The shoutbox is currently out of service. Join us on Discord instead.
You can help CodeWalrus stay online by donating here.

The calculator of your dreams (or your fears)

Started by DJ Omnimaga, October 30, 2015, 02:57:49 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

alexgt

I would want a quantum computer in the size of a Prime :trollface:

ben_g

Quote from: alexgt on January 19, 2016, 02:05:05 pm
I would want a quantum computer in the size of a Prime :trollface:

Well, then I wish you good luck in understanding the complex quantum mechanics you need to know to be able to program it efficiently :trollface:

alexgt

Meh, I would learn :P

* alexgt googles it, nothing shows up, chucks computer at wall

DJ Omnimaga

I wonder if quantum computers have been successfully made so far...

alexgt

Yeah, quantum computers actually have been made, some people used it to break sudo-primes (A number that equals two primes times by each other).

profrd

My Sincere and Great Thanks for All and in special to DJ Omnimaga for providing [ codewalr.us ] open to such quite almost unnoticed or barely seeked topic like this very interesting ( and controversial ) one, since it seems that ( portable ) Calculator "evolution" has shifted its pace during its four decades of history ( with this trend "shift" not being properly recognized nor documented in the fine and ample details it truly deserves ).

What initially started at the early 70's as a "de facto" more than effective [ Tool ] for Math concerned areas like Engineering, has near two decades ago shifted towards a Student centered product, since the vast array of Computational Portable devices offering much more powerful features than stand alone portable Calculators, has lead most of the Technical careers to shift toward Notebooks (aka Laptops), then Netbooks and now ( Conversible ) Tablets and Smartphones, leaving the Calculator Market centered mostly on Educational environments.

The rare exceptions of professionals now at their 40's or 50's ( or a bit more ) still "Wandering" about every new Calculator model release, are the Heavy Users from the 70's & 80's "Golden Age" era, when HP or TI Calculators were indeed the very essential Portable "Computers" of their time ...

Its needless to say that in my case, the HP-25 & Sinclair Cambridge Programmable calculators, and briefely afterwards the HP-67 & TI-59, were not only the very first "Computers" from which I not only developed my [ Math ] skills, but also specially side by side and at the [ Same ] time lead me towards my very first "steps" into [ Programming ] in their "Assembly" like environment ( permeated not only with logical and branching commands but mostly with high level transcendental math functions, available only on languages like Fortran, which demanded a near one room computer to run on a freezing like environment, if one were not lucky enough to have access to a remote time sharing terminal, and had to struggle with decks of perforated cards typed on such prehistorical keypunchers ... ).

Its interesting to note that almost seldom, portable Calculators were truly explored at classrooms as very effective means of [ Teaching ] not only Mathematics, but specially Computational [ Programming ] indeed.

The long term Heavy Users from past know exactly what I am talking about, since the Memory space limitations of the Legendary models of the 70's and 80's, imposed not only a high dose of discipline but most of all improvisation and imagination ( if not "Pure Art" at all ) so as to efectively meet such ( by nowadays standards ) absurdely "unimaginable" restraints like a few hundred ( or fewer ) "steps"

The same kind of Physical/Memory space limitations were severely faced by the very Pionners & Heroic Programmers of the Apollo Guidance Computer ... ( when they had to "invent" the concept of task time sharing, so as to lead the Computer to effectively "compute" without being indefinitely "disturbed" by other routine tasks also controlled by such precious bunch of circuits ).

For those interested in the Computational History of the Apollo Program there are valuable books ( just seek for "Apollo Guidance Computer" ) and also the Discovery documentary "Moon Machines" ( also available on DVD ) and the Wikipedia page on the theme at [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_Guidance_Computer ].

