Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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While I've tried and used the options listed ahead of CAS, my last purchased calculator was a TI-89. Fell in love with that. The CAS does for algebra what an ordinary calculator does for arithmetic. Want to factor this polynomial? Just punch it in and get the answer. All algebra results are simplified. Thus, when you do a "calculation" like 2+3, it is doing no algebra and merely "simplifying" the 2+3 to be the constant 5. In radians mode, punch in sin(π/3), it displays just the way I punched it in. The "pi" key didn't substitute in a number, it entered the symbol π. Then when I hit enter I find that sin(π/3) is √3/2, and is displayed that way.
I keep a TI-89 emulator on my phone, but now days I like wxMaxima on Linux. Fun stuff.
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(Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday December 11, @07:45PM
(7 children)
Yeah, I've poked buttons on all kinds myself but the most common kind I use in the very rare case that I can't do it in my head has #2 printed on the side. When even a pencil won't do it, I generally make a perl one-liner to do the heavy lifting.
-- The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. -- H. L. Mencken
What if you have this equation and want to solve it for one of its variables. 2x+3y=29
I want to solve for x, type in: solve( 2x+3y=29, x ) and get back: x = -(3y-29)/2
And type in: solve( 2x+3y=29, y ) and get back: y = -(2x-29)/3
(I just did this on my TI-89 emulator)
Further, I would ask it to solve the equation for x again, but now tell it the value of y which I had just received, and I would get either an exact result for x, be it a number, a rational, something involving square roots, etc -- but NOT some long floating point decimal number. Although the exact expression I get back can be turned into an INEXACT floating point result with a keystroke.
Its as easy to manipulate expressions and equations as most calculators manipulate numbers.
I wouldn't expect Perl to do that. But I would expect some Lisps to do that with appropriate libraries loaded. Although as I mentioned, I've come to enjoy wxMaxima as a nice toy plaything.
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You'd be amazed how never that tends to happen even in the life of a generic computer programmer. Life generally doesn't give you many problems with the exact same way to get to the answer, so formulas more complex than checkbook balancing (I know, I'm old) aren't a common, useful thing. I think the last time I used a calculator was when I was designing the amp stages for an FM transmitter I built and needed resistor and capacitor values. That was around the time NCommander was asking for alpha testers on IRC from a bunch of folks who had a penchant for saying Fuck Beta.
-- The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. -- H. L. Mencken
You have a point and I don't want to make it sound like you don't. I could use my HP to do basically what you did... plus you can just sub in one of the variables and get the numeric result a lot easier... But the two manipulations you showed are something I can just do in my head.
Subtract 3y, divide by 2 and you get x = (29-3y)/2 and y = (29-2x)/3. No need to extract the -1 if you follow the order of operators.
No, you can't ask me to do that with more complex equations and the calculator can. :)
-- Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
Mostly it is fun. I find these CAS calculators to be really fun toys. Something unthinkable in the early days of the first calculators, even scientific calculators. I remember an algebra teacher saying something about how calculators don't factor polynomials, or something to that effect. :-) Because calculators were purely numeric at the time.
As a pre-algebra teenager, I played with my calculator a lot, and began to discover some basic algebra relations without realizing it. In algebra class, I suddenly remembered, I figured this out by trial and error, over a number of test cases, that, for example: a^2 * b^2 = (a*b)^2. But what I had done was not proof that it worked for all values of a and b.
Similarly, I enjoy playing with CAS calculators. I can learn things that I wouldn't learn by actually doing this playing on paper and pencil. Mostly it's just fun.
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Sure is! I played for hours with my 28C, getting it to do stuff like output a random string of beep tones and then trying to correct that the beep function altered it's length along with the pitch so all the beeps would sound for the same length of time. Played around with the calculus functions even though I didn't know anything about calculus then. Then I created a program in it to play a game of HighLow with me via the stack.
If I remember correctly the 28C also had a unit that was undefined ("unit") and/or let one define one's own units in terms of other units. Made it so much easier when one was dealing with the unusual, although it did have some limitations. I've missed that ever since when trying to deal with unit conversions for units that weren't defined. I have to go off and find a unit that is completely unrelated to what I'm calculating (Joules usually work) and sub that in.
-- Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
IIRC, Joules could be expressed in terms of the fundamental units they picked. Several of the units would have non-zero exponents.
I used the example of velocity. That would have an exponent of 1 for the Length unit, and an exponent of -1 for the time exponent. That gives length per time.
One fun thing I did, since it was possible to display arbitrary pixel content onto the display, was to display a Calvin & Hobbes icon, which I pilfered from a classic Mac icon someone else had already drawn in 32x32 B&W. I did have to rotate it, turn it into the proper hex code, etc.
