time warp at Best Buy

The lovely wife and I drove 65 mile round trip Saturday to the “local” Best Buy for her to shop a new tablet. I was wandering around checking out the shiny new AV gear and found myself wondering what year was this. BB sells both Polaroid film and vinyl records! Can slide rules be far behind?

I remember all the excited engineering students with their new “Hundred Plus Dollar Calculators” when the things first came out. Now after the slide rules come back how far behind will the abacus be?

So did you find a tablet? For anyone who might be interested in an everyday tablet and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money, I would highly recommend the Amazon Fire 10. They sometimes go on sale for $99. They don’t have the camera of the Samsung, but they do take pretty good pictures. The screen isn’t of the Samsung, or Apple quality, but it is good enough. AS I said, for everyday use, these Fire Tablets are great I have 5 tablets and my wife has 3 and the Fires are the ones we use the most.

She went with the Fire 10HD not at sale price. She had some urgency to use at upcoming art show to run her Square POS gizmo. Not really sure what drove her decision apart from lighter weight than other 10 inch models. I was listening to sales dude prattle on about 8K TV and how it will use AI to upscale all the far less than content. Picture was impressive even very close to screen running demo 8K video. I asked him how free to air antenna looks on it which sent him off on streaming’s superiority tangent.

What do you folks do with that many tablets?

@castoff said:
I remember all the excited engineering students with their new “Hundred Plus Dollar Calculators” when the things first came out. Now after the slide rules come back how far behind will the abacus be?


Oops wrong video


We had an abacus that came back with my Dad from Japan after WW2. He was a pilot and flew a P38 and later P51. He showed me how to use it back when I was a pup. He also taught me how to use his slide rule. I found them fascinating. Later in high school I learned that they were based on logarithms, Being visually oriented it helped make sense of logarithms to me.

@castoff said:
I remember all the excited engineering students with their new “Hundred Plus Dollar Calculators” when the things first came out. Now after the slide rules come back how far behind will the abacus be?

That’s a Switch

There’s an abacus with LED’s!
(their sales don’t add up with the buy naries)
It’s got beady I’s glowing in the dark.
They seem to slide by you to zero–in on mark.

There’s a slideruler with LCD’s!
It will act real shifty try’n to square with three,
Often on the blink it disjoints situation,
so eight-to-six misaligns at some graduation.

Exceptional CWDH!!! We can always Count on you! :wink:

@TomL said:
Oops wrong video

Tom that’s the kind of abacus my Dad had. It’s like counting on one hand instead of two.

o crap… we have a slide rule or two around here somewhere… Yes we used them in college… dinos…

In one of my first Army courses in '72, I rented a calculator for $25 because a new one cost $110 and Second Lts didn’t make much.

I used to be of some account using chisanbop.
Kim Jong-un-did all my fingers in his reforming prison shop.
So next I slid those glossy beads with my tongue across a rail.
No longer do I speak of how figured trajectories did fail.

Still have my slide rule. In the early 70’s I worked in polymer research at Mellon Institute as a ;lowly lab tech, and one of my main jobs was doing complex calculations to convert the data sets from laser light scattering experiments on polymer fractions that told the investigators what the molecule sizes were. I had to use a slide rule, a mechanical adding machine (that only added and subtracted) and log tables and would spend hours and days crunching numbers that now could be processed in seconds on a basic spreadsheet or with a programmable calculator.

I was still working at the lab when the very first hand held calculator came on the market in 1972: the Hewlett Packard HP-35. As I recall it was around $400 and had few functions – in fact the 99 cent keyring calculators you can get at any Dollar Store today have more functions! It did not even do square roots. It also used Reverse Polish Notation (rather then the algebraic format that Texas Instruments soon popularized.) The department ordered half a dozen HP-35’s in early '73. Within a year the programmable HP-65 came out for $800 (which is equal to $4000 in today’s dollars) so they kind of had egg on their face by spending so much on the '35’s.

Since I learned on the HP-35 and used it for hours and weeks and months in my daily work I had a heck of a time adjusting to the algebraic sequence of the TI-s and every other calculator ever designed since.

Yes I remember the first calculator my room mate bought for $300+ dollars. Just a few years latter for less than a third that price I was using one that did all kinds of stuff including liner regressions. Now even that would be just a hoe-hum and cheap as dirt.

I wish I had my dad’s circular slide rule - he kept it in his flight jacket (P-47D). I know how to use one, but never had to. He brought a $400 calculator home from Boeing for show and tell in the early seventies, it had big red numbers and few functions. I’m still using an HP 28C from 1987 - I can’t believe the calculator industry cannot provide a single RPN calculator, they are far superior in every way for engineering calculations.

I will be 60 in July and had some middle (and perhaps HS) school use of slide rules. My dad taught me with his trusty K&E that got him through a Chemical Engineering degree before serving the US Army in the Pacific with his K&E. When not creating pathways with TNT and such he taught math to fellow soldiers. And then later taught in liberated Manila at the Santo Tomas Interment camp the Japanese created in the University of Santo Tomas. I really treasure holding and using this nomographic, DNA laden tool.

My HP-
sits on my desk
still here with me.
Trig with it some
survey situations
in less equality
Reverse Polish Notation.

Dad’s 12C
though he’s retired
still ammortirizes
when he’s tax-day hire.
And my financial adviser
with his slick laptop
rather push 12C buttons
to keep my numbers on top.

Some curve routines
worked I TI-66
but with expansion slots
HP-41 was more slick.
Then by early 90’s
RAM 'n ROM cards great
ran for you most programs
in HP-48’s

but a waxed nostalgic
will take you on slow ride
to get one set square
with numbers on the slide
though like with Vernier plates
I need magnify grads lesser
to read precisely between those lines
of Keuffel & Esser