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What's Out There for Handheld Math?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the better-than-an-abacus dept.

Education 92

PowerVegetable asks: "What's the story with handheld computation? Not address books and schedule reminders; I'm talking about the type of stuff computers were invented for. Anyone who's used Mathematica or Maple knows what desktop computers are capable of these days math-wise, but handheld computation seems to have fallen behind on the innovation front. Cell phones and handheld game systems have certainly enjoyed rapid advancement, so where are the handheld mathematical portable oracles? What's available that doesn't have obscure menu systems, bad displays, underpowered processors and unwieldy programming languages? Pickings are slim in the hard-coded calculator industry, but what about Pocket PC's or other programmable portables? Is there any portable solution out there that's more capable than my old HP49g?"

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92 comments

Ummm.... (4, Informative)

Hanji (626246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605593)

Ti (Texas Instruments) calculators are quite powerful, especially the Ti-89 and above. 3D graphing, symbolic just about everything, ...

Unless I missed something skimming the post, seems like a good solution...

Re:Ummm.... (1)

xWeston (577162) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605697)

The TI-89 has decent functionality but it is still rather slow. Even when doing integrals/approximations it can bog down.

The 3d graphing is also terribly slow.

Re:Ummm.... (0)

Azadre (632442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606071)

The 89 is speedy compared to its predecessors though. If you find yourself using an 89 and you complain it doesn't solve your integrals fast enough, you should do it by the ol' pen and pad and see which one you'd prefer.

Re:Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606364)

whatever you idiot...

Its faster than something even less like what you want.. and it is better than doing everything by hand..

Re:Ummm.... (1)

drix (4602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7618545)

That's why you overclock [ticalc.org] it.

I swear, nerds are going to be overclocking their vacuum cleaners one day...

Re:Ummm.... (2, Insightful)

Bruce Hollebone (22155) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605819)

You are.

Calculators are all very well, but I want something that can do symbolic manipulation, stats, graphing, data logging & manipulation (ie {(x1,y1)...(xn,yn) -> (a1,b1)...(am,bm)}, where n=/=m. See, I can't even write something that simple properly). I want my input device to be a pen, not a billion buttons whose functions I cannot decode without a manual four times the size of the device itself.

It doesn't need to be super-fancy. B&W is fine, but some graphics would be nice.

At the moment, the best solution fo me is a small paper notebook. Is there an electronic device which can replace my notebook?

Re:Ummm.... (3, Informative)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606694)

The TI 92 is like a portable computer. Symbolic manipulation? Check. Indefinite integration? Done. graphing? Yes. The thing has a qwerty keyboard underneath the display. The 89 is essentially a 92 in regular TI style. I can't recall which language you program the both in, but I'd imagine it has the standard TI BASIC at least. The UI is menu based, similar to the TI 85/86 with more visual description.

Since its got a keyboard, you won't have to look up many key functions, unless you have a hard time with the alphabet.

Re:Ummm.... (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607368)

Actually what you do with Ti calculators is put your commonly used functions (Sumation, Integration, Derivation, etc) into your custom menu, then calling it up is only two keys away, one for custom menu, the second for it's numeric quick-key =) Spelling functions out does not work most of the time as the functions are called by an internal symbol which is represented by a human readable lable. The biggest problem with the Ti92/89 is that their CPU is DOG slow. The best solution I have seen is to run a Ti-89 emulator on a linux and ARM based handheld, of course then you lose all the nice hard buttons only to have them replaced by slow software buttons. My solution was to just take the laptop to class with Maple once the Ti-89 got unbearably slow.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

lylum (659581) | more than 10 years ago | (#7617706)

The TI89/92 can be programmed with TI Basic and Assembler.
But as somebody mentioned other compilers are available.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608515)

I've completely replaced paper notebooks in my life with a PDA and have been doing so for the last 3 years. I take all of my notes on my PDA, do my math on it, etc. Even if I'm just doing the calculations myself, writing them out, I do it in a notes app on the PDA- I can edit my writings in a far cleaner way.

To each his own though- I know a ton of people who love the way paper feels above all else. And that's fine, but not for me. You can't grep a dead tree.

Joy, envy, demanding details (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610435)

You seem to have achieved geek nirvana. Inquiring minds want to know all about your hardware, OS, applications, etc.

Re:Joy, envy, demanding details (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7616370)

OK, this post may be long. I've had a number of iterations of hardware, OS and apps over the years, but I'll give a couple of them to you with some comments.

