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Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
12-02-2017, 03:45 PM
Post: #61
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-08-2017 11:41 PM)pier4r Wrote:  - I used a calculator to simulate a dice for board games, ....

Same here. I particularly often used HP calculators back in high school when playing Rolemaster (sort of a more fancy D&D, with a bit more math). I would program the dice, and quickly calculate the outcome.
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03-01-2019, 01:31 PM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2019 01:39 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #62
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Another not math related task for a calculator is to collect time and weight it. Pretty useful to see how one spends one's time according to his perception, since time is one of the most ubiquitous quantity to indirectly measure other things.

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-11363.html

About the flashcards idea (if I remember correctly that was Joe H. sharing it), it can be done too. Although I found it easier (less maintenance) to do the following:

- write on paper what you want to remember, with numbers as index.
Example for German:
I have one set of pages with only the German keyword (or concepts), without article, declination, etc.. Each word has a number.
Another set of pages with English equivalents of the German words, having the same number of the German word they refer to.
Another set of pages with additional info (declination, conjugation, superlative form, annotations and what not). The info are numbered as well with the same number to the German keyword they refer to.

- The on the calculator I have the algorithm that pick a number randomly (and also tells me if I have to look at the German entry or the English one) and asks me how difficult was to remember correctly the info or to satisfy the annotations (for example: write 2 sentences with this concept). If it was easy, then it goes lowering the weight for the repetition, otherwise it raises it.

Many flashcards programs do like this, like Anki, but I never liked how their algorithm works to weight the repetition. In most cases either one has to repeat things often, or once one select "it was easy" one will never see that concept again.

Wikis are great, Contribute :)
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03-01-2019, 03:30 PM
Post: #63
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
I often use a DM41 in the kitchen as a timer:

http://techy.horwits.com/2018/12/egg-timer-in-41cx.html
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03-01-2019, 05:16 PM
Post: #64
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Hello!

(03-01-2019 01:31 PM)pier4r Wrote:  About the flashcards idea ...

If you use a (non alphanumeric!) calculator for that purpose you can use it as well as a screwdriver for very large screws or as a coaster for your pint of beer. With that kind of application it will make you waste time instead of saving it.
I still have some flashcards on paper, but the ones I really need are on my tablet. This is the right tool for the job.

Regards
Max
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03-01-2019, 06:16 PM (This post was last modified: 03-01-2019 06:21 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #65
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
@Maximilian: poor examples in my view.

I found the tools already made not fitting my needs. Therefore the idea of a personalized solution.

Not always "industrialized" solutions fit all the needs. Surely anki, tinycards, memrise and co are much better than nothing, but if I end up not using them because they don't fit, then a solution that I use is better. If I use A over B, whatever is the reason, A is more valuable for me than B.

And believe me in the case of flashcards I tried many apps, some for long time (streaks of 100+ days), but they were always barely sufficient.

Instead: good vocabulary + good grammar sources + paper + pen + personalized procedure (that is made with a calculator but can even be manual) in my case help to steadily do exercises.


Also Maximilian a remark. More often than not, although you have hundreds of calculators, your comments feels like "whoever use a calculator is using the wrong tool for the job". Tip: in the metric you use to compute the value of something, you need to consider many factors, not just one or two. Normally when one uses one or two factors things are either trivial or poorly quantified. One factor is the joy to do something, that seems never included in your judgment.

Wikis are great, Contribute :)
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03-01-2019, 06:43 PM
Post: #66
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-01-2019 06:16 PM)pier4r Wrote:  One factor is the joy to do something, that seems never included in your judgment.

If that is the impression you get I must in the future change my wording :-) If I would get no joy from my calculators then I would hardly bother to search for ever new ones. Recently I was able to buy an HP-29C. The last LED calculator from HP which I was missing. What a joy when I opened the package and saw it's excellent (external) condition. Right now, it is not working. But I am confident that it's LEDs will come back to life some day. Maybe with the help of another one of Panamatik's magic little boards. That will be double joy then.
But organising my flashcards using that calculator would give me no joy at all because it would feel wrong. It was not designed for that purpose.

And yes, my examples were a bit off. I should have written something like: Solve the navigation equations associated with satellite navigation using a pocket calculator. It can be done with patience and will (maybe) improve ones understanding of geometry but by the time I have a solution my plane will be out of fuel somewhere over the Indian ocean. If you see what I mean...

Regards
Max
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03-01-2019, 09:18 PM
Post: #67
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Actually, I usually use my calculators for things that are not math related at all. That would require programming, of course. See the pix below.

The four colored cubes must be arranged so that each of the four colors appears on each of the four sides when the cubes are placed side by side. I got that puzzle probably 30 or 40 years ago and played with it awhile and never could get the solution, so I sat down one day and wrote a BASIC program to brute force rotate (electronically) each cube until a solution was found. I was quite proud of that and, reasoning that if I couldn't solve it using my head then neither could my Sunday School students, I offered $10 to any of them who could solve it, knowing that they wouldn't be able to. Of course, one of them did and I had to explain to her parents why I gave her $10.

