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Size of the HP Community
08-28-2022, 04:27 PM
Post: #1
Size of the HP Community
I was enjoying some time with several old friends last night and telling them about my latest project, a matching big/little brother pair: WP 34s and 31s conversions.

One of them asked about the size of the HP Calculator collecting community.

I had to answer that I had no idea, but large enough to have an annual convention in the U.S., and another one in Europe.

So... anyone have a decent estimate as to how many collectors of HP calculators there may be in the US, Europe, and Worldwide?

Daily drivers: 11c, 32sII, 35s, 41cx, 48g. Favorite: 16c. Current projects: WP 34s/31s.
Gateway drug: 28s found in yard sale ~2009.
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08-28-2022, 06:28 PM
Post: #2
RE: Size of the HP Community
Hello!

That's a very interesting question that I ask myself from time to time too.

(08-28-2022 04:27 PM)johnb Wrote:  So... anyone have a decent estimate as to how many collectors of HP calculators there may be in the US, Europe, and Worldwide?

Absolutely not. When I watch the websites and videos of those conferences I see between 20 and 40 persons in the audience. But these are, so to say, the "inner circle" of the community. People who sacrifice lots of time and considerable funds to attend a single conference, not to speak of their calculator collections... Watching the prices of old calculators on eBay and similar sites (which is what I do since 25 years or so) I can only conclude that there must be many, many more collectors than those 30 conference attendees.
I myself have a decently paid job but traveling to the States for a three day hobby conference is totally outside my budget, both in terms of Euros and carbon footprint. But even if nobody has ever seen at a conference I consider myself to be a collector: I have more than 1000 pocket calculators, a litte less than 200 from HP maybe. My collection is neither systematic nor complete (see user "HP-Collection" from this site or datamath.org for comparison) but it exists. And there must be many, many more like myself. Still I couln't even guess their number to the order of magnitude (100? 1000? 10000?). Who knows.

Regards
Max

NB: Maybe, work permitting (this is gonna be on very short notice) I can attend Allschwil in October.
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08-28-2022, 09:00 PM
Post: #3
RE: Size of the HP Community
The number of members of MoHPC would probably be a good proportional proxy for number of HP collectors. There was a thread sometime back discussing that number (my member # > 3,000, I've been here 7 years, and lurked about the same length of time before registering). Any other guesses?

~Mark

Remember kids, "In a democracy, you get the government you deserve."
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08-28-2022, 09:05 PM
Post: #4
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-28-2022 09:00 PM)mfleming Wrote:  Any other guesses?

No need to guess, it’s indicated at the bottom of the main forum page:

Quote:We currently have 13,793 members registered.
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08-29-2022, 12:43 AM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 12:48 AM by striegel.)
Post: #5
RE: Size of the HP Community
The total registered members on the MoHPC site might not be an accurate measure of how many are active. There are also other places where HP calculator fans congregate, such as Facebook groups and Reddit subreddits.


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08-29-2022, 12:50 AM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 12:51 AM by striegel.)
Post: #6
Reddit r/hpcalc
The current number of community members in the r/hpcalc subreddit is reported as 1K (1,013).
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08-29-2022, 07:36 AM
Post: #7
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-28-2022 09:00 PM)mfleming Wrote:  There was a thread sometime back discussing that number

Not sure if that's what you meant, but I made some statistics, when we had 2000 registered members in 2015.
We could run a similar one again.

However, the question is how to define an HP calculator collector:
  • Is someone who only posts in HP Prime or HP Prime Software Library a collector?
  • What about someone who never posts in Classifieds?
  • Do we only consider registered users?

For a rough estimate, I suggest checking the ratio of Views ÷ Replies on a popular recent thread in the General Forum.
That looks like a few hundred to me.

It tries to take into account that threads tend to get new views by the same user with each reply.
This is a lower bound but may still get us a figure in the ballpark.

Why recent?
I have the impression that even old threads are constantly getting new views from crawlers.
So maybe we should ignore them.
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08-29-2022, 07:59 AM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 08:01 AM by redglyph.)
Post: #8
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 07:36 AM)Thomas Klemm Wrote:  I have the impression that even old threads are constantly getting new views from crawlers.
So maybe we should ignore them.

Aren't bots known? Or is it possible to test for any access to /robots.txt in order to discard them?