1st Gen:
The first iteration of my paper-less setup was a Newton MP2100, keyboard, 8 MB flash card, and 3com ethernet card. I owned 3 other PDAs before this (Newton OMP, MP120/OS 1.3, and a VTech Helio running Linux), though none of them were this good. In most ways, this Newton was still the best PDA I've ever had. It was by far the best PDA I had for taking notes. Any PDA has notetaking software that let allow you to sketch the notes rather than only enter text. A decent PDA will have software that allows you to mix text and sketches in the same note. But only the Newton allowed you to write your notes in text or sketches in the same note, and allow some of those sketches to be searchable, just like the text stuff. Naturally, some sketched things aren't recognizable, but there were times where I wanted to enter something in text mode for one reason or another, but still be represented as text if need be.

There is also the convenience of being able to manipulate your text and drawings; the Newton takes input as Text (typed, recognized, Graffiti, etc), Ink Text (treated like text, but your handwriting is retained), Sketches (just drawings), and Shapes (vector graphics). It was normal to enter a graph in Shapes mode, and if I needed to make one axis longer or something, I could easily just pull it out, without warping the rest of the drawing. It's great not to have to use an eraser, but just to select and move, delete, modify your drawings and writings.

Built-in Newton OS Notes all > Built-in PocketPC Notes app > IQNotes for the Zaurus (Unfortunately the best notes app for the Zaurus)

And that's a logarithmic scale. No joke.

I did a little experiment when I first started taking my notes on the Newton- I made my class notes from General Biology I [umn.edu] available online. All taken on my Newton.

The Newton was also the most powerful PDA in other ways unrelated to notes. It was a hackers dream- it was a fully object oriented system, and with a debugging/inspecting tool like ViewFrame, you could explore the entire system by taking a trip through Object Wonderland. :) For instance, I used a spreadsheet app called QuickFigure Works. Like any spreadsheet, it has functions; and like any spreadsheet, invarably there are functions I wished I had but didn't. On most platforms, you'd be stuck with defining it in the terms of existing spreadsheet functions, on a desktop system you would have a BASIC scripting language, though. On the Newton you had access to NewtonScript, something far more powerful and elegant. The original authors didn't intend me to do this, but with the power of NewtonScript at my disposal, I simply opened up a view on the QuickFigure Works app, had a look around and found the array of available spreadsheet functions. I then just added a new one, writing the body in NewtonScript. I could make a proper package out of it later if I wanted to, to make the addition permanent, or to share with others.

The beauty of that is that I could do that without having explicit support from the author of the app itself- it was just a feature of an extensively dynamic, consistent, introspective, reflective and just plain cool OO system.

2nd Gen:
Then I went to Windows CE. My girlfriend told me it wouldn't work, but I was determined- while the Newton was powerful (162 MHz StrongARM CPU in the days when the fastest PocketPC was still 206 MHz- and I could upgrade the Newton to 220 if I wanted) and very capable, I wanted to run Squeak Smalltalk, [squeak.org] my programming weapon of choice. A port to the NewtonOS would be very hard for a number of reasons. It was tried, but never made it to fruition. So I wanted a WinCE machine, which could run Squeak.

I first bought an iPAQ 3150. It was the first PDA I've had that was so small- including the screen. After a few months of using it, I found out a number of things including: CalliGrapher HWR is very good, even better in some ways than the Newton's HWR; a 3.5" 240x320 screen is too damn small; it really is nice to have a smaller device that you can afford to have with you all of the time (as opposed to huge boat like the Newton); and WinCE is a lot better than I was led to believe. For notes, whether I was sketching them or entering text with Calligrapher HWR, the screen was too small. Oftentimes I could only get one word on the horizontal axis.

But being used to a larger device with a bigger screen and higher res, I went searching again. Eventually I found the Jornada 720. It had a bigger (640x240) screen and a *real* keyboard. No thumboard like the SL-5x00 or C7x0 Zaurii, but something you could touch type on. The J720 soon became my primary computer, using it for all of my email, web browsing, coding, SSH/telnet'ing, etc etc at home, while my girlfriend got use of my iBook. It was great to have a primary computer small enough that I could actually have it with me at almost all times- wasn't huge like a laptop, but with a bigger screen and real keyboard, the J720 cut it as laptop replacement, PDA, and digital notepad.

3rd Gen:
And then I got me a Zaurus SL-5500. It was a dark day in my PDA world, and ended up being an aborted effort. I had sold it within a month of first buying it. This was by far the worst PDA I've owned as far as taking notes- even the 1993 Newton OMP blew it out of the water. At a conference where I was presenting my PDA operating system/environment research, I ended up winning a Dell Axim, which confirmed my feelings about small screens and notetaking.

