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Asterisks are not Sexy
04-19-2016, 04:03 PM
Post: #1
Asterisks are not Sexy
Hey all,

FWIW, I love my HP Prime. It is absolutely the sexiest, sleekest, fastest graphing calculator out there.

But I'm a big fan of beautiful typesetting (I'm a long-time LaTeX geek), and I must say that using an asterisk (*) for the on-screen multiplication operator is a mistake.

The asterisk as a multiplication symbol is Ugly. This is not how ANY textbooks typeset the operation. Math expressions are typeset beautifully on the Prime, except for this crazy asterisk. Please consider switching to the CDOT character (just a dot) for multiplication.

I also might add that the APPS menu screen is not as sexy as it could be either. Compare it to the TI-Nspire CX app menu. That's sexy.

Take care all,
Scott Guth
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04-19-2016, 05:45 PM
Post: #2
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-845.html Tongue

My website: ried.cl
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04-19-2016, 05:59 PM
Post: #3
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-19-2016 04:03 PM)sguth Wrote:  The asterisk as a multiplication symbol is Ugly. This is not how ANY textbooks typeset the operation. Math expressions are typeset beautifully on the Prime, except for this crazy asterisk. Please consider switching to the CDOT character (just a dot) for multiplication.

+1000!
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04-19-2016, 08:35 PM
Post: #4
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-19-2016 04:03 PM)sguth Wrote:  FWIW, I love my HP Prime. It is absolutely the sexiest, sleekest, fastest graphing calculator out there.

Thanks!

Quote:I also might add that the APPS menu screen is not as sexy as it could be either.

In what way? What would you like to see changed?



I assume you are Scott Guth of the Stat49Pro ilk? If so, thanks for that. Inspired, me to make one for the 39 series and was pretty much my first "real" calculator program.

I'm pretty much the one responsible for the whole stats/inference capability. Blame me if you don't like something (but also suggest please for improvements!). :-)

TW

Although I work for HP, the views and opinions I post here are my own.
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04-20-2016, 12:31 AM
Post: #5
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
Hi!:

IMHO, the three (3) images attached, are very eloquent. The point, is confused, with the separation, of decimals. There is, nothing new, to discover. All calculators, what I have, from the HP67/ HP41CV/HP28C/HP75C/HP48G+/HP49G/HP50G/HP PRIME, with no operations had problems using standard symbols. It is, preferable, to use point, to separate, integers of fractions, for example: Instead of being 1 1/2, should be ... 1.1/2.

Kind Regards.
informach.


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04-20-2016, 01:25 AM
Post: #6
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
Write a little routine that does the multiplication via repeated additions ??

Kind of a back to basics solution . . . .

2speed HP41CX,int2XMEM+ZEN, HPIL+DEVEL, HPIL+X/IO, I/R, 82143, 82163, 82162 -25,35,45,55,65,67,70,80
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04-20-2016, 08:30 AM
Post: #7
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-19-2016 04:03 PM)sguth Wrote:  Hey all,

The asterisk as a multiplication symbol is Ugly.

Not only it is ugly, but, as I already stated in another post:

The SI (the international system of units) defines as the only accepted symbol for the multiplication between two numbers the cross. See the complete SI brochure on page 134 (english) or 45 (french).

http://www.bipm.org/en/publications/si-b...nload.html

I really don't see why we should use something different if it is already internationally defined.
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04-20-2016, 09:36 AM
Post: #8
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-20-2016 08:30 AM)retoa Wrote:  The SI (the international system of units) defines as the only accepted symbol for the multiplication between two numbers the cross. See the complete SI brochure on page 134 (english) or 45 (french).

http://www.bipm.org/en/publications/si-b...nload.html

I really don't see why we should use something different if it is already internationally defined.

Sec 5.1 of your (English) reference, page 130 seems to be at odds with your conclusion:

"In forming products and quotients of unit symbols the normal rules of algebraic
multiplication or division apply. Multiplication must be indicated by a space or a
half-high (centred) dot (⋅), since otherwise some prefixes could be misinterpreted as a unit symbol." (My emphasis).

I first encountered the asterisk symbol for multiplication when using MITS Altair BASIC. Asterisk, instead of X, was to avoid operator vs. variable ambiguity. In complicated formulae, the asterisk seems to be quite clear (to me) as a multiplication operator, more so than other indications. I vote to keep the asterisk.

