From: John H Meyers on 25 Sep 2006 17:02
On Mon, 25 Sep 2006 12:37:21 -0500, John C wrote:
> Now if only the CAS would restore the calc to its original settings...
The CAS won't, but you can help yourself:
Simpler -- flags only:
Fancier -- flags and variables (no deletion of the latter):
From: Carl Mascott on 26 Sep 2006 20:07
On 29 Aug 2006 08:41:24 -0700, ocallaghan(a)slb.com wrote:
[ snip ]
>> Unit conversion is something I deal with every day in an engineering
>> environment and unless I'm missing something on the 50G here it looks
>> like I'll be going back to my 48GX.
>I had a similar problem with HP49 until I read the manual....
>Covert 1 ft2 to sq ins... as follows
>rt. shft. units (number 6)
>left. shift. F6 (in2)
With my 32SII I don't need no steenkin' manual! :-)
All kidding aside, this demonstrates a serious shortcoming of the user
interface of these calculators: keys with hidden functions (no visual
indication that the function exists). The arrow keys are in that
In short the user interface should be intuitive but it isn't. The
result is that you have to read the manual to find out how to perform
basic operations. That's bad. But wait! It gets worse! Something
as basic as right-arrow for SWAP is listed only in the (49g+) Advanced
User Reference (although if you read every page of the User's Guide
you'll find two examples of its use).
I'm not saying I could do better. I'm just saying that this is what
you get when you overload too few keys with too many functions. Of
course the other alternative (long or deeply-nested menus, a la 42S)
isn't very attractive either.
After having tried out the 50g in Emu48 I'm sticking with my 32SII.
It does what I need, more simply, more intuitively, and with fewer
keystrokes than these more complicated calculators. If I need more
I'll use MATLAB/Octave. (I doubt I'll ever need symbolic math
As usual, YMMV.
From: John H Meyers on 27 Sep 2006 13:09
On Tue, 26 Sep 2006 19:07:48 -0500, Carl Mascott wrote:
> In short the user interface should be intuitive but it isn't.
> The result is that you have to read the manual
> to find out how to perform basic operations.
You may not remember, but the same was true of your first
contact with RPN -- without instruction, hardly anyone
can manage to add 2 + 3 on such a weird, non-intuitive beast :)
> Something as basic as right-arrow for SWAP
> is listed only in the (49g+) Advanced User Reference
> (although if you read every page of the User's Guide
> you'll find two examples of its use).
Why, this is what is known as a "marketing improvement" :)
You see, the HP48G[X][+] had ample room to actually
print the words PICTURE, VIEW, SWAP, and STACK
above the four arrow keys on the keyboard,
which were in the same "inverted T" formation
as on computers, but when the 49G model came along,
it boasted arrow keys in a popular "diamond" pattern,
complete with a "sculpted depression" for impressive looks,
which made it harder to print all that on the faceplate
(besides, a bunch of other weird symbols was splattered on
elsewhere around the cursor keys, adding to the clutter),
so all the helpful command words were therefore removed,
and have remained removed in the present series design
(although a new TOOL > STACK menu does give you
*all* the stack manipulation commands in a single menu).
Marketing also wanted to emphasize the new "Algebraic" mode
of the calculator, in which SWAP is practically meaningless,
and everything is really as intuitive as any TI product,
against which it was meant to compete,
so even though the greatest value of the product comes from
ignoring Algebraic mode and using RPN, whose users may be
only those who have had prior RPN experience
or have been newsgroup participants, that isn't
in line with its marketing -- and marketing always wins :)
Nothing says that you can't write in your own labels,
however, if it turns out that you can't remember
the shortcut for SWAP :)
Windows programs must be non-intuitive too,
because all their handy keyboard shortcuts are hidden away
in "help" pages, and I don't want to have to read anything
about so simple a thing as a computer -- I just want
to start pointing and clicking away (or use my joystick),
knowing intuitively from childhood what to do,
as all modern kids do :)