Since I never wear a watch anymore, decided to start a new thread, I found Woz's comments on calclators to be very interesting. I'm one of the few engineers of my generation who did NOT run out and buy an HP35 when it came out. It was way too expensive, and I could never understand why they insisted on RPN entry. I grew up with algebraic notation and was comfortable with it. I DID buy a series of TI scientific calculators (a few years later when they got down to my price range) and have used my present TI-36 Solar for some years now. It does all that I need it to do, and I can use one of my (many) PCs when I need more power. I do use a form of RPN now: I write silly equatiions in it to use as passwords! Satisfies IT requirements for using upper/lower case alpha, numbers, and symbols.
RPN is great. I struggle to get a calculation on an algebraic input calculator now. I bought a 41C back in 1983 (which is still going strong), primarily to be able to complete the exams in our controls systems class where the instructor delighted in giving us systems with 5th order characterisitc equations. I noticed some students were consistently able to complete the exam on time and so I inquired and found the secret. HP41 with the Math Pack.
@dt: since I work primarily as a high-level systems architect these days, I rarely need to do any high-powered math anymore. When i do, i use the PC. That wasn't a real option in class in 1983.... I am a full generation older (completed grad schoool in 1967), hence my bias for algebraic notation.
I love my HP48 but now I mostly use Octave(Matlab) on my Mac for calculations. And now I'm doing a bunch of Galois arithmetic with really long hex numbers so it's not really practical on the calculator.