They Are Standing Still

Here’s some calculator code for yesterday’s formulae:
AANGLE
:Prompt N,R
:(1-(1+R)^-N)/R\rightarrowA
:Disp A, A\rightarrowFrac

To produce this code, first enter the programming interface (push the PRGM button). We’re creating a new program, so select NEW and enter its name (AANGLE, say). Hit enter; we’re editing the new program. Now type PRGM again (this puts us in the PRGM submenu of the programming interface); select I/O (with the “arrow” keys; I/O stands for “Input/Output”) and then select Prompt. The symbols N and R are produced with the ALPHA key in the usual way; the comma is above the 7. The rest of the code follows easily (Disp is of course also found in the I/O submenu).

Now we can forget the formula for a_{n\rceil r} (and never mind the tables in the back of the book). The first thing to notice about this procedure is how doggone easy it is. Indeed, as far as I know, it’s much easier than it would be on a Windows box. It was this easy in DOS (the predecessor to Windows) since BASIC was standard on DOS boxes. Several generations of computer coders have a great deal to answer for.

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  1. It’s still this easy on a Linux box. Easy to use languages such as Python and Perl tend to be installed as standard and many other programming languages are just a command (or click) away.

  2. “… easy on a Linux box.”

    i’m perfectly willing to take this for granted.
    doesn’t do me or my students any good though.

    i haven’t looked at linux in a few years.
    in the early 90’s i installed yggdrasil linux
    at home but gave up pretty quick (i forget why).
    i gave up on red hat a few years later …
    again, at the first sign of trouble (installing a driver
    for the printer … “hello, world” is actually one of the
    *hardest* programs to write …).

    for all i know, a totally naive user (like i’m more or less
    committed to remaining) can actually “plug and play”
    with the current versions … i’ll find out soon.
    in any case, i won’t be able to use it
    in classroom examples until there’s some support
    for this platform from the college.
    i’m betting never.

    thanks for the attention; long live walking randomly.

  3. Hi Vlorbik

    The latest version of Ubuntu Linux is (mostly) plug and play. I used to set days aside for installing a new Linux distribution but now it usually sorts itself out in an hour or so. There are usually minor annoyances left over but nothing to get excited about.

    As for programming in the classroom – I would suggest Python. It’s free, easy to use and powerful – both on Windows and Linux. I am planning on rolling it out more widely at my University and may even offer courses in it if there is sufficient interest (subject to approval from my bosses of course.)

    Coding your formula would be a trivial matter – which is how it should be.

    Best Wishes,
    Mike

  4. followup to this discussion:
    carnival # 46 (near the end).




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