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I just pick a guesstimate that's reasonable, see if it fits, and keep on until I get the solution. Gives me practice in spotting stuff that doesn't make any sense at all. Like when someone used the wrong unit of measurement for a Mars probe. You should be able to eyeball the answer to tell that it's nowhere in the ballpark.
I knew one guy who had a calculator that couldn't add properly - the final result was always only around 10% of what it should have been. He'd bring it to sales, and have the seller use his calculator to add up the total bill.
And they would accept it because they couldn't come up with a rough estimate in their heads.
The TI-89 was one of the best purchases I ever made. The TI-83 I had through high school and undergrad was good, but if I had purchased the 89 earlier I could have done better on some of my exams.
Today, my TI-83 sits in a drawer of my cube. Its primary purpose is adding taxes for expense reports, but even for that it is much preferred over the Windows calculator. The TI-89 is somewhere in my house.
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, @03:39AM
by Anonymous Coward
on Sunday December 15, @03:39AM (#932265)
I have a TI-89 Plus Titanium but, IIRC, of the very few exams that let me use a graphing or programmable calculator none (or very few) of them allowed me to use a TI-89. They can be useful for homework though. I also have a TI-84 Plus Silver edition.
The "Standard" calculator with windows isn't a simple 4 function caluclator. It also does things like square, square root, and has things like Memory Save, Memory Recall, etc.
I can do basic math in my head. Yet, at a certain point, it's just much simpler to offload that work to a simple calculator. Also, it's kinda cool to use python to complicated equations or something that's just complicated enough to warrant a tiny script.
-- "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
(Score: 2) by shortscreen on Thursday December 12, @01:28PM
(1 child)
The Windows 2000 calculator in scientific mode does logs/exponents, trig, and also Hexadecimal. I use that regularly. The calculator in newer Windows makes you switch to a different mode to use hex, IIRC. Sometimes I open a notepad window next to it to record values at each step. It would have been handy for it show a log of previous values like the calculator program that my MSX2 has in ROM (or the calculator with the paper tape printer that my grandmother used to use...)
Voted gray matter though since that one doesn't even require typing.
I'm sitting in front of a Windows 7 machine, so I fired up Windows Calculator. The four modes are Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics. Only Programmer gives you access to hexadecimal (but also lets you choose decimal, octal, or binary, should you want one of those.)
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I guess it's sort of an RPN calculator. Very nice to have around if you're an emacs user, particularly considering you can scroll through the previous entries and results (in the 'trail') and yank results or previous entries back into the stack with a single keystroke.
(Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Thursday December 12, @02:47AM
(1 child)
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, @01:56AM
by Anonymous Coward
on Saturday December 14, @01:56AM (#931905)
org-mode inlined calc script .. (press ^C^C on the snippet) src_calc{+ 1 2 3} {{{results(=6=)}}} makes for easy journaling of what you're doing. calc is actually a CAS! https://nullprogram.com/blog/2009/06/23/ [nullprogram.com]
If I can do it in Gray Matter, I will. Otherwise there are situations where I have either a simple or a scientific calculator available, in which case I may use that. I don't have a programmable calculator (unless you count Python running on a laptop as such). And I'll also use a CAS when available.
Therefore I simply cannot choose a single one of the options.
Well, I guess I could choose “Gray Matter ” because in the end, even when I use one of the other options, I need to also use my grey matter to operate those and interpret the results.
-- The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, @10:36AM
(1 child)
by Anonymous Coward
on Thursday December 12, @10:36AM (#931359)
Simple Math On mobile I use a calculator app. On a desktop, I always have a browser open and use google from the separate (dammit) search widget in firefox.
Complex Math I use vim and write a program to do it, mostly in C or python.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday December 12, @10:43PM
Once upon a time when I needed it, a TI-85. Since then, then default calculator in my OS has always been sufficient. Anything that needed some heavier lifting was easily handled in Excel.
Was introduced to RPN in 1989, first calculator was a HP-15C because that was the recommendation of DeVry Institute at that time and they had a deal with EduCalc. (And that was the first calculator I owned. Calculators were expensive and not allowed when I was in High School.)
Then in 1990 I got a 28C. Then that got stolen. Back to the 15C. I still miss that 28C. In 1991 I bought a 48S. Used that for 20+ years.
Downloaded MathU RPN when I got my Palm T|X and bought the iPhone app when I got an iPhone and that came out.
Bought a 50g when the 48S died. Never liked it much. Got an HP Prime about a year ago because I took a class where I could use any calculator but couldn't use my phone. Parts are interesting (the spreadsheet helped) but I don't have the same love for it that I did for my 48S or my 28C. I hate little bugs in it like you have to be in CAS mode to use the apps properly and when I'm on the stack I want nothing but RPN. I'd love to actually learn programming for it but don't have the time. On my phone I have the HP Prime Lite app and MathU RPN and MathU 12D. Thought about upgrading the Prime app but haven't.
