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RE: Hand-held Calculator Recommended

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Another alternative is a software calculator operating on a handheld
computer (PDA).

Calc98 is free. And can be configured to operate in RPN or algebraic logic.
I've only used it on a desk top in place of the windows calculator, and then
only when MS Excel isn't already open. I have an Excel workbook I use as a
scratch pad for miscellaneous calculations.

For those spur of the moment decision making, off the top of my head
calculations I prefer my HP28S: which currently has the batteries held in
place with tape. My father is still using an HP32E, though with built up
battery packs from a specialist battery supplier.  Most of the text is worn
from the keyboard though not the keys.

I guess once we get familiar with a calculator we try to keep it working for
as long as possible.

I like the software/touch-screen option because it permits having a
calculator keyboard rather than the QWERTY keyboard of pocket computers and
programmable calculators. If all else fails, program my own. On the other
hand it is possible to use Excel on handhelds.

So I guess it boils down to what function does a calculator provide, which
is not available with a laptop computer or handheld computer?

Battery life may be an important issue. If need to be able to do
comprehensive calculations in a remote location, then a handheld computer
programmed for the specific purpose is probably the best option if have
access to power for recharging the batteries. If really remote and isolated,
then a LCD calculator using AA batteries which can last 3 or more years
would be the best option.

Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
South Australia

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