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The Turbocharged Calculator

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I once came across a document by Harold Thimbleby describing why conventional calculators suck and what should be done about them to make them more natural to use. I was completely sold on his perspective so I went about creating my own calculator that followed those guidelines. Two of the most important features were displaying the answer as you type and keeping the expression on screen so you could see how the answer was arrived at.

Convert km per litre to miles per gallon

Convert km per litre to miles per gallon

I implemented those bits, but soon got too distracted with work to go much further. However I still use that calculator exclusively – no more calc for me 🙂 . That is until now. I recently came across the instacalc . A calculator that takes Thimleby’s ideas and pushes them to another level. It not only shows the answer as you type, but you can create variables and reference them in subsequent calculations (sort of like a spreadsheet but way cooler). You can save your calculations, share them with other people and even embed a calculation on your blog!

The calculator also has conversions of all sorts (temperature, length, mass) and supports the use of English words such as ‘million’ so your formulas look even prettier. Sadly, this means I have to retire my beloved calculator project, Desk Calc 😦 .

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