| Andrew Cooke | Contents | Latest | RSS | Twitter | Previous | Next

C[omp]ute

Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

Personal Projects

Lepl parser for Python.

Colorless Green.

Photography around Santiago.

SVG experiment.

Professional Portfolio

Calibration of seismometers.

Data access via web services.

Cache rewrite.

Extending OpenSSH.

Last 100 entries

LPIR - Steganography in Practice; How I Am 6; Clear Explanation of Verizon / Level 3 / Netflix; Teenage Girls; Formalising NSA Attacks; Switching Brakes (Tektro Hydraulic); Naim NAP 100 (Power Amp); AKG 550 First Impressions; Facebook manipulates emotions (no really); Map Reduce "No Longer Used" At Google; Removing RAID metadata; New Bike (Good Bike Shop, Santiago Chile); Removing APE Tags in Linux; Compiling Python 3.0 With GCC 4.8; Maven is Amazing; Generating Docs from a GitHub Wiki; Modular Shelves; Bash Best Practices; Good Emergency Gasfiter (Santiago, Chile); Readings in Recent Architecture; Roger Casement; Integrated Information Theory (Or Not); Possibly undefined macro AC_ENABLE_SHARED; Update on Charges; Sunburst Visualisation; Spectral Embeddings (Distances -> Coordinates); Introduction to Causality; Filtering To Help Colour-Blindness; ASUS 1015E-DS02 Too; Ready Player One; Writing Clear, Fast Julia Code; List of LatAm Novels; Running (for women); Building a Jenkins Plugin and a Jar (for Command Line use); Headphone Test Recordings; Causal Consistency; The Quest for Randomness; Chat Wars; Real-life Financial Co Without ACID Database...; Flexible Muscle-Based Locomotion for Bipedal Creatures; SQL Performance Explained; The Little Manual of API Design; Multiple Word Sizes; CRC - Next Steps; FizzBuzz; Update on CRCs; Decent Links / Discussion Community; Automated Reasoning About LLVM Optimizations and Undefined Behavior; A Painless Guide To CRC Error Detection Algorithms; Tests in Julia; Dave Eggers: what's so funny about peace, love and Starship?; Cello - High Level C Programming; autoreconf needs tar; Will Self Goes To Heathrow; Top 5 BioInformatics Papers; Vasovagal Response; Good Food in Vina; Chilean Drug Criminals Use Subsitution Cipher; Adrenaline; Stiglitz on the Impact of Technology; Why Not; How I Am 5; Lenovo X240 OpenSuse 13.1; NSA and GCHQ - Psychological Trolls; Finite Fields in Julia (Defining Your Own Number Type); Julian Assange; Starting Qemu on OpenSuse; Noisy GAs/TMs; Venezuela; Reinstalling GRUB with EFI; Instructions For Disabling KDE Indexing; Evolving Speakers; Changing Salt Size in Simple Crypt 3.0.0; Logarithmic Map (Moved); More Info; Words Found in Voynich Manuscript; An Inventory Of 3D Space-Filling Curves; Foxes Using Magnetic Fields To Hunt; 5 Rounds RC5 No Rotation; JP Morgan and Madoff; Ori - Secure, Distributed File System; Physical Unclonable Functions (PUFs); Prejudice on Reddit; Recursion OK; Optimizing Julia Code; Cash Handouts in Brazil; Couple Nice Music Videos; It Also Works!; Adaptive Plaintext; It Works!; RC5 Without Rotation (2); 8 Years...; Attack Against Encrypted Linux Disks; Pushing Back On NSA At IETF; Summary of Experimental Ethics; Very Good Talk On Security, Snowden; Locusts are Grasshoppers!; Vagrant (OpenSuse and IDEs); Interesting Take On Mandela's Context; Haskell Cabal O(n^2) / O(n) Fix; How I Am 4

© 2006-2013 Andrew Cooke (site) / post authors (content).

QAMA Calculator - Review

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2012 19:19:30 -0400

I just received my QAMA calculator.  A big thanks to the creators for shipping
to Chile - I know not everyone from the USA will.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about - the QAMA is a calculator that
won't give you the answer to a calculation until you guess "close enough".

http://www.qamacalculator.com/qama/

The main positive is that it does exactly what it's supposed to do: it
requires a guess; the guess has to be close; "close" depends on the
calculation and seems relatively fair (given I am not so great at logs or
factorials).

The negatives are generally small UI details, and probably not too surprising
in a "first release":

 - The buttons are not so sensitive / positive.  Sometimes I am not sure if
   I've pressed something or not; sometimes I'm surprised to find a digit
   missing (and the buttons are not the grey rubber you might expect from the
   photo on the site, but a harder, textured plastic).

 - There's a battery "bulge" along the top of the back.  This makes it easier
   to use (raising the back slightly and making the display - which is not as
   contrasty as some - easier to read).  So maybe it's not a negative.

 - The "del" button deletes where the cursor is.  Perhaps this is normal in
   modern calculators (my old things, that I have had for 20+ years, don't
   display the entire expression and have no way of editing), but it means
   that backspacing on an error takes two key-presses (now that I write this
   it seems so odd I wonder if I have missed something - please post a
   correction if so).

 - The button labelled "1/x" is actually "^-1".  That's not a tautology - it
   requires a different order (1/2 is "2" then "^-1", not "1/x" then "2").
   And while talking of button labels - they are kind of ungainly, or poorly
   spaced, in a way I can't describe, but which reminds me of old web pages
   (something like this blog, except Helvetica...)

 - The "0" and "." are swapped for me (the two calculators I have to hand both
   have the "." to the right of the "0", while the QAMA has the "." to the
   left).  This may be a UK/USA thing.  It is annoying.

And one more "philosophical" objection, which I guess most people will feel is
a positive: if you enable the "cheat" mode (no need to guess) then red lights
on the keyboard flash.  At four different points.  In a random order.  In
locations obviously designed to be difficult to cover if you are an
embarrassed child.

Which, to me, is trying a little too hard.

Now, I don't have kids.  And the people I know with kids all thought this was
a marvellous idea (I guess they don't trust their little darlings any more
than I do).  But - and I know it may sound daft - it changed completely how I
felt about the device: it switched from "fun" to a machine designed to
"improve" the "target" (whether they want improving or not).

Fair enough, I guess.  Hopefully my resentment will fall back and the fun will
return.  Then, if I can find a way to make the buttons press reliably, I hope
to use it more.  It certainly looks cool in a low-tech hi-tech way.

Andrew

PS The screen *is* covered by a plastic peel-off.  It felt very much like I
might be trying to remove an integral part of the display.  Persevere and you
get a scratch-free window...

Comment on this post