## Passionate about a calculator?

**Moderators:** gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I pulled out my old TI-83+ from high school when I was moving out of my house. I haven't used it in about two years. I put in a new pair of batteries, and it turns out the darned thing no longer works!

But that hardly bothers me. I don't use the thing any more. Whenever I need to do number crunching, I just write a program (usually in Python or Haskell, depending on the problem and my mood). No, there's no built in matrix mode or graphing displays or any of that nonsense, but I do know that whenever I have a problem, I actually understand how to calculate it, and I have a much better idea of when the result is just an approximation.

Those TI-89's always made me nervous, because they *look* like they can calculate just about anything. You put d/dx(e^x) and hit enter, and you get e^x back. Having studied computer science, I know that those kinds of calculations are just hacks to make life easier for calculus students.... Computers can't give you exact results in every case. But math students who just want to get their homework done don't ever hit those corner cases and end up thinking computers are the greatest thing ever. Computers *are* the greatest thing ever, but for different reasons!

But that hardly bothers me. I don't use the thing any more. Whenever I need to do number crunching, I just write a program (usually in Python or Haskell, depending on the problem and my mood). No, there's no built in matrix mode or graphing displays or any of that nonsense, but I do know that whenever I have a problem, I actually understand how to calculate it, and I have a much better idea of when the result is just an approximation.

Those TI-89's always made me nervous, because they *look* like they can calculate just about anything. You put d/dx(e^x) and hit enter, and you get e^x back. Having studied computer science, I know that those kinds of calculations are just hacks to make life easier for calculus students.... Computers can't give you exact results in every case. But math students who just want to get their homework done don't ever hit those corner cases and end up thinking computers are the greatest thing ever. Computers *are* the greatest thing ever, but for different reasons!

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

It took a mighty quelling of my righteous indignation for me to buy a graphing calculator because it is required for a class on a subject that has existed long before calculators, let alone graphing calculators. And while calculators are marvelous tools, I don't think they promote understanding as much as they promote Getting The Homework Done.

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

Hm, yeah the 89 has been the best thing for me. All my friends may make fun of me for it, but there's nowhere I'd go without it.

I remember in Calc BC once when there was some basic command-line program for doing a trapezoidal approximation, but it was written for the 83+.

So, he asked the class if anyone knew how to make it work for the 89 and i tried and finally got it to work (never before that had I even seen the BASIC language that it was written in).

Of course, then I had to make a GUI for it... and add more functionality... eventually it became over a 100 lines of code and displayed error bounds and left, middle, right Riemann sums and did a bunch of stuff like that. (Even somewhat handled rational functions that would have otherwise made the program go beserk).

Good stuff. I use that calculator for just about everything. At one point even had all my phone number contacts in there. Oh yeah, and using some built-in functions, I also use it as a timer

I remember in Calc BC once when there was some basic command-line program for doing a trapezoidal approximation, but it was written for the 83+.

So, he asked the class if anyone knew how to make it work for the 89 and i tried and finally got it to work (never before that had I even seen the BASIC language that it was written in).

Of course, then I had to make a GUI for it... and add more functionality... eventually it became over a 100 lines of code and displayed error bounds and left, middle, right Riemann sums and did a bunch of stuff like that. (Even somewhat handled rational functions that would have otherwise made the program go beserk).

Good stuff. I use that calculator for just about everything. At one point even had all my phone number contacts in there. Oh yeah, and using some built-in functions, I also use it as a timer

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### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

My current calculator is my TI-89 Titanium, which I have had since 10th grade. My pants have an extended pocket to hold it so it is always near by. Many of the keys are worn to the point were it is hard to tell what they say (if they say anything at all). It serves me quite well...

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

Aviatrix wrote:My elder brother, who was an engineer, told me a story about an HP salesman who called on him at work. The guy sat down with a cup of coffee and began to demonstrate his calculators. Halfway through the demo, he stood up to make a point and clumsily spilled his coffee (with sugar and cream) all over the calculators. "Damn, I must do that three or four times a day," he said. "Do you guys have a sink where I could rinse these off?" He sold a lot of calculators that way.

I love that story. Reminds me of Penthouse forum story I once read.

I was recently looking at the wikipedia entry for the TI-89 and saw the “Hardware versions” section of

TI-89 which in turn got me thinking if there are such things as “software versions” of our favorite calculators out there. Let’s say you want to save on those precious battery powers and you’re in front of a PC already. Don’t you sometimes wish there’s a virtual software edition of the calculator (say TI-89) you’ve come to be passionate about whose icon is just a click away instead of those built in calculators of your PC’s OS or those online CAS whose operations you have to familiarized yourself with first in order to use it? Silly question/idea perhaps?

