casio pf-8000

this is a very strange and pioneering casio data bank calculator. in the early days the means of operating a personal database were unclear and the pf-8000 represents an early foray into character recognition.

the touchpad on the right is pressure sensitive and is overlaid with a grid to delimit an array of normal calculator functions. furthermore this touch area can be used to enter numbers and text by drawing the symbol itself, rather like palm pilot jot. each character is drawn in a particular way and the shape and direction required is depicted on the inside of the cover.

internally the machine takes 3 batteries. 2xCR2032 for the main power and 1xCR1220 to maintain the internal memory. there is also a removable memory module, the casio or-20 which contains 2k of ram and an internal buzzer. there is a contrast adjustment knob on the top right of the case. the machine overall is very neatly made.

the calculator operates to ten digits, but requires a digit to display the decimal point. the display is LCD with 12 digits of 8x5 dot matrix.

the databank capabilities are a phone book and a memo list, these can be scrolled with keys or searched using the touchpad. there is a secret mode where information can be locked with a 4 character combination.

the calculator is remarkably fast at displaying numerical answers, although slow with data. i wondered if this was due to a faster than usual processor being required to perform the pattern recognition.

some people have asked me about the manual for this and its operation. i used to have one and knew how it all worked, because i used to use this machine to store information. at some point i will sit down with it and try to figure it all out again. i think i have lost the manual. when i do, i will write it up.