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28447Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Cheap Bit Banger's Calculator

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  • Kyle Owen
    Dec 6 8:44 AM
      My dad got me my first calculator for school when I was in 11th grade for Christmas, since an advanced graphing calculator was required for AP Calculus. He got me, not the TI-89 Titanium that everyone else had, but rather the HP-49g+. I hate to say it, but I was very disappointed that I didn't get the mainstream calculator. My dad ended up agreeing that since the school pushed for TIs that he'd get me a TI.

      It wasn't until my summer before my senior year of high school that I ended up really using the 49g+. The buttons promptly started breaking, as was the "feature" with said calculator. One of my dad's friends gave me his original college calculator, an HP-45 (HP's second scientific model), and after replacing the batteries, I was able to use it quite a bit. That got me really started with enjoying the benefits of RPN.

      However, it still wasn't until I was into my freshman year of college that I really saw the benefits of RPN. My absolute favorite demonstration is parallel resistance calculations. For most algebraic calculators, the method is 1/(1/a+1/b), where a and b are the two resistor values to be paralleled, and sometimes people even insert more parenthesis than need be. On the RPN, it's just a [inv] b [inv] + [inv]. Far fewer keystrokes! One of my professors even made a joke (hardly a joke, really) that the students who finish first on exams must all have RPN calculators.

      Just recently I got an HP-48g to replace my 50g, which replaced the 49g+. The 50g is nice, but who needs all of those features for EE? Certainly not I. The buttons on the 48g are infinitely better anyways.

      On my Android, RealCalc is a favorite, as it has a nice RPN mode. Takes a little getting used to from the 48g world, as the entry vs. x register is not as well defined in RealCalc as it is in the HP world. Entry automatically becomes x, and everything else is pushed up. In HP land, the entry is its own temporary register, which I prefer, likely because I'm used to it. Maybe I should try out a 48 emulator on Android.

      One day, I'll own an HP-9100A... 

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