These days I'm far more likely to use Excel. MathU RPN second. Prime 3rd.
That said, some day very soon I hope to get a Swissmicros DM-42. Just because. And if I had unlimited resources (I don't) I'd add a DM15 or DM15L to come back to where it all started for me.
-- Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @04:16PM
(2 children)
I had a 28C and had a lot of fun with it. I was studying Common Lisp at the time, and realized this calculator seemed to have some sort of GC.
I also remember the 28 C's unit conversions being the best I've ever seen. They distilled it down to everything being in fundamental units of various dimensions to some power times a constant. Like, length, time, electrical charge, and other dimensions. Every unit value was the product of these basic units each raised to some power (even power of zero for unused units). So area was simply length^2 and all other basic units to the zero power. Velocity was length^1 * time^-1. (aka distance per time) Thus it was possible for you to name your own new unit and simply assign the one constant and powers of all the fundamental units. Then you could multiply, say, 3 Foobars times 8 MilesPerHour and get a result that made sense, including dimensionally. I haven't run across any other calculator or software that did unit conversions this way.
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I wanted the 28S after my 28C was stolen, but couldn't afford it. By the time I could the 48 was out so I bought the 48S (couldn't afford the 48SX). That one, though, lost that symbolic ability to define one's own units.
-- Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
It's a very efficient tool for the kinds of simpler math you might use a calculator for - RPN, arbitrary precision, etc. It also has the distinction of being one of the only pieces of software in existence that could really be said to be complete: It gets very few updates to deal with compiler changes, doesn't have new features being added, and last I looked had zero open bugs.
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(Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday December 17, @01:55PM
Yeah, if it won't fit in the ever-shrinking brain, it always used to be a dc job. And if it's not, then it's a Pari/GP program. I do enough complex stuff that I always have a Pari/GP window open, so sometimes I just jump straight into that and skip dc.
-- I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
I remember trying to use an HP RPN calculator once, and it just felt clunky because you were just postfixing the operators instead of doing something useful. One day, however, I saw one with a visible 4-level stack, and everything clicked in moments.
I bet if more people were introduced to RPN with a visible stack, they'd jump on it a lot sooner. Sometimes I bring up emacs to run calc solely to doublecheck a few basic calculations.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 13, @06:32PM
(2 children)
I was born a poor black kid in Pennsylvania, way back in almost prehistoric times. The only calculator available was a slide rule. So, I went from paper and pencil to start with, then gray matter because it was faster, easier, almost as reliable. In junior high, I was introduced to the slide rule, and loved it. Of course, the slide rule doesn't automagically keep track of decimal points, and requires a bit of gray matter when mixing fractions and decimals, etc.
In high school, I saw a Texas Instruments calculator, which memory insists was a TI-35, but the internet insists that the 35 wasn't around until after I graduated. Whatever, it was a sweet scientific calc, and I learned to love it. No more straining the brain, or squinting at that slide rule. TI always had the right answer in less than the blink of an eye.
In real life, I've had little use for calculators. During my construction years, I did buy a nice little calculator that had engineer's scale, and fractions available. Mostly, I used gray matter first, then checked myself with that calc.
Recent years? When I need to solve a problem, a computer is almost always near at hand. Pull up the default calculator, punch in the problem, and I have the answer.
Which reminds me of something else. My college days were wasted on business administration. Keeping ledgers, figuring interest, depreciation, taxes, blah blah blah. No one does that stuff anymore. It's all keyed into a spreadsheet, and half the peasants who do it probably don't even understand what they are keying in.
-- The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun. -- Buckminster Fuller
(Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday December 14, @05:33PM
Wussup nigga, I beez Black too. Dey used to call me the "Kang of Kala-culation." (Ebonics will now be turned off for the sake of clarity).
Nowadays it's a combination of pencil and CAS, but the pencil is used for an intermediate step that has nothing to do with calculation itself. I'll have to read an old academic paper or old corporate literature with a fuck-huge pretty-printed formula not found in "straight-line" form needed to enter into a CAS or Excel, and from a direct no-OCR PDF scan so I can't copy and paste.
So the pencil is used with a blank piece of paper to break the pretty-printed formula into chunks and make it a one-liner that a CAS can parse. The industrial CAS has always been MATLAB, but for quick calculations involving plots or variables, Wolfram Alpha is a pretty convenient crutch for fast answers. Excel is used for reporting but it's extremely useful to have formulas translated to both MATLAB and Excel (Wolfram Alpha recognizes multiple input formats).
