Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Thing #264--One That Calculates

I needed to update the balance on my checkbook; I've made several deposits and withdrawals since I'd calculated how much was in there. I could have gotten paper and pencil to do it the old-school way, or walked downstairs to get a calculator, but instead today I used the calculator on my cell phone.

Although I've recently learned how to use a couple of the extra functions on my cell, the calculator hasn't been one of them. I was pretty sure all phones had one, though. The first job was to find the application. Logically, I thought I knew where it would be (in Games and Apps), but once I got there it took some scrolling around to find it. Turns out the Calculator in in the Tools section, along with the Timer and Stopwatch.

When I opened the Calculator, I expected something that looked like my old trusty TI. Instead, the display was divided into several fields: there was a box at the top, an Answer section in the middle, and two rows of symbols close to the bottom. The first row contained * and . The second row included # + - * / % ( ). It looked very confusing, but actually wasn't. The number keys were used to enter the numbers (D'oh!); the star key entered a decimal point, and the pound key controlled the second row of symbols, which picked the operation-each press of the pound key moved the cursor across the list of symbols till you got to the right one.

Although I learned how to use the calculator pretty quickly, the complete process itself was time consuming. Including the learning period as part of the task, I could have calculated many more numbers in the same period with a real calculator.

1 comment:

  1. You're right... it is rather frustrating that it takes so long to do calculations on a phone. Recently I found that it is quicker to calculate on an iPod. (I was at the fabric store and I needed to know what my discount would be!)