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Calculator Gadget January 14, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
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image Ok — I don’t usually do something like recommend software… but this was too good to pass up. For doing quick calculations on my computer I use Excel or some simple form of a calculator. While Excel is great – it is too heavy weight most of the time. And calculator apps – especially if I have to push buttons with the mouse – are slow and only good if I’m in Tablet mode.

I just discovered Calculatorium. It was first imagined as a side-bar gadget, something that will only run on Windows Vista. But you can download a stand-alone version as well now (they didn’t mention exactly where you can find that version to download ,however). But lets you define variables – “sz = 30*1024” and then “sz/30”. Knows trig too. And a hole lot of other operations as described in the documentation – unfortunately, it looks like you have to download and install to see the documentation.

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1. Matt - January 14, 2008

I like using python interactively as a calculator. From a terminal window in Linux or MacOS (not sure about windows) type “python” and you’re ready to go. Type “from math import *” to enable trig functions, etc. Exponentiation is done fortran-style: “5**2” = 25, but “5^2” returns 7 (bitwise XOR). Use Ctrl-D (i.e. EOF) to exit. You can also define variables and do anything allowable in a python script.

2. gordonwatts - January 14, 2008

That is a great idea, Matt. One of the reasons I liked this so much was that it was a floating window, always ready, and didn’t take up much in the way of system resources when you weren’t using it.

But I guess you could make anything work that way, like python. A friend wrote me and said he liked using ROOT for this sort of thing…😉

BTW, on windows the same technique will work if you’ve already installed python. But python isn’t installed by default.

3. carlbrannen - January 15, 2008

I ended up making a series of calcuators for various things I wanted to do using java. For example, a scientific RPN calculator in other than base-10. It puts the results to a “textfield” that you can copy and paste to so that you can save the results conveniently. And you can see the stack in both base 10 and base N. And of course when I need it to do something else, or when I complain about what it does when you take the arc sine of a negative number, I get to change it.

4. Dave Bacon - January 15, 2008

When helping students this term in discrete math, I discovered that using Google was the quickest way to do some small calculations. I was shocked that the google search bar knew how to calculate things like 4/(52 choose 5).

5. gordonwatts - January 15, 2008

52 choose 5??? WOW!! Complete instructions can be found here: http://www.google.com/help/calculator.html. Given it had choose, I guess I was expecting a much longer list of functions, etc., that it knew about.🙂


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