Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “HP-41CV”

The Last Calculator You’ll Ever Need

Hewlett-Packard's HP-41CV.

Hewlett-Packard’s HP-41CV.

Okay, I admit, this is a weird one. You know how sometimes you wake up thinking about that nonsensical dream you just had, that project you need to start into today, why your child gags on cooked peas, or why it’s important to not get audited by the IRS this year? You have your own list. Me, I woke up today realizing that I’ve been using the same calculator almost daily since 1980, with hardly a thought. No dead keys, no quirky keys, no popping apart, no worn away markings. Except for the sturdy coat of dust from being left out forever, it looks and acts the same as when it was new. Then again, it should. Why? Two reasons.

First, it cost somewhere over $800 in 1980 dollars. Think that’s a lot? Today, that would be $2,300. Memory was horrendously expensive, among other things, and the HP-41CV had plenty of it. In 1975, I’d gotten the earlier HP-65, the first magnetic card-programmable handheld calculator made. That listed at $795, and wasn’t much less going across the Read more…

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