One of my favorite brain/pencil and paper calculations(with no electronic calculator handy) is the idiot method to translate dB to mW and vise versa. 0 dBm is 1mW, ±3dBm doubles/halves your power, ±10 dBm multiplies/divides power by 10, ±20 dBm multiplies /divides power by 100, etc. So then you use that discrete math trick to get any value from other different values (in this case 3 and powers of 10). So using those rules and wanting to find the value of -8 dBm for example,
- start at 0dBm (1mW) - subtract 20 dBm (1mW/100) - add 12 dBm, which is 3dBm multiplied 4 times, so you double your previous answer 4 times to get the value in mW of 8dBm. -20dBm + 12dBm = -8 dBm.
It's easy to do these kinds of calculations completely in the head without pencil and paper if necessary.
Typing in simple arithmetic is easy-peasy, and Octave is good for heavier lifting, too. I prefer the command-line interface. It's nice to use the same tool for smaller and larger problems. The vector notation (borrowed from MATLAB) is a winner.
Wrote a Sun boot ROM "back in the day". As a fan of algebraic-style calculators, I was glad to be familiar enough with HPs to use one when needed. Dealing with all of the arithmetic for an SCSI interface in Fcode was an interesting experience.
The driver, itself, wasn't too difficult once I stopped trying to write "C" in Fcode and began to think again in FORTH. Used to be a 6502 with an embedded FORTH interpreter, which is where I learned the language.
Loved the Fcode ideal "write once, run pretty much anywhere". Better than Java, IMO'
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, @03:44AM
(1 child)
by Anonymous Coward
on Sunday December 15, @03:44AM (#932267)
I chose the abacus but it didn't seem to count my vote. Maybe the person using it to tally votes doesn't know how to use it right?
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, @08:55PM
by Anonymous Coward
on Saturday December 21, @08:55PM (#935055)
Ahh, now it shows that there are two votes for the abacus. I guess someone else must have chosen it too. Perhaps the issue is that the abacus is such a slow method of adding numbers that it took this long for the votes to tally - especially given the fact that the person using it probably had to spend some extra time learning how to use it properly and isn't very proficient in using it quickly.
A much more experienced abacus user like myself could get those numbers added up and posted much more quickly.
I still have and use a Casio FX4000P. I think it is one of the best calculators ever made and I cannot understand why Casio only made them in 1985. I probably use kcalc more often to be honest, but the Casio is still my favorite.
-- If the only proposed solution to a problem is a tax, then it is just an excuse to tax, not a solvable problem.
(Score: 3, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday December 15, @07:19PM
I have a CASIO scientific calculator that can do just about anything in terms of mathematical calculations. Although I bought it to replace a broken scientific calculator that I'd had for decades, I only use it as a four function calculator.
Most of the time I don't even use it at all, preferring use bc instead.
(Score: 2) by Mojibake Tengu on Monday December 16, @05:14PM
It's primarily a unit converter, but it does all the math I ever ask it to, and does it while aware of units and their conversions along the way for example:
I wish there was: calculator?? are you 12? Like literally most people after finishing school almost never use any such thing, they might use it behind a tax calculating pdf/xls/program, but who the fuck pulls out a calculator to calculate a tip in a restaurant? Noone
(Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Friday December 20, @06:00PM
There were no calculators when I was in school, so we used slide rules.
Today, I have an over-priced watch with integral slide rule. (Not a "smart watch" - though I am not sure how something with a battery life of less than a year would qualify as smart).
It is particularly useful for things like comparing value for money in the supermarket by converting to price per kg, etc. Or GBP to EUR, USD, etc.
-- Putting your data in the cloud is like sending your teenage daughter backpacking in a 3rd world country with a pimp
(Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 25, @04:20PM
I use whatever is suitable and available: scientific calculators or corresponding apps on phone, spreadsheet, programs (rarely CAS), pen/pencil and paper/napkins, and gray matter. I find programmable calculators to be just a gimped scientific calculator and computer algebra systems are rarely useful even when I'm doing a lot of algebra.
(Score: 2) by RedIsNotGreen on Thursday December 26, @08:59AM
Everyone knows that in today's technology trends, the only choice is a quantum calculator. I prefer one with a crowdfunded blockchain, but there are other opinions, I'm sure.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Wednesday December 11, @06:11PM (10 children)
While I've tried and used the options listed ahead of CAS, my last purchased calculator was a TI-89. Fell in love with that. The CAS does for algebra what an ordinary calculator does for arithmetic. Want to factor this polynomial? Just punch it in and get the answer. All algebra results are simplified. Thus, when you do a "calculation" like 2+3, it is doing no algebra and merely "simplifying" the 2+3 to be the constant 5. In radians mode, punch in sin(π/3), it displays just the way I punched it in. The "pi" key didn't substitute in a number, it entered the symbol π. Then when I hit enter I find that sin(π/3) is √3/2, and is displayed that way.
