Many years ago when I was gearing up for high school (so more years ago than I like to think about), my parents bought me a graphing calculator. Birthday or Christmas, I think. I can’t really remember.
Almost everybody back then had a TI-85, as I recall. A few uber-geeks had an HP-something-or-other — which was confusing as heck to use but did have a nifty infrared emitter that could mimic a remote control (this came in handy for turning on and off TVs in classrooms during class as a prank) — but the masses were TIs and more TIs.
Except me. My parents had looked around the store, sifted through the labels, and bought me a Sharp EL-9300C, which looked basically like this:
I remain grateful for their choice to this day.
You see, there was something, well, inherently logical about how my calculator functioned. While fellow students would be click-clacking away trying to figure out how they should enter a formula — “Do you hit the parentheses key after the integral key or before it?” — I would be already on the next problem: unlike the silly TI, my Sharp allowed me to type equations onto the screen exactly like they looked in the book. It was, for the time, extraordinary.
Graphing was easier, cleaner, and often more exact. My buttons were more clearly marked. Heck, even getting help was easier since my manual was built into the calculator with a series of on-screen “windows.”
I loved that calculator.
It is for this reason that I write you now in sorrow, for my beloved calculator has at last gone to the embrace of the Great Robotic Arm in the sky. It rests now upon the silicon shores of digital Elysium.
It will be missed. It will be remembered.
So I want to thank you, Sharp. Thanks for making my math classes a little easier. Thanks for making my life’s calculations a little more enjoyable.
Thanks for making the EL-9300C, the best calculator I have ever owned.
PS: Looking at your site today I see what appears to be an updated version of my beloved calculator, the EL-9900C. Though nothing could ever replace my trusty old friend, I wouldn’t mind if you sent me one. I think my 9300C would want to see me move on that way.