The TI-84 plus CE calculator screen below is from my program "find the hidden path" (I also implemented that program on the 17bii solver, but without the graphic screen of course). Sort of like Battleship, the goal is to guess the cells (in as few guesses as possible) that comprise the randomly-generated path, left to right, in an 8x8 grid. The program uses colors as feedback: black means your guess is on the path, green means 3 adjacent cells are on the path, yellow means 2 adjacent cells are on the path, and so on. So you use the color feedback to refine your guesses. I had written many small programs for the TI-83/84 series of calculators prior to the TI-84 plus CE, and it was a very satisfying challenge to program with colors for the first time.



   
   
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03-02-2019, 03:51 AM
Post: #68
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?

Yes. A TI 89 Titaneum for a door stop and a TI Nspire CX as a paper weight.

Cheers

JL
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03-02-2019, 07:31 AM
Post: #69
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
I wrote a Hamurabi / King type game for the Casio FX-502P during my sixth form (senior) years at high school, making use of some exploitable display hacks of that particular calculator. I even submitted it to a UK magazine (possibly Computing Today) but it never got published. It's now lost in the mists of time as I no longer have a copy. It was probably buried amongst some of my notes that got destroyed in a recent clearance of my parents' house.

— Ian Abbott
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03-02-2019, 10:49 AM
Post: #70
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
I created a text file with the list of my cassettes and CDs on a casio fx-8000 that then stole me. Later I replicated it on a hap48s but it took up too much memory and I switched to a more comfortable xls file.

Hardware: Hp48S - Hp50g
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03-02-2019, 01:15 PM
Post: #71
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Hello!

(03-02-2019 10:49 AM)franz.b Wrote:  ... cassettes and CDs ...

That reminds me of an actual non-math related application I had for my Ti-59 around the year 1980. I used to borrow records (the vinyl type) from a "discoteca", that was in Italy and didn't refer to a dance hall but the equivalent of a "biblioteca" but for records instead of books. I recorded the bits I liked on cassettes. Now the cassette players of the time had non-linear tape counters. There was no 1:1 relation between the playing time of the music and the counter. In order to quicklly find the pieces of music on different tape drives and on different cassettes (C30, C60, C90... they all would lead to different counter values) I had a program for my Ti. Used that quite a lot and I guess I still have the magnetic card somewhere. And even the cassettes (I used a typewriter to neatly write their contents on the sleeves - incredibly "nerdy" ...) are still somewhere. But no working tape drive to play them on.

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Max
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03-02-2019, 02:28 PM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2019 04:32 AM by DaveBr.)
Post: #72
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Recently, I wrote a 41CX program that I use to track my automatic watch accuracy/drift.
Dave

RPN rules!
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03-02-2019, 04:25 PM
Post: #73
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
I've written several games for the calculator. Lately I wrote a Sudoku solver but quit after showing that it works. I did run into a few problems: binary integers cannot be used in matrices, the REPL function will not work if the replacee is a real matrix (one can only put integers into matrices even though the matrices are real), this wasn't the case in earlier versions of the HP50g. Still by using integer matrices to represent the puzzle and the auxiliary information, things were easy. I put in a few strategies and a back tracker. The only thing I found was that what's easy by hand is harder by computer.

The game I'm currently testing is similar to The General and other such dice games. Mine uses three throws of six 6-sided dice. The mechanics are simple (like Yahtzee) but the scoring is quite complicated; it does allow for duplicate competition though. Right now, I'm looking at an extension that allows one to score bonus dies and bonus throws (like in pinball) but I haven't got it balanced.

I wrote a funny variant that used Bose-Einstein statistics rather than the usual Maxwell-Boltzmann. It was easy to get 4 of a kind or better, but straights were tough. I've also been experimenting with ghost dice that (with known probabilities) mess up the hands.
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03-02-2019, 05:31 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2019 05:38 PM by ijabbott.)
Post: #74
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-02-2019 01:15 PM)Maximilian Hohmann Wrote:  Now the cassette players of the time had non-linear tape counters. There was no 1:1 relation between the playing time of the music and the counter.

AFAIK, the compact cassette has a constant tape speed of 1+7/8 in/s (4.7625 cm/s) so the tape counter ought to be geared from that. But the linear relationship between time and change in counter value would reasonably vary between models.

— Ian Abbott
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03-02-2019, 05:40 PM
Post: #75
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Hello!

(03-02-2019 05:31 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  AFAIK, the compact cassette has a constant tape speed of 1+7/8 in/s (4.7625 cm/s) so the tape counter ought to be geared from that.