And then I got a Zaurus C760. I was very disapointed that it still really blows for taking notes. For this semester, I've had to take my backup Newton MP2000 (I sold the good MP2100 setup a while back) to class with me for taking notes. There just is not any half-way decent notetaking option for the Zaurus. There are good apps for pure text, lots of them. But those are pretty damn easy to write, especially compared to a dual-mode app. There is IQNotes, which is easily the best thing the Zaurus has for the native Qtopia environment- but still something I was able to beat with only two hours of coding in Dynapad [sf.net] on Squeak [squeak.org]. I'm very close to creating a very good notes (by my harsh standards) for Dynapad that would run on the Zaurus, WinCE/PocketPCs and soon hopefully PalmOS. .. The other part of the equation which makes the C760 or any Zaurus a horrible platform for notes is the complete lack of handwriting recognition (no, the very innacurate character/stroke recognition is not real HWR or even good enough to replace Jot/Graffiti). There really is no good software method of entering text that I discovered, although if you were really good at Fitaly you may be well off. The keyboard is really a thumboard, not a touch-typer like on the Jornada 720.

The most recent whack I've had at the no-paper life is the japan-only Sigmarion III. [conics.net] In a word, this thing is bitching. Like the Jornada 720, it has a real keyboard. And it can run real HWR- Calligrapher. It runs all of the almost Unix-ish tools I need- GNU Maxima, Emacs, ftpd, ssh, vnc, perl/tk and even X11 if I want. The notable exception for me is GNU Octave, but I'm working on that.

Taknog notes has worked very well so far. I've been using derago's dNote [derago.com]. It looks like it's modeled after the Newton's notes app, but it's not quite as good. The biggest thing missing is a sketch/text note combo- you have to pick between one or the other. Not usually a big deal, but still. That problem should be rememdied by my own app very soon.

Re:Joy, envy, demanding details (1)

jafuser (112236) | more than 10 years ago | (#7621149)

A very informative post =) Thanks for the info.

I've noticed that doing sketches on PDAs always looks like a 6-year old's drawings. I wonder if it's because the drawing surface of the PDA doesn't have any friction like a piece of paper would. Even attempting to draw with a mouse in a paint application tends to yield the same results.

One thing I did notice that helps is if you draw while in magnification mode, and then draw everything large, it doesn't look quite so kindergardenish when it's scaled back down.

The only time I've experienced a good electronic sketching input system is with the drawing tablets that artists use. I still have an old one in my storage somewhere, but I would have little use for it these days on my desktop PC.

I wonder why some of the PDA makers don't do some R&D into why sketches look so much better from tablets than they do with the typical stylus.

Random responses (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624824)

The first iteration of my paper-less setup was a Newton MP2100, keyboard, 8 MB flash card, and 3com ethernet card. I owned 3 other PDAs before this...
Gah. The MP2100 came out after I gave up on the Newton platform. If it had come out sooner, I'd probably be one of those people who won't accept that the Newton will never come back. Then again, if the MP2100 had come out sooner, the Newton might not have gone away.
I wanted to run Squeak Smalltalk, my programming weapon of choice.
Double Gah. I'm constantly tempted to get into Squeak because I'm already into Wikis, and Swiki [gatech.edu] is the Wiki that most intrigues me. But I simply don't have time to learn another programming language. Except I used to know Smalltalk 80, and Squeak couldn't be that much different, so ... No! NO! Retro me, Satanas!

I find it interesting that you seem to prefer PDAs with proper keyboards, but still give a system extra points if it runs -- and has a screen big enough to use -- Calligrapher. Have you considered a tablet PC?

tsarkon reports ODE to a YODAN URN. Fuck You. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605612)

