Who said that graphing calculators were dead in the smartphone era? Certainly not Texas Instruments -- if anything, it's showing that there's still plenty of life left in dedicated math machines. Its new TI-84 Plus CE is 30 percent thinner and 30 percent lighter than the regular Plus, making for a surprisingly sleek-looking way to crunch numbers. It has six times the memory, too, so you can store more color graphs and images (and, let's be honest, a fresh copy of Drugwars for goofing off mid-class). TI hasn't divulged pricing for the Plus CE, although its new design and advanced feature set hint that it'll be relatively costly when it arrives in the spring. Look at it this way, though: you might just be the envy of your fellow students when you take this svelte plotter out of your backpack.
Via: Cemetech
]]>Your graphing calculator may not be getting much use these days now that other mobile devices can do the job, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve if you're willing to do some tinkering. Christopher Mitchell's latest project, ArTICam, lets you turn a TI-83 Plus or TI-84 Plus calculator into a selfie-oriented camera. The mod mostly requires a Game Boy Camera and a programmable Arduino board like the Uno. After a little bit of wiring and some (thankfully ready-made) code, you can snap self-portraits with a calculator command. The 128 x 123 grayscale pictures you take won't win photography awards, but that's not the point -- this is more about having fun with gadgets that might otherwise sit in the closet gathering dust. Hit the source link if you have the gear and want to give ArTICam a whirl.
[Thanks, Christopher]
Source: Cemetech
]]>The geniuses that guided Rosetta's lander onto a freaking comet no doubt put their TI-83 programmable calculators to good use, but you know what the rest of us were doing with them? Yeah, playing Wolfenstein. Now you can misspend physics class with another game: Super Smash Bros. Programmer Hayleia managed to port it over to the TI-83/84, and even left the code open for anyone to modify. It has a great zoom effect to make better use of that low-res screen, though for now you've only got Fox and Falco to play with. Yes, yes, we know that there are brand new versions of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U (soon) with over 40 playable characters each, and you should totally try those. Meanwhile, you've got something to do (while appearing productive) when your trig prof hits a new level of boredom.
Via: Tiny Cartridge
Source: Haylei (Omnimaga)
]]>Source: Discipline calculator (beta)
]]>Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.
The Unstoppable TI-84 Plus: How an Outdated Calculator Still Holds a Monopoly on Classrooms
by Matt McFarland,
The Washington Post
Chances are pretty good that you've come in contact with a TI-84 Plus of some kind during the course of your education -- if you're been schooled in the last 10 years. The calculator debuted back in 2004 and it still has a firm grasp on the education market today. This piece takes a look at what that foothold means when compared to other devices' market share, and how a new Silver Edition looks to keep the advantage with Texas Instruments in the foreseeable future.
]]>We already know HP is working on a (supposedly) handsome smartwatch of its own, but this isn't the first time the company's tried to glam up your wrist. Let's flash back to 1977: Star Wars was lighting up the box office charts, Andy Gibb just wanted to be your everything and HP made the world's first calculator watch. The HP-01 was a particularly garish monstrosity, its golden chassis festooned with teensy number and operator buttons, but it look at it! It's the pinnacle of retro alpha nerd chic. Really, the only way to top one of those is if you owned some super-rare, unreleased version that languished behind closed doors for years. Well, now you can. It's a prototype, it's made of stainless steel, and it'll only set you back $14,500... assuming you take this eBay seller's word for it. Waste of money? A small price to pay for a bit of forgotten tech history? That's up to you, but you've still got time to decide -- the auction's slated to run for another eight days at time of writing.
Via: The Verge
Source: eBay
]]>The Apple calculator in iOS and OS X have remained pretty much unchanged since both were released. They work fine, but the Numerical calculator for iOS (free for a limited time) takes cues from the iOS 7 design language and adds some features that are terrific, but might take some getting used to.
The app bills itself as a "Calculator without Equal' and that is literally true -- there is no equals button. You enter your numbers, like 2+2 and 4 appears.
As you work, Numerical creates a history of your calculations, and there is an undo key that lets you delete your last entries. Many actions are done using swipes, which work for undo, redo and saving an answer. The app also supports the clipboard.
If you do something wrong like divide a number by zero, the app gives you a plain English answer as to what is wrong. That's most welcome.
The app isn't perfect -- there is no percentages button or localized decimals, but both are about to be added. It's not a specialized scientific calculator with dedicated function keys, which Apple's iOS version turns into in landscape mode. The Numerical calculator sounds can be turned off or on, and it only works in portrait orientation.
