xThink Calculator


l found this cool application for my Windows Tablet PC



For $44.95, I could send you some pencils and paper and maybe even throw in a 33S!!


I don't share your point of view. This software looks innovative. More to say, no need to ask if it's algebraic or RPN, and to start endless discussions about shifted or unshifted keys, menus, size of the enter key, locations of keys and so on. This is math as it should be: paper, pencel, equations and results. No calculator.


Dave,This software looks innovative.

That's an understatement!
More to say, no need to ask if it's algebraic or RPN...

Maybe it's both? It obviously uses algebraic notation, but I don't see an equals key at the bottom menu, just Enter! (Return) (There is an equals sign on the results line, though).

Cute, but you'd have to rely on the recognition technology to be 100% reliable. It won't be of course, so the time you spend double checking every calculation with what it recognises, it would have been faster to just use a regulator calculator.

A classic case of a product with a neat technical solution to a problem that didn't exist.



Anyone had a chance to play with this... looking interesting...



Dave: As a long-time user of MathJournal, which is xCalc's "big brother," I have a lot of experience comparing MJ to calculators. All I will say is that you can't really appreciate the power of xCalc or MathJournal unless you spend some time with them. While the recognition of written mathematics is not as finely honed as the recognition of handwriting, there are a few simple "penmanship rules" that, if used with either application, greatly enhance accurate recognition.

Regarding your confidence in an accurate answer, I would like to point out that estimating the approximate result in your head is a wise action when using ANY calculation tool; slide rule, calculator or xCalc...


You can find a scholarly discussion of the xthink calculator here.



hpnut: Interesting article. I think that the tablet's graphic UI has a lot of potential; it's a shame that it hasn't been better promoted by Microsoft and its industrial partners.

IMO, one of the biggest features (and advantages) of applications like Calculator (xCalc) and MathJournal is the free format input. You can scribble a calculation at some location on the page, add notes or observations (in MJ, even data plots!) and then go on to write other calculations later on the page.

BUT... if you look back and suddenly realize that you forgot something, or you decide that you want to do another calculation and place it near your first calculation (for comparison), Calculator and MJ will allow you to do this! This is one significant reason why free format is so useful. It is also the reason why I say that you can't really appreciate these types of tools without a little 'hands on" time.

As much as I love my HP calculators (and I have a few of them), the engineer in me has to admit that this is really the future of computing...

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