Thursday, April 24, 2014

Greetings from Seattle - and a short review of the PCalc App. (Updated 4/28/2014)

I am in at the 1st Ave and Pike St Starbucks: the original Starbucks. Actually, the first one opened that first opened in 1971 moved to this location in 1976. The original Pike Place Brew is strong! Thankfully the coffee mellows after a while.

It is a dream of mine to blog from here. Thank you Starbucks! (Twitter: @starbucks)

Short Review of PCalc

This was recommend to me by bb010g. Thanks for the recommendation!

PCalc Lite: Free (basic scientific calculator - Algebraic and RPN modes)
PCalc Full: $9.99 on iOS. (Includes Engineering functions, additional themes, conversions, programmer pack - base conversions and Boolean logic - each can be purchased separately)

Also available on Mac, but not available on Android devices.

Developer: James Thomson (Twitter: @jamesthomson)

I have the full version on both my iPad and iPod Touch. I like the intelligent layout of the keyboard, especially on the iPod Touch. The keys are big but you can still access all the major functions without much trouble. The choice of settings are plenty: everything from calculator settings to whether sound the keys make, if at all.

The features such as conversions, constants, and custom functions are accessed through the A>B, 42, and f(x) keys respectively. Each of the menus offers its options in a style consistent to standard iOS devices.

The calculator app has 10 memory registers and 16 other temporary registers that are used for programming. You can program custom functions. While the language does not contain loops, it does include relational testing (if true then skip n steps). Instead of working with the stack, you work with the memory and temporary registers, which takes a little getting used to. I hope to publish future posts explaining PCalc programming language in detail in the near future.

Here is a little sample of snippets I learned with the PCalc Programming:

The commands are constructed using proper English. (e.g. "Multiply M3 by M1", "Set R0 to 22/15")

Arithmetic Operators: Execute (add, subtract, multiply, divide) on a designated register with a certain value. The result is stored in the designated register.

Register X is the "display". Use this register to display your final answer. (Assuming your function has only one output).

To take the absolute value (on register X for example), execute the following steps:
Power X by 2
Power X by 0.5

PCalc is a great calculator app worth looking into. Website:

Update 4/28/2014:

Thanks to Terry for alerting me to this:  In Radians mode, cos(1.57079632) returned an answer of 6.7948967066 x 10^-9, which is not accurate.  Checking with Wolfram Alpha and with several calculators (HP 32Sii for example), cos(1.57079632) returns the correct answer of 6.7948966... x 10^-9.   Hopefully, this gets corrected in the next update.  

I checked cos(pi/2) and PCalc was accurate with answer of 0.

This ends my blog entry for now - off to see Seattle! Talk to you all soon! Thanks for the comments, recommendations, corrections, and compliments. As always, they are much appreciated.


This blog is property of Edward Shore. 2014

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