One fact not noticed by all Moon Landing documentaries, is that if it were not due to Armstrong exceptional talent ( very early acquired, during his brilliant career as X-15 test pilot and Gemini astronaut ), the very first "moonlanding" would have ended up in fact as the very first Computer controlled "mooncrash", since following routines documented on the instruction manual, near the landing Aldrin issued a comannd for the computer to perform a distance calculation, which cumulated with other tasks already on course, leading to a executive overflow and repeated "1202 alarms", which culminated to Armstrong effectively Assuming his main role as the "Real" Pilot, and override Computer distressing signals, since it was visually clear to the crew if they were "conducted" by the Computer route, they would surely colide to an unexpected rocky terrain, since the Computer "calculations" had just missed the target landing zone by a few miles, which eventually could lead the ship without enough fuel for landing ... It was one very interesting crucial  "battle" were human superates machines due to their talent and improvisation habilities, and one of the very first ones in the space and computer era ... ( I beg the pardon for other readers for being a bit Off-Topic on the above paragraphs, but the fact seemed of great interest to me and potentially to others, and can be fully appreciated in detail at Wikipedia [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11 ] ).

Returning to the Main concern of this [ Topic ], it seems clear that even today Top Notch Calculators do indeed miss a lot of desirable features, due mainly to the Restrictions imposed for their adoption at school examinations ...

One possible solution and seldom commented option which could be implemented by manufacturers, would be some sort of Wi-Fi [ Blocking ] mechanism ( available only to Teachers by means of some form of special equipment ) which when broadcasted and issued by the [ Teacher ] would put all the Calculators ( of such brand on the room ) on Exam Mode, limiting all sort of machine machine communication ( except from the Teacher device ), and thus not relying just on the [ Student ] side Initative to voluntarilly Switch to such comunnication Limited Exam Mode.

By the global adoption by manufacturers of Blocking mechanisms as described ( or by actual [ Press ] to Test Mode keystrokes ) with Visual LED signals clues of such Limiting exam "State", futurely launched new [C]alculators ( with Capital C ) could eventually "upgrade" to the format of effective Tablets running some sort of High Level OS, like Linux ( instead of the common Android based gadgets ), leaving the student, teacher or technical professional the ability to have [ Both ] products at once. A powerful Tablet at home, and an equally Powerful not only "Calculator" anymore but Portable and Programmable Computational device of their unimaginned Dreams ( or fears ) ... at home and school.

The Most desirable ( and "Exam" unquestionable ) features for New calculators would be MicroSD slots, multiple micro/USB 3.0 ports, microHDMI and Wireless DLNA Full HD output, aside from indispensable Multitouch Capacitive Millions of Colors TouchScreens covering [ almost ] all the calculator body like Casio ClassPad II fx CP-400, with some indeed indispensable Keys like numeric, arithmetic, Shift/Ctrl/Menus, otherwise the new futurely released "Calculators" would be just slimmed down versions of Tablets, if they were to "upgrade" to full TouchScreen format without a bunch of Keys ( which had Always been any portable/keystrokable Calculator "registered" trademark, since their very first conception ).

Some of the More than desirable but indeed controvertial "Exam" questionable features would be Bluetooth and Wi-Fi since they would depend on effective Exam Mode [ Blocking ] mechanisms ( a bit more difficult to Globally implement by means of a Signal Blocking Teacher device Brodcaster, in the particular case of Bluetooth ).

One virtually unecessary feature would be Cellphone/SMS comunication of any sort, since if one seeks for a "Calculator" specifically for such resource there are Plenty of Smartphones available, but surelly None "Exam" approved by any school.

As stated on my previous post, with the advent of now affordable Windows Tablets, it seems that Calculator manufacturers would need to "re-invent" themselves and think of Desirable New features to include on potential New models ...

HP Prime, has taken the First Step converging to such "hybrid" transition, by including Touch Screen capabilitiy, but with some strong reminescences of the four decade past, like still having a considerable number of Keys, eventually limiting the Screen size to an actually very Small one, if compared with actual smartphones standards ...

Prime although a Great improvement and Spetacular product, also made one step Back ( if compared to its predecessors HP-49/50g ), by simply Removing any form of SD/MicroSD Card support from HP Prime, not allowing the Backup and easy porting of applications between Calculators or Computers, which in case of ( early ) Hardware version [ A ] Prime models, no form of Calc to Calc communication is possible at all, leaving one to just Calc to Computer connection through USB.

