Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm In Love With My Calculator...

...is that so wrong?




This is my new calculator.


How have I lived without this thing?

In college, my Financial Math professor warned us to make sure we knew the formulas, and so cautioned us against using the financial calculators. Being a poor college student, I was happy to oblige not having to buy one more thing for class.

Fast forward about four years to grad school. The professor suggested that we get a calculator, and the Texas Instrument BA II Plus was fairly cheap at Wal-Mart, so that was it. I did use it for my classes, but always had a hard time making the math turn out right. Plus, there are a lot of buttons to push when doing worksheet calculations. Still, it is a great value for the money, because it has so many functions, and would probably be a first or second choice for undergraduate work.

Which brings me to now. The appraisal industry has but one calculator, the HP 12c. All of the class literature I've read has warned me to make sure I know how to use it before I get there, so I've been fiddling around with it for a month.

And all I can say is where has this been all my life.

There are two highlights of the calculator: the craftsmanship, and the operation.

I like how it is made. It's sturdy, the buttons are firm and responsive, and because of its horizontal orientation, I can hold it one-handed (which, given a four-month old in the house, comes in quite handy).

But perhaps even better is the operation. The calculator operates on a principle known as Reverse Polish Notation, or RPN. If you don't know anything about RPN, try Wikipedia, the Hewlett Packard website, and the HP Calculator Museum.

Once you've read about it, may I suggest downloading a copy of an RPN calculator to try it out for yourself? My current favorite is Excalibur, downloadable here. Free to be downloaded, or you can send $5 via Paypal to the author. I hate paying for software, but I play on sending him his Fiver--it's that good.

Once you go RPN, you'll never go back.

9 comments:

Even So... said...

I'm In Love With My Calculator...

The Nice response - then you have chosen the right job, friend...

The Humorous response - that says it all...

Do appraisers have to have thin or thick skin, or does it matter?

Gummby said...

I'm told that Appraisers are like Accountants, but without the personality.

Then when I laughed, they said,"No, seriously."

I'll let you know.

Even So... said...

I'll continue to pray that God will use a man like you, full of both wisdom and wit, to bring salt and light to those you come in contact with...

BugBlaster said...

Nerd.

If it doesn't do e and pi I'm not interested.

You are currently the headline poster on three different blogs. First time I'e ever seen that by anywone. Nice work for a guy that's between jobs.

Gummby said...

I'm a nerd? Coming from you, that's a high compliment.

You need the 15c or the 16c. Try the WRPN link from here. Or download Excalibur. It rocks.

As for the other, it's amazing who people will let post during their vacations.

Even So... said...

Yeah, some dude even let me post, what a risk...

Rebekah said...

Ok, so I got incredibly lost reading the explanation on Wikipedia. My brain hurts. Good thing my family isn't relying on me to use that calculator!

Daniel Calle said...

Well... I don´t know what to say. Anyway, how are you Matt? Greetings from Peru. I really loved your other posts.

Gummby said...

Even So: If I ever go on vacation, I'm getting you to fill in for me, too.

Rebekah: I think it might help if you actually had a calculator to work with.

Daniel: Hi there. I am staying with someone who grew up in Bolivia as a missionary kid. She is wanting to brush up on her Spanish, & I suggested that she start by reading & commenting on your blog.