Author Topic: What calculator do you use ?  (Read 114480 times)

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Offline jerry507

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #125 on: April 27, 2012, 01:48:21 AM »
I love this thread. Like many of you I have a deep (strange) love for calculators. I read Zads blog post and it resonated with me quite a bit, so while I was doing other things last night I thought about my own calculator experience. I had a TI-89 for most of college and loved it. I also used Matlab a lot, like many of you. I realized that I used my TI-89 entirely for hand calculations, but never used it's programability. I rarely used Matlab for those sort of hand calculations, and when I did 90% of the time they ended up morphing into a program. I largely credit this to the power of Matlab, the ease of entering data, and also the ease of graphing the results. I'd often end up with a dozen graphs.

However I hate the time investment in starting it up, and a laptop burns a lot of power doing things that aren't making my computations. Generally this isn't an issue for the desk which is why I think the calculator market is in trouble.

What I really wanted to know, and I think will give us more insight into what calculator we use and why we hate newer ones, is what we actually use calculators (of all forms including Matlab) for these days. I work in embedded design and software, and I rarely use a calculator these days. My main applications are simple math for footprint dimensions and converting numbers between variable bases. What about everyone else?
 

Offline pullin-gs

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #126 on: April 27, 2012, 02:56:30 AM »
Mine makes a great shop space-heater also.

 

HLA-27b

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #127 on: April 27, 2012, 06:35:13 AM »
What I really wanted to know, and I think will give us more insight into what calculator we use and why we hate newer ones, is what we actually use calculators (of all forms including Matlab) for these days. I work in embedded design and software, and I rarely use a calculator these days. My main applications are simple math for footprint dimensions and converting numbers between variable bases. What about everyone else?

What I do most these days is playing with graphs. Below for example is a constant power source giving 10W (red trace) and a Thevenin source of 2V in series with 10 Ohm resistor (green). By playing with sliders I can see how they behave. In this instance there is 4.14 Volts between nodes  and 2.41 A flowing trough the circuit.




Hard to do this with hardware calculators so I've been going through many pieces of software lately. So far the big CAS packages that I tried needed scripting to do this - they are powerful but scripting is not my thing really. Small programs seem more practical and this is one of the better ones so far. It comes with the much despised (and probably rightly so) TI-nspire. Unfortunately it is not good enough to be worth the quarter of the price they ask for it, so after the trial period is over back to open source CAS packages it is. Now, if some brilliant chap decides to write a good practical GUI for Maxima that would be super super awesome, just sayin'.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 07:23:25 AM by HAL-42b »
 

alm

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #128 on: April 27, 2012, 07:28:03 AM »
Not sure if a CAS is really what you need. Later versions of Maple offer a GUI for example, but clicking on a function and selecting 'solve for x' only takes you so far. You will need to type commands for the advanced functions that make people spend serious money for these packages. Plotting simple functions is not exactly their target market. It's not going to be any cheaper than the TI software either. Sounds like you rather need a good interactive plotting application. Not sure what to recommend, since I tend to focus on the CAS side.

MathStudio might do what you want, it makes it relatively easy to add scroll bars to graphs (Scroll(variable,start,end,step)), and is much cheaper than many of the other commercial packages. Of the open-source packages, Sage can do interactive graphs, but this involves some scripting.
 

HLA-27b

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #129 on: April 27, 2012, 08:31:46 AM »
Not sure if a CAS is really what you need. Later versions of Maple offer a GUI for example, but clicking on a function and selecting 'solve for x' only takes you so far. You will need to type commands for the advanced functions that make people spend serious money for these packages. Plotting simple functions is not exactly their target market. It's not going to be any cheaper than the TI software either. Sounds like you rather need a good interactive plotting application. Not sure what to recommend, since I tend to focus on the CAS side.

MathStudio might do what you want, it makes it relatively easy to add scroll bars to graphs (Scroll(variable,start,end,step)), and is much cheaper than many of the other commercial packages. Of the open-source packages, Sage can do interactive graphs, but this involves some scripting.

Thank you alm, as helpful as always. I have tried Mathematica as well as most open source software except Sage which I can not run because I am tied to a win machine due to solidworks, the single piece of code that ties me to windows. Sage can be run with an emulator of course but it is just too clumsy that way, not really worth it for me, might be better for somebody who actually knows what he is doing.

Math studio seems nice and is remarkably similar to what the creators of SpeedCrunch anounced they want to achieve, and honestly if I am paying money I much rather donate it to open source people.

