back to article Oh, 07734! Internet Archive debuts vintage calculator emulator

The Internet Archive has delivered a nostalgic treat in the form of a collection of 14 vintage emulated calculators, now available to play with online. The Archive's "Calculator Drawer" – as it has named the collection – includes classic machines from Texas Instruments' graphing calculator series. You'll find the TI 73 …

  1. chuckufarley Silver badge
    Pint

    If you have a workstation with 256GB of RAM...

    ...Then you have more memory than the combined total of all the models listed in this article ever shipped.

    Don't feel old, just drink a beer. You have earned it!

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

    A Casio fx-95 got me through mine perfectly well.

    These rules of which the author speaks must be from a country determined to defend the free world against non-US calculators or something like that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

      I thought the lack of Casios in general was a bit odd.

      But I actually don't need an emulator for my Casio fx-250 as I still have it. And it still works...

      1. parlei

        Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

        I still have the Ti-35 that I got when I started high school around 1980: it lasted all the way thought college and still works

        And the HP-48SX I bought in the early 90's is still in perfectly working condition; the zipper on the case is a bit iffy, though (and one of the emulators for Android is the only calculator I use on the phone).

        1. Little Mouse
          Headmaster

          Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

          I can vividly picture the school-sanctioned calculator that we were allowed for 'A' level exams in the Midlands back in the late 80's, but I can't for the life of me remember the make or model. The exam boards were understandably strict when it came to preventing cheating in exams using new-fangled "programmable" technology, so this model wasn't programmable or have graphics (neither of which would have been allowed back then).

          It was possible to store eight (or ten?) twelve-digit values in variables/registers though, and a creative person <cough!> could hide some quite useful "memory aids" encoded into the 100-ish numeric characters available.

          1. Little Mouse

            Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

            * Casio FX-85N *

            (Courtesy of a lazy lunch-hour & Google images)

            1. ChrisC Silver badge

              Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

              Ooh, hang on, that one looks familiar too, I'd completely forgotten I had one of those before the FX-5500L I mentioned earlier... Thanks for nudging me even further back in time on this little nostalgia trip :-)

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

      I think the reference to "college" entrance exams and "standardized tests" was the giveaway this was a US-centric article...

      For this UKian, my weapons of choice were a Casio FX-5500L joined a few years later by a FX-6300G (I *really* wanted a graphing calculator, but couldn't bring myself to pay the asking prices for the full-size ones), both of which remain in full working order, albeit with a much reduced workload these days than they used to be subject to back in the days before you could get a decent calculator app on your phone.

    3. GNoMe
      Thumb Up

      Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

      I've still got my casio College fx-100 had it from school days. It's 40 years old this year and it still works fine.

      1. Auntie Dix

        Re: [TI & HP] were allowed into college entrance exams and various standardized tests

        Similar, still use my 48G from 1991

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What no 5318008

    I'm amazed. This story has been up for over an hour and that number isn't in the comments.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What no 5318008

      Probably too early for the tweenagers.

      1. Francis Boyle

        What's the point

        in being grown-up if you can't act like a 14-year-old boy on the internet.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: What's the point

          It's not a matter of being grownup, it's a matter of not finding a "joke" that I first heard when walking my pet dinosaur.very funny anymore.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: What's the point

            No, it's not funny at all when you're 55378008.

        2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: What's the point

          Now I'm grown up, I can invest in 71077345...

    2. ssharwood

      Re: What no 5318008

      The topic came up during editing and we decided not to go there.

      1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

        Re: What no 5318008

        Wikipedia goes there -- but the word links to a pair of Sula nebouxii, i.e. the (literal) birds. Nice.

        The first example that came to my mind, though, was the Hollies' album "Five Three One - Double Seven O Four" from 1979. I don't think I've ever heard it, but remember seeing it in the stores, and was at the right age to appreciate the gimmick.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was surprised when I had to buy a modern calculator for my daughter. There isn't any choice available. Every modern calculator that I could find, regardless of the brand stamped on it, seems to use exactly the same chip, and often the same circuit board.There is nothing to choose between them.

    1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      TBH, they are probably produced by the pallet load in some factory in Shenzhen, China. That seems to be the case with pretty much all electronics these days. No variety. I miss the days when you could pick up some device, and think "What the hell were they thinking?" as you try and work out how to hold and use the device without getting RSI..

    2. bluesxman

      I dunno, my daughter still managed to buy the "wrong sort" of scientific calculator for school (UK), thus requiring a second purchase.

      Back in the day it was Casio all the way; TI were certainly not to be trusted.

    3. jay_bea

      Swiss Micros

      It is probably overkill for the use case, but Swiss Micros make a nice range of very expensive calculators based on original HP models, including the DM42 which is effectively a hardware verison of the Free42 which is available from your local app store.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Swiss Micros

        I *love* those .. cannot bring myself to shell out the cash for them since I have a working 48G from 1991, but the DM42 calculators are absolutely awesome https://www.swissmicros.com/product/dm42

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I miss my Casio FX602p

    The Casio FX 602p was the upgrade to the FX-501p I first bought, and they were effectively my first foray into programming (there was no way I could afford the far more fancy HP 41C).

    It could record and play back "programs" on cassette tape, if you can call a max 512 steps a program, and teachers deciding I should pay more attention to class and switching it off never worked out that it had permanent memory so you could just switch it back on and continue where you were so rudely interrupted :).

