Re: Why do so many people love Teas Instruments?

On Thu, 23 Aug 2007 10:25:49 -0500, JAM wrote:

But even I hate RPN notation when it is used in programming...

I'm referring to manipulation on the stack. I tend to write my
programs skipping local variables, but just manipulating the stack,
since these are generally simple to write, efficient in size and fast.
For short programs it is not that difficult. But trying to decipher a
month later is a challenge RPN on stack manipulation is truly cryptic
to read.

Who forced you to do it "the hard way" when specific "easy ways"
(local variables, use of formulas) were built in?

You caused your own problem, like someone buying a car with Cruise control
but refusing to enable it, then saying how tiring is this brand of car,
because you constantly have to watch and adjust the speed :)

The point is, that the more self describing language it is, the less
comments are needed to decipher it and it is easier to debug or modify
it later.

So why don't you take your own advice, and use the self-describing
features of named [local] variables, formulas, etc?

Maybe you should write in ML, then you'll *really* have
something even more cryptic to complain about :)

What you described is some "improvements" to the algebra, that
manufacturers selected to add. Interestingly I've never thought about
precedence of %operator, since in math the % is not really an
algebraic operator that is recognized world wide. You have a point,
that with the addition of operators that are not strictly mathematical....

Oh, is % in MTH REAL by mistake?

different calculators will produce different results depending on how
the manufacturer interpreted precedence of this artificial operator.
I was more thinking about example such as:


In this case it should always produce 14. On some older calculators
that was not the case but I don't consider them neither algebraic nr
RPN. Any modern algebraic calculator should intepret this statement

"Four-bangers" are supposed to get 20 -- they don't have more registers
(or a stack) to save up as yet unused operands (and operators).

Naturally, calculators intended for use in _algebra_
take a different approach, with no difference between brands
(except possibly how many levels of unused operands they can save).

But note that just plain "+,=" or "-,+" is unpredictable
between different manufacturer; it uses a "saved constant,"
the behavior of which varies arbitrarily between brands
(and chip suppliers). Figure out how "Sharp logic"
gets a Fibonacci sequence! ("it's not a kludge, it's a feature!" :)

The "bottom line" of all this talk is that calculators which
"look algebraic" vary all over the map as to how they work,
while you can walk up to most any RPN calculator that you've
never seen before, and already know what it does.

But no matter -- lest we forget, all HP graphing calculators
are fully equipped to handle algebraics, exactly as they should,
and using RPN is an option that one can take or leave.

[re his daughter as "casual" user]
Casual generally outnumbers "professional" in every field.
That is why casual user drives what is mass market
and professional drives niche market.

So being a professional engineer, which market do you buy your tools from?

Is there anything wrong (or even other than inevitable)
about different products having values
that appeal to different audiences?

Do you want HP to go for the lowest-level, widest possible market?

What, if anything, should differentiate an HP calculator from a TI?

Why not just suggest to TI whatever improvements you want,
and forget about HP?

If all they did was browse web sites, watch videos on-line,
and chat, how could they tell the difference?

Difference is in being common with peers etc. If every one else is
using for example MS Office why bother with being incompatible. Even
messaging is an issue. Lots of young people use AOL messenger (or
whatever it is called). They don't care that Linux has one that is
able to communicate with AOL. The point is that it is different
than the one their peers are using.

That's exactly what I expected to hear, in the end ;-)

Nothing to do with "better," just "what peers use,"
which is overridingly important to that age group.

"The rich get richer,"
the gambler with simply more cash in pocket
is more likely to wipe out his opponent,
regardless of a little more or less skill,
and a big market share, once gained,
has some self-perpetuating momentum,
for TI, for Microsoft, and everywhere else.

In case of my daughter the last straw was actually
that she needed to install something later that was not
in the initial Linux package and she wanted to do it herself.
You can do it without any help on Windows in 99% of cases using simple GUI

If the author has so provided.

When you try to do it on Linux, you end up searching
internet for help. The first thing you discover is, that the help
provided is horrible. In many cases you have so called "gurus" and
"experts" who can't lower themselves to the level of knowledge of the
newbie and their answers are as helpfull as describing 8 years old
tunneling effect using Schrodinger equation. But this is not the
worst. The worst is that in order to install something in most cases
you to discover that you have to download number of cryptic packages
and install them using strange crypting commands from console.

Just like the free calc software found on;
some authors have made it simple and foolproof, while others' stuff
only works if you can guess that it has to be installed in a variable
with just a certain exact name, in CAPS, that even the instructions
may not have mentioned -- all this is about the quality (or laziness)
of the author, rather than about the quality of the system the stuff is made for.

If you go download a Firefox or Opera browser, however, or Thunderbird email,
is it harder to install on Linux than on Windows?

I can add from myself, that equally irritating is trying to make some
hardware set up and work under Linux. Why is it that in order to set up WiFi
or printer or change settings in most cases you have to memorize and
execute cryptinc commands from console. I think this is the biggest
problem associated with Linux crowd. They are very poor in
uderstanding customer. Microsoft is light years ahead of Linux in
uderstanding their average mass market customer. The problem with
Linux is, that if you don't get that, you can only dream of beating

I think you are identifying the wrong culprit. Microsoft isn't the vendor
of Windows add-ons, and "Linux" isn't a company -- it's in the hands
of "third party vendors," whose personal values determine the outcome.

Microsoft makes an author's life pretty difficult, erecting a high barrier
to entry -- it's like a "poll tax" that once kept "commoners"
out of the voting booth, and it "improves" the environment
much the same way that a high "cover charge"
keeps the less affluent (and well-dressed) out of the pricier places :)

The second culprit is vendors who won't bother to enter the market;
why spend so much, when the big returns come from Windows customers?
That's a function only of Windows being bigger, market-share wise,
not better.

When it comes to those who have the means, however, and who decide
to enter the market, then what's the difference?

I had Windows since 3.1 version and I'm still waiting for this virus
that will infect my machine :-)

Plug it in here and see ;)

A few years ago, we couldn't even begin using any W2K system
on our network, because the instant they were plugged in,
they got infected by "Blaster" or "Welchia," which are among
worms which don't need any attachment to spread,
and for which Windows had no way for any user to block them.

We spend a great deal of our time tracking down infected computers
that flood our network with ARPs and other attacks,
and 100% of those turn out to be running Windows.

Sure, you can improve on some simple MS tools.
These were not meant to be "top of the line" products.

Exactly; that's why we all go around replacing them.

Try to improve on MS professional tools
such as Visual Studio or Office.

For which you pay several times as much as for Windows itself?

Of course, we're not talking about your daughter's use any longer,
are we? (not VS for sure, maybe Office?)

Open Office is a nice toy for simple tasks but falls well short
when some more features such as programming are needed.

Programming? Your daughter needs an office suite with programming?

It seems to me that you're always arguing both sides at once.

I find people blindly bashing Microsoft because it is so popular
but often it is them who spread FUD not the M$ :-)

And why do others blindly bash Linux?

Nice sparring with you again, Jacek :)

Hope your daughter is happy now;
if not, she can always find peers ready to help her,
and no more need for Dad :)

-[ ]-