I keep a TI-89 emulator on my phone, but now days I like wxMaxima on Linux. Fun stuff.
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(Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday December 11, @07:45PM (7 children)
Yeah, I've poked buttons on all kinds myself but the most common kind I use in the very rare case that I can't do it in my head has #2 printed on the side. When even a pencil won't do it, I generally make a perl one-liner to do the heavy lifting.
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. -- H. L. Mencken
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 11, @08:05PM (6 children)
What if you have this equation and want to solve it for one of its variables.
2x+3y=29
I want to solve for x, type in: solve( 2x+3y=29, x )
and get back:
x = -(3y-29)/2
And type in: solve( 2x+3y=29, y )
and get back:
y = -(2x-29)/3
(I just did this on my TI-89 emulator)
Further, I would ask it to solve the equation for x again, but now tell it the value of y which I had just received, and I would get either an exact result for x, be it a number, a rational, something involving square roots, etc -- but NOT some long floating point decimal number. Although the exact expression I get back can be turned into an INEXACT floating point result with a keystroke.
Its as easy to manipulate expressions and equations as most calculators manipulate numbers.
I wouldn't expect Perl to do that. But I would expect some Lisps to do that with appropriate libraries loaded. Although as I mentioned, I've come to enjoy wxMaxima as a nice toy plaything.
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(Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday December 12, @12:21AM
You'd be amazed how never that tends to happen even in the life of a generic computer programmer. Life generally doesn't give you many problems with the exact same way to get to the answer, so formulas more complex than checkbook balancing (I know, I'm old) aren't a common, useful thing. I think the last time I used a calculator was when I was designing the amp stages for an FM transmitter I built and needed resistor and capacitor values. That was around the time NCommander was asking for alpha testers on IRC from a bunch of folks who had a penchant for saying Fuck Beta.
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. -- H. L. Mencken
(Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday December 12, @03:54PM (3 children)
You have a point and I don't want to make it sound like you don't. I could use my HP to do basically what you did... plus you can just sub in one of the variables and get the numeric result a lot easier...
But the two manipulations you showed are something I can just do in my head.
Subtract 3y, divide by 2 and you get x = (29-3y)/2 and y = (29-2x)/3. No need to extract the -1 if you follow the order of operators.
No, you can't ask me to do that with more complex equations and the calculator can. :)
Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @04:07PM (2 children)
Mostly it is fun. I find these CAS calculators to be really fun toys. Something unthinkable in the early days of the first calculators, even scientific calculators. I remember an algebra teacher saying something about how calculators don't factor polynomials, or something to that effect. :-) Because calculators were purely numeric at the time.
As a pre-algebra teenager, I played with my calculator a lot, and began to discover some basic algebra relations without realizing it. In algebra class, I suddenly remembered, I figured this out by trial and error, over a number of test cases, that, for example: a^2 * b^2 = (a*b)^2. But what I had done was not proof that it worked for all values of a and b.
Similarly, I enjoy playing with CAS calculators. I can learn things that I wouldn't learn by actually doing this playing on paper and pencil. Mostly it's just fun.
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(Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday December 12, @07:29PM (1 child)
Sure is! I played for hours with my 28C, getting it to do stuff like output a random string of beep tones and then trying to correct that the beep function altered it's length along with the pitch so all the beeps would sound for the same length of time. Played around with the calculus functions even though I didn't know anything about calculus then. Then I created a program in it to play a game of HighLow with me via the stack.
If I remember correctly the 28C also had a unit that was undefined ("unit") and/or let one define one's own units in terms of other units. Made it so much easier when one was dealing with the unusual, although it did have some limitations. I've missed that ever since when trying to deal with unit conversions for units that weren't defined. I have to go off and find a unit that is completely unrelated to what I'm calculating (Joules usually work) and sub that in.
Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @08:55PM
IIRC, Joules could be expressed in terms of the fundamental units they picked. Several of the units would have non-zero exponents.
I used the example of velocity. That would have an exponent of 1 for the Length unit, and an exponent of -1 for the time exponent. That gives length per time.
One fun thing I did, since it was possible to display arbitrary pixel content onto the display, was to display a Calvin & Hobbes icon, which I pilfered from a classic Mac icon someone else had already drawn in 32x32 B&W. I did have to rotate it, turn it into the proper hex code, etc.
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(Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Thursday December 19, @01:41AM
I just pick a guesstimate that's reasonable, see if it fits, and keep on until I get the solution. Gives me practice in spotting stuff that doesn't make any sense at all. Like when someone used the wrong unit of measurement for a Mars probe. You should be able to eyeball the answer to tell that it's nowhere in the ballpark.
I knew one guy who had a calculator that couldn't add properly - the final result was always only around 10% of what it should have been. He'd bring it to sales, and have the seller use his calculator to add up the total bill.
