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.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow. i haven't bought one in 20 years (still doing the taxes and such with that one). i remember my mom paid over $200 for one (texas instruments) in the 70's, because it had a square root, and logs. phil has an HP somewhere, tried to convert me once, long ago.

the times they are a-changin'

~teresa (from oakland)

Sarah said...

Hi Karl, I feel the same! I took all my school exams -physics, chemistry and biology using log tables and a slide rule. I bought one at university because I had to do calculus and statistics, but computers as we know them today hadn't even been thought of! Today I use the calculator on the computer to sort out my expenses, but the only other measuring device I use is a tapemeasure for sewing!

warren said...

I've heard of this mysterious thing you call a slide rule...saw it once on tv I think...


Just kidding...glad you found one to suit your needs w/o breaking the bank...

molly said...

LOL, you arent the only one feeling old, our calculations all had to be done in the head in my day!

CatHerder said...

Less than 12 dollars???? I had to get my son a calculator last year (that the school required) and it cost me around 100 dollars..I COULDNT BELIEVE IT! When I was in school, we werent even allowed to use them lol!

Beau said...

Funny... Teresa, I still have a TI calculator from the 1970's that cost around $100+.

I never really used the slide rule but do remember logs... stuff out today makes you shake your head for how much it cost just 10-15 years ago.

kaat said...

Surely not old. You mean old-fashioned. No, old-fashionable. So fashionable. Yes, that's what you mean.

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