Also having USB port and not allowing OTG extensions like wired Keyboards or Mouses is also a really Missing feature, which were more than fully expected from such a 21'st century relatively recent release from HP.

At the time of TI Nspire CX/CAS launching ( aside from debuting its first Color Screen model ), the availability of a TouchPad like in "real" notebooks seemed a more than desirable resource, since TouchScreens were relatively rare and not cost effective ( at that time ).

Nowadays TouchScreen has become the "de facto" standard and it seems plausible that TI launches its next model with a Larger ( and this time ) Touchable Screen, using all the space left out by the outdated TouchPad portion.

TI Nspire operating system interface and file structure seems more Natural to computer users, than HP Prime Apps model ( geared and more appealing towards android / ios users ). I personally prefer the more standard TI Nspire OS/File interface structure than HP Apps model.

HP Prime also revigorated its Programming capabilities by allowing a now much more appealling procedural language, in detriment of its previous RPN based RPL language ( which after years of Procedural Computer Language programming I must frankly admit, that even for an Earlier RPN Hevy user, the Procedural approach seems more simple and less error phrone, but not more elegant and consise than RPN ).

TI Nspire now accepts OnCalc Lua Programming, which compensates for its previous lack of such OnCalc support, at the time of the very first launchings of its OS.

A Real "Dream" ( not yet come true ) to me would be a Calculator with [ Perl ] programming language capability, but Lua on TI Nspire and HP Prime Programming languages are more than equivalent substitutes.

One [ Very ] Interesting and almost missing Heavy User "calculation" feature now available to TI Nspire by the installation of [ KhiCAS ] package available at [ http://www-fourier.ujf-grenoble.fr/~parisse/calc/khicas.zip ], Officially Announced at TIPlanet on [ https://tiplanet.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14800&p=166225&lang=en ] and developed by Bernard Parisse ( author of Giac/XCAS [ http://www-fourier.ujf-grenoble.fr/~parisse/install_en#ti ], the effective CAS Kernel also adopted and succesfully ported to HP Prime ), is [ Indefinite / Arbitrary ] precision [ Floating ] point arithmetic, which means that by the installation of [ KhiCAS ] on TI Nspire CX or CX CAS ( not necessarily just on a CX CAS model ), one is able to Calculate floating Numerical constants like Pi, e, Sqrt(2) to any Number of specified [ Digits ], by simply changing the Default value of the [ Digits ] package variable, to any reasonable and desirable number of decimal places ( by just attributing Digits := n ).

Its interesting to note that the [ KhiCAS ] package do indeed need the installation of [ ndless ] package ( corresponding to the Machine OS Version, and not available for the Newer/Upgraded models like OS 4.x ), and that [ ndless ] must be "Active" on TI Nspire for KhiCAS to run ... Notice also that after any sort of calc rebooting ( unexpected or user requested by pressing the back reset button ), [ ndless ] "needs" to be re-"installed" ( in fact re-invoked ) so as to [ KhiCAS ] to run again.

On personal contact with Bernard Parisse and Tim Wessmann ( from HP ), I asked why the implementation of [ Indefinite / Arbitrary ] precision [ Floating ] point arithmetic is still [ Missing ] on HP Prime, since it do indeed has all the necessary internal software calls to the just actually Not yet implemented / ported [ LongFloat ] Library, and what Bernard and Tim informed was that the LongFloat library adopted by Giac, is based on GPL Licenses, which would require that the hole distribuition source ( of the entire port of Giac to HP Prime ) be freely released with any implementation relying on the LongFloat Library. They both acknowledge that such more than Valuable resource is a more than Desirable feature to be ported to HP Prime, and my hope is that on a Long Term, it might be eventually made available on further official HP Prime OS releases on a not so near future.

At this actual time, with [ KhiCAS ] installed, TI Nspire calcs simply becomes not only the Most Powerful portable Symbolic [ Calculators ], but the very first ones to support two distinct CAS (Computer Algebra Systems).