And they would accept it because they couldn't come up with a rough estimate in their heads.
Gerry was a crafty SOB.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by richtopia on Sunday December 15, @01:37AM (1 child)
The TI-89 was one of the best purchases I ever made. The TI-83 I had through high school and undergrad was good, but if I had purchased the 89 earlier I could have done better on some of my exams.
Today, my TI-83 sits in a drawer of my cube. Its primary purpose is adding taxes for expense reports, but even for that it is much preferred over the Windows calculator. The TI-89 is somewhere in my house.
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, @03:39AM
I have a TI-89 Plus Titanium but, IIRC, of the very few exams that let me use a graphing or programmable calculator none (or very few) of them allowed me to use a TI-89. They can be useful for homework though. I also have a TI-84 Plus Silver edition.
(Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday December 11, @10:25PM (2 children)
The "Standard" calculator with windows isn't a simple 4 function caluclator. It also does things like square, square root, and has things like Memory Save, Memory Recall, etc.
I can do basic math in my head. Yet, at a certain point, it's just much simpler to offload that work to a simple calculator. Also, it's kinda cool to use python to complicated equations or something that's just complicated enough to warrant a tiny script.
"I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
(Score: 2) by shortscreen on Thursday December 12, @01:28PM (1 child)
The Windows 2000 calculator in scientific mode does logs/exponents, trig, and also Hexadecimal. I use that regularly. The calculator in newer Windows makes you switch to a different mode to use hex, IIRC. Sometimes I open a notepad window next to it to record values at each step. It would have been handy for it show a log of previous values like the calculator program that my MSX2 has in ROM (or the calculator with the paper tape printer that my grandmother used to use...)
Voted gray matter though since that one doesn't even require typing.
(Score: 2) by AndyTheAbsurd on Tuesday December 17, @08:11PM
I'm sitting in front of a Windows 7 machine, so I fired up Windows Calculator. The four modes are Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics. Only Programmer gives you access to hexadecimal (but also lets you choose decimal, octal, or binary, should you want one of those.)
Please note my username before responding. You may have been trolled.
(Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday December 11, @11:06PM (3 children)
I guess it's sort of an RPN calculator. Very nice to have around if you're an emacs user, particularly considering you can scroll through the previous entries and results (in the 'trail') and yank results or previous entries back into the stack with a single keystroke.
(Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Thursday December 12, @02:47AM (1 child)
Now if they would just add a usable editor... (I kid!)
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @04:07PM
You must mean edlin.
Vote for Alexa in 2020. Make personal data collection great again!
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 14, @01:56AM
org-mode inlined calc script .. (press ^C^C on the snippet) src_calc{+ 1 2 3} {{{results(=6=)}}}
makes for easy journaling of what you're doing. calc is actually a CAS! https://nullprogram.com/blog/2009/06/23/ [nullprogram.com]
(Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday December 12, @10:21AM
What I use depends on the situation.
If I can do it in Gray Matter, I will. Otherwise there are situations where I have either a simple or a scientific calculator available, in which case I may use that. I don't have a programmable calculator (unless you count Python running on a laptop as such). And I'll also use a CAS when available.
Therefore I simply cannot choose a single one of the options.
Well, I guess I could choose “Gray Matter ” because in the end, even when I use one of the other options, I need to also use my grey matter to operate those and interpret the results.
The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, @10:36AM (1 child)
Simple Math
On mobile I use a calculator app. On a desktop, I always have a browser open and use google from the separate (dammit) search widget in firefox.
Complex Math
I use vim and write a program to do it, mostly in C or python.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday December 12, @10:43PM
I liked your format so I ripped it off:
Once upon a time when I needed it, a TI-85. Since then, then default calculator in my OS has always been sufficient. Anything that needed some heavier lifting was easily handled in Excel.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday December 12, @03:48PM (3 children)
Was introduced to RPN in 1989, first calculator was a HP-15C because that was the recommendation of DeVry Institute at that time and they had a deal with EduCalc. (And that was the first calculator I owned. Calculators were expensive and not allowed when I was in High School.)
Then in 1990 I got a 28C. Then that got stolen. Back to the 15C. I still miss that 28C.
In 1991 I bought a 48S. Used that for 20+ years.
Downloaded MathU RPN when I got my Palm T|X and bought the iPhone app when I got an iPhone and that came out.
Bought a 50g when the 48S died. Never liked it much.
Got an HP Prime about a year ago because I took a class where I could use any calculator but couldn't use my phone. Parts are interesting (the spreadsheet helped) but I don't have the same love for it that I did for my 48S or my 28C. I hate little bugs in it like you have to be in CAS mode to use the apps properly and when I'm on the stack I want nothing but RPN. I'd love to actually learn programming for it but don't have the time.