Numerical is getting good reviews from users, and it really is some fresh thinking for people who use calculators frequently. The app requires iOS 7, and it's optimized for the iPhone 5. When it's not free, it's US$2.99, so if you are interested make a quick trip to the App Store today.
]]>If Bitcoin currency conversion is too trivial a use for you, loyal Bing user, perhaps the addition of a calculator will help solve the equation of your unhappiness. Simply type a math problem into Microsoft's search engine and, as Windows Phone Central has noticed, an interactive scientific calculator will pop up with the answer. From there you can do as much math within a browser tab as your non-Googling heart desires. WPC also notes that while the calculator interface won't be making its way to Windows Phone, entering a math problem into the mobile flavor of Bing will still return the answer to your query. It's no graphing calculator, to be sure, but Mountain View wasn't built in a day, either.
Source: Bing
]]>Cali (US$0.99) is a clever variation on the traditional computer calculator. Rather than aim for buttons for particular functions, the basic ones are gesture-based. Swipe up to add, down to subtract, right to multiply and left to divide. It seems like a trivial feature, but if you have a lot of numbers to enter, I found it much faster than poking around the screen.
In addition to the gesture controls, the app is graphically pleasing, although I'm not thrilled with the loud sounds when you enter numbers. I think the app needs a volume control. Hearing the entries is important; I just think the sounds are too loud. I'd also like to see a gesture for equals -- maybe a diagonal swipe.
The app also has more complex functions, like tangent, sine and cosine. Finally, help is included when you click on the page that has additional mathematical functions.
Cali was written by 15-year-old Austin Valleskey, and I think he's got some promise as a programmer. It's universal, requires iOS 7 or greater and is optimized for the iPhone 5. It's nice to see a worthwhile app come from a young programmer.
]]>Today's date is 11-12-13, so it is only fitting that we spend some time with the iPhone calculator. In an earlier post, we covered some cool calculator tricks. Now, we will take a look at how accurately the iPhone crunches its numbers.
There are a series of simple math tests that can be used to assess the relative accuracy of a calculator. These computations address how many digits a calculator looks at when it does its number crunching and the way it rounds off these numbers. We ran the iPhone 5s with iOS 7, an iPhone 4 with iOS 6 and and iPod Touch with iOS 5 to see how the different iOS versions compare.
Before we dive into the calculations, let's take a quick look at the calculator app itself. The calculator app can be operated in two modes -- portrait as a standard calculator and landscape as a scientific calculator. The portrait mode displays up to 9 digits, while the landscape shows up to 16 digits. The number of displayed digits was identical for iOS 5, 6 and 7.
1. Square of root two.
When you calculate the square root of two and multiply it by the square root of two, you should get back the original number in the equation -- 2. An accurate calculator will show the result as two, while a less accurate calculator will display 1.99999.
Results: All the iOS versions passed with flying colors, producing the correct value of 2 for an answer.
2. Sine of a really small angle
Change the calculator to radians and use it to calculate the sine of a small number like 0.01. THe result should be close to the original number used in the calculation. In this case, the sine of 0.01 is 0.00999. Keep reducing this number until the calculated value equals the original value (when the sine of 0.00001 equals 0.00001 and not 0.00000999). An average calculator will measure 0.00001 before it can't calculate the value anymore.
Results: All the iOS versions were able to calculate to 0.0001, which is slightly below average.
3. One divided by nine test
Basic fractional math tells us that one divided nine and then multiplied by nine (1/9 x 9) should equal one. An accurate calculator will spit out the number 1, while an inaccurate one will report the answer as 0.99999.
Results: All the iOS versions passed with flying colors, producing the correct value of 1 for an answer. Interestingly enough, I tested this on my MacBook Air running OS X Mavericks and it produced an inaccurate answer of 0.99999.
Besides the number of significant figures in a calculation, you should also look at a calculator's ability to handle equations that do not produce a valid number. A good calculator should produce an error with these types of equations. Stay away from those calculators that produce a value no matter what you type into the equation.
1. The square root of a negative number
You can't take the square root of a negative number. If you try this calculation, your calculator should give you a warning.
Results: All the iOS versions passed with flying colors.
2. Dividing by zero
Though you can divide a number by one, dividing a number by zero is not possible. If you try dividing any number by zero, your calculator should throw an error.
