Nerd Alert!

15 February 2007 at 12:16 pm 3 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

What can possibly be more relevant for an econ-oriented blog than to wax lyrical about calculators? Do you remember Hewlett-Packard’s ill-fated experiments with Reverse Polish Notation? Or their excellent HP 41 model? (We will forget about their wristwatch-calculator.) Did you own a TI-57 and its excellent successors TI-58 and 59? Or, did you have to manage with a crappy TI-30? And what about the super-innovative Casios? Chances are that if you are old enough and are reading this blog, you were part of the great calculator craze of the 1970s and 1980s.  

Receiving my first electronic calculator from my grandparents on my 9th birthday in 1973, I acquired a taste for these great gadgets and probably owned around 50 of them from 1973 to 1983 at which point of time I completely lost interest (unlike this über-nerd — who is even German). Those of you who harbor nostalgic memories, check out The Old Calculators Web Museum or the Pocket Calculator Show.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Ephemera.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Klein  |  15 February 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Nicolai, given your interest in Austrian economics, I now know what to get you for your birthday:

    http://www.mises.org/store/Mises-Calculator-P293C0.aspx

  • 2. Cliff Grammich  |  15 February 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Calculators may have been my first practical introduction to how new goods become cheaper, and ultimately obsolete, over time. As I recall, my father, then an evening b-school student, bought his first calculator for about $80 around the time Nicolai first received his. This marvel could add, subtract, multiply, and divide to eight digits and even hold a charge for a whole half-hour! About a dozen years later, I bought, for about $20, what I recall was a TI-30, which, crappy though it may indeed have been, could do a helluva lot more running on solar power than my old man’s machine ever could. Now I’d agree they’re not much more than objects of nostalgia or even misplaced lyricism . . .

  • 3. Peter Klein  |  16 February 2007 at 12:15 am

    By strange coincidence, I happened to stumble upon this just now, courtesy of Stephan Kinsella:

    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/collection-of-soviet-era-calculators-236887.php

    “When they weren’t busy hating freedom and plotting the destruction of sweet, sweet capitalism, the Soviets made some pretty decent hardware, calculators included.”

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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).