What gadget do you miss?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Adama D. Brown, Jan 29, 2010.

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  1. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Mobile Deity

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    I think it has something to do with the fact that I have never seen a TI calc with a RPN mode, while many HP calcs either make RPN the only or the default mode of operation. And since engineers love RPN for reasons mentioned earlier in the thread...

    That's probably also why I've never seen an HP calc in-person throughout my high school years. Always TI-83s/84s, the occasional student-owned TI-89, and a few odd cases of TI-85s/86s. Algebraic/infix notation is what they teach, so it's probably more natural for people to just punch in those formulas verbatim rather than trying to make them fit into RPN somehow. That, and for whatever reason, the public school system seems to decree the TI-83/84 standard.
     
  2. mutton-javelin

    mutton-javelin Mobile Deity

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    Ours decrees the TI as well. I tried to pick up a grant for some Casios for Graphing purposes as they do all the same thing and for less money as well. I'll see if and when I actually win the grant. :D
     
  3. Legodude522

    Legodude522 Linux Evangelist

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    I miss my Tapwave Zodiac all the time. Superb video playback and emulation. 2 SD card slots.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. hal

    hal itchy and cold feet hal

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    The HP series and RPN are deeply embedded in the engineering community because HP (with RPN models) was the company that filled the gap when personal computing was real but distant; meaning, there was a time when desktop computers appeared, but they were not on the quantity of one computer per person, student or employee. In a time spanning almost 30 years, yes computers were there, but there wasn't one for your personal use when you arrived to a new job, or there were some 50 computers in a campus comprising some 700 students, let alone having one at home. Actually, that was the gap that was filled up not just with high-end calculators, but with other devices, such as pocket computers (Hook has posted pictures of one that included a printer), and (yes!) PDAs.

    HP has offered RPN calculators for years, and it eventually set the standards for the high-end calculators. However, the algebraic mode was never abandoned. Eventually, Casio and TI released their own models, and they do have excellent ones in their series. I reckon that choosing between an RPN calculator or an algebraic one, or between an HP or a TI, is pretty much a matter of the ruling trend in a given place. As JRakes has pointed out, RPN is the best for several fields of knowledge, yet you can peep here and there and discover that there are students and schools that prefer non-RPN devices. My reason why I chose HP calculators (instead of TIs) was because I initally attended a university where HP was preferred. I changed to another university where the trend was in favor of TI, yet I kept on HP. Past the environmental influence, I do keep lots of my math needs within RPN because it is a rather effective math handling method.

    HP was deemed the lord of engineering math for years, but something happened and TI (in first place) and Casio (in second) started covering ground in HP's turf. What happened? Innovation stopped and HP kept on burning off an aging formula (sounds familiar, pal? Volkswagen, Palm...) The HP 48 subseries RULED during all the early to mid '90s, but HP started drifting. TI, a company that sold consumer electronics for decades, enforced its own calculators line and followed a very clever path: comply to the newest educational certifications in the US, while keeping a healthy trend of innovation. Educational certifications: that's a good foundation for the current success and penetration of TI in the calculators field. Besides, TI launched a set of minor businesses geared towards the "calculator-ization" of education. Sets of 20 or 30 calculators could be leased or purchased to teach Junior High students in algebra using a calculator. For high-end models, sets of sensors and connectors could be purchased to make chemical readings of water and log them, do some math analysis, and even send the data to a computer to make a report. Things like that. On its own turn, HP did start a franchised network of accessories and literature that SADLY never reached affordable prices; their memory cards were almost as twice as expensive as the very calculators, for instance. The third major player in the high-end calculators, Casio, has kept itself in a more discrete position, releasing every now and then some device that may be effective, but sadly Casio follows a path of constant replacement (in the name of constant innovation), so you never see the same device for a long time (more than two years); I was thrilled by Casio's devices with touchscreen that behaved like e-notebooks, but now they are nowhere around.

    TI has never endorsed RPN too much, past the technical possibility of incorporating it in a kinda proof-of-concept. One of the reasons why RPN is a so effective math mode, is that (as I've described) you can parse an expression and solve it with no confusion; TI relies more on a computer-like data handling in order to favor solver apps; the latter, eventually incorporated to the HP models, is the actual reason why high-end engineering HP calculators were incorporated the algebraic mode, cause the solver app needs it, and BTW the user may prefer it as its primary math mode.

    As I've described, a current reason for the dominance of TI in the high-end calculators, is the compliance to modern academic standards (certifications) in the US. Another reason, is that TI has innovated in several inner fields of calculators and math education, like the accessories I mentioned, and in software as well (like Derive and Cabrii). A third reason, is the opposing size of the HP offer in calculators, much smaller than in past years, and lacking significant innovation; and the lack of muscle of Casio as well (after their SmartPad or something device, I haven't seen other wonders coming from Casio). Yet another reason may be a local trend favoring those models in your area.

    Casio has an advantage in price. Their models are underfeatured when compared to HP and TI models, but just how frequent it is that you find someone with a device so equipped that it turns overfeatured for said person. Besides, Casio is well known for their ruggedness.
     
  5. Mi An

    Mi An Hyperfocal

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    I never had one, but I used to look at them with great longing.
     
  6. mutton-javelin

    mutton-javelin Mobile Deity

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    Same here. I never tried to own one. Was there anything else along those sorts of lines. That ran a Palm OS didn't it?
     
  7. Legodude522

    Legodude522 Linux Evangelist

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    Yes, Palm OS. Probably the most stable version of Palm OS 5.
     
  8. NamelessPlayer

    NamelessPlayer Mobile Deity

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    I really, REALLY wanted a Tapwave Zodiac back in the day.

    I would still want a device in that basic form factor running a modern PDA OS, but the Zodiac is now too old, and Palm OS 5 doesn't have a Web browser worth dirt. Then there's the fact that I already sold my SanDisk 256 MB + Wi-Fi SDIO card for possible use in one, since they don't have Wi-Fi built-in. (EDIT: Wait, no Bluetooth? Brain fart there-all Zodiacs have integrated Bluetooth, just not Wi-Fi.)

    Oh well, maybe there's the Pandora, though I'm unsure of its capabilities beyond Web browsing and emulation.
     
  9. Legodude522

    Legodude522 Linux Evangelist

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    I really like the Pandora but I'm just unsure if it's worth the cost. Second hand UMPCs are tempting. I'm waiting for it to start shipping and see what people say.
     
  10. NetBrakr

    NetBrakr Gone With The Wind

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    *quickly sneaks in*

    Hmmm, actually I don't missed anything. Don't miss the Dell Inspiron 1150, Palm m105 m130 m515 Zire 31 TX, LG F9100, Asus Eee 900 and 901...anything else I am missing? :p

    *quickly sneaks out*
     
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