Thursday, October 08, 2009

boy do i feel old

my job at the state has me taking waste water classes. they require a certified operator for their water treatment system. i didn't have a calculator since the kids destroyed the last promotional one i received for some convention years ago. the last class i took had loaner calculators. during this first class they said i'll probably need a calculator. calculating the amount of chlorine necessary to treat the water in a ten inch pipe two miles long requires ME to use a calculator. i looked at calculators and decided that i'd spend a few of extra dollars to get a better one that maybe tristan can use in a few years for pre-algebra.

so i got the sharp EL-W516. it was less than twelve dollars and has all the fancy stuff. on to what is making me feel old. this calculator adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides fractions and gives the answer in fractions. A FRACTION... when did they do that? calculator answers used to use the decimal point only. a fractional answer was how they were sure that you knew how to preform the operation.

when did this happen? i guess i realize it has been possible for quite some time but this is crazy. when i took pre-algebra it was the only a few years before that they hadn't allowed calculators in class. logs were still in huge volumes of tables and needed to be looked up and applied. i even learned to use a slide rule because it was a skill that i might still need. what will they do next? or maybe they already have and i have yet to discover it.

i remember when i learned to use my RPN calculator and that felt like cheating, NOW this really feels like cheating. the answer as a fraction, where have i been? i feel like rip-van-winkle.
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