9 steps to greasing your anus for Yoda Doll Insertion!
v 3.95.0
$YodaBSD: src/release/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/yodanotes/9steppro cess.sgml,v 3.95.0 2003/12/01 13:25:25 tsarkon Exp $
  1. Defecate. Preferably after eating senna, ex lax, prunes, cabbage, pickled eggs, and Vietnamese chili garlic sauce. Defecation could be performed in the Return of the Jedi wastebasket for added pleasure. [homestead.com]
  2. Wipe ass with witch hazel, soothes horrific burns. (Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda can use witch-hazel on mouth to soothe the horrific burns from performing so much analingus.)
  3. Prime anus with anal ease. [dimout.com] (Now Cherry Flavored for those butthole lick-o-phillic amongst you - very popular with 99% of the Slashdotting public!)
  4. Slather richly a considerable amount of Vaseline and/or other anal lubricants into your rectum at least until the bend and also take your Yoda Doll [starwars-rpg.net] , Yoda Shampoo bottle [homestead.com] or Yoda soap-on-a-rope [homestead.com] and liberally apply the lubricants to the Doll/Shampoo/Soap-on-a-rope.
  5. Pucker your balloon knot several times actuating the sphincter muscle in order to work it in.
  6. Put a nigger do-rag [firstlinemfg.com] on Yoda's head so the ears don't stick out like daggers!
  7. Make sure to have a mechanism by which to fish Yoda out of your rectum, the soap on the rope is especially useful because the retrieval mechanism is built in. [homestead.com]
  8. Slowly rest yourself onto your Yoda figurine. Be careful, he's big! [starwars-rpg.net]
  9. Gyrate gleefully in your computer chair while your fat sexless geek nerd loser fat shit self enjoys the prostate massage you'll be getting. Think about snoodling [urbandictionary.com] with the Sarlaac pit. Read Slashdot. Masturbate to anime. Email one of the editors hoping they will honor you with a reply. Join several more dating services - this time, you don't check the (desired - speaks English) and (desired - literate). You figure you might get a chance then. Order some fucking crap from Think Geek. Get Linux to boot on a Black and Decker Appliance. Wish you could afford a new computer. Argue that IDE is better than SCSI because you can't afford SCSI. Make claims about how Linux rules. Compile a kernel on your 486SX. Claim to hate Windows but use it for Everquest. Admire Ghyslain's courage in making that wonderful star wars movie. Officially convert to the Jedi religion. Talk about how cool Mega Tokyo is. Try and make sure you do your regular 50 story submissions to Slashdot, all of which get rejected because people who aren't fatter than CowboyNeal can't submit. Fondle shrimpy penis while making a Yoda voice and saying, use the force [toysrgus.com], padawan, feeel the foooorce [toysrgus.com], hurgm. Yes. Yes. When 900 years you reach [lemonparty.org], a dick half as big you will not have. [toysrgus.com]
All in a days work with a Yoda figurine rammed up your ass.

I HAVE A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS!

GO LINUX!!

Tux is the result after trimming Yoda's ears off so that Lunix people don't rip themselves a new Asshole

What you can do with you ass after sitting on a GREASED UP YODA DOLL. [theadultpress.com]

y______________________________YODA_ANUS [goatse.cx]
o_________________.'_:__`.________________y
d____________.-.'`.__;___.'`.-.___________o
a___________/_:____\_;__/____;_\__________d
s_,'__""--.:__;".-.";:_:".-.":__;.--""__`,a
e_:'_`.t""--.._'/@.`;___',@\`_..--""j.'_`;s
x______`:-.._J_'-.-'L___`--_'_L_..-;'_____e
________"-.___;__.-"__"-.__:___.-"________x
y____________L_'_/.------.\_'_J___________y
o_____________"-.___"--"___.-"____________o
d______________.l"-:_TR_;-";._____________d
a_________.-j/'.;__;""""__/_.'\"-.________a
s_______v.'_/:`._"-.:_____.-"_.';__`.v____s
e____.-"__/_;__"-._"-..-"_.-"__:____"-.___e
x_.+"-.__:_:______"-.__.-"______;-.____\__x
_v;_\__`.;_; I Yoda Have A _____:_:_"+._;_
y_:__;___;_;_Greased Up ME In __:_;__:_\:_y
o_;__:___;_:_MY ASS! This Goes__;:___;__:_o
d:_\__;__:__; On FOREVER!______:_;__/__::_d

- Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Take your ass grease pills and put your helmet on - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Commencing countdown, engines on - Check ignition and may God's love shove up you - Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Shove Up - This is Ground Control to Yoda Doll - You've really made the grade - And the papers want to know whose butts you tear - Now it's time to leave the suppository if you dare - This is Yoda Doll to Ground Control - I'm stepping through the door - And I'm stinking in a most peculiar way - And the ass look very different today - For here am I sitting in an ass can - Far inside the butt - My face is turning blue - And there's nothing I can do - Though I'm past one hundred thousand bowels - I'm feeling very still - And I think my buttship knows which way to go - Tell my wife I ream her very much, she knows" - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you....- Here am I floating in my ass can - Far inside his Moon - My face is turning blue - And there's nothing I can do.

