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Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
03-17-2017, 05:59 PM
Post: #1
Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Hello all.

Although I think these cals were works of art and quite frankly, for me at least, easy to navigate, I want to ask a question.

Not so much with the HP-65 but, most notably the 67, HP was getting cramped for space to put nomenclature on these calcs. So, since this was so problematic, why did they design the HP-34C with such an overwhelming layout with the three prefix key scheme?
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03-17-2017, 06:05 PM
Post: #2
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 05:59 PM)Matt Agajanian Wrote:  So, since this was so problematic, why did they design the HP-34C with such an overwhelming layout with the three prefix key scheme?

How else would they get so many functions onto a keyboard that size?

The 67 and 34C are the only machines with 3 different color shift keys (the 65 has 3 colored shift keys but 2 are the same color), and therefore the busiest keyboards, but there is no other way to cram that number of functions onto keyboards of those sizes.

--Bob Prosperi
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03-17-2017, 06:15 PM
Post: #3
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 06:05 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  The 67 and 34C are the only machines with 3 different color shift keys (the 65 has 3 colored shift keys but 2 are the same color), and therefore the busiest keyboards, but there is no other way to cram that number of functions onto keyboards of those sizes.

The Ti59 has almost as many functions as an Hp67 and only needs one "2nd" and one "INV" key to access them. It even has printing functions.
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03-17-2017, 07:25 PM (This post was last modified: 03-17-2017 07:26 PM by Matt Agajanian.)
Post: #4
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Like I said, HP calcs are works of art. I wonder if the intent to keep a Spice/Spike form factor, HP decided to put so much potential in such a compact frame. Perhaps an extra row of keys on top to facilitate such a robust function set would have set off a different look & feel to a Series E/C lineage. In any case, I was just curious.

Thanks!
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03-17-2017, 09:15 PM
Post: #5
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
I would imagine that the problem of running out of space for new functions may have led to adding alpha to the HP-41 so that additional functions could be added without limit.


Regards,
Bob
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03-17-2017, 10:31 PM
Post: #6
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 09:15 PM)bshoring Wrote:  I would imagine that the problem of running out of space for new functions may have led to adding alpha to the HP-41 so that additional functions could be added without limit.

Excellent observation. I didn't think of that.
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03-17-2017, 11:20 PM
Post: #7
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
The 34S keyboard layout is a work of art (in my biassed opinion). It took a lot of effort to place everything. Pretty much every decision was a trade off once the obvious keys were done.

- Pauli
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03-18-2017, 01:07 AM
Post: #8
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 06:15 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  The Ti59 has almost as many functions as an Hp67 and only needs one "2nd" and one "INV" key to access them. It even has printing functions.

This is similar to the approach the HP-65 took, thought the '65 uses one yellow shift key for [yellow] printed Functions, and a second yellow shift for the Inverse of those same [yellow] functions.

Of course on the '59 there are actually 2 shift keys, one was simply labeled [INV], and many of these functions require pressing both [2nd] and [INV]. A less crowded looking keyboard, but more key presses to get many functions.

Trade-offs....

--Bob Prosperi
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03-18-2017, 01:08 AM
Post: #9
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 11:20 PM)Paul Dale Wrote:  The 34S keyboard layout is a work of art (in my biassed opinion).
- Pauli

1 +

My opinion too, and I'm not biased.

--Bob Prosperi
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03-18-2017, 01:08 AM
Post: #10
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
(03-17-2017 06:15 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  
(03-17-2017 06:05 PM)rprosperi Wrote:  The 67 and 34C are the only machines with 3 different color shift keys (the 65 has 3 colored shift keys but 2 are the same color), and therefore the busiest keyboards, but there is no other way to cram that number of functions onto keyboards of those sizes.

The Ti59 has almost as many functions as an Hp67 and only needs one "2nd" and one "INV" key to access them. It even has printing functions.

INV helps a lot to declutter the TI-59 keyboard. HP flirted with that approach as well, with the HP-65 having [f] and [f-1] keys. The downside of INV is extra keystrokes: two keys for sin, three for arcsin, etc., but for the ease of finding functions, that's probably not a great price to pay.