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

hanoj wrote:I was recently looking at the wikipedia entry for the TI-89 and saw the “Hardware versions” section of

TI-89 which in turn got me thinking if there are such things as “software versions” of our favorite calculators out there. Let’s say you want to save on those precious battery powers and you’re in front of a PC already. Don’t you sometimes wish there’s a virtual software edition of the calculator (say TI-89) you’ve come to be passionate about whose icon is just a click away instead of those built in calculators of your PC’s OS or those online CAS whose operations you have to familiarized yourself with first in order to use it? Silly question/idea perhaps?

Emulators?

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I can has TiEmu?

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### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

qbg wrote:Emulators?

Rupac wrote:I can has TiEmu?

Thanks guys! I owe you one.

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

Alpha Omicron wrote:I'll note that I have a soroban, which is a (brand of?) Japanese abacus. I am ashamed to admit I can only add and subtract on it though, as the broken English in the manual does not explain multiplication or division very coherently.

I'm actually taking soroban lessons, the amazing thing is not that you can do multiplication/div/add/subtract on it, it's that if you do it enough you can actually do it in your head! Kinda you can visualize an abacus (soroban) and move the beads in your head. I'm not great at it though it does amaze people when I add a few 3 digit numbers in my head.

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I'm passionate about a calculator I never had: the Sharp PC-1211.

- Roseate Spoonbill
**Posts:**6**Joined:**Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:30 pm UTC

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

The TI-89 Titanium. It solves equations, gives you exact answers, it gives you derivatives...

I love that thing, I just bought one for my almost-girlfriend.

I love that thing, I just bought one for my almost-girlfriend.

- chickendude
**Posts:**33**Joined:**Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:48 am UTC**Location:**Massachusetts-
**Contact:**

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I have 3 graphing calculators

I have a TI-86 (from a few years ago)

I have a TI-89 Titanium, which I bought when I lost my TI-86 (in school). A teacher happened to find my TI-86 about 6 months later, so now I Have them both.

I have a TI-Nspire (the new one) which I was awarded for being part of the Eastern Mass ARML team which got 6th place.

I haven't actually opened the last one, but from what I hear it is like a super-hyped up TI-83. The 89 is better for me now that I'm heading off to college.

I'll probably sell it on E-Bay (the reason I haven't opened it yet).

I have a TI-86 (from a few years ago)

I have a TI-89 Titanium, which I bought when I lost my TI-86 (in school). A teacher happened to find my TI-86 about 6 months later, so now I Have them both.

I have a TI-Nspire (the new one) which I was awarded for being part of the Eastern Mass ARML team which got 6th place.

I haven't actually opened the last one, but from what I hear it is like a super-hyped up TI-83. The 89 is better for me now that I'm heading off to college.

I'll probably sell it on E-Bay (the reason I haven't opened it yet).

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

The 89t is great, but stops solving your homework for you after Calculus I. I am pretty much against required homework, so it turned out well that my Calculus II teacher didn't require me to turn in any. I find the 89t is most useful for algebra. The integrals it gives are often quite clunky and many other computer algebra systems give better solutions. It seems to be lacking some of the integration tables the other CAS's use. It may simply be because the newest software version for the 89t is pretty old. I wish they'd update it.

- meat.paste
**Posts:**404**Joined:**Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:08 pm UTC

### Re:

Thankyewverymuch, I use a HP 41CX I bought in the early 80's. I even have the magnetic strip read/writer for it.

I grew up on RPN. I will invariably screw up a calculation on some monstrosity with an '=' key because of my intuitive use of RPN.

You young whippersnappers don't know how good you've got it with your fancy graphing caclulators. Back in my day our caclutaors had to be carried to school in 100 F heat through snowbanks uphill (both ways!)

I grew up on RPN. I will invariably screw up a calculation on some monstrosity with an '=' key because of my intuitive use of RPN.

You young whippersnappers don't know how good you've got it with your fancy graphing caclulators. Back in my day our caclutaors had to be carried to school in 100 F heat through snowbanks uphill (both ways!)

vetteboy wrote:All you geeks on here, and only one person mentions a HP calc?

Not to mention the uber-efficiency of Reverse Polish Notation and the stack arrangement. I hate using normal calculators these days and often have to think for a while before being able to make a calculation on one. Plus I very rarely have to loan it to anyone. [/b]

Huh? What?

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

sl.124 wrote:Alpha Omicron wrote:I'll note that I have a soroban, which is a (brand of?) Japanese abacus. I am ashamed to admit I can only add and subtract on it though, as the broken English in the manual does not explain multiplication or division very coherently.

I'm actually taking soroban lessons, the amazing thing is not that you can do multiplication/div/add/subtract on it, it's that if you do it enough you can actually do it in your head! Kinda you can visualize an abacus (soroban) and move the beads in your head. I'm not great at it though it does amaze people when I add a few 3 digit numbers in my head.

Yeah, well I can visualize a calculator and press the buttons in my head. (It doesn't really help much, though )

But I do visualize pen/paper addition/subtraction/multiplication/division when I need to.

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

Of course I'm passionate about my TI-89. Goodness, yes!