I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
and to the Republic for which it shoves,
one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
with anal lube and ass grease for all.


hello.mpeg lyrics.
I'm doin' this tonight ,
You're probably gonna start a fight .
I know this can't be right .
Hey baby come on,
I loved you endlessly ,
When you weren't there for me.
So now it's time to leave and make it alone .
I know that I can't take no more
It ain't no lie
I wanna see you out that door
Baby , bye, bye, bye...

A picture of your ass after YODA. [bmezine.com]

Re:tsarkon reports ODE to a YODAN URN. Fuck You. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605667)

Ok. I have had enough of this "yoda doll" bullshit. Your AC will not protect you. I will find out where you are then WHO you are and then the anonymity of the 'net will no longer protect you. I am an uber hacker. I will find you. I will stand with you toe to toe, face to face and you will be beaten. I will rape your ass. You will die. This is a serious death threat.

Re:tsarkon reports ODE to a YODAN URN. Fuck You. (0, Troll)

maihadi (589526) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606347)

Ouch, should this really be something you post? Somebody should run a trace on you bud.

I AM YODA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605724)



And NO I will not grease myself up and go up your ass. I am a heterosexual jedi [captainstabbin.com]. Elf Tyler [bbc.co.uk] is just waiting for me to plug her in the ass with my "lightsaber" [bangbus.com] (wink wink). She gurgles my Jedi come. Gosh, moderators have no sense of humor. And no, BSD [formetopoopon.com] is not dea...*slump*

yoda let me hear about you and yaddle tsarkon (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606625)

How is sex with yaddle? do you fuck her good?
Tell me some stories about yaddle's pussy.
I really want to know how yoda doll pumps yaddle's pussy hard and fingers her tri-pronged clitoris.
Yeah,tell me some yoda yaddle stories green man, let the force fly against the wall.

Nigger do rag??!?!?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606153)

Classic.

A market of one does not constitute a true market (0, Offtopic)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605624)

You're pissing in the wind here. As was already said, the TI calculators out now are pretty powerful and can do just about anything you'd want to do in a small package.

If you really want a port of Mathematica to a Pocket PC, then you're going to have to pony up the costs to Wolfram. They aren't going to do it when there isn't any market for it.

Re:A market of one does not constitute a true mark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606076)

As other posts are bearing out, you're just plain wrong. There is indeed a happy middle ground. Sorry.

Mathematica and Zaurus (4, Informative)

arcadum (528303) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605658)

i've been using Mathematica on my zaurus for a while know... here is where I learned about it. [poliplus.com]

Re:Mathematica and Zaurus (1)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605688)

Talk about shameless plugs for craplications. At least you should say adpost in your URL link.

Re:Mathematica and Zaurus (1)

pauldy (100083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608415)

Talk about misleading this is almost as bad as those goatsex trolls. Most of the programs on this site are worthless to 99.99% of people.

Re:Mathematica and Zaurus (2, Informative)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608505)

pffft, lame.

I came pretty close to buying F1, but never did. It looks nice, but doesn't have all of the features that Maxima or Octave have, both or one of which you can get easily and free for Windows CE/PocketPC or Zaurus handhelds. It sure as hell is far away from being Mathematica...

Easycalc for Palm Pilots (2, Informative)

the_truk_stop (448393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605893)

I've found Easycalc [sourceforge.net] for Palm OS to be a small-yet-powerful package.

Re:Easycalc for Palm Pilots (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606205)

Easycalc is good, but without scripts and a mathematics keypad, it is nothing compared to my 83+, let alone my 89. In terms of speed, it depends on the machine. 200 mhz sony clie TG50 OS5. I wish palm pilots had FPUs, lol. So far the best machine for math is a laptop or an 89.

Re:Easycalc for Palm Pilots (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608297)

Easycalc is good, but without scripts and a mathematics keypad, it is nothing compared to my 83+, let alone my 89.

Well, there's also LyME [calerga.com], and Mathpad [palmblvd.com]. Not exactly Mathematica or Matlab or Maple, but if you really need that kind of power you should carry a laptop with you...

LyME - Matlab for Palm (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7616555)


but without scripts and a mathematics keypad, it is nothing compared to my 83+, let alone my 89.

Another reply to your post mentioned it; I'll add my two cents: I run LyME [calerga.com] on my Palm IIIxe.

I love it. For most stuff, it's perfectly adequate, and it's really great having much of Matlab in your back pocket with everything else that a well-used PDA carries.