However, I think you're forgetting about the ugliness of the OP function. See http://83.156.189.247/ti58c/download/doc/LRNen.pdf page 74.

To quote this museum, from the HP-41C page:

Quote:Around the time of the HP-67, an article in the Hewlett-Packard Journal, stated that electronic technology was no longer the only limitation of pocket calculator progress. The human interface was becoming an even greater barrier to adding more functionality. The HP-67 was an excellent example of the problem. It had three shift keys and most of its other keys had four functions. HP was running out of keyboard space for new functions, and many users found it difficult write and use numeric-only programs.

I knew the TI-59 and the HP-97 quite well when the HP-41C came out, and the 41C solved the user interface problems of those earlier calculators beautifully.
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03-18-2017, 01:27 AM
Post: #11
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Although I have the iOS apo, from the 34S I see, it certainly is artwork.
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03-18-2017, 03:54 AM
Post: #12
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
To answer the original poster's question, I didn't find the number of options overwhelming. In my opinion the 34C was the best laid out of the classic portrait calculators. I had one, and I can definitely identify with the risk of an overwhelming number of options. I think part of the success was those lovely multi-face keys that HP was so well known for, allowing a function to be printed on the 'front' face of the key, not just the top face. However, the improvement over the HP-67 was simply a better layout. More related things were put together where it made sense; all three shift keys next to each other, register roll on the same key, X-register swap/test keys all on the same side of the calculator, and so on.

Almost the only thing that had me freaked out about the 34C was getting used to the operators and the big Enter key on the left hand side. For someone who had only really used the FX82 (and other four-bangers) and the Sharp PC1247 before, this was a radical departure from those. However, the RPN made up for it. What had me lost was the lack of a manual, I'd received the calculator third-hand and I had to look up my local library.

IMHO, I think that the 'modern' take of hiding multiple functions behind menu keys, is a human interface compromise at best. At least for the two big calculator/computers that I have, it makes it almost mandatory to read the manual for the not-so-obvious stuff, with a more in-depth look in the AUR for the really obscure stuff on the HP-50G (Appendix G sort of stuff). When I first played with the HP-50G, it took me a while just to find the factorial function and even longer to find the GAMMA function. To me at least, it's more confusing than the HP-34C, where practically everything was on display, but it's an understandable tradeoff for the number of functions provided.

(Post 58)

Regards, BrickViking
HP-50g |Casio fx-9750G+ |Casio fx-9750GII (SH4a)
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03-18-2017, 06:03 PM (This post was last modified: 03-18-2017 06:06 PM by Matt Agajanian.)
Post: #13
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
The HP-42S beautifully demonstrates the menu hiding technique. HP excelled in this interface concept. What surprised me was the text/ASCII menu approach. It's another way I can enjoy using the 42S.
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03-18-2017, 06:05 PM (This post was last modified: 03-18-2017 06:10 PM by james summers.)
Post: #14
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Never mind 3 function keys, what about 5? Wink




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03-18-2017, 06:12 PM
Post: #15
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Fortunately, this was fictional and an intriguing concept calculator. In all honesty, if this were given a proper form factor, it could have given the TI-74 or TI-95 Procalc serious competition.
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03-18-2017, 07:06 PM
Post: #16
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Hello!

(03-18-2017 01:08 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  However, I think you're forgetting about the ugliness of the OP function.

Indeed. I sort of deleted that from my memory... Luckily those op-functions were rarely needed, with the exception maybe of some statistics functions.

(03-18-2017 01:08 AM)Thomas Okken Wrote:  I knew the TI-59 and the HP-97 quite well when the HP-41C came out, and the 41C solved the user interface problems of those earlier calculators beautifully.

I don't know. I never really got to like the Hp41. "XEQ" "ALPHA" letter letter letter are a lot of key presses to invoke a function... And if you couldnt remember "letter letter letter" of a rarely used function you could toggle through the catalog for the better part of an afternoon. This is not exactly the kind of user interface one would call "ergonomic".

Regards
Max
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03-18-2017, 07:36 PM
Post: #17
RE: Alphabet Soup Prefix Conundrum
Thomas, did you give an ASN option a try to customize the USER mode so your frequent commands could be easily accessed?
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