Results: All the iOS versions passed with flying colors.
Last, but not least is the order of operations test. This borrows from elementary math, which teaches kids the correct order in which to add, subtract, multiply or divide in a long equation.
The order of operations rule requires you to calculate items in a specific order and can be recalled using the acronym BODMAS. First, calculate items in the Brackets and then calculate the Orders (exponents and square roots) before do anything else. Next, you should Multiply or Divide before you add. Lastly, you should solve the remaining Addition and Subtraction by calculating from left to right.
In this test, you will see how the calculator can handle a mixed operation equation. A good calculator will remember to follow these rules, while a poorly written one will make the classic error of adding before multiplying. Below are some example calculations which I used to test the various iOS device. I included parentheses and exponents to make the test even more challenging.
Results: All the iOS versions passed with flying colors. Order of operations is followed to a T.
]]>The iPhone calculator is great for crunching numbers in a pinch, but you can also use it to have some fun with your friends and family. Here are some cool calculator tricks you can use to find someone's phone number, guess their age and astound them with your math wizardry. If you have any tricks up your own sleeve, please share them in the comments.
This trick works only in the US with 7-digit phone numbers. Make sure you hit enter/equal between each step.
Open your iPhone calculator
Type in the first 3 digits of your phone number (not your area code) (So you would type in 759 if your number was 801-759-1234)
Multiply that number by 80 (759 x 80 = 60,720)
Add 1 (60,720 + 1 = 60,721)
Multiply by 250 (60,721 x 250 = 15,180,250)
Add last four digits of your phone number (15,180,250 + 1234 = 15,181,484)
Add last four digits of your phone number again (15,181,484 + 1234 = 15,182,718)
Subtract 250 (15,182,718 - 250 = 15,182,468)
Divide number by 2. (15,182,468 ÷ 2 = 7,591,234 -- which is your phone number!)
This trick makes it appear that you can predict the future. Give it a whirl and see if it impresses a crowd.
Write the number 73 on a piece of paper, fold it up, and give it to an unsuspecting friend.
Tell your friend select a four-digit number and enter it twice into a calculator.
Inform your friend that the number is divisible by 137 and ask him or her to verify using the calculator.
Tell your friends to divide the result by the original four-digit number.
Astound your friend by asking him or her to unfold the paper. Voila! The answer on the calculator should match the number on the paper -- 73!
This trick will make it appear that you are the world's fastest human calculator. To make it realistic, hand friend the iOS calculator and grab a piece of paper and pencil for yourself.
Then multiply that result by 13 and hit enter/equal (1722 x 13 = 22,386)
Then multiply that result by 37 and hit enter/equal (22386 x 37 = 828,282)
While you friend is typing numbers furiously on your iPhone, you can write down the first number three times and find the answer in a matter of seconds. (82-82-82 = 828282= 828,282)
This trick requires some work on your part. Just do the quick math at the end to baffle your friends with your math prowess.
Ask your friend to select two numbers, each of which is less than 10. (8 and 5, for example)
Tell your friend to choose either of the numbers and to multiply it by 5. (8 x 5 = 40)
Then tell your friend to add 7 to this result. (40 + 7 = 47)
Multiply the resulting sum by 2. (47 x 2 = 94)
Add it to the other number that was first selected. (94 + 5 = 99)
Have your friend tell you the result. (The answer is 99!)
Now it is your turn. Take your friend's answer and subtract 14. You should get a two digit number -- the digit in the ten's place is the number that was multiplied by 5 and the digit in the one's place is the other number chosen at the beginning. (99 - 14 = 85)
Like the "Guess The Numbers" above, this trick requires some quick calculating on your part. Just do the calculation at the end, and you'll have your friends scratching their head wondering how you did that.
Ask your friend to write down any number that is at least four digits long. Ask them to hide it, so you can't see it. (4798, for example)
Tell your friend to add the individual digits (4 + 7 + 9 + 8 = 109)
Then tell them to subtract that answer from the first number (4789 - 109 = 4680)
Tell your friend to cross out one digit from this answer. It can be any digit they want, except zero. (Let's cross out 6, so 4680 becomes 4x80)
Ask your friend to read out the remaining digits (He or she should say 4-8-0)
Now it is your turn to do some math. Add up the digits your friend just read aloud (4 + 8 + 0 = 12). Find the next highest number that is divisible by 9. (18, in this case). Subtract your sum (12) from the number that can be divided by 9, (18 - 12 = 6). The result (6) is the value of the digit that was crossed out.
