Can't I use a Mac as a calculator?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Killyp, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #1
    The OS X Calculator Widget is pretty rubbish when it comes to actually calculating. For example:

    -5 + 2

    Try and do that, it won't let you! It just displays 'Error'. So after I found I couldn't add to a minus number with the widget, I tried calculator.app.

    It'll let me do it, but now it throws out other random numbers and glitches! For example:

    12.8 / 2

    Since when did that equal 6.40000000000000004?!

    Nice one Apple! I seem to remember Windows 1 had a glitch like this, which Microsoft patched straight away :rolleyes:

    Anybody else getting these problems?
     
  2. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #2
    no, for complicated fomula, i normally use excel, or the visiual cal on my palm if the laptop is away.
     
  3. Killyp thread starter macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #3
    Don't you think it sucks though? World's best OS and it can't even work out numbers... :confused:
     
  4. Loge macrumors 68020

    Loge

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #4
    I'm guessing you have precision set to 16, right? Set it to a lower value and you should get 12.8 / 2 = 6.4.
     
  5. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    For the dashboard widget calculator.. -5 + 2 got me an error, but 2 + (-5) got me (-3). So maybe you have to put the positive integer first?

    on the calculator app... 12.8 / 2 gave me 6.4 the first time.
     
  6. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #6
    Mine works perfectly. Sorry that doesn't help you solve your problem, but I don't think it's something inherently wrong with the widget, just the one on your system.
     
  7. deputy_doofy macrumors 65816

    deputy_doofy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    #7
    There is still the regular little calculator app. Can't remember if it's in the applications folder or in utilities, but I found in on my MBP. I always kept it in the dock on my PB.
     
  8. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #8
    Highlight/select -5 + 2, (Cmd-C) copy it, then (Cmd-V) paste onto the calculator widget's screen and you get the correct result. :)
     
  9. ronni3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    I'm actually interested in finding out whether or not there is a engineering calculator available for the Mac. I use a lot of equations and also use graphs quite often and would love to have a nice calculator on my Mac.

    Any ideas?
     
  10. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #10
    You are aware

    that computers aren't magic boxes correct? Computers are binary machines with finite resources, therefore they have to represent decimal numbers of arbitrary length using a binary system of fixed length. The IEEE, an international standards body, defines the standard binary representations of numbers using a fixed length. Intel designs their chips to work with these standards, and therefore almost every major player uses them in their software. As a consequence, computer arithmatic is rarely 100% precise, as evidenced in your 12.8/2 example. That is why you shouldn't set the precision to 16 digits unless you know what you are doing. That is a user error, not a software one.
     
  11. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #11
    windows' calculator is just slightly better anyway.

    But, an OS is a platform, the main task is to support other apps to finish the work as a onwer wants.
     
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #12
    An MR user created this very simple Widget...

    http://lilybits.com/calculon/

    I really love it. It's very simple and yet it works effectively. And you can see an extended formula... e.g., you type in (-5+2)/3*6.54 and you see the whole thing before you press enter/equals.
     
  13. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #13
    u might need to correct that link? or is it abolished?
     

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  14. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #14
  15. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Utopia
    #15
    You can find more calculators Here
    Look under "Similar Software"
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #16
  17. jsalzer macrumors 6502a

    jsalzer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    #17
    Start with Zero

    Hint - when working with a simple calculator that doesn't have a "negative sign" button, simply start with zero.

    0 - 5 + 2

    I don't see this as a glitch with the widget. It's designed to emulate a simple 50 cent calculator that you'd buy in the checkout line at your local grocery store. It doesn't have a "negative" sign. Starting to type with the minus sign gives the same result as if you were to begin with the division button - it would accurately give an error.

    It also isn't meant to understand Order of Operations. It's up to the person doing the calculating to determine the OoO.

    For those of you who are too young - this is the way all calculators used to work. :)
     
  18. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #18
    There is an app called Grapher that does complex equations and comes with OS X.
     
  19. coach z macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2007
    Location:
    nj
    #19
    thank you, i was just about to post that....
     
  20. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Hoosiertown
    #20
    yah grapher is pretty sweet. It's not very well documented but there is a guide here at Macrumors.
     
  21. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #21
    Have you tried changing the View in the Calculator App? You can easily enter in Negative numbers in the Scientific View. In this Calc there is a +/- key for entering negative numbers.
     
  22. bearbo macrumors 68000

    bearbo

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    #22
    it's bad programming if you try 12.8/2 and you get anything but 6.4. there is no excuse. if you set the precision to a 16, for instance, Calculator.app should know to use the correct variable type with more precision, instead of generating something other than 6.4 using type with less precision.


    perhaps if you put (-5)+2... aka with the parenthesis (can you do that?) you will get the right answer? or not have the space between - and 5? i dont have my mac now, i dont know if that's all possible...
    :rolleyes:

    that's convenient...
     
  23. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #23
    Seriously! I don't see what's up with all the complaining about the Calculator widget. There's a Calculator app to use for anything above basic calculations.
     

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