One software that is open source and has a nice user interface is GeoGebra which makes use of Maxima code. Currenly geared mostly towards school geometry and some graphing. Perhaps they are the closest team to achieve a well rounded business like graphical interface.

Mathemathica and the TI program above share one good feature - the ability to create documents with in-line interactive math and graphing. A most useful feature if you wanted to create a math heavy document describing, say, propagation delay in PCB traces. TI's program shoots itself in the foot by not being open source, Mathematica less so because they provide a free player at least.

With the advent of the MathMl and free CAS programs the open source community is uniquely situated to make such a document format and spread it widely. I can think of at least 50 such documents for everyday electronics work alone.

 

alm

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #130 on: April 27, 2012, 09:11:36 AM »
Sage can mix HTML (and Latex) with math and graphing, although I'm not sure if I would use it for long/complex documents. One issue is publishing: since the Sage engine is not exactly lightweight, you can't access some features (like interactive graphs) when serving the documents to the public. You can only access these features if you're logged in, and I would be surprised if there weren't any security issues with providing random strangers with a login since you essentially have access to a full Python interpreter. There may be a PDF/HTML export option for static documents, I've never looked for it. It does have its own 'publish' feature, but that requires running Sage on a server accessible to the recipients.

There is also sagetex, which makes it possible to call Sage and include the results within a Latex document. This would probably be the closest to what you want, and much better for complex documents than the toy word processor that Mathematica and Maple provide.

I believe Sage is by far the closest thing to an OSS Mathematica/Maple clone. Too bad Windows support is limited to non-existent.
 

HLA-27b

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #131 on: April 27, 2012, 10:02:44 AM »
Local solver is a must of course. Even if security is disregarded we can not always depend on availability of a  server and 99% of the work is trivial anyway.

On a side note, I wonder what can be done using an analog computer linked to a CAS.
Recently red this presentation about analog computers solving protein folding problems. Apparently there is still some research on the topic. The interesting bit is that it uses three dimensional bulk resistor networks consisting of conductive fluid. It also works realtime (as do all analog computers I believe).
 

HLA-27b

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #132 on: April 27, 2012, 10:33:10 AM »
Now here is exactly what I want my calculator to do (just arrived in YT)



I want to be able to create this kind of documents using a GUI without having to write code. I also want to be able to use/modify documents created by other people and perhaps have a library covering all the topics I am interested in.
 

Offline Mark

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #133 on: April 27, 2012, 09:37:33 PM »
I have a couple of Sharp EL9300 graphics, but I mainly use an old Casio fx-5500L "Scientific Library" for the base-n features. 
It does 32 bit binary, and it's really fast to use for conversions between dec, hex and bin. 

Are there any more modern scientific calcs with 32bit binary? 
 

Offline saturation

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #134 on: April 28, 2012, 02:34:58 AM »
Calculators are helpful to me because it works faster than on a PC, or my Android phone. Ergonomics play a large factor.  However, once the data set I'm using goes over 10+, or I'm using paper to track portions of calculations, it time to move to a PC, it also justifies the setup time.

I get to use most of the functions on my FX260, as I've had with all its ancestors.  Some more than others. 

There are USB calculators than allow you to pass the data sets to PCs.   But they charge far more than an FX260,tend to be large, you'd have to justify its cost on the frequency of use.  Basic USB calculator keypads alone cost more than many scientific calculators.

Smartphone, iPad or equivalent could be the final death knell for professional use of calculators.  A suitably well written app would then have the same form as a calculator but far larger, with beeps and vibrations compensating for the lack of physical switches.  I find the iPad form suitable to replace my FX260, but the true size of the FX260, weight, cost, portability and robustness still wins out, so my FX260 is alive and well.  But, when I'm on the road and KISS is important, I use my RealCalc Android calculator instead of lugging yet another item.


 
I had a TI-89 for most of college and loved it. I also used Matlab a lot, like many of you. I realized that I used my TI-89 entirely for hand calculations, but never used it's programability.

Generally this isn't an issue for the desk which is why I think the calculator market is in trouble.

What I really wanted to know, and I think will give us more insight into what calculator we use and why we hate newer ones, is what we actually use calculators (of all forms including Matlab) for these days. I work in embedded design and software, and I rarely use a calculator these days. My main applications are simple math for footprint dimensions and converting numbers between variable bases. What about everyone else?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 02:37:27 AM by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Online IanB

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #135 on: April 28, 2012, 04:06:54 AM »
Here is the calculator I use.