-Dale-
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04-20-2016, 11:49 AM (This post was last modified: 04-20-2016 12:09 PM by Fortin.)
Post: #9
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
I find it interesting that the key has a multiplication 'x' printed (alpha 'X' too! [clever]), displays a '*', but some desire a cdot. Divide is another one of these difference between printed and displayed keys... early education could benefit from this seemingly benign nuance being addressed.

Why not make it a localization/personalization setting with the options of *, cdot, small raised x, etc.?

However, if something like this localization is done, would it affect '**' in CAS?
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04-20-2016, 12:07 PM
Post: #10
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-20-2016 09:36 AM)DrD Wrote:  
(04-20-2016 08:30 AM)retoa Wrote:  The SI (the international system of units) defines as the only accepted symbol for the multiplication between two numbers the cross. See the complete SI brochure on page 134 (english) or 45 (french).

http://www.bipm.org/en/publications/si-b...nload.html

I really don't see why we should use something different if it is already internationally defined.

Sec 5.1 of your (English) reference, page 130 seems to be at odds with your conclusion:

"In forming products and quotients of unit symbols the normal rules of algebraic
multiplication or division apply. Multiplication must be indicated by a space or a
half-high (centred) dot (⋅), since otherwise some prefixes could be misinterpreted as a unit symbol." (My emphasis).

I first encountered the asterisk symbol for multiplication when using MITS Altair BASIC. Asterisk, instead of X, was to avoid operator vs. variable ambiguity. In complicated formulae, the asterisk seems to be quite clear (to me) as a multiplication operator, more so than other indications. I vote to keep the asterisk.

-Dale-

It is not at odds at all, point 5.1 refers to units, not to numbers.
Between units, numbers and units, letters, numbers and letters, parenthesis, fractions,... you can use the space or cdot.
Between two numbers space and cdot can be confusing so you should use the cross symbol as
5 6 is not clear (could be interpreted as 56) and
5 cdot 6 could be interpreted as 5.6

See point 5.3.6 for exemples.
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04-20-2016, 04:05 PM
Post: #11
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
Quote:It is not at odds at all, point 5.1 refers to units, not to numbers.
Between units, numbers and units, letters, numbers and letters, parenthesis, fractions,... you can use the space or cdot.
Between two numbers space and cdot can be confusing so you should use the cross symbol as
5 6 is not clear (could be interpreted as 56) and
5 cdot 6 could be interpreted as 5.6

See point 5.3.6 for exemples.

So, it's not about being consistent with the multiplication sign, (number X number), but if it's number and literally anything else, use whatever is handy? I vote for the asterisk as a consistent multiplication sign. No implication, no cdot, no cross, no confusion. Just because it came a little late in the game, isn't good reason to ditch it and blame.

There's a lot of technicality to music notation, too; but in similar fashion, whatever makes music notationally easier to read, makes it easier to perform. If you see the asterisk as bad form, why not just accept it as a rehearsal mark, and honor diversity? It's not the only math symbol that raises question, the inverted triangle (nabla) is, perhaps, a less notable example. Don't ask me for the final say, though. I have trouble reading Einstein's blackboard, and I barely made it through physics class, due to the prof's penmanship issues ...

-Dale-

-Dale-
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04-21-2016, 09:02 AM
Post: #12
RE: Asterisks are not Sexy
(04-20-2016 04:05 PM)DrD Wrote:  So, it's not about being consistent with the multiplication sign, (number X number), but if it's number and literally anything else, use whatever is handy? I vote for the asterisk as a consistent multiplication sign. No implication, no cdot, no cross, no confusion. Just because it came a little late in the game, isn't good reason to ditch it and blame.

-Dale-

It is said that you CAN use the cdot or space between letter, not that you HAVE to.
Point 5.3.6 has an example with a cross b. So the cross is consistent.
I am aware that the cross can be confused with x (that's why we often use space or cdot between letters)

The asterisk is for sure a good solution from this point of view as you can not confuse it with the x letter nor with the decimal point.
I would prefer the cdot, as the prime uses the "lower" decimal point, so it can hardly be confused.

Programming languages used the asterisk in the 80' (70'?) because there was no cdot on the keyboard.

I think the best would be if you could choose it, as proposed by compsystems.
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