But anyway the problem is that many IPs are dynamic, so counting the anonymous visitors will overestimate, even after discarding bot accesses. Some of those anonymous accesses may also be from members checking in from work on from another computer without being logged in (though it's possibly negligible?).

At best, the number of anonymous accesses, taken by periods of maybe 15-30 days (reasonable lease time of dynamic IPs) would give an upper bound when added to registered users who accessed the site recently.

There are other sites as mentioned earlier but cross-referencing IPs would be hard to do, and (I think) likely not legal.


Another way of knowing would be to sell an HP-41 on eBay and see the number of views Wink
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08-29-2022, 11:05 AM
Post: #9
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 07:36 AM)Thomas Klemm Wrote:  However, the question is how to define an HP calculator collector:
Yes well, if you limit the definition of collector to those obsessive-compulsive calcoholics, then we know who they are...

Remember kids, "In a democracy, you get the government you deserve."
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08-29-2022, 12:10 PM
Post: #10
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 11:05 AM)mfleming Wrote:  
(08-29-2022 07:36 AM)Thomas Klemm Wrote:  However, the question is how to define an HP calculator collector:
Yes well, if you limit the definition of collector to those obsessive-compulsive calcoholics, then we know who they are...

Hey, hey... easy there, that made it sound like it's almost a bad thing... almost...

--Bob Prosperi
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08-29-2022, 02:06 PM
Post: #11
RE: Size of the HP Community
Hello!

(08-28-2022 09:05 PM)Didier Lachieze Wrote:  
Quote:We currently have 13,793 members registered.

A member of this forum is not necessarily a collector. I have plenty of postage stamps at home in many different values that I use when I have to send letters and parcels. Occasionally I will ask someone in an internet forum what the cheapest or safest way to send a parcel to another continent will be. But that does not make me a stamp collector!

Regards
Max

NB: What is the definition of a collector anyway? Someone who buys a new calculator for his work every so many years and keeps the old ones in a drawer? Or someone like myself who has next to zero use for a pocket calculator but keeps buying them whenever they come up at non-crazy prices?
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08-29-2022, 03:53 PM
Post: #12
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 02:06 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  NB: What is the definition of a collector anyway?
I tried to construct my definition and was pretty close to what mfleming was admonished for so I stopped right there :-)

Instead there's this short story from my favorite author, Karel Čapek, about how collectors tick. Found it online, it's "Chintamani and Birds" in this book (pages 230-240). If you have five minutes, give it a try. It's about hundred years old but people are still the same, aren't they? If you find a bit of yourself in the story then I think you are a collector!
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08-29-2022, 04:10 PM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 04:12 PM by johnb.)
Post: #13
RE: Size of the HP Community
These are all good questions and comments.

I plan on batching up a summary of our thread here and using that as a response to my friends.

Personally, I'd say an "HP collector" is "one who self-identifies as an HP collector."
How's THAT for a tautology, LOL!

But seriously... I'm a pipsqueak compared to Maximillian: I have "only" about two dozen HP calculators and maybe that many more units of other brands, including old pocket-computer-type-things. My wife certainly considers me a calc-o-holic, as I insist on stopping at every yard sale, thrift shop, and antiques stall just to see if I can find a good buy for my collection.

I don't even have a Prime. Nor a Curta. (Though I will donate my right arm and 3 quarts of blood for one in lieu of the grand or more of $$$ that one would cost. Fortunately I'm left-handed.)

And yet I certainly consider myself to be a collector, which I define in general (i.e. not just in an HP calc context) as being "someone who knows 'more than the average bear' about a particular thing, and who owns more instances of that thing than a normal person would consider needed or reasonable, and who takes great delight in doing so."

[BTW, I can commiserate with those who cannot afford to travel to a conference. I am well paid and I certainly cannot justify it to my wife.]

Daily drivers: 11c, 32sII, 35s, 41cx, 48g. Favorite: 16c. Current projects: WP 34s/31s.
Gateway drug: 28s found in yard sale ~2009.
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08-29-2022, 04:36 PM
Post: #14
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 03:53 PM)vaklaff Wrote:  Instead there's this short story from my favorite author, Karel Čapek, about how collectors tick.
> You need to understand that, for a collector, it’s a matter of honor to pick up some rarity for a song.