Reasons I like it:

1. Full size keyboard for fast entry
2. Can copy and paste values to/from other applications
3. Rapid recall and editing of previous expressions with up arrow key
4. Convenient use of named variables


I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline slateraptor

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #136 on: April 28, 2012, 04:36:58 AM »
Here is the calculator I use.

What is that? Looks very Matlab-like without all the bloat.
 

Online IanB

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #137 on: April 28, 2012, 04:40:30 AM »
What is that? Looks very Matlab-like without all the bloat.

I wrote it for my own use. It has just enough features to meet my needs with, as you say, no bloat. I strongly dislike bloatware.
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Offline slateraptor

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #138 on: April 28, 2012, 05:15:50 AM »
I wrote it for my own use. It has just enough features to meet my needs with, as you say, no bloat. I strongly dislike bloatware.

Haha you would. ;D I need to stop thinking like a consumer and start thinking like a proper engineer.
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #139 on: April 28, 2012, 08:51:21 AM »
I have two TI-36X.  One at my computer and one at my metal lathe and milling machine.  Does the job.  But I'm considering getting one of the new HP-15C to try out RPN.
 

Online IanB

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #140 on: April 28, 2012, 09:08:18 AM »
I have two TI-36X.

Ooh. I like the look of that calculator. Simple, functional, solar powered, no algebraic logic crap. I'm gonna get one. I don't need one, but what the heck...

I have one of the new HP-15c calculators. It is nice, and enormously powerful. It can do linear algebra, and complex arithmetic, and linear algebra with complex numbers (!), and it is programmable. Unfortunately there seems to be a bit of a keypad lottery. Many people find a defective key or two that doesn't quite work right. On mine it is the sin key. Do you really want the hassle of returning it for a replacement that might, or might not, be an improvement? Apart from that it is a nice calculator.
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Offline MikeK

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #141 on: April 28, 2012, 10:36:49 AM »
The new TI-36X is different.  You can probably check it out at Target and such.  The ones I have are the old version.  Black...The color calculators should be. :)

You can get the old ones on eBay for under $10.  It only does 8-bit binary, just so you know.
 

Offline Kilroy

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #142 on: April 28, 2012, 12:23:18 PM »
I have the new TI-36x...the so called "Pro" version. Why on earth do manufacturers tack "Pro" on the product name...it seems precisely like the sort of silly thing one would resort to if you intended to sell rubbish to naive consumers.

Anyway, it is a pretty fair calculator for those times you need something with more moxy than your average calculator but not necessarily the raw processing power, and subsequently more complex interface, of the top flight HP or TI graphing machines.

I'd say it probably does what you most often need a scientific calculator to do and manages to keep the interface fairly fast and accessible.


And, it's black. So you just know it's for "serious users". :)
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Offline Robreeves

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #143 on: April 29, 2012, 12:15:18 AM »
Abybody use one of these?

I admit I blew my annual toy budget on this, but it is a magnificent mechanism
 

Online IanB

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #144 on: April 29, 2012, 03:08:57 AM »
The new TI-36X is different.  You can probably check it out at Target and such.  The ones I have are the old version.  Black...The color calculators should be. :)

You can get the old ones on eBay for under $10.  It only does 8-bit binary, just so you know.

Turns out I already have a TI-30XA. I thought it looked familiar. No need to buy another I suppose.
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Offline bingo600

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #145 on: April 29, 2012, 05:15:56 AM »
I still have my TI Programmer II , and still use it


Else i use this HP 50G  (that also have AOS (TI), i dont like RPN)


But now i also use the "Standard" Ubuntu calculator in Programming mode


/Bingo
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 05:20:53 AM by bingo600 »
 

Offline Strada916

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #146 on: July 02, 2012, 12:46:39 AM »
Although the picture is not my exact calculator, this is my calculator none the less. Notice the electronic specific keys for resistors in parallel "//" impedance "z" capacitor and inductor keys. it even has 27 specific electronic formulae. As I am at work I do not have the manual with me and it was and still is a great calculator.
The Bone, the Off-White, the Ivory or the Beige?
 

Offline shebu18

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #147 on: July 02, 2012, 01:02:36 AM »
I use the Casio fx-82MS for a long time.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #148 on: July 02, 2012, 01:14:48 AM »
Although the picture is not my exact calculator, this is my calculator none the less. Notice the electronic specific keys for resistors in parallel "//" impedance "z" capacitor and inductor keys. it even has 27 specific electronic formulae. As I am at work I do not have the manual with me and it was and still is a great calculator.

Really wish casio made such a calculator again
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Offline 8086

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Re: What calculator do you use ?
« Reply #149 on: July 02, 2012, 01:31:03 AM »
 


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