Skip to comments.[Vanity/Geek Humor and Otherwise] RPN Jokes?
Posted on 03/27/2014 6:18:30 PM PDT by re_nortex
My recent post (my other car is a cdr) brought forth the best of the high-functioning geeks that inhabit this here space. Since the thread veered off (as they always tend to do) into general computer language humor, mostly dealing with Lisp, I got to thinking about RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) and the Hewlett-Packard calculators that were popular in my post-college days working in IT around 1971 or so.
Are there other FReepers that still like RPN over infix notation for math? My trusty old H-P has long since departed (wish I still had it) but I've found RpCalc to be a nice tool when I want to have an RPN calculator in GUI form.
Using an RPN calculator means nobody will borrow your calculator a second time.
"Can I borrow your calculator?" "Sure." "Where's the equal sign?" "There isn't one. You put in the first number, press enter, put in the second number, and press the sign." "You do it."
I never could get the hang of RPN, even though it was supposed to be “faster” with fewer keystrokes.
Word of the day today was “infix”
TI vs. HP set the stage for a whole lot of other "Holy Wars" that followed in the dawn of the tech era: vi vs. emacs, big vs. little endian, BSD vs. AT&T Unix and more. Since I had Lisp programming language background, RPN came easier to me so I had to slow down and think a bit when I had to deal with the TI notation.
I’m glad I had no typo in my post, because if I did, I’d want to do a post-fix, and Free Republic doesn’t support that.
That brings back memories of circuits class! I can’t recall if I had the CV or the CX but i recall it cost me about $200 which was real money back then (1984).
I recall non engineers asking to borrow it and having similar conversations.
My 5 years elder brother and I were both engineering students. In 1971 he had a $400 HP with RPN. In 1976 I had a $79 TI with algebraic. Both could do the same calculations but worked differently. When did RPN leave the market? I never noticed it.
Geez, just the picture takes me back to college freshman year (1971). That calculator was ultimate status symbol....but was as powerful as today’s throw-away calculator.
Another word that I'm accustomed to in its computer language sense is Sigil. Because I'm one of these:
...I do a lot of "sigiling". :)
I have a vague memory of seeing ads for HP calculators that let you choose infix or RPN. But once I was actually a professional and had the coolness of an actual computer at my fingertips with a real live 24x80 screen and QWERTY keyboard, I never looked back. My old calculators just gathered dust and battery leaks, never to glow their numerals again.
This article from 2007, implies that HP was going to release a handheld, A New HP Calculator for RPN Nerds, but, alas, the link it points to is dead.
Can today’s cheap throwaway calculators solve simultaneous equations?
As of 2011, Hewlett-Packard is producing the calculator models 12C, 12C Platinum, 17BII, 20B (financial), 30B (business), 33S, 35S, 48GII and 50G (scientific) which support RPN.
When I last used a programmable they were getting enough steps to be able to program the math for such a thing. Maybe by 2020 there will be Linux on $5/$10 machines with QWERTY and some crude color graphics. If the whole world hasn’t gone to hell that is.
50G has “The choice of efficient RPN, Textbook or Algebraic data entry”
I don’t know where they actually put the = sign.
Big hp/rpn fan here.
I had the 41cx, an 11c, and a 15c, then later the 48g & 49g. Loved them all.
Now I’m running the free apps go41c and droid48 as my favorite calculators on my motorola moto x.
No joke, but I use an RPN calculator every day. I have an HP calculator emulator loaded on every computer I own, including my iPhone. My 22-year old HP48SX works just fine, too.
I had one 30+ years ago. I suppose it ended up in the abyss of the kitchen junk drawer, or was lost in a move, but I sure miss it. I would spend extra time with it just for fun. :-]
Something to do with being at one with the “thought” process. I don’t know why it was called “reverse entry” because it’s the annoying equal sign that’s a$$ backwards, heh. That equal sign has been a pet peeve ever since.
I don’t use a calculator enough to justify tracking down a RPN calculator, but my old friend comes to mind whenever I open the primitive calculator on the computer.
2 + 2 = 2 ENTER 2 +
It just has more substance and meaning that way, lol. I’m sure you understand.
Thanks for trip down Memory Lane!
But then there's also one that has 4 bids and is at $10.
Getting well-grounded in RPN paved the way later for tweaking
/etc/termcap entries back in the day. The sheer joy of nudging a terminal into working was sublime:
It took a few days for me to get used to RPN. No problems after that.
I still have my HP-45. If I could get a battery pack, I’d still be using it!
I have a 48SX emulator app for my android phone. Almost as good as the real thing.
My 23 year old 48SX uses AAA cells. still works like a champ. The app for my phone is great when I’m out of the office.