- xixheartxyoux
**Posts:**31**Joined:**Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:58 pm UTC**Location:**Michigan-
**Contact:**

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I'm in love with my TI84 Plus. I bought it my senior year in high school. Its been there for me through it all. I don't find much use for it anymore. Higher level math classes aren't about numbers as much as theory. I always have it in my backpack in the case of a math emergency though. Its name is Otis Milton.

This kid who had a big-time crush on me in high school put a program in for me that generated profanity...but sadly I've deleted it since then.

This kid who had a big-time crush on me in high school put a program in for me that generated profanity...but sadly I've deleted it since then.

“The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics”--Plato

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

I love my TI-89. I haven't named it, but it's still a trusty friend.

### Re: Passionate about a calculator?

In high school, I had a TI-86 and basically fell in love with it. Most of my friends had 86's so we could trade programs and play games with the connector cables that they came with. I had tonnes of games that make me really nostalgic to just think about: tetris, sub-hunt, drug wars, and all sorts of other time waters. None of teachers at our high school knew how they worked, so we took a little bit of pride in teaching ourselves everything we needed to know on them. That calculator got me three 5's on AP tests, Calc AB, Calc BC and Statistics. For the Statistics AP test, the class ended a full semester before we test test took place so we remembered almost nothing. We had one review session that consisted of writing notes on our calculators.

Senior year of high school, I traded the cover with a girl in the class that I was always flirting with. She had one of those blue TI-83's so the cover fit on mine, but it was a different color. I would talk with it and move the calculator and case so that it looked like an alligator talking. Thus my friend Alculator (mix of alligator and calculator) was born. I kept Alculator's blue case when I went to college, and it continued to be a good friend.

Sometime in college, I think it was either sophomore or junior year, It got 3 rows of dead pixels, two of which were on the bottom where the menus were. Without those menus, the Alculator was basically brain-dead. I was heartbroken. I posted "I'm sad that my calculator is broken," on my facebook status. The girl who gave me the blue case for it wrote, " don't you mean that your sad your Alculator is broken?" which only made me more depressed about it. I went to the university book store to get a new calculator; they didn't have any 86's, so I decided to upgrade to the 89 titanium. Soon after I got the 89, my 86 died completely.

About that time, I was getting into math where calculators aren't particularly useful, so I still have trouble finding my way around the 89. In high school, I would have a ridiculous amount of time sitting in class and dicking around on my 86 to learn it backward and forward, now I'm in class 3 hours per course instead of 7 and I have better things to do then play tetris on a calculator. Still, I miss that darn Alculator.

Senior year of high school, I traded the cover with a girl in the class that I was always flirting with. She had one of those blue TI-83's so the cover fit on mine, but it was a different color. I would talk with it and move the calculator and case so that it looked like an alligator talking. Thus my friend Alculator (mix of alligator and calculator) was born. I kept Alculator's blue case when I went to college, and it continued to be a good friend.

Sometime in college, I think it was either sophomore or junior year, It got 3 rows of dead pixels, two of which were on the bottom where the menus were. Without those menus, the Alculator was basically brain-dead. I was heartbroken. I posted "I'm sad that my calculator is broken," on my facebook status. The girl who gave me the blue case for it wrote, " don't you mean that your sad your Alculator is broken?" which only made me more depressed about it. I went to the university book store to get a new calculator; they didn't have any 86's, so I decided to upgrade to the 89 titanium. Soon after I got the 89, my 86 died completely.

About that time, I was getting into math where calculators aren't particularly useful, so I still have trouble finding my way around the 89. In high school, I would have a ridiculous amount of time sitting in class and dicking around on my 86 to learn it backward and forward, now I'm in class 3 hours per course instead of 7 and I have better things to do then play tetris on a calculator. Still, I miss that darn Alculator.

### Re: Re:

My summer classes are done, and thanks to the way they are structured, I couldn't have made it through without a TI-83 or -84. When some of the questions start, "On your TI-83..." it is difficult to answer them just using, oh, let's see... math. Still, one professor allowed the graphing calculator on some tests and forbid it on others. In particular, he allowed in on the test covering conics because, and I quote, "a calculator won't help you there." At that point I realized he didn't know what the TI-83/84 does, straight out of the box.meat.paste wrote:Thankyewverymuch, I use a HP 41CX I bought in the early 80's. I even have the magnetic strip read/writer for it.

I grew up on RPN. I will invariably screw up a calculation on some monstrosity with an '=' key because of my intuitive use of RPN.vetteboy wrote:All you geeks on here, and only one person mentions a HP calc?

Not to mention the uber-efficiency of Reverse Polish Notation and the stack arrangement. I hate using normal calculators these days and often have to think for a while before being able to make a calculation on one. Plus I very rarely have to loan it to anyone. [/b]

Both professors were surprised that I "put up with" the HP. Apparently the common knowledge at this college is that RPN is silly, difficult and "a mistake". I'm on the short bus with vetteboy and meat.paste. If I have to use a calculator, I'm happier when it's got RPN.

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