Its also one of the very first times ( since the older OS 3.1 models ) that a Complete CAS System can be installed on a TI Nspire CX ( non CAS ) model, and Bernard Parisse fully adverts students as to Not "cheating" during Exams ...
 
Which turns again to one of the main questions concerning the "evolution" of future calculators, to stay once more as stripped down versions of now much more effective Computational [ Portable ] devices like Tablets and Smartphones, or to trully innovate and still compete in such "Brave New World" ( much more of des/in-formation than of numerical/scientific computation ... ).

The "cheating" limitations imposed on hardware due to the manufacture of strict "Exam Compliant" devices, seems to prevent much further interest of future generations on sole "Calculators", since they will be more than prematurely exposed by other means ( appart from the educational environment ) to much more appealing and powerful gadgets like Tablets and Smartphones or whatever may become their "successful" successors, igniting the same "magic" like the portable Calculators "wave" meant to the growing generations of the 70's and 80's ( which eventually lead to some still active and "persistent" technology "enchanted" Heavy Users from the past, like the one writing this "testament" and many even More Active ones, like DJ Omnimaga ... )

One final notice, which may explain most of my renewed "enchantment" with portable Calculator devices, even now on my 50's is that on my 13's I have been "exposed" to a Fatal Combination: A fresh new HP-25 ( with only its original French Manuals ), and "discovered" by myself ( standing on the library bookshelf of my high school ) the book "Numerical Methods in FORTRAN" by John McCormick and Mario G. Salvadori ( which decades later I could definetively acquire a perfect state used exemplar from BN ). That "combination" of Numerical Mathematics and Computer Programming, has stayed as the single "constant" in my hole life, and after the day I "discovered" the existence of Numerical Methods algorithms, and had in hand a more than "appealing" gadget like the HP-25 at that time, I could not resist in fully understanting all its resources, and at the same time exploit all the Power that Computational Programming could lead me to, literally seeing Newton-Raphson sequences Converge at my hands and just in front of my mesmerized eyes ...

Its such "enchantment" that actual and future generations may be missing, if [C]alculators were faded to become "Calculators", then calculators, and "calculators"..., until complete obsolescence like Type Writer machines, or Slide Rules ... ( just see the Apollo 13 movie scene were the ground crew were to confirm the hand made calculations by the astronaut onboard of the Apollo, and all ground men more than ably rushed their fingers through their sliding mechanisms, since the concept of a time sharing terminal dedicated for manual calculations was still out of reach at that time, and no spare terminal resources were allocated for such unusual tasks, and if one were to "awake" some entire room computer just to confirm the calculation, at the time the mamonth had produced the results, it would simply have missed the target ).

I beg the pardon and apologize other "patient" readers for such more than extense "testament", since Calculators deserve more attention than they actually receive, as since the very First Steps of Mathematics while mankind were still learning to count, the concept of Calculation and Algorithms were involved, and programmable ( portable ) Calculators were just the culmination of such very long term evolution avenue ...

To end this post, I invite others to just try to "imagine", if somehow at the time Donald Ervin Knuth were just about his 12's or 13's, if he were "presented" with an actual Top Notch Calculator like HP Prime or TI Nspire, and wander at what unexpected newer heights the "Art of Computer Programming" could have reached at the time of its inception, if since the early days of his youth he had at hand such captivating computer device ...

The same argument applies to all Brave past Generations of Truly Giants, if they had full access to todays Windows Tablets running the latest version of Maple or Mathematica ...

profrd

The Voyage [ "2000" ] of my Dreams ...

From all the Calculators I still very proudly own, one particular model the [ TI Voyage 200 ] was one that provided me with my Best overall Experience, due to its rather innovative interface design, with QWERT integrated Keyboard and Larger Screen display offered at that time.

It seems clear from the discussions on this post, that if Calculator manufacturers were to still compete with other forms of Portable computational devices like Tablets or Smartphones, that they should re-invent themselves, providing future Calculators with some attractive features, already available on the other portable devices, like TouchScreen, among other desirable resources.

