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10.4: Be aware of a Calculator widget bug
Authored by: csherrera on May 24, '05 02:13:22PM

Look, the calculators you own are obviously designed more recently - I suspect they are scientific or student calculators that understand precedence.

I can't believe how young everyone is on this forum. Am I the only one who remembers that the "cheap, $5 calculators" everyone talks about used to be the $100 calculators not 30 years ago?

When I went to school, precedence was taught as something that you - the mathematician used. It was not something that a calculator figured out for you. If you were presented with the statement 1+2*3= it was up to you to type 2*3+1 to get the correct answer on the calculator. When you did the same calculation on a sliderule, again, you had to do it in the right order.

Look, there is a history to this, these simple calculators follow that historical norm. Just because more modern calculators are smarter, shouldn't obviate the need for YOU to be smart about how you use a tool. Jeez.

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10.4: Be aware of a Calculator widget bug
Authored by: Ol' Codger on May 24, '05 05:28:31PM

You're so right old fellow! These young whippersnappers just don't understand that it's up to them to get it right! Actually the rules they cite, taught to them in the third grade, were intended to teach them how to simplify an arithemetic equation in a multi-step fassion and do not apply to a binary operation calculator. Evaluate everything within parentheses first and rewrite the simplified equation, apply exponents and rewrite the equation, etc.

The common binary operation calculator is only intended to return a result of a binary operation. Given a new operator followed by a operand (number) followed by another operator will generate a new result and allow for chaining calculations in the order they are fed to the calculator, but this in not a strict application of PEMDAS. Then there is RPN which is another beast alltogether.

I'm amused at the author's conviction of the rightness of his assertion. I suggest he not be so adamant and learn how to utilize the tool at hand, or ... get a tool of his liking.

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10.4: Be aware of a Calculator widget bug
Authored by: PeteVerdon on May 24, '05 06:08:16PM

That's what it is!

I definitely fall into the "young" camp as per your "$5 calculator" argument, but the standard calculator at school did operations one at a time like the Dashboard widget. I'm well used to this and, as you say, know what order to put things into it to get the right answer.

On coming to University, my department required that everyone use a *different* "standard" calculator in exams. (No hardship; they sell them for £6 or so). This one has what seems to me a very wierd input system, where you enter the expression and it appears on a series of dot-matrix cells above the main number area, until you press equals and get the answer. I find this awkward to use, wondered why on earth it did that, and generally do one operation at a time as before. But having read this thread I now understand why it's like that - it's trying to do precedence for me, just like it seems other people here are used to. Makes sense, but I still don't like it.


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