On my phone I have the HP Prime Lite app and MathU RPN and MathU 12D. Thought about upgrading the Prime app but haven't.
These days I'm far more likely to use Excel. MathU RPN second. Prime 3rd.
That said, some day very soon I hope to get a Swissmicros DM-42. Just because. And if I had unlimited resources (I don't) I'd add a DM15 or DM15L to come back to where it all started for me.
Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @04:16PM (2 children)
I had a 28C and had a lot of fun with it. I was studying Common Lisp at the time, and realized this calculator seemed to have some sort of GC.
I also remember the 28 C's unit conversions being the best I've ever seen. They distilled it down to everything being in fundamental units of various dimensions to some power times a constant. Like, length, time, electrical charge, and other dimensions. Every unit value was the product of these basic units each raised to some power (even power of zero for unused units). So area was simply length^2 and all other basic units to the zero power. Velocity was length^1 * time^-1. (aka distance per time) Thus it was possible for you to name your own new unit and simply assign the one constant and powers of all the fundamental units. Then you could multiply, say, 3 Foobars times 8 MilesPerHour and get a result that made sense, including dimensionally. I haven't run across any other calculator or software that did unit conversions this way.
Vote for Alexa in 2020. Make personal data collection great again!
(Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday December 12, @04:18PM (1 child)
I might mean HP 28S. It's been so long.
Vote for Alexa in 2020. Make personal data collection great again!
(Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Thursday December 12, @07:35PM
I wanted the 28S after my 28C was stolen, but couldn't afford it. By the time I could the 48 was out so I bought the 48S (couldn't afford the 48SX). That one, though, lost that symbolic ability to define one's own units.
Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!
(Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday December 12, @09:41PM (1 child)
It's a very efficient tool for the kinds of simpler math you might use a calculator for - RPN, arbitrary precision, etc. It also has the distinction of being one of the only pieces of software in existence that could really be said to be complete: It gets very few updates to deal with compiler changes, doesn't have new features being added, and last I looked had zero open bugs.
Vote Potted Plant 2020 - at least you know it won't make things worse!
(Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday December 17, @01:55PM
I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
(Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday December 13, @12:32AM
I remember trying to use an HP RPN calculator once, and it just felt clunky because you were just postfixing the operators instead of doing something useful. One day, however, I saw one with a visible 4-level stack, and everything clicked in moments.
I bet if more people were introduced to RPN with a visible stack, they'd jump on it a lot sooner. Sometimes I bring up emacs to run calc solely to doublecheck a few basic calculations.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday December 13, @06:32PM (2 children)
I was born a poor black kid in Pennsylvania, way back in almost prehistoric times. The only calculator available was a slide rule. So, I went from paper and pencil to start with, then gray matter because it was faster, easier, almost as reliable. In junior high, I was introduced to the slide rule, and loved it. Of course, the slide rule doesn't automagically keep track of decimal points, and requires a bit of gray matter when mixing fractions and decimals, etc.
In high school, I saw a Texas Instruments calculator, which memory insists was a TI-35, but the internet insists that the 35 wasn't around until after I graduated. Whatever, it was a sweet scientific calc, and I learned to love it. No more straining the brain, or squinting at that slide rule. TI always had the right answer in less than the blink of an eye.
In real life, I've had little use for calculators. During my construction years, I did buy a nice little calculator that had engineer's scale, and fractions available. Mostly, I used gray matter first, then checked myself with that calc.
Recent years? When I need to solve a problem, a computer is almost always near at hand. Pull up the default calculator, punch in the problem, and I have the answer.
Which reminds me of something else. My college days were wasted on business administration. Keeping ledgers, figuring interest, depreciation, taxes, blah blah blah. No one does that stuff anymore. It's all keyed into a spreadsheet, and half the peasants who do it probably don't even understand what they are keying in.
The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun. -- Buckminster Fuller
(Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday December 14, @05:33PM
Wussup nigga, I beez Black too. Dey used to call me the "Kang of Kala-culation." (Ebonics will now be turned off for the sake of clarity).
Nowadays it's a combination of pencil and CAS, but the pencil is used for an intermediate step that has nothing to do with calculation itself. I'll have to read an old academic paper or old corporate literature with a fuck-huge pretty-printed formula not found in "straight-line" form needed to enter into a CAS or Excel, and from a direct no-OCR PDF scan so I can't copy and paste.
So the pencil is used with a blank piece of paper to break the pretty-printed formula into chunks and make it a one-liner that a CAS can parse. The industrial CAS has always been MATLAB, but for quick calculations involving plots or variables, Wolfram Alpha is a pretty convenient crutch for fast answers. Excel is used for reporting but it's extremely useful to have formulas translated to both MATLAB and Excel (Wolfram Alpha recognizes multiple input formats).
