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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Calculators and Palms
delirium happy
My much beloved TI-83 calculator appears to be showing the first signs of giving up the ghost. I've owned this calculator for over 6 years, and it has served me fantastically throughout this time, from keeping me occupied through dull A-level maths classes playing the light cycles game that slovakia programmed on it, right up to double checking which way that wave was moving in the work I was doing the other day.

A single row of its pixels has kicked the bucket, and is unresponsive to percussive maintenance. Fortunately, it's one of the rows near the top of the display, so the calculator is still very usable. However, it's distracting and annoying, and it makes me fear for future lifespan; I certainly wouldn't trust it in an exam any more. I believe it's time to retire it, and buy myself a new calculator.

After a bit of searching, it seems that if I want a TI or HP calculator comparable or better than my TI-83, the cheapest I'll find would be the TI-83 plus for around about £80. Knowing me though, I wouldn't buy that one though, but would get technolust and end up buying a dearer model. Up to around about £140 for an HP49G+ or a TI89 is certainly quite possible.

But then I realised that for that sort of price, I could buy a low to mid range Palm, and I started wondering what calculator software for Palm is like. I'm sure that they must have both the screensize and the processing power to make rather nice calculators, but that would depend on there being decent software written. I'm sure there must be no end of palm-using geeks reading this, so hopefully at least one of you will know how they fair as calculators? Are they any good? What can they do? Is getting a Palm instead of a calcluator (or probably as well as a lower end one) a good idea, or should I just stick to TI or HP?

Additional: Yes, I know I wouldn't be allowed to take a Palm into an exam. But on the other hand, I almost certainly wouldn't be able to take a TI-92 into an exam either, and would have my doubts about a TI-89. But I'd still want one, because at least 95% of my calculator usage takes place outside of exams, and in a few years time it will be even higher than that. I've looked at university exam regulations, and they say that which calculators are allowed is a matter of departmental policy, so I looked on the departmental website and there's nothing there. I've emailed the departmental teaching secretary asking if there is a list of allowable calculators, but I haven't got a reply yet. When I do, I'll base my decission on what to buy based on that and on anything that people recommend here.

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I'd say check the exam regs first - I'm pretty certain you won't be allowed to take in a Palm.

Then work out what you need to have in an exam calculator and see if you can afford a Palm as well.

I'm fairly sure I wouldn't be allowed any of the nice graphing calculators that I've been drooling over either. Most higher end calculators these days tend to have some form of equation solvers or symbolic integrators or similar on them, which aren't exam-friendly, but they also have a whole lot of features to them which are very useful for general, non-exam use, which I'd not want to be without. That was why I was thinking possibly something high range for general use and a lower end calculator that I can use for exams. I'm planning on checking exam regulations and getting a list of allowed calculators before I make any definite decission.

Ahhh - makes sense. I never really got to grips with graphical calculators - I love my scientific Casio - though I've not used many of the more complicated functions for a while, I like it because all the keys are where I expect them to be (I hate trying to use my sister's calculator - she has an 'answer' button where I expect the equals key to be and I've still yet to work out what this answer button does.

Normally, it lets you put the answer of the last thing back into the next calculation.

I would most likely go for the ti89. It does pretty much everything the ti92+ does (lovely machine, I'd never part with mine) but doesn't have the alphanumeric keyboard that the '92 does, so it'd automatically disqualified from exams.

I know the University of London is pretty strict on calculators in exams, so I'd make sure you check your university's exams regs before you spend out on something you can't actually use.

I'm trying to remember what calculator we were allowed at Durham - it certainly wasn't a graphing one. Casio fx81 or something - just a generic scientific calculator. For some exams we weren't allowed calculators at all.

As to what to get, I'd suggest not the HP one because HP are evil and nasty, and because I have a TI85 and think it's utterly wonderful.

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