That would be true if the counter were driven off the capstan (the little rotating shaft that pulls the tape past the recording head). But then it would continue to count when one presses "Pause". So the counter was usually be driven by one of the tape reels. And as the tape unwinds from the reel, the radius the reel changes and the number of revolutions of the reel per minute of music varies. There may have been some sophisticated tape recorders with electronic counters that took care of that, but mine were simple mechanical ones.

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Max
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03-02-2019, 05:50 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2019 05:53 PM by Dieter.)
Post: #76
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-02-2019 05:31 PM)ijabbott Wrote:  AFAIK, the compact cassette has a constant tape speed of 1+7/8 in/s (4.7625 cm/s) so the tape counter ought to be geared from that. But the linear relationship time as be change in counter value would like reasonably vary between models.

The point here is that the value of the tape counter is proportional to the number of revolutions of of the reel, i.e. it first counts faster and continuosly slows down. This is because there is less and less tape on that reel while the speed has to be kept constant. The reel diameter decreases while the circumference per second must always be the same: 1 7/8 in/s. That's why the mathematical relation for a counter => time program has to consider the tape thickness, which in turn means that C60, C90 and C120 cassettes require different parameters.

Finally the 1980s brought tape decks with real time counters, which (mostly) not only worked in playback mode but also during fast forward and rewind. A friend of mine owned an Onkyo TA-2055 (a 1982 model) where I always admired the real time counter.

BTW, I also wrote such a program for my 41C. Instead of investigating the mathematical relations I did a simple nonlinear regression. ;-)

Dieter
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03-02-2019, 07:19 PM
Post: #77
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
Hello!

(03-02-2019 05:50 PM)Dieter Wrote:  BTW, I also wrote such a program for my 41C. Instead of investigating the mathematical relations I did a simple nonlinear regression. ;-)

If I remember correctly this is what my program also did. One would listen to a certain type of tape on a certain cassette recorder and note the counter every five minutes. Under label "E" (I even remember that) one could then enter these counter values and the program would then compute the coefficients for the polynome that described the time<>counter relation. We have come quite a long way since then, but the music hasn't gotten any better... apart from a few exceptions.

Regards
Max
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03-02-2019, 09:19 PM
Post: #78
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-02-2019 05:50 PM)Dieter Wrote:  A friend of mine owned an Onkyo TA-2055 (a 1982 model) where I always admired the real time counter.

Astounding! I had (actually still have) this exact tape drive, which I was never able to find another owner at the time, though of course very pre-internet, so finding another owner would have been a happy coincidence as I did not belong to any audio clubs, etc.

It was a great deck for many years, but when I upgraded to a Nakamichi BX300, there was no looking back, and then acquired another BX300 for duping, etc. These were used mostly for duping and swapping live Grateful Dead concert tapes. Wish I had thought of a calculator program at the time for making the set list notes, song times, etc.

Thanks Dieter, a nice memory... Big Grin

--Bob Prosperi
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03-03-2019, 01:57 AM
Post: #79
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
(03-08-2017 11:41 PM)pier4r Wrote:  Some examples to clarify the title.

If I use my calculator to compute solutions while I study engineering, the usage is pretty math related, because mathematics is one core knowledge of engineering.

The same is valid if I study, well, mathematics, computer science, economics, physics, a bit less biology but still the observation is valid, and in short all the STEM fields.

The same applies if I use the calculator at work in a STEM related field.

What I mean for "not really math related" is some application where normally a computing machine is not used.

For example since I love to use my calculators (primarly the sharp el 506w and the hp50g) but I do not really engage in activities suitable for them, I realized that I could use them in other activities.

- I used a calculator to simulate a dice for board games, especially when the table was small and I could not throw 2 or more dices without messing up the board. (using a computer would not be feasible too clumsy, while existing applications for smartphones are not as flexible as an homemade program)
- In developing a board wargame, with hex and counters, I employed formulas to assess unit damage that were pretty long (using up to 14 digits for intermediate results), and I automated the results through a calculator. Again, a calculator was pretty neat to use due to its physical format and effectiveness.
- In existing boardgames like fortress america, axis and allies, Risk, battles with napoleon forces, etc. ; I automated the computation dice and casualties, that otherwise may be tedious with large clashes.
- I used it for gamifying activities, counting scores according to time spent in them, in real time (In this case using the busy wait on the hp 50g was not so neat for the battery life).

What are your "uncommon" usages for a calculator instead?

Sometimes for gaming, sometimes for mathematical art.
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03-03-2019, 08:10 AM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2019 04:18 AM by JSS.)
Post: #80
RE: Have you used your calculator for something that was not really math related?
I used calculator for statistics and probability analysis, including my private life (which I consider is not math related, even if I used to be very number-oriented.) I had a lot of fun on about 80's when I got the TI-59 and realized that it was possible to solve numbers reasonable fast without mainframe computers. TI-59 was a very nice calculator with magnetic cards and I had it with a printer and statistics/math/utilities ROM modules. Happy memories.


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