I should have [but sadly didn’t] log in at the dawn of the computer age, so unfortunately that’s all Geek to me.
I didn’t forget the joy and satisfaction of RPN though.
I haven’t realized my potential [yet?] but I only drive standards... that’s gotta be worth a few geek points. :-]
I'm such an old stick-in-the-mud that I don't even call those new-fangled things "automatics", I call 'em what they are: non-standard horseless carriages. If it has fewer than three pedals to operate, tain't a car! :)
Why use a calculator? In 1971, I was expected to solve simultaneous equations using matrices.
I still have 3 HP 12C financial calculators which use RPN.
It’s really hard to do things backwards when using a regular calculator. I never quite trust the answer I get.
I've had an HP calculator ever since the HP-35 came out.
My 16C is sitting in front of me, gets use every other day or so.
Every handheld device I have (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) has the HP Calculator emulator app on it (an excellent program for around $15 as I recall).
In 1985, the first significant program I wrote in my recently-learned new language of "C" was a command-line and interactive RPN calculator, extended to have additional features for writing scripts, variable-depth stack, file I/O, etc. etc. It is portable and runs on Unix (where it was developed), Linux, Mac OS-X, MS-DOS, Windows, basically anything with a command-line interpreter and a C compiler. That's almost 30 years now with only trivial-to-no source changes in each new machine, too. :)
I can't use an algebraic calculator without first thinking in RPN, then converting to the damn "infix" style.
Nobody actually drives an automatic, they just go along for the ride. No wonder people [literally] text themselves to death. They wouldn’t be able to do that if they were... driving.
(Now back to the original topic - didn’t mean to threadjack.)
There is a free Android app called “Droid 48” that has much of the functionality of an HP48GX, including Reverse Polish Notation. I spent about $274 (about $500 in today’s dollars) in 1991 on the slightly inferior HP48SX.
If I were on the dating scene, that kind of talk would melt my heart, lol.
Excalibur is also a nice calculator download for Windows. I put it on any machine I use regularly.
Every time I use a AOS calculator, I’m reminded of why I like my HP’s so much better.
The other thing that sucks rocks off the ground on every calculator other than HP’s is the lack of tactile feedback on the keys.
Still use my HP-41CV for most everything.
Loaning it to kids when they’ve forgotten their calculators for machining class is highly amusing. It’s one of the pleasures of my life to torment kids who think they know oh-so-much more about electronics and computers than old farts with an HP calculator.
Next time a young'un has a problem with an HP RPN calculator, let the hijinks really begin by handing 'em one of these!
You knew a slide rule was going to turn up sooner or later in this thread, just like it did back in 2003. I'll come clean and humbly admit that the last time I used one of those was around the time Agnew resigned. All of the neural pathways have since atrophied and I'd stumble, bumble and fumble for a good while before I could do (/ (* 10 10) 2) or, more topically, 10 10 * 2 /.
That is fine for a math class but when studying circuits the focus should be elsewhere.
I had a TI 21 function calculator in High School. Used it for chemistry and such. When I joined the Air Force I bought a HP for work and quickly fell in love with RPN and used that same HP all the way through college and my EE degree.
I love RPN, and dread the day that my HP15C dies. I got it in 1985, after the bookstore guy showed me how the stack entries lift and drop, and I have been sold on RPN ever since. Some years back I wanted a graphing calculator, but couldn’t find one with RPN.
Once you go RPN, you’ll never go back.
I owned a HP38E, which I soon replaced with a HP38C (continuous memory). I still own the HP38C, but Mrs. Scoutmaster thinks RPN is the work of the devil.
“TI vs. HP set the stage for a whole lot of other “Holy Wars” that followed in the dawn of the tech era: vi vs. emacs...”
There was no holy war with Vi vs. Emacs.
How could Vi compete with something so superior?
“2 + 2 = 2 ENTER 2 +”
Don’t know anything about RPN. Either that’s before my time or that I wasn’t a calculator geek. But I see the resemblance to Lisp...
(+ 2 2)
RPN is not a cure against only borrowing. Mine walked off from work one night, and showed up a few days later. Whicher night shift worker fancied it, dumped it off in purchasing. pretty much everybody in the plant knew I was pissed about the ripoff, but had the calcupunker been "one that people are accustomed to using," I doubt it would have found its way back.
The new version of the HP-15C is pretty darn fast, too.
HP put out a "Limited Edition" 15C. I bought one last year for about $100. My original goes back to 1984, the display on it is going bad, and replacement is an "advanced level" task.
Not quite the same quality on the keypad, but not bad.
Thanks, that's a great story!