## Ask Slashdot: Replacing a TI-84 With Software On a Linux Box? 254 254

yanom writes

*"I'm currently a high school student using my TI-84 for mathematics courses. It has all the functionality I need (except CAS), but saying that the hardware is dated is putting it nicely. Waiting 4-5 seconds for a simple function to be graphed on its 96x64 screen just makes me want to hurl it at the wall. Recently, I've begun to notice the absurdity of doing my math homework on a 70's era microchip when I have an i7 machine with Linux within arm's reach. I've begun looking for software packages that could potentially replace the graphing calculator's functionality, including Xcas and Maxima, but both lack what I consider basic calculator functionality — xcas can't create a table of values for a function, and maxima can't use degrees, only radians. So, does anyone know of a good software package to replace my graphing calculator (and maybe provide CAS to boot)?"*
## maxima can't do degrees? Ha. (Score:4, Insightful)

Why do you want a CAS if you're not prepared to use it. For each trig function, define another which takes an argument in degrees and calls the built-in one with the argument converted to radians.

## So let me sum this up (Score:2, Insightful)

"instead of waiting 4-5 seconds to do something, i am interested in spending hours of effort to recreate/relearn it on a different platform"

Why not use the "agonizing eternity" of 4-5 seconds to reflect on life, maybe hum a song, or do anything that helps your mind relax before you develop ADD and can ONLY do math?

what karma? it's friday.

## Re:So let me sum this up (Score:4, Insightful)

I agree! Why try to find a better way to do something when there's an out-of-date, inefficient way already invented? I mean, think of all of those useless hours you'll spend learning something new when you could be spending that time reflecting on life, or maybe humming a song!

## If you have a smartphone . . . (Score:5, Insightful)

. . . there are some excellent graphing calculator apps for iOS and I am sure Android has a fair selection as well. They do 2D, 3D and solve algebra.

Also there exist a number of HP emulations but I don't know if there are any for TI.

All of them execute at some Warp factor faster than discrete calculators but there are some issues with using a device different from what the school recommends. My experience with guiding my own spawn around the perils of high school math leads me to believe that HSs (in Canada at least) are more interested in teaching button pushing than math. Many teachers have no interest in math and are perplexed when someone has an issue with something such as a different calculator solution.

Besides that, when using alternatives you may get differing results or even some fantastic errors depending on how well written the code is.

[RANT ON]

Sorry, but I gotta say this: CALCULATORS OBSTRUCT THE LEARNING OF MATH

phew, had to get that out

My apologies for the caps but it is a rant after all . . .

There is a place for calculators in engineering courses and in some aspects of learning math but you can get a PhD in Math Science without ever getting near a calculator. I saw my kids get all caught up in the numbers to the detriment of understanding the process and theory. When they started doing courses later on (such as physics, biology, chemistry and sociology-er 'stats'), they had to go back and learn some of the fundamentals that had never been emphasized because of the calculator fixation.

Bottom line: use the TI and don't waste time on alternatives. Use that time to learn the theory.

[RANT OFF]

Well, unless of course you are a real nerd (like the rest of us) and do both: learn the math and are obsessive about calculation tools

Cheers

## Anger management (Score:3, Insightful)

This is not likely to be a popular comment around here, but seriously ...

Waiting 4-5 seconds for a simple function to be graphed on its 96x64 screen just makes me want to hurl it at the wall.

If this is a literal problem rather than a joke you may want to look at the reasons why you're so angry about waiting a few seconds. If you can't control this now you will very likely find life becomes quite challenging for you in the long run.

Peace,

Andy.

## Re:R; apt-get install r-base (Score:4, Insightful)

Matlab is exceptional, but of course has some cost. .

Everything you can do in Matlab, you can do better in python. I work in a mathematics department at this moment, so I do know the subject somewhat. If you need some package of a person which is only present in matlab, then porting to python is not that hard, as the syntax can be easily translated to numpy/scipy. For high school students: ipython notebook: http://ipython.org/ipython-doc/dev/interactive/htmlnotebook.html [ipython.org]

For pure mathematics, preference goes to Sage in many circles, However, having been on a conference and seeing the new features in ipython notebook, and knowing they just received a 1.15 million grant by the Sloan foundation, it has a bright future.

Nevertheless, the relativity department here uses maple for their theoretical work. Most engineers also, but those always try to solve problems first by throwing money toward it :-) From a 'get your work done fast' and from an engineering point of view, maple/mathematica/matlab are great off course. From a 'control your own work', 'know what you are doing', and 'build for the future', chosing a python solution (ipython, matplotlib, sage, ...) is a good bet.