    I'd call it prep for buying the first Psion Organiser II XP that launched later, which got me intoprogramming,machine code and later assembly. None of that with any formal education, but having a portable device means you can just grab it whenever something enters your mind, and frankly I miss that sort of simple "Hello world" coding ability from modern devices.

    Oh well, it was fun. And I still have an Organiser II LZ 64 somewhere..

  6. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    The poors

    Never could afford or justify the $$$ for one of the HP-48's, but did get an HP-20S for a reasonable price and used it to get through a year and a half of Calculus and a year of Physics. None of that fancy graphical stuff or high-end RPN gee-whizzery, but it did have just enough crude macro capability to be useful. I still use it every now and then. I eventually picked up a TI-81 and spent a week ooh-ing and ahh-ing that it could draw functions. The TI didn't survive a fall a few years later.

    I also remember about 7 or 8 years ago being gob-smacked that I could get a pretty decently functional (but non-graphing) scientific calculator at a dollar-only store for a buck. Whoda thunk it...

    1. H in The Hague

      Re: The poors

      "did get an HP-20S"

      Still use mine once a week or so. Still on its original batteries, after about three decades!

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The poors

      Still have my HP-25 and HP-41C in the drawer, but use the V41 and i41CX emulators on my PC and iPhone, because I don't have to worry about batteries!

  7. cray74

    Get off my lawn!

    I use my college-era TI-85 at work daily and my TI-81 is around the house. However, the age of the two calculators is recognized by the younger generation.

    "Your graphing calculator is older than I am." --Random Intern

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Get off my lawn!

      I had/have an Otis King cylindrical slide rule. I do feel old…

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Get off my lawn!

        Saw a Kurta come up on Goodwill last month. I think it went for about $1.6k

        Couldn't justify that much to SWMBO, sadly.

        Beautiful piece of Swiss precision tech, though.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Get off my lawn!

          Whereas an Otis King can be <$50. I paid the equivalent of ~$120 when I bought it…

  8. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Wot, no TI 59? Maybe I'm just a bit nostalgic as it were my first programming steps...

    But my HP 48 is still in every day* use (less so the TI 89 though).

    *i.e. once in a long while

    1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Wot, no TI 59

      The TI 59 was useful for its time. I wrote a few engineering programs for some exams, carefully saved to those little magnetic strips. I had to learn RPN for borrowing the more popular HP-whatever, and when the TI died I also switched to HP. Eventually I gave the HP away but don't recall to whom. However, I do still have the K&E slide rule which my dad used when he went to college.

  9. tony72

    TI-81

    I got a first-gen TI-81 during my GCSE years. No backup battery for the program memory, so when your batteries died, you lost all your programs, and you'd have to type them in again from scratch! Still, good little machine otherwise, I might go an check out the emulator for a bit of nostalgia.

    1. parlei

      Re: TI-81

      That was one of the advantages of the HP: if you had the serial cable you could save the programs

  10. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

    For day-to-day use

    There are many Android apps that emulate various HP, TI and Casio calculators, and presumably other brands that I didn't think to look for. Perhaps that's the case for iThings as well.

    My daily driver is RpnCalc, which doesn't claim to emulate any particular HP device, but does have the classic HP look and feel.

  11. ICL1900-G3

    Ti Programmer

    Can't remember the model no. but it had leds and did hex and octal along with boolean algebra. I was working for Crédit Agricole in Saintes and you would be excused for thinking I'd invented low temperature fusion, so popular did it make me. Very handy for VME dump cracking, or duck cramping as we amusingly called it.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Ti Programmer

      Could be a TI-68 - I've still got mine (bought at TI's shop in the old Bedford factory), the screen is slowly dying though:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-68

  12. Antony Shepherd

    What, no Casio VL-Tone?

    With what else can you do your sums and then follow it up with a lively rendition of Trio's legendary hit Da Da Da?

  13. Dr. G. Freeman

    Wish they did emulators of the Casio CFX 9850 or fx-115.

    Or I could just wander over to my bookshelf and play with the real things. Nah, too far for my old hips.

  14. imanidiot Silver badge

    I'm still annoyed at myself that I apparently left my Ti-83 at my last internship company when clearing out my desk at the end. It's the last time I ever saw it (10 years ago).

  15. DrBobK
    Headmaster

    Ti-51...

    I still have three or four working Ti-SR-51s of various versions sitting in a draw (good for stats) so I am in no need of mere emulators (followed by evil 'ha ha ha' laugh)!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Ti-51...

      "I still have three or four working Ti-SR-51s of various versions sitting in a draw"

      Aren't you afraid they'll get washed away in a rainstorm?

  16. HkraM

    Casio fx100

    I'm sure I have a memory of some old Casio scientific calculators that would produce an odd (not even) result when asked to calculate 2^32 or 2^33, which were the largest numbers in the sequence before it would go into scientific notation. Sadly my Casio fx100 was lost years ago so I can't try this again. Does anyone else remember this?

  17. werdsmith Silver badge

    First basic calculator that totally mesmerised me was a Casio Personal 1. Really no big deal unless it was the first one you've seen.

    Who can remember putting in a number and then repeatedly pressing Square Root radical button until the display reduced to 0.000001 ?

    Then I became a calculator addict. At school I used an FX-81. Then for college the FX-450/451 folding wallet machine that could work in DEC-BIN-OCT-HEX.

    My latest ones are programmable in Python, including my TI NSpire II CAS which is incredible.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a much better track to listen to while using these calculators

    from blu peter's album dedicated to calculators - widescreen & digital

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXEKdxixP-g

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