10-09-2009, 11:20 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- (in the Palm of God's Hand *Detroit)....... Device: iPhone 4
I'm taking a class where we are allowed to bring calculators. So I had to ask myself if I was gonna lug along my HP48SX or simply load a calculator program on my iPod Touch.
First, I downloaded several free ones. The one that comes with the 'touch isn't all that bad, but you gotta tip it to landscape to get trig. Then I tried several others: touchcalc, i41, scicalite and m48. They are all good but most would not remember things between sessions. I'm sure you are painfully aware of the multitasking ban on iPhone OS so exiting a calculator to do something else can result in coming back to a completely reset calculator. Not good. Not good at all.
Of the free ones 3 stood out.
m48 is very nice. It's basically power48 we all know and love from PalmOS days. It is somewhat clunky but at least it remembers the state of the calculator from one session to the next.
i41 is the nicest looking one that most closely resembles an hp calculator but is still free. Sadly, i41 loses its mind between sessions. Therefore useless. If I'm seven levels deep into a calculation and somebody walks up and asks me for a piece of data from another screen I would be soooo pissed to come back and find out I have to start from scratch.
All I can say is wow. But I really need to come back to this one. First I need to talk a bit about the paid apps and why I didn't choose them.
HP offers a 15c emulator for iPhone that costs a whopping $29. I remember seeing an HP calculator in a department store for over $900. It had a card reader and you could program it. I thought wow. If only I could afford one of these. Now I can get something a lot better for $15 at Target. Sadly, HP is stuck in the 1970's and thinks we are willing to pay 10 times what something is worth to get their name on it. I don't think so. For one thing, the only screen shot they provide is a photograph of the calculator they are emulating. Does the 15c emulator remember values from one session to the next? I don't have 29 bucks lying around to go and find out. Flush this one!
back to PCALC
There are several others, ranging from $.99 to $9.99. The one I bought was a ten dollar one. I bought it because I absolutely fell in love with its simplicity, power, flexibility and design. Not since I spotted that HP when I was a kid have I felt this much admiration for a calculator. First of all, PCALC offers a free version. It rocks. It supports rpn. Ok. RPN in and of itself is no great shakes. There are several, and possibly as many as a dozen rpn free or low cost calculators for ipod touch. But do they offer a setting to remember or clear memory between sessions? No. Do they offer engineering, financial and programming modes all in one app? Most do not and those that do are clunky as heck. So I decided to cough up 10 bucks in the app store. I got a very pleasant surprise. Instead of merely getting a "registered" version of the free app I was already so impressed with, I got an entirely new and upgraded app that offered at least 20-fold more capability than the freeware did. I was sold on the freeware so getting such a nice paid app rocked my world. Then I saw a popup that I could get a discount on a version for my Macbook. Done. I jumped on the deal and picked up a desktop version as well.
More on the app. Want to scroll through your registers? Swipe. Yep. Simply grab the number in the display and swipe right to get y or left to get whatever is sitting in register 4. The thing that drives me crazy during exams is trying to confirm if I fatfingered anything. This calculator has a "tape" button that presents a history "cash register tape" I can audit my calculations by swiping up and down. Want more registers on the screen at one time? swipe up or down in the display and more registers show up. Somebody had their thinking cap on when they wrote this software. Maybe that's why Apple bundled this thing with Macs a few years back. Then there are the unit conversions. Not just currency weight volume and distance. No. I get energy, power and many others as well.
I'm really glad I stumbled across PCALC. I'm glad I didn't lay my money down for one of those hp-alike things and stuck with my search until I found this program. PCALC has earned a permanent place on my iPod Touch and on my Macbook. And I got both for less than what HP was trying to charge me for their 15C emulator sight unseen. Besides, that HP 48 collecting dust in my desk drawer should grant me rights to HP emulators in perpetuity.
Other calculators I saw were HP 12C emulators ranging in price from $7 to $10. I'm sure they would have been nice but I think I made the right choice.