Beginning to sound way too familiar...

Remember kids, "In a democracy, you get the government you deserve."
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08-29-2022, 04:40 PM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 04:41 PM by johnb.)
Post: #15
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 03:53 PM)vaklaff Wrote:  Instead there's this short story from my favorite author, Karel Čapek, about how collectors tick. Found it online, it's "Chintamani and Birds" in this book (pages 230-240). If you have five minutes, give it a try. It's about hundred years old but people are still the same, aren't they? If you find a bit of yourself in the story then I think you are a collector!

Wow. I knew who Karel Čapek was (his play R.U.R. is where the term "robot" was born), but I had no idea he was such a good writer!

And, yes, he's truly captured the Obsessive-Compulsive spirit of every lunatic collector since Noah started cataloging animals...

I wouldn't go so far as to steal. But I might spend an entire Saturday trying to resurrect a particularly inexpensive find!

Daily drivers: 11c, 32sII, 35s, 41cx, 48g. Favorite: 16c. Current projects: WP 34s/31s.
Gateway drug: 28s found in yard sale ~2009.
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08-29-2022, 07:39 PM (This post was last modified: 08-29-2022 07:41 PM by Steve Simpkin.)
Post: #16
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 04:10 PM)johnb Wrote:  ...
My wife certainly considers me a calc-o-holic, as I insist on stopping at every yard sale, thrift shop, and antiques stall just to see if I can find a good buy for my collection.
...

Yes I can hear my wife now...
   


My greatest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my calculators for what I told her I paid for them.
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08-30-2022, 06:12 AM
Post: #17
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 04:40 PM)johnb Wrote:  Wow. I knew who Karel Čapek was (his play R.U.R. is where the term "robot" was born), but I had no idea he was such a good writer!
He was. Unfortunately, outside Czechoslovakia he is known - if at all - just as a not especially good sci-fi author, the inventor of the "robot" word. In reality, sci-fi was not in his focus and IMHO he was best at short humorous stories, making observation about human nature (see The Record or A Lyrical Thief in the book I linked earlier or my absolute favorite The man who knew how to fly).

Back to your original question. My guess is there are some hundreds of HP calculators collectors worldwide, at least half of them in North America, another large group in Western Europe, the rest of the world being pretty sparse. By the collectors I mean
  • self-identified ones, or
  • those who'd be declared collectors (or "hoarders" etc.) by their spouses if asked
Can I back the guess in any way? No. Worse, I am essentially a newcomer so I am probably very, very off. But no one wants to come forward with any estimate therefore mine is the best you can have :-)
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08-30-2022, 07:52 AM
Post: #18
RE: Size of the HP Community
I don't think I'd call myself a collector - perhaps an enthusiast.

- I might buy a non-working calculator
- I'm excited to see a calculator for sale in a junk shop, charity shop, radio rally
- I know which HP models I own (and which I don't)
- I very rarely use the ones I do have
- I rather want to keep the ones I do have

But I only have four HP calculators.
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08-30-2022, 09:04 AM
Post: #19
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-30-2022 07:52 AM)EdS2 Wrote:  I don't think I'd call myself a collector - perhaps an enthusiast.

- I might buy a non-working calculator
- I'm excited to see a calculator for sale in a junk shop, charity shop, radio rally
- I know which HP models I own (and which I don't)
- I very rarely use the ones I do have
- I rather want to keep the ones I do have

But I only have four HP calculators.

Yes! I told my family that I was not the only person on earth that was “enthusiastic” about calculators and this proves it. I bet they won’t be making fun of me ever again.
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08-30-2022, 10:54 AM
Post: #20
RE: Size of the HP Community
(08-29-2022 07:39 PM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  
(08-29-2022 04:10 PM)johnb Wrote:  ...
My wife certainly considers me a calc-o-holic, as I insist on stopping at every yard sale, thrift shop, and antiques stall just to see if I can find a good buy for my collection.
...

Yes I can hear my wife now...



My greatest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my calculators for what I told her I paid for them.

At least your wife will sell them for something, mine said the HPs are going to the trash. I gave her a "timeout" at that point.

I would consider myself a quasi-collector as I have been enjoying the different models while still actively using and learning them.

My faves: 15c, 41s and 42s

-Bill
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