I use my little old Palm for everything. Replying to e-mail (Eudora for Palm) on the PDA during downtime somewhere requires a keyboard. As such, I have it available for LyME, and generally whip it out anywhere I need more computing power than my Casio FX-991MS or TI-30XIIB. (Tangent: The Casio has *much* more features than the TI, but the TI feels more like the engineers who designed it actually use it.)

Anyway, there are two flaws I've found with LyME in my daily use, and I'm picky. Big calculations will appear to crash the Palm, but control is eventually returned (unless your function or script is faulty). More pressingly, however, I'm probably missing how to put axis on plots. axis doesn't appear to do it, and it's really hard to look at a graph where the x and y values aren't labelled!

Sometimes it feels slow. But that's the trade-off I make for having an old Palm - long battery life, and I'm not out $300+ if something happens to it.

Otherwise, I love it. Vectorizing data and using your own functions against it makes data entry dead easy in the field even using Graffiti; I can be done a calculation while someone else is still digging a notebook computer out of a briefcase.

Symbolic Calculator (5, Informative)

timdaly (539918) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605964)

Maxima, a general purpose computer algebra system runs on the zaurus. Yacas, another computer algebra system runs on the zaurus. Axiom is coming shortly (once the glibc issue gets resolved). Octave runs on the zaurus. These are open source, freely available, research quality computer algebra systems. More are on the way.

Re:Symbolic Calculator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7607235)

Can I run GAP on a Zaurus?

Re:Symbolic Calculator (1)

Alexander Hulpke (144165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7614564)

I don't see a reason why not -- as long as you have a gcc it should compile fine. However you'll need about minimum 40MB or so disk space and 32MB user workspace (after the operating system).
I know that some people at least tried to use it on a Zaurus, but I don't know whether they succeeded; you might want to post to the gap-forum mailing list to see whether anyone out there has succeeded with this already.

OT: Aussie schools list "authorised" Calculators!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606110)


It can't be too dumb... or too smart...
but "just right" to be used in South
Australian school exams.

Here's a list of calculators "approved"
by the State Education Dep't (the one
whose name seems to change more often
than the government... ;-)

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=cache:Vx71zHjxfO oJ:www.ssabsa.sa.edu.au/docs/ssabsadocs/cbull-2003 -1.pdf+%22approved+calculators%22+sa&hl=en&ie=UTF- 8

http://www.gihs.sa.edu.au/Instructions%20for%20Stu dents%20IB%20SACE%20Finall%202003.pdf

http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~kissane/gcauthorit ies.htm

http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/vce/bulletin/2003/Octob er/html/buloctober6.htm

http://www2.fhs.usyd.edu.au/ess/orr/UG%20Manager/U se%20of%20Calculators%20in%20Examinations.doc

http://www.latrobe.edu.au/mathstats/maths/current/ graphic_calculators_03.pdf

http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/manuals/calcu lators_hsc03.html

http://www.curriculum.wa.edu.au/files/pdf/111494_1 .pdf

Re:OT: Aussie schools list "authorised" Calculator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606568)

Dude. slashdot puts in erroneus linebreaks.
you have to use:
<a href="http://somewhere.com/">http://somewhere.com/ </a>
None of your links are useable or cut an pasteable. This looks better too:
http://somewhere.com/ [somewhere.com]

By the way, the space Between http://somwhere.com/ &
</a>
was put there by slashcode.

gee. (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606172)

If the HP 49G+ is insufficient for your handheld computation needs, you're in a really unusual position. What exactly are you wanting your calculator to do?

Re:gee. (3, Informative)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606289)

If the HP 49G+ is insufficient for your handheld computation needs, you're in a really unusual position. What exactly are you wanting your calculator to do?

He said 49G, no +. The 49G+ is pretty good though. 75-MHz 32-bit ARM9 CPU, 2.5-MB of RAM, and an SD card port, which can hold more than 512-MB. Anything handheld with more power would be called a PDA. And, after you get it, download my library [earthlink.net] of 116 additional functions for it.

Re:gee. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7606426)

He was using the 49g as a standard for comparison, without any indication that it is inadequate. To the contrary, he is challenging PDA's to achieve, let alone exceed, its capabilities.

Re:gee. (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608584)

He linked to the 49G+'s page when he was saying that dedicated calculators offered only slim pickings; that's why I referenced it. Of course, the 49G does just about everything the 49G+ does, it just takes 3x the time to do it.