Get PCALC here for your Mac or in the app store for your iPhone/iTouch. Search for scientific calculator. It's near the top. Be sure to try the free one first. The free one comes with 2 "skins" but the pay one comes with 8.
10-09-2009, 11:34 PM #2
Be advised, I have known proctors to disallow any device that isn't a calculator.
If this test really is important, I wouldn't take anything but what you know you can get in with.Current Device: Samsung Galaxy Note II - Rooted Stock ROM
Retired Device: HTC EVO Shift 4G - (Rooted) JellyBelly ROM 4.1.2
Tablet: Kindle Fire
The school year is back in session - I'm likely to be absent from here quite a bit...
10-10-2009, 08:04 AM #3
10-10-2009, 09:49 AM #4
And then, of course, these idiots have no rule for handling "frack" which BSG tok so much pleasure in flaunting.
10-10-2009, 03:19 PM #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- (in the Palm of God's Hand *Detroit)....... Device: iPhone 4
Well that's IT! Pcalc is deleted. And so is every other calculator on my iPod. But I didn't stop there. I also shredded every calculator I could find lying about the house, (think "Does it Blend?").
8008135 was bad enough, but when I found out what 7734 spells, let's just say it scared the he77 out of me. But I wasn't ready to take action until I found out that the Military-Industrial-Oilopoly had infected the number system with 71077345! That's what did it for me. This will be my last post as I have to shred this Macbook next because it too comes with a calculator program capable of displaying 71077345 (shelloil upside down).
@HC, I'm not worried. I remember having to take state license exams and having them go over calculators with a fine tooth comb to make sure they weren't "cheater" devices. "Spongebob to Patrick, do I FLOOR IT yet?"
But things are a little different in my course. A few decades ago, when I was in undergrad, I saw the dean walk in and grab two people out of an exam one time. I never saw them again. I assume they were cheating and he saw them through the glass doors in the exam room.
In grad school, nobody bothers to even register unless they can do the work. There are no prizes to be won. No raises to be had, at least not in my industry. In Detroit, not getting laid off, forcibly retired or fired is kind of like getting a raise. In short, nobody would even be in the room except to learn something. Here's the best part.
Who needs cheatware on their itouch when we are allowed to bring 2 pages of 2-sided notes? And the prof promised to include conversions from pound feet per second to btus to ergs to joules to newton meters to moles per millileter per second or whatever on a handout for the exam. You could boil down almost every equation I learned in all of undergrad onto that much paper if you really tried. Yes, there's a unit conversion feature on my itouch but it's not cheating to pull that up and use it. Taking the PE exam was much the same. You could bring all the books and notes you wanted. I saw some guys with shopping carts with all the books they hadn't sold back in undergrad. Geez. They gave so many problems that if you didn't know your engineering you might as well not show up. I had about a half dozen books with me and cracked two of 'em. The best one to have around is called "Numerical Methods for Engineers." The rest are only taking up space.
This is kind of a wierd class. This is the second time the course has been offered so it's relatively new. It is team taught by faculty from several departments. And they can't even agree on the first law of Thermodynamics... The Chem E faculty are all giving the first law as Q=E+W while ME faculty are lecturing that Q=E-W. The EE faculty are on the sidelines giggling. One night we sat through two hours of lecture where the first hour Q=E+W was on the board in various forms and the second hour Q=E-W was on the board. Later the two guys found out and released an addendum to the lecture that both still mean the same thing. I hope that's true on the exam...
On the exam, you gotta decide based on the nature of the question, which format will be judged "correct". Our mid term comes up in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to see how they grade the thing. I'm a little worried that if the chemical reaction equations get merged with the mechanics equations or energy equations on one of the problems then nobody will be able to decide how to grade the thing.
Judging by the unit conversions that ship with PCALC, the guy who wrote it was an engineer or he was hoping to sell to engineers. So many unit converters are out there that do liters to gallons and pounds to kilograms but who uses stuff like joules to btu's to calories to kilowatt-hours but engineers?