This is an oldie, but goodie. Its hook is the chocolate theme -- who can resist the allure of this sweet treat, even if it means revealing your age?
Tell your friend to select the number of times a week that they would like to have chocolate. The number has to be more than one, but less than 10. Use some cajoling to get them to pick a number in that range. (Let's say it is 6 times a week, for example)
Multiply this number by 2 (6 x 2 = 12)
Add 5 to the result (12 + 5 = 17)
Break out the chocolate calculator to multiply the result by 50 (17 x 50 = 850)
Ask your friend if they already had their birthday this year. If they did, then tell them to add 1763 to their result. If they haven't, then tell them to add 1762. (850 + 1763 = 2613) Note: These numbers (1763, 1762) make the trick work in the year 2013. Use 1764 and 1763 in 2014.
Now subtract the four digit year of their birthday. (2613 - 1970 = 643)
The resulting value will be a three digit number (643). The hundred's place will be the number of times per week you want chocolate (6!), while the remaining digits will reveal your age (43yo)!
With over 9 million iPhones sold in just three days, and undoubtedly millions more since Apple first announced the impressive sales figure, there are likely many people experiencing iOS for the first time.
That being the case, here's a quick Calculator app tip that maybe even seasoned iOS users will find new and useful.
It's not readily apparent, but the Calculator app in iOS has a hidden gesture that enables you to delete numbers from an entry if you happen to input a number by accident.
As a quick example, let's say I'm trying to input the number 5,964 but accidentally type in 596,487.
Is all hope lost? Do I have to start over from scratch?
Not at all!
To erase a number, digit by digit, simply swipe to the right on the number display and the most recently entered digit will disappear. This handy trick is a lifesaver if you happen to be a few calculations deep and don't want to start over from scratch.
So in the example above, I just need to swipe to the right twice and I'm well on my way toward calculator bliss.
]]>Since Valentine's Day is this week, I thought I would take this opportunity to share an AppleScript I wrote to calculate how long my wife and I have been married. With this baby, I'll never be accused of forgetting how long it's been when our anniversary rolls around. The script determines the elapsed time between now (the current date and time), and a prior date and time (such as our anniversary). It then displays the result in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.
Note: If you're into the whole "traditional anniversary gift" thing (I'm not), you can find a list of gift categories on Wikipedia.
Creating the Script
Note: If you have any trouble following along, you can download the complete script here.
1. Launch AppleScript Editor in /Applications/Utilities and create a new script document.
2. Insert the following code:
Some notes about this script...
* I used some of the number calculation handlers in the Essential Subroutines section of macosxautomation.com, although, I made some slight modifications to them for the script. If you're interested in learning more about AppleScript, there are some other useful handlers there, as well, and I encourage you to check them out.
* The final display dialog sets as its icon the FavoriteItemsIcon icon file, which is embedded in the CoreTypes bundle in /System/Library/CoreServices. It is, coincidentally enough, a heart.
Using the Script
To use, just run the script within AppleScript Editor, or save it as an application to be launched and run whenever you wish. First, the script asks you to enter a date and, optionally, a time.
Next, the script does its calculations and displays the result. Just take a screenshot of the dialog and send it along to your significant other.
Until next time, Happy Scripting and Happy Valentine's Day Week!
]]>With tablets slowly working their way into the classroom, it wasn't a huge stretch to realize that Texas Instruments would bring a graphing calculator app to the table, but would you believe its solution is just hours away? The company has revealed TI-Nspire for the iPad, which is currently available within the App Store for those in Australia. Beyond problem solving, the product is said to provide an interactive experience that should be helpful for reinforcing mathematical concepts. Depending on your needs and curriculum, you'll find numerical and symbolic (CAS) versions of the TI-Nspire app, both of which cost $29.99. Yes, the app's a bit pricey, but it's not surprising given the insane profit margins of TI's graphing calculator biz. Hop the break for a better peek of the app that might just become required within classrooms.
