HP RPN Calculators

The DM42 and calculator musings by Tim Gray

So first, why the heck do I even need a calculator? How does someone my age end up using a calculator when iPhones, Wolfram|Alpha, and Excel exist? And why would I spend a decent amount of cash on a physical calculator based on a 30-year old design and not buy a much cheaper and more capable modern design?

This will be a long and rambling post… you have been warned.

Tim Gray's post was a short trip down memory lane.

These days, I don't have much use for a scientific calculator, much less one that uses RPN (reverse polish notation). However, when I studied electrical engineering at Georgia Tech in the late 1980s, the HP and I were inseparable. I would not have made it through my basic electrical engineering courses without my HP and RPN. My HP was a gift from some friends at Drew University (where I was studying Physics), who wanted to be sure I was prepared.

I think my HP 28S (or was it an HP 48S) is somewhere under a box under another box under yet another box at my mom's house in Florida. Or maybe they were tossed decades ago. I do have 42s RPN app on my iPhone.

NOTE: I looked around the house and I found my dad's HP 12C. He was an accountant.

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

10 thoughts on “HP RPN Calculators”

  1. @khurtwilliams @ronguest hp 12c. Once I learned how to use it, wow. I don’t use all the buttons anymore, but it’s there when I need it, battery lasts for years and it feels solid in hand. For the true experience, buy an old one on eBay, the current version has a lot of plastic.

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