Saturday, February 23, 2013

Greetings From Riverside! Mike Grigsby's Blog and an TI nSpire App Review

I am blogging today from Daily Brew Coffee House in Riverside, CA. Service here is excellent - very nice and friendly people.



Mike Grigsby

If you get a chance, please check out Mike Grigsby's blog at http://mikebibbygrigsby83.blogspot.com/?m=1. Mike has a Master's Degree in Mathematics from Cal Poly Pomona, and is the Social Media Administrator for the Riverside Astronomical Society. Later tonight I am going to meet with Mike to go their monthly meeting at La Sierra University in Riverside.

More information about the Society can be found here: http://www.rivastro.org/index.php.

Mike is a super duper awesome guy. Please check his blog out.


Quick Review: Texas Instruments TI-nSpire App for iPad

Platforms: iPad (iPad 2 and later, including the iPad Mini)
Cost: $29.99 (yes, this is very expensive for an app). There is a CAS and non-CAS version. I totally recommend that you get the CAS version. (CAS is the Computer Algebraic Version)
Version of nSpire: TI nSpire CX (the latest and the good one in my opinion)

Short and sweet, the nSpire app is everything the TI nSpire hardware is. Unlike most calculators, the nSpire operates as a computer software interface (think closer to Mathematica, Matlab, or Maple) than the traditional calculator. You work on documents which contains pages. Each page can be a mathematics page, graph page, a spreadsheet, geometry page, or a statistics page. Within the problems in the document, variables are linked. That is, you can create a variable in one page, and it is define throughout the documents. Programs work the same way.

Programs are in TI-Basic and can either be limited to the document or made global. The global feature is very useful when you are creating custom functions (like the gamma function). Programming on the nSpire is more strictly for the mathematical sense; so if you are looking to make video games, this app may not be what you are looking for.

The keyboard on the app is a pleasure to use. On the keyboard, you will note several keys having a blue bar over them. Holding the key down gives you additional options. For example:
Holding the r key gives you access to the θ variable.
The var key contains the STO> function.
The sin key expands to sin^-1, csc, and csc^-1.

The best part of the keyboard? The keys are big! Well, we are on an iPad here.

On the graph page, not only can you graph functions, polar functions, scatter plots, parametric functions, and inequalities, you can do it all one page if you want. This adds flexibility that is usually seen only on the Casio graphing calculators and somewhat on the HP 49g series. The graph page offers a geometric view or a 3D view for three-dimensional graphs. Pinch to zoom, hold on to drag the graph and any other text.

Here are the screenshots from the app. All the shots are from the CAS version.

I recommend getting this app. Now I realize that the $29.99 price tag is heavy in the market on apps, but this app has it all together in one package. However, in the market of complete mathematical software packages it is inexpensive. If you buy it, I recommend the CAS version.

This is also a great alternative to getting the hardware if you don't want and/or have $150 to spend but have an iPad ready. And the batteries last longer! At least with the app I don't have to constantly plug in my tangible nSpire CX almost every time I want to use it. And yes documents can be shared by email or downloaded to the computer for later use (including downloading it on the physical units).




That is all for today, please go check out Mike Grigsby's blog. I can't wait to meet with him tonight. Have a great day and weekend everyone.

Eddie


This blog is property of Edward Shore. 2013

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