Needing a new calculator... any advice?

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Durandal
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Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Durandal » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:05 am UTC

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Ieatsoap6 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:38 am UTC

I have a ti-89 titanium and it suits me quite well. I had it for about a semester before I really had to use it, so I got a good bit of practice. If you go this route, familiarize yourself with it as best you can so you can get maximum use out of it.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby themandotcom » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:18 am UTC

Indeed, the TI-89 Titanium is like liquid sex in math form O_O
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:43 am UTC

I have a TI-84, have for three years, and I love it. My friend has a TI-89 Titanium, and I love it a little more.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Eps » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:02 am UTC

I'm in a physics PhD program, and I still don't need anything more than the TI-89 in terms of an actual calculator (as opposed to things you need a computer for). that should tell you what I think of it. :D

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Yesila » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:09 am UTC

I can't speak for CS classes but I know that in doing my math and physics undergrad classes The HP 48 series worked well. Most of my Physics friends also had HP's and there is really little to no need for a calculator in most math classes.

Really though it doesn't matter. Your 83 would do you fine. HP will still always get my endorsement but from what I understand TI has been doing better and better, so they're probably fine computing power-wise but I still fell like they look and feel a bit floofy.

If you're going to be taking Math and Physics classes you shouldn't have any need for a CAS in your calculator, and at some schools (like the one I teach at) for the few lower level classes that calculators are aloud in they have to be non-CAS types.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Cosmologicon » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:51 am UTC

Yesila wrote:If you're going to be taking Math and Physics classes you shouldn't have any need for a CAS in your calculator, and at some schools (like the one I teach at) for the few lower level classes that calculators are aloud in they have to be non-CAS types.

Huh? Are you talking about university level? That's very surprising if so. In my experience the very low-level classes are the only ones where you might possibly not be allowed a calculator. I've found the CAS in my TI-89 to be immensely useful in calculus and physics courses. For advanced math a calculator doesn't do you that much good, but up through diff-eq and linear algebra it's really handy. Who needs a CAS if not for doing math and physics?

Another feature for physics that I can't over-endorse is the automatic unit conversion. I don't think the 83 does that, but it might these days. Either way, Google Calculator does it just as well as the 89.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby jestingrabbit » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:01 am UTC

All the first year maths courses at UNSW, where I used to tutor a bit, were no calculators in class tests, and a calculator provided by the uni in the exams. I think what was provided was a pretty average type of casio. It wasn't programable but had all the functions you might want.

In Australia, the programable calculator thing has never really taken off, or at least, not that I am aware of.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Clumpy » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:09 am UTC

That Titanium looks neat. I've been going off of my TI-86 for quite some time. In a time when most of our high school graphing calculators had a washed-out faded greenscale screen, my clear black and white screen was a godsend. Eventually I'll look into a newer model, but anything that can run ZTetris is fine with me :)

I learned how to program from writing makeshift programs in the fairly simple TI syntax back in middle school.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Durandal » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:16 am UTC

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby 22/7 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:24 am UTC

I can give my stamp of approval to a TI 89. I don't particularly like the Titanium, if for no other reason than that you have to get out of the menu before you can actually punch anything in. That said, I've not used one much.

My 89 got me through an MSME.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Korandder » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:04 am UTC

At my university only one simple scientific calculator is allowed on tests in Math and in Physics.

My TI 83+ still serves me well, but most of my heavy calculation are done on my laptop. Why use a CAS on a calculator when you can use one with a large colour screen and a mouse.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Ieatsoap6 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:27 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:that you have to get out of the menu before you can actually punch anything in.


You can change that setting to make it go straight to the "put numbers here" screen.

I should probably point out that the 89 was my first graphing calculator and when buying it I figured I should just go for the higher end of the line.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby rrwoods » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:36 pm UTC

+1 vote for "don't bother changing calculators."

I bought a *standard* TI-83 in seventh grade (1997) and used it all the way through college (2006).
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby joeframbach » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

I'm a big fan of kicking calculator dependency.
I'm halfway through my senior year of a CS/Applied Math degree and I just don't like using calculators. If I have an answer on a test that comes out to sin(pi/10) or some crap like that, I'll leave the answer just like that. Some people I know refuse to leave answers unsimplified. I like to leave exact answers.

