. A slide rule user won't come close to a decent sci calc user in terms of speed or accuracy. Nice idea, but somewhat hazed by romantic notion?
06-22-2022, 06:14 AM
Post: #52
 Garth Wilson Senior Member Posts: 525 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(06-22-2022 04:31 AM)RichieHH Wrote:
(06-20-2021 09:25 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  Hmmm... I'd say someone was not very skilled at the slide rule! Someone who's skilled at it should be able to get answers just about as quickly as with a calculator. The big difference came when calculators became programmable and could carry out ten instructions per second. That's where I left the slide rule behind.

I'm wondering if you're joking here. There's a reason slide rules were replaced. A slide rule user won't come close to a decent sci calc user in terms of speed or accuracy. Nice idea, but somewhat hazed by romantic notion?

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.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
06-22-2022, 07:22 AM
Post: #53
 Steve Simpkin Senior Member Posts: 835 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(06-22-2022 06:14 AM)Garth Wilson Wrote:
(06-22-2022 04:31 AM)RichieHH Wrote:  I'm wondering if you're joking here. There's a reason slide rules were replaced. A slide rule user won't come close to a decent sci calc user in terms of speed or accuracy. Nice idea, but somewhat hazed by romantic notion?

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.

06-22-2022, 08:30 AM
Post: #54
 Garth Wilson Senior Member Posts: 525 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
Ah yes, doing R->P and P->R conversions is far faster on a calculator. That's kind of a program in itself though, even though it's built in so you don't have to write the program yourself. What made me go to the calculator was when I needed something programmable.

http://WilsonMinesCo.com (Lots of HP-41 links at the bottom of the links page, http://wilsonminesco.com/links.html )
06-22-2022, 11:54 AM
Post: #55
 mfleming Senior Member Posts: 824 Joined: Jul 2015
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(06-22-2022 04:31 AM)RichieHH Wrote:
(06-20-2021 09:25 PM)Garth Wilson Wrote:  Hmmm... I'd say someone was not very skilled at the slide rule! Someone who's skilled at it should be able to get answers just about as quickly as with a calculator. The big difference came when calculators became programmable and could carry out ten instructions per second. That's where I left the slide rule behind.

I'm wondering if you're joking here. There's a reason slide rules were replaced. A slide rule user won't come close to a decent sci calc user in terms of speed or accuracy. Nice idea, but somewhat hazed by romantic notion?

Clearly written by a non-Engineer (or worse yet, a Mathematician). In the first exam of my first EE class the instructor said, after passing out the exam paper, "Please, please don't write down your answer to ten digits. You won't find a part accurate to ten digits in any catalog."

Remember kids, "In a democracy, you get the government you deserve."
06-24-2022, 12:33 AM
Post: #56
 Kevin Ouellet Member Posts: 147 Joined: Dec 2013
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
Over here everyone had a TI-80, TI-82 or TI-83 Plus. I was the only one to have a 83+Silver Edition and only one person had a regular TI-83 (non-plus). There weren't any calculator wars to be honest but most TI-80 kids regretted their purchase or wished their parents had bought at least a 82 instead so that they could play Tetris.

-DJ Omnimaga
https://djomnimaga.music-2000.com
06-24-2022, 09:49 AM
Post: #57
 johanw Member Posts: 198 Joined: Nov 2019
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
(06-22-2022 11:54 AM)mfleming Wrote:  "Please, please don't write down your answer to ten digits. You won't find a part accurate to ten digits in any catalog."

The art is in designing the circuit so that its results are more accurate than the accuracy of the parts. There are physical measurements done with extreme precision despite the individual resistors and capacitors not being more accurate than 5% or so.
07-01-2022, 06:25 PM
Post: #58
 saifrc Junior Member Posts: 1 Joined: Aug 2014
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
It wasn't a "war" per se, but a series of status symbols :-P

I went to a high school in a very well-off district, where every student was *required* to own a TI graphing calculator. (Can you believe it?) When I started as a freshman in 1996, my Algebra II/Trigonometry class used a textbook that "required" the TI-82, and that's what was printed on the supplies list for that class, so that's what my family (begrudgingly) purchased for me.