%Gallery-178197%
Via: TI-Planet
]]>People have been using scientific calculators as math class distractions for years, from gunning down Nazis in Wolfenstein to hunting demons in Doom. But our jaws dropped in amazement when we discovered that an enterprising fellow that goes by Builderboy from Omnimaga has ported over Portal to the humble number cruncher. Dubbed Portal Prelude, the monochrome game is built only for the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus series of graphing calculators and was based on the Flash clone of the popular video game due to the two-dimensional nature of the platform. Sure, it's not as engaging as the genuine article, but seeing as it's the only portable version of the game we know of, we'll take it. Indeed, you can go ahead and download it right now if you have a compatible calculator. In the meantime, we're eagerly waiting to see how this could be rejiggered to take advantage of the color display of the TI-84+. You can take a peek at the demo video after the break.
Source: Omnimaga
]]>You've seen the recent rumors of a TI-84 calculator with a color screen, and now Tech Powered Math has gotten the official word from Texas Instruments that such a device is indeed coming, finally bringing the popular line of calculators out of the monochrome age. As those earlier reports have suggested, however, you'll have to wait until sometime in the spring of next year to get you hands on one, and pricing has yet to be confirmed -- the site says the MSRP "could" be in the neighborhood of $150, though. Apparently, one reason for the lack of specificity with a release date is that the apps from the older calculators aren't compatible with the new TI-84+ C, so Texas Instruments has been focusing on rewriting the most popular ones in time for the calculator's release, with an eye towards releasing more over the course of the summer. TI assured the site that the new model is "not replacing anything," though, and adds that it has no plans to discontinue the standard TI-84+ or the TI-84+ Silver Edition. Those interested can find plenty more details on the calculator and TI's plans at the source link below.
Source: Tech Powered Math
]]>Texas Instrument's TI-84 makes quick work of graphs and equations like nobody's business, but it's done so for years while clinging to an outdated black and white screen. Now, however, it looks like that'll change for at least one flavor of the souped-up digital abacus. Cemetech forum user 0rac343 posted a photo of a TI-84+ C Silver Edition, claiming that it was one of 24 provided by TI for in-classroom testing and that it's slated to launch next spring. Tech Powered Math reports that a contact who's worked with Texas Instruments has confirmed that the calculator is the real McCoy. In fact, the firm's website has a page where visitors can sign up for updates about the number cruncher in question. With the help of the refreshed TI-84, we might finally be able to tell if Blinky, Inky, Pinky or Clyde is the ghost chasing us down in the hardware's Pac-Man clone.
Via: Ars Technica, Tech Powered Math
Source: Cemetech, Texas Instruments
]]>
iOS ships with a few core apps such as a calculator and a weather app, which are there for your convenience. Yes, you might have found third-party replacements for them, but they're still nice to have when you are in a pinch. And if you spend some time with these apps like Lex Friedman of Macworld did, you will discover they have a few hidden functions that'll surprise you with their utility.
An excellent example is the Calculator app which is a simple calculator in portrait mode, and a scientific calculator in landscape. Similar features exist in the Clock, Weather, Stocks and Voice Memo apps. You can check out all these lesser-known functions in Friedman's Macworld article.
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Want to get a taste of what the split-screen Microsoft Courier would be like if it was released? No? Me neither, but your disinterest in the Courier shouldn't stop you from checking out Taposé from Zanther, Inc, a unique and exciting split-screen productivity app that just hit the iOS App Store.
Taposé lets you split your iPad screen in half and use each side for different activities. One side can be a journal-style document editor and the other can be a web browser. You can pick any combination of journal, maps, web browser, contacts and calculator.
The two sides of the app are independent, but, here's the interesting part: they can also share information if needed. For example, you can lasso an image on a web page on one side, copy it to the clipboard and then paste it in your journal on the other side. The panes are adjustable so you can tweak the size of the two sides as needed.
It supports AirPrint and has a cloud component that lets you store your journals in the cloud and share them across devices. There's also a variety of smaller features and customizations that let you create eye-pleasing documents with lists, different backgrounds, various pen styles and more.
Taposé debuted after a long approval process which is chronicled in a post by CNET. I've been using it since it became available and can say that it's an excellent first effort. Because it's an early product, the app has its share of flaws.
The app did crash a few times and sometimes the user interface was a bit sluggish. Copying content didn't always work and page turning was a bit glitchy. Despite the bugs, I'm impressed with the concept and believe we will see more apps like this hit the iOS App Store in the future.
If you're interested in checking out something new, then I wouldn't hesitate to purchase Taposé. It's worth the US$2.99 to support the developer. If you want a polished app without any glitches, then you should hold off until version 2. If you do buy it, be prepared to spend some time learning Taposé, as the user interface and feature set is slightly more complex than your average note taking app.
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