Derive on HP 200LX (1)

CaptKilljoy (687808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606267)

The closest thing to what what he's looking for is the DOS version of Derive [ti.com] running on the Hewlett-Packard HP200LX [daniel-hertrich.de], a 80186 (not a typo) based DOS handheld. (A bit of searching should turn up a demo.)

Derive for DOS is old and the interface is a bit clunky (compared to Maple or Mathematica), but it beat the tar out of a HP48. Heck, on a 200LX, it's probably still the best and most usable symbolic math package in something approaching the size of a scientific calculator. (Though that may be changing with the availablity of source code for systems like Axiom and Maxmima.)

Re:Derive on HP 200LX (1)

Mad Marlin (96929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606346)

The closest thing to what what he's looking for is the DOS version of Derive running on the Hewlett-Packard HP200LX, a 80186 (not a typo) based DOS handheld. (A bit of searching should turn up a demo.)

The CAS used on the TI-89, TI-92, etc., is Derive.

Re:Derive on HP 200LX (2, Interesting)

CaptKilljoy (687808) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610510)

The CAS used on the TI-89, TI-92, etc., is Derive.

Interesting, I didn't know that. I always wondered why TI bought out those guys.

Still, I believe that the HP 200LX+Derive combo is superior to the 68k based TIs because of greater RAM and a better display, not to mention the integrated PIM software (which was very good for its time) and DOS compatibility of the 200LX.

It's a pity Derive never came out for Palm or WinCE.

Whatever happened to the 80186? (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610520)

I used to work for Convergent Technologies, which made 80186 systems running a proprietary OS [cs.uu.nl]. This is the first time I've heard of an 80186 DOS system. I've often wondered why the industry basically skipped that processor.

Re:Whatever happened to the 80186? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7613565)

The 80186 was extremely popular-- for embedded applications. The 186 was basically an 8086 with a few extra instructions, but it required far fewer support chips than other processors. PC builders preferred the 286 because they wanted performance and protected mode support and weren't as constrained by expense and space.

Re:Whatever happened to the 80186? (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7615134)

I've spotted 80186 chips manufactured as late as 1992...Pulled one out of a concentrator expansion board a few weeks ago, saw "C80186" on the chip, and was like WTF?

but it's true. very popular for embedded apps.

Re:Whatever happened to the 80186? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624037)

It's because IBM screwed up when they designed the BIOS for the IBM PC. If you look at the Intel 8086/8088 data book, Intel reserved some of the interrupt vectors for future use. IBM used some of these reserved vectors in their BIOS. This caused problems for IBM PC compatible computers based on later Intel chips, which used some of the reserved vectors.

ti-89? (2, Informative)

aggieben (620937) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606299)

Good grief, man. Of all the things you said you wanted, what can't be done on a ti-89 or an hp49g (or whatever it is...I'm a ti-89 guy...can't stand postfix notation.)

Having said that, there's a nice open source clone of matlab out there called octave. You might be able to run it on a zaurus running linux or something.

TI-89 Reprazent (1)

BSDevil (301159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606716)

Enough said. I have yet to meet math that I need to do that, after suitable prodding, my TI-89 has been unable to calculate for me.

Re:TI-89 Reprazent (1)

BizDiz (723499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610419)

Well, to be fair, you probably haven't done much math past the most introductory university level then. Exterior Calculus, Abstract Algebra, Real and Complex Analysis, PDE's, etc.

Re:ti-89? (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606988)

You do realize that the 49G can operate in algebraic mode, don't you?

In fact, the documentation is written entirely assuming algebraic mode, enraging engineers and other professionals who had used HP calculators for years...

As far as the state of 'handheld math' goes, (4, Funny)

Mordant (138460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606300)

I can add and subtract numbers less than or equal to ten with no problems!

Big deal. I can count higher. (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607948)

For handheld math, I can go all the way up to 31. For handsheld math, I can go all the way up to 1023.

Re:As far as the state of 'handheld math' goes, (5, Funny)

Ratbert42 (452340) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608477)

Learn binary math. I can do 10-bit and sometimes 20-bit math (or even 21-bit if it's not too cold).

Re:As far as the state of 'handheld math' goes, (1)

fliptout (9217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7620511)

And if it does get cold, have your girlfriend perform 22-bit math :D

Linux + Handheld (1)

demmegod (620100) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606393)

I don't get it... Don't they make PDAs powered by Linux... and don't they make math programs for Unix....? What's the problem?