I tutored Algebra through Calc III for two years and I never let anyone use a calculator. Is this bad?

I have an HP 49g+ which hasn't been extensively used in 3 years, although it is pretty powerful. Anybody want to buy it?

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby miles01110 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:26 pm UTC

Just get Mathematica. Your calculator will be no use in higher level math, physics, or computer science. I haven't actually done a meaningful calculation (meaning a numerical calculation that was the heart and soul of the problem) in years.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby rrwoods » Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

joeframbach wrote:I tutored Algebra through Calc III for two years and I never let anyone use a calculator. Is this bad?
I don't think it's bad, but I don't think it's good either. Calculators will only get you so far; you still have to know what you're doing in order to actually solve problems.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Birdman » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:18 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:All the first year maths courses at UNSW, where I used to tutor a bit, were no calculators in class tests, and a calculator provided by the uni in the exams. I think what was provided was a pretty average type of casio. It wasn't programable but had all the functions you might want.

In Australia, the programable calculator thing has never really taken off, or at least, not that I am aware of.


It was a Casio fx-911. I loved that calculator. Of course I can only actually find my fx-82.

I, too, never came across any programmable (or "graphing" as I usually heard them called) calculators.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Yesila » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:10 pm UTC

Cosmologicon wrote:Huh? Are you talking about university level? That's very surprising if so. In my experience the very low-level classes are the only ones where you might possibly not be allowed a calculator.


At both the school that I did my undergrad at, and at the one I'm currently teaching at classes like basic Calc, Diff eq, Vector Calc (so basic 1st and 2nd year math major classes) don't allow calculators. As you mention after those topics there is even less use for a calculator so there is typically no policy governing their use.

Low level classes seem to vary widely based on school and the typical audience in those classes. For instance my school's pre-calc class allows the use of calculators. On one hand I feel that we're just increasing some students reliance on such devices, but having taught the course a few times I also see just how many students Can't use them correctly!

Durandal wrote:Also... there is such a thing as calculators made by Hewlett-Packard?


Look up hp-35 in google or wikipedia, HP started the whole scientific calculator craze.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby tennis7192 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:07 am UTC

I love my Ti-89, but I have come across some classes that I have not been allowed to use it in because it can solve an equation, take derivatives and also integrals. Also at the school I go to, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, it seems that many stats courses along with other math courses use the 83 to create functions given a set of points. At my school, it is much easier to get help to figure things out with an 83 just because it has been used by pretty much everyone for so long. TI 89 is awesome, but it sucks that I can't use it for some of my classes. So if you go with that, also make sure you have something like a ti 30 or just a basic scientific calculator as well.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby antonfire » Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:21 am UTC

I'm going to throw my vote towards "don't get a new one".

I have a nonprogrammable nongraphing scientific calculator, and it comes out of my drawer about twice a semester. I only use it for tests that are written with the idea that every student has a calculator. Sometimes, I have to do homework that requires calculations that I don't feel like doing in my head, but, honestly, a computer is often a better tool for that anyway. Google even keeps track of units.

I'm studying math, I'm pretty sure that I would find equally little use for it if I were in physics, and even less if I were in CS.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby 22/7 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

rrwoods wrote:
joeframbach wrote:I tutored Algebra through Calc III for two years and I never let anyone use a calculator. Is this bad?
I don't think it's bad, but I don't think it's good either. Calculators will only get you so far; you still have to know what you're doing in order to actually solve problems.
Not with an 89, you don't. Depending on what you're actually doing, I can think of a number of different types of problems that you could simply plug into it and it'll spit out an answer for you. For me it's time saving or a good sanity check, but for someone who knows how to use their calculator but isn't very good with matrices, derivatives or integrals, etc., it could give them correct answers without them really having any idea what they're doing.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby rrwoods » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:17 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
rrwoods wrote:
joeframbach wrote:I tutored Algebra through Calc III for two years and I never let anyone use a calculator. Is this bad?
I don't think it's bad, but I don't think it's good either. Calculators will only get you so far; you still have to know what you're doing in order to actually solve problems.
Not with an 89, you don't. Depending on what you're actually doing, I can think of a number of different types of problems that you could simply plug into it and it'll spit out an answer for you. For me it's time saving or a good sanity check, but for someone who knows how to use their calculator but isn't very good with matrices, derivatives or integrals, etc., it could give them correct answers without them really having any idea what they're doing.