What actually turn a Calculator distinct from a Tablet or TouchScreen Smartphone, is that All calculators ( even Casio CP-400 ) provides at least an [ Integrated ] Physical Keyboard, which surelly Tablets or today ( purelly TouchScreen ) Smartphones do Not ... ( at least not factory integrated on the device ).

From that perspective, TI Voyage 200, and its very inovative predecessors the TI-92 and 92-Plus, offered at that time a Real "Computer" like appeal, with the inclusion of a complete QWERT keyboard, like the ones available on past BASIC Portable Computers from Casio, Sharp and RadioShack.

If Texas Instruments were to seek some sort of atractiveness to a future launching of a TI Nspire sucessor, it surelly must seek back to what previous features provided their users with the Best Experience ...

Clearly due to Standard Examination restrictions a QWERT keyboard nowadays would mean the banishment from part of the
examinations, but some clever re-interpretation of the rules as the one provided by TI Nspire with an ABCDEF keyboard, might have bypassed the QWERT restriction ... still providing a complete alphabetic keyboard ( just on a nonstandard displacement of Keys ).

If such were the examination restraints, Texas should think about still adopting the same ABCDEF approach from Nspire to their futurelly released models.

The point in question would be what design format should be more appropriate, a traditional Portrait or a rather unusual but plenty more effective Landscape displacement like Voyage 200, TI-92 and 92-Plus ...

I personally think that a 21st century Voyage "2000" should adopt the Landscape design, and include all successfull features from TI Nspire like its Operating System and Software Base, but on a new [ Thiner ] Landscape ( Tablet or Ultrabook like ) casing, but still keeping a Physical ABCDEF keyboard ( plus standard math related multi Keys with at least 2 colors like HP, plus Shift, Ctrl, Esc ), an Enlarged Color TouchScreen display ( keeping an eventual Touchpad integrated on the Large 4 arrows key adopted by Nspire ), with some extra desirable resources like MicroSD and OTG USB port support, HDMI and Wireless DLNA Output, and eventually a Free of cost ( Windows platform ) or affordable ( Android / IOS ) emulators.

That hypothetical Hybrid machine, could still be called a [ Calculator ], but with plenty revigorated features, so as to keep future generations still Wandering about new launching of such Gadgets ...

Another point that Texas Instruments could improve, on New OS releases even for the TI Nspire, is the Back [ Scrolling ] of Past expressions ...

The extremely slow, character by character scroll approach adopted on Nspire, without another option of quickier scrolling [ Review ] method like the ones provided by past TI models like Voyage 200 or TI-89, where the hole expression was shifted by some screen amount while Reviewing past expressions, was one of the reasons for me to consider the purchase of another Calculator, like HP Prime, which simply Excells on past expressions Scrolling, due to its TouchScreen interface.

Well, if someone could effectively "reach" Texas Instruments, it would be very interesting to suggest the inclusion of a New optional feature, like a simple [ View ] or [ Review ] menu option or [ Shortcut ] Key combination like Ctrl + some key, allowing the [ Fast ] scrolling of Hole past expressions through the Screen ( bypassing the arkward character by character expression review approach now available on TI Nspire ).

For HP a suggestion for a future model release, would be a Prime "Plus", with a Larger Portrait Screen and few essential Keys ( like Casio CP-400 ), or a definitive real Tablet Like format, with at least a row of Special Keys, like Esc, Ctrl, Shift, 2nd Functions and Virtual Keyboard invocation.

From the slow pace of innovations on the Calculator arena, the unnanswered questions would be "when" to expect effective New releases, and "what" to expect from them ...

alexgt

Well, I do admit I didn't read all of it but I did read most of what you said :P. I was recently thinking about getting a Voyage, just for fun but then I suddenly went into debt <_<.
How long did it take to type that, just wondering :P

c4ooo

Hey guys, you do realize that PCs are 'calculators too"? :trollface:

DJ Omnimaga

I always wanted a V200 but back when there was still a community of 68K programmers, the v200 was like $200 on Ebay Canadian store >.<, so I passed on it. It had a lot of potential, though (the only problem was that it was very bulky)


As for future calcs, the question is if new calcs will be locked down even more like the TI-82 Advanced and if the successor to the TI-Nspire will replace the touchpad with a touchscreen. Or will the next calcs simply be smartphone apps?

