Welcome to Dartmouth's most influential daily
Each day, Dartblog and its team of alumni and students bring you news and commentary from Hanover and the world at large. Read our iPhone edition here.
This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.
When They Get it Right: the HP-12C
In 1985 I purchased my first personal computer: a Compaq transportable. It weighed 32lbs, had a screaming fast 8 MHz processor (no 4.88 MHz IBM dog for this power user), a 9 inch green-on-black screen, a 5.25” floppy drive (for disks that were really floppy), 1 Mb of RAM, and best of all, a 20 Mb hard disk — I never thought that I would need the 40 Mb option, and besides, that cost an extra grand. Total cost for a machine that could be toted about via its leather handle and that did not have a battery: $4,500.
Needless to say, that computer is only fit for use as a boat anchor today; even back then it could take two minutes to recalculate a large spreadsheet. My current laptop is literally hundreds of times faster, has thousands of times more storage, weighs in at a tenth of the weight of the Compaq, and in inflation-adjusted dollars it cost less that one fifth the price.
All of which makes Hewlett-Packard’s achievement with the HP-12C financial calculator the more amazing. The one that I bought in 1983 is sitting on my desk right now, and the same model can be found all over the financial world. It is still state of the art, and according to Wikipedia, it is HP’s longest lived product. Of course, its guts have been redesigned and the cost at Amazon is about half what I paid way back then, but you have to tip your hat to folks who could design a high tech product that is still a model of functionality and efficiency as it approaches its 30th birthday.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…