Calculators Have Come a Long Way

I recently purchased a Casio FX-82MS for future use in the exam for the Dutch amateur radio licensing (technically not a license, but let’s just use that word for the ease of writing). The exam involves some electronics calculations, and while most seem easy enough to do without a calculator (they all tend to be tidy powers of numbers, or neat fractions), it still seems like a good idea to have a tool around in case you need it.

I have to say, calculators have come such a long way even since when I was a kid. I remember in elementary school we had a relatively basic calculator that could do most average arithmetic that you needed. Near the end of high school, the TI-83 was released, which we needed for the advanced mathematics classes. It was mindblowing to have a calculator that could make graphs for you. Ironically, though, given the types of maths we did, it was usually more convenient to just visually verify what we already saw in the equations.

The FX-82MS now just has so many simple features that are small quality of life changes. It’s so much more conventient to work with fractions on this thing than it used to be. There’s more memory scrolling buttons than I’m used to, and an easier menu interface to change some basic settings, and so on. It seems like the advances have mainly been in UI, but what wonderful advances they are.

Edit: Of course, after having bought this one, I discover that there is an even cooler calculator on offer: the Casio FX-991EX, that even has built-in converter functions for binary, decimal, and hexadecimal. D’Oh!

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