Because I didn't have Internet access at home, and because I wasn't keeping up with calculator technology, I didn't know that the TI-83 had JUST come out. I felt like an idiot showing up with my old-fashioned TI-82, while many of my classmates (who didn't actually read or follow the supplies list) showed up with the much cooler TI-83. A few of my classmates had gotten a TI-85, either as a hand-me-down from older siblings, or because they simply knew (or their parents knew) that it was more powerful, but I didn't have anyone to give me that kind of advice.

For the next couple of years, I envied my friends who had the TI-83, the TI-85, and the brand-new TI-86, not just because they owned more capable calculators, but also because...all of those calculators had been hacked to allow for assembly language programming and GAMES! It would be a few more years before an exploit would be found for the TI-82 to allow it to run similar games. My TI-82 was at the bottom of the food chain, even as I eventually became the top math student in the school. (One of my good friends was slightly worse off than me, because he actually had a hand-me-down TI-81...with no link port! Can you imagine? ?)

HOWEVER: After I joined the math team, I got to use—and take home—school-owned calculators! When the TI-92 came out, I was one of the first people to get their hands on one. When the TI-89 came out, I traded in the TI-92 for it. I did eventually have to return them when I graduated, but that was okay with me, since...

...Once I entered college as a math major, I realized that I didn't really *need* a graphing calculator. The vast majority of my work was done in blue pen on white paper without a calculator at all. I did eventually pick up my own TI-89 for practical use, when I worked as a grader, but I still own that TI-82 to this day. (And a lot more than that; I'm a veritable calculator junkie.)

During my time in high school, I knew only one person who had an HP48 of some kind of flavor. He had a HUGE chip on his shoulder about it, touting the power, the display, and the superiority of RPN. We all knew he was a huge dork. ? Maybe some of the kids in my school from East Asia were using Casios, but generally speaking, it was TI or nothing.

In retrospect, I'm more upset than anything that our school had the gall to expect every family to buy a graphing calculator when the school district was so wealthy; it was one of the things that my parents were the most sore about, since the school didn't require my older brother or sister to own one when they went to the same school. Nowadays, as I see schools assigning laptops to students, it feels like such a weird historical anomaly to design a curriculum around a specific graphing calculator and force everyone to use it. I've been tempted to buy a TI-84 CE just to see what they're like now, but I own too many calculators as it is! (See below...)

HP: 12C, 12C Platinum, 17bII+, 30b, Prime G1
SM: DM42
TI: 30XS MV, 35, 36X Pro, 82, 89, BA II+, BA II+ Pro, Nspire CX CAS
Casio fx-991EX, Numworks
07-01-2022, 07:42 PM
Post: #59
 DrewNicholson Junior Member Posts: 35 Joined: May 2022
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
I was in high school 75-79. A good friend and I had the same calcs and kept looking at what we could afford in programmable. He moved to a different school so I had to seek like minded folks elsewhere.
The closest I can get to a "war" is I upgraded from a TI-30 to a 57 (although I have a very clear memory of using a 58, which is kind of odd). And another fellow was very clear about the superiority of his HP 25C, due to the continuous memory. Which was a challenging argument to try to win.

The job I had would have paid for me to have a 59, but I spent all my money on my girlfriend and then other stuff after we broke up. I ended up buying a used SR-52 for college which I eventually replaced with the 11C. All the other engineers (I switched to comp sci from Cpr E) had 41's ...

I think I had all of two discussions on the merits of different calculators, one in high school, one in college. In both cases, I wanted what the other person had, so there wasn't really much argument!

HP-45/65/67,HP-10/11/12/15/16c,HP-21/25/25c/29c,HP-31e/32e/33e/34c,HP-41C/V/X,HP-22s/27s/32sii/42s,HP-48s/gx,HP-35s,more
07-31-2022, 08:33 PM
Post: #60
 dm319 Junior Member Posts: 3 Joined: Sep 2016
RE: Calculator Wars at your School
Casio FX-82LB vs Sharp EL-531GH

The Casio seemed to be the standard-issue class calculator. It was well made with nice round moulded buttons, a steel face-plate, and you could flip the case over using one hand like a flip phone.

But I had the Sharp EL-531GH, which was a better calculator. They were both algebraic, and the sharp handled brackets, and much better order-of-operations logic. I.e. typing 'sin' would then prompt for what you wanted the function to work on, unlike Casios of the time which applied the function to the current value.
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