SiphonicSugar

You know, I think that my dream calculator would be amazing.  As someone said before, it should have a processor that is clocked at 1 GHz, a good GPU, nothing to amazing, screen that is a little bit bigger than the TI-Nspire (at least length-wise), it would need a CAS, be able to program in a couple of different languages like C, Lua, Python, etc (also it would be cool if you could write a program in C and compile it to assembly), it would need to have not super clicky buttons but more like the buttons that are on the TI-Nspire CAS with Touchpad, and finally, it would need to have the option to have rechargeable batteries or put in regular batteries like the TI-84 Plus. One more thing too. It would to have like 1 or 2 USB ports and the ability to connect to flash drives and stuff. I forgot one more thing too. It would need to have like 8 GB of archive memory and 1 GB of RAM.

I would want this to be a Texas Instruments device...
I'm just trying to grab some inspiration. :P

Streetwalrus

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on January 30, 2016, 01:23:17 am
I always wanted a V200 but back when there was still a community of 68K programmers, the v200 was like $200 on Ebay Canadian store >.<, so I passed on it. It had a lot of potential, though (the only problem was that it was very bulky)

Isn't the v200 smaller than the 92 though ? I think I'd rather stick to regular handhelds. If I was still into calcs I would love to get a TI-89, these are pretty damn awesome.

alexgt

Quote from: SiphonicSugar on January 30, 2016, 03:10:16 pm
You know, I think that my dream calculator would be amazing.  As someone said before, it should have a processor that is clocked at 1 GHz, a good GPU, nothing to amazing, screen that is a little bit bigger than the TI-Nspire (at least length-wise), it would need a CAS, be able to program in a couple of different languages like C, Lua, Python, etc (also it would be cool if you could write a program in C and compile it to assembly), it would need to have not super clicky buttons but more like the buttons that are on the TI-Nspire CAS with Touchpad, and finally, it would need to have the option to have rechargeable batteries or put in regular batteries like the TI-84 Plus. One more thing too. It would to have like 1 or 2 USB ports and the ability to connect to flash drives and stuff. I forgot one more thing too. It would need to have like 8 GB of archive memory and 1 GB of RAM.

I would want this to be a Texas Instruments device...

"Super clicky buttons" HP Prime <_<

pimathbrainiac

My dream calculator is one that is fully and intentionally hackable.

Processor: ARM 64 bit, somewhere between 768 MHz and 1 GHz
RAM: 512 MB (Guys, it's a calculator, not a computer :P)
Flash Memory: 4-8 GB
I/O: 1 full-sized USB port, 10 (accessible) GPIO pins (2 being serial and the other 8 being PWM-capable), and 2 analogue input pins
OS: Something along the lines of the TI-8x series' OSs, but with some basic CAS (nothing beyond symbolic algebra) and 3D graphing. 3rd party OS support as well
Programming: C and Assembly, as well as a built-in python interpreter and a built-in (beginner) language. Computer SDK and on-calc program editor included, supported, and updated
Keypad: Something like the TI-8x series or TI-89 Ti, but with a keyboard driver for the USB port

So basically a hodge-podge of the Nspire, the RPi, the TI-89 Ti, and the TI-8x series :P
Well, I'm bach here too!

DJ Omnimaga

Quote from: Streetwalrus on January 30, 2016, 07:59:31 pm
Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on January 30, 2016, 01:23:17 am
I always wanted a V200 but back when there was still a community of 68K programmers, the v200 was like $200 on Ebay Canadian store >.<, so I passed on it. It had a lot of potential, though (the only problem was that it was very bulky)

Isn't the v200 smaller than the 92 though ? I think I'd rather stick to regular handhelds. If I was still into calcs I would love to get a TI-89, these are pretty damn awesome.
It's a little smaller but not by much, IIRC. But yeah I always prefered traditional graphing calcs like the 89 design.


Powered by EzPortal