I think we have different definitions of "problem", which I assumed, and tried to hint at with the word "actually". Subtlety doesn't always ever work on the intarwebs though. :-) Sure, if the question is "Integrate [some function of x] with respect to x", then your 89 can do all the work, and typically, calculators that can do symbolic calculus are banned from tests that feature such questions. But in my experience, most of the questions have answers that start with "Integrate [some function of x] with respect to x" (or similar), in which case the meat of the problem is determining what to do -- and more importantly why you do it -- and the actual integration/differentiation/matrix reduction/whatever is regarded as fairly insignificant, precisely BECAUSE you have a tool that can do it for you.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby tanneridae » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

I won an HP48G in highschool and loved it- RPN worked for me, and the fact that I could play minesweeper during Algebra class saved me from boredom!!! After teaching calculus at the college level for several years now, I recommend the TI-83 or 84, as they are easy to use and make pretty graphs and easy programs. TI's are way faster than my old HP, but that may have changed. We do not allow students to us TI-89's in the calculus classes I teach. However, I have an 89 and it is very fun to play with. FYI teachers are getting good at recognizing answers that the TI89 provides even if that calculator is "banned." If you get the 89(or another symbolic-manipulation capable calculator) be sure to keep your 83.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby 22/7 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:44 pm UTC

rrwoods wrote:I think we have different definitions of "problem", which I assumed, and tried to hint at with the word "actually". Subtlety doesn't always ever work on the intarwebs though. :-) Sure, if the question is "Integrate [some function of x] with respect to x", then your 89 can do all the work, and typically, calculators that can do symbolic calculus are banned from tests that feature such questions. But in my experience, most of the questions have answers that start with "Integrate [some function of x] with respect to x" (or similar), in which case the meat of the problem is determining what to do -- and more importantly why you do it -- and the actual integration/differentiation/matrix reduction/whatever is regarded as fairly insignificant, precisely BECAUSE you have a tool that can do it for you.

Ahh, my apologies, I totally skimmed over the last half a sentence or so. My bad.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby TemperedMartensite » Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:44 pm UTC

In all university tests that I have taken, programmable calculators are banned from use and only an approved (ie: given a sticker by the faculty) non programmable calculators are allowed. You should check on your universities calculator policy before rushing out and buying some sweet TI-89

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

Yes, check your university policy. In pretty much all university math tests I ever took, programmable calculators were fine. Of course, in none of those classes would the programmable features of the calculator have been any use, either, so your mileage may vary depending also on which courses you're taking.

Also, the 89 would still probably be useful for homework, and if programmable ones aren't allowed on tests, you could drop another $30 or something on a nice regular scientific calculator for that purpose.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Durandal » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:28 pm UTC

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby the tree » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

Taking straight maths, I have no need for anything above my Casio FX-83, which is the same as I'd recommend to an 11 year old. What on earth would I need a more advanced calculator before? If I have a desperate need for doing integrals notbymyself then I have Maple on hand provided by the University.
I really can't see the benefit in having a blingin' calculator.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby 22/7 » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:41 pm UTC

So that I can do it without using a computer? And without using a computer with Maple on it? And for all of the other functions it contains?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Brad » Tue Feb 05, 2008 4:11 am UTC

I majored in math at a quality state university, and I only used my calc for one class... Linear Algebra. Back then, it was only to check any homework problems involving matrices--I certainly couldn't use a calc on the tests.

Besides, once you get past Calculus, DiffEq, and Linear Algebra, numbers just kinda disappear from the math courses.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby the tree » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:57 am UTC

22/7 wrote:So that I can do it without using a computer? And without using a computer with Maple on it? And for all of the other functions it contains?
I guess it comes down to how often you desperately need to solve something not by hand, my experience is hardly ever. From my experience, calculators are for adding up big numbers and computers are for checking homework.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Nimz » Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:17 am UTC

I'm almost done with my Master's degree in mathematics, and I have not needed anything more than my trusty old TI-85 for anything leading up to this point. Most of the stuff after calculus doesn't even need that much power - the TI-30X I had before my 85 would work just as well in most cases. Finding the determinant of a knot with 7 crossings is one of the rare cases where the TI-30X wouldn't be very good. TI-85 handles that beautifully, though.