One of my favorite brain/pencil and paper calculations(with no electronic calculator handy) is the idiot method to translate dB to mW and vise versa. 0 dBm is 1mW, ±3dBm doubles/halves your power, ±10 dBm multiplies/divides power by 10, ±20 dBm multiplies /divides power by 100, etc. So then you use that discrete math trick to get any value from other different values (in this case 3 and powers of 10). So using those rules and wanting to find the value of -8 dBm for example,
- start at 0dBm (1mW)
- subtract 20 dBm (1mW/100)
- add 12 dBm, which is 3dBm multiplied 4 times, so you double your previous answer 4 times to get the value in mW of 8dBm. -20dBm + 12dBm = -8 dBm.
It's easy to do these kinds of calculations completely in the head without pencil and paper if necessary.
(Score: 2) by barbara hudson on Thursday December 19, @01:45AM
(Score: 2) by Coward, Anonymous on Saturday December 14, @04:40AM
Typing in simple arithmetic is easy-peasy, and Octave is good for heavier lifting, too. I prefer the command-line interface. It's nice to use the same tool for smaller and larger problems. The vector notation (borrowed from MATLAB) is a winner.
(Score: 1) by The Vocal Minority on Saturday December 14, @05:21AM
I use Excel, and sometimes R :P
(Score: 2) by dltaylor on Saturday December 14, @11:20AM
Wrote a Sun boot ROM "back in the day". As a fan of algebraic-style calculators, I was glad to be familiar enough with HPs to use one when needed. Dealing with all of the arithmetic for an SCSI interface in Fcode was an interesting experience.
The driver, itself, wasn't too difficult once I stopped trying to write "C" in Fcode and began to think again in FORTH. Used to be a 6502 with an embedded FORTH interpreter, which is where I learned the language.
Loved the Fcode ideal "write once, run pretty much anywhere". Better than Java, IMO'
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 15, @03:44AM (1 child)
I chose the abacus but it didn't seem to count my vote. Maybe the person using it to tally votes doesn't know how to use it right?
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, @08:55PM
Ahh, now it shows that there are two votes for the abacus. I guess someone else must have chosen it too. Perhaps the issue is that the abacus is such a slow method of adding numbers that it took this long for the votes to tally - especially given the fact that the person using it probably had to spend some extra time learning how to use it properly and isn't very proficient in using it quickly.
A much more experienced abacus user like myself could get those numbers added up and posted much more quickly.
(Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday December 15, @05:08AM
I still have and use a Casio FX4000P. I think it is one of the best calculators ever made and I cannot understand why Casio only made them in 1985. I probably use kcalc more often to be honest, but the Casio is still my favorite.
If the only proposed solution to a problem is a tax, then it is just an excuse to tax, not a solvable problem.
(Score: 3, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday December 15, @07:19PM
It makes base 12 calculations so much easier.
(Score: 2) by KritonK on Monday December 16, @10:56AM
I have a CASIO scientific calculator that can do just about anything in terms of mathematical calculations. Although I bought it to replace a broken scientific calculator that I'd had for decades, I only use it as a four function calculator.
Most of the time I don't even use it at all, preferring use bc instead.
(Score: 2) by Mojibake Tengu on Monday December 16, @05:14PM
I used to have many, but last in a row is HP Prime
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Prime [wikipedia.org]
Yeriḥo. Karthāgō. Sogdiana. Besièrs. 広島市 (Hiroshima-shi). For Love of God, what next?
(Score: 1) by ze on Wednesday December 18, @12:40AM
It's primarily a unit converter, but it does all the math I ever ask it to, and does it while aware of units and their conversions along the way
for example:
whee!
(Score: 1, Troll) by szopin on Thursday December 19, @10:12PM
I wish there was: calculator?? are you 12? Like literally most people after finishing school almost never use any such thing, they might use it behind a tax calculating pdf/xls/program, but who the fuck pulls out a calculator to calculate a tip in a restaurant? Noone
(Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Friday December 20, @06:00PM
There were no calculators when I was in school, so we used slide rules.
Today, I have an over-priced watch with integral slide rule. (Not a "smart watch" - though I am not sure how
something with a battery life of less than a year would qualify as smart).
It is particularly useful for things like comparing value for money in the supermarket by converting to price per kg, etc.
Or GBP to EUR, USD, etc.
Putting your data in the cloud is like sending your teenage daughter backpacking in a 3rd world country with a pimp
(Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday December 25, @04:20PM
(Score: 2) by RedIsNotGreen on Thursday December 26, @08:59AM
Everyone knows that in today's technology trends, the only choice is a quantum calculator. I prefer one with a crowdfunded blockchain, but there are other opinions, I'm sure.