I had a TI-92 and a TI-89, but about the only thing "useful" I ever got out of them was being able to play a 3-level mario game. There was also the time I used the 3D graphing as a loophole so I could graph a 2D function that was not explicitly y=f(x). I can write programs in my TI-85, but could never write programs that worked on the 92 or 89. I'm a lot more attached to writing custom programs for my calculator than I am attached to the fancy bells and whistles.

These threads might be of interest, too. My advice would be to get a slide rule. Or that Curta thing on the 2nd page of that first thread. Those are freaking awesome. They might not have all the fancy bells and whistles of a TI-89, but they just might learn you something if you use them properly. :)

For the physics side of my B.S., I occasionally used Maple, e.g. in GR when I had to print a graph - drawn by hand would not be accepted. Other than that, I haven't had much use for CAS's in University.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby 22/7 » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:25 pm UTC

the tree wrote:
22/7 wrote:So that I can do it without using a computer? And without using a computer with Maple on it? And for all of the other functions it contains?
I guess it comes down to how often you desperately need to solve something not by hand, my experience is hardly ever. From my experience, calculators are for adding up big numbers and computers are for checking homework.

It's really more of a matter of convenience. I doubled in ME and Math, and am finishing my MSME, so I use the pretty print function constantly. I also like having as many as 90 (120?) memory slots right there in front of you, and the ability to quickly plug in limits, derivatives, integrals, etc., but that's more because I tutor and I don't always want/have time to sit down and figure the entire thing out, or I may think I've got the right answer and want to do a quick check before I spend 15-20 minutes explaining how to do a certain kind of problem incorrectly to a student who's struggling as it is.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby evilbeanfiend » Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:48 pm UTC

miles01110 wrote:Just get Mathematica. Your calculator will be no use in higher level math, physics, or computer science. I haven't actually done a meaningful calculation (meaning a numerical calculation that was the heart and soul of the problem) in years.


agree, although mathematica can be replace with other things tbh for most things i ever need/needed to do gnuplot is fine
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Yesila » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:30 am UTC

In regards to using a computer...

If you don't want to shell out the cash (and/or have qualms about using a pirated version of mathmatica/maple etc.) There's a free mostly equivilent GNU program called Maxima http://maxima.sourceforge.net/. Besides being a free download on any platform there are also some websites that have java versions so you can easily use the program from any internet connected computer.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby qbg » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:35 am UTC

I love my TI-89 Titanium, and its worn keys show it.

As for the remark about getting a slide rule, they are very interesting devices. I'm not sure how helping having a real life one would be rather than a web based simulation of one, other than being able to reflect on the genius that went into them, how nice a electronic calculator is, and the ability to be a wise guy by pulling it out before a no calculators test :p

As for computers, I like Maxima; Mathematica just annoys me. Maxima also has the cool to_lisp(); function.

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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Nimz » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:59 am UTC

qbg wrote:As for the remark about getting a slide rule, they are very interesting devices. I'm not sure how helping having a real life one would be rather than a web based simulation of one, other than being able to reflect on the genius that went into them, how nice a electronic calculator is, and the ability to be a wise guy by pulling it out before a no calculators test :p

I actually wanted to use my slide rule on a test that required a calculator. I hate being told in maths that there is only one way to do something when there are other valid ways if one is only creative enough to find them. I ended up using a calculator only because the answers needed to have one more sig fig than I could muster on slide rule, and I wasn't prepared to do the mental math to get sin x to that precision in those time constraints. It was very sad.
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby Owehn » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:58 pm UTC

Once in one of my physics classes, we each had to calculate some quantity for extra credit. As everyone else pulled out a calculator, I realized that I had forgotten mine...but I had my dad's old circular slide rule. I got the answer right, and surprisingly, over half of the class was off by a factor of 10. Slides rule!
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Re: Needing a new calculator... any advice?

Postby LSK » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:07 pm UTC

Three words:

Voyage.

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