Re:Linux + Handheld (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608560)

Just because you can recompile some math app for the Z doesn't mean it's the best option. You can target Octave for the Zaurus, but it's a pain in the ass to use without any sort of interface created specifically for a handheld.

No wonder... it's this kind of attitude that seems to convince people that recompiling is taking a port far enough- no wonder there are more good Unix adaptations for WinCE than there are for the Zaurus. :P

I know of three for the Zaurus.... (2, Informative)

Trelane (16124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606403)

Calculon [handango.com] (does 2d&3d charts and also allows you to change variables to see how it affects things, etc. I don't think it integrates, although I may be wrong)

Formulae 1 [handango.com] (for writing formulae and recording 'em; I don't think it does a whole lot of calculations, but I could be wrong. Note that it requires Java)

Finally, there's QPlot, which is essentially a frontend to bc.

Good question (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7606916)

In particular, is there any system for math
handwriting recognition. Something which could
interpret definite integrals, norms of matrices,
and ideally more sophisticated things like
group-theoretical and topological notations.

Re:Good question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7607277)

Math handwriting recognition? So it would have to be able to distinguish aleph, upper and lower case chi, upper and lower case x, cross product... ummm, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for this. Depending on who is writing, humans often will have a hard time at math handwriting recognition. Ask any math professor who has to grade homework.

Re:Good question (1)

BizDiz (723499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610442)

Math professor who has to grade homework? Where are you taking math? More like miserable undergrad who has to grade homework.

Handheld Math Device of Choice (3, Funny)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607194)

Depending upon my whim and need for accuracy past a few decimal points, either my Pickett Microline 120 [ozmanor.com] or my TI SR-40 [devidts.com].

Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I am an old fart. Why do you ask?

Re:Handheld Math Device of Choice (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7616476)


either my Pickett Microline 120 or my TI SR-40.

Ah, the murderer and its victim, reunited in your desk drawer.

I do my handheld crunching with an assortment:

  • Pickett N3T, retrofitted with a magnifying cursor off one of the xx-MES series (because my arm is getting shorter)
  • Ecobra 1461 for trig in degrees
  • Texas Instruments TI-30XII for routine stuff (love the keyboard, display, and one-touch variables)
  • Casio FX-991MS for matrices and systems of equations with too much nasty stuff to do by hand, vector features come in handy when I'm too tired to take a cross product (though why they didn't allow you to enter vectors in cartesian form using the brackets and comma key is beyond me - don't think any of Casio's engineers use the thing, they just designed it to do what the marketing department told them it should do)
  • Palm IIIxe with LyME [calerga.com] - Matlab in your pocket! Need the external keyboard so that you don't go crazy trying to write a function in Graffiti

Re:Handheld Math Device of Choice (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7626059)

So BigBlockMopar sez:

"either my Pickett Microline 120 or my TI SR-40.

Ah, the murderer and its victim, reunited in your desk drawer."

Well, desktop, actually. As for murderer, the culprit would be the HP-35, not my T.I. SR-40. T.I. wishes they were the first.

I need to get a battery and chager for my 35 one of these days.

I also do need to get a better slide rule. The Pickett is just fine, but after all, it IS just a Microline.

Thanks for the tip about LyME! That's a new one to me.

Re:Handheld Math Device of Choice (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7636048)


Well, desktop, actually. As for murderer, the culprit would be the HP-35, not my T.I. SR-40. T.I. wishes they were the first.

I know, I know. I wasn't being brand-specific. Pickett was still in business until at least 2000 (selling drafting rulers, etc.). And it wasn't the TI which killed the sliderule, just the scientific calculator in general.

I need to get a battery and chager for my 35 one of these days.

Good luck. I've never had an HP-35; if the battery is pretty easy (in shape and voltage), then you should be able to build a charger for it pretty easily. But, if I were you, I'd be looking for the original, for the same reason that I just spent $300 putting new bearings, gaskets and belts into my 1954 Maytag washing machine (well, not just that it's pretty, but I don't think $300 - or even $1000 - would buy me a new washer that would clean my dirty underwear for 49 years and need nothing more than 2 belts).

I also do need to get a better slide rule. The Pickett is just fine, but after all, it IS just a Microline.

The official slide rule of the Apollo Space Program was the Pickett N600-MES, which were standard equipment on all Apollo missions. Yup, a Microline has been on the moon. Several of 'em, presumably one for each lunar landing.

Big sliderules aren't necessarily such a great thing, for the same reason as I'm not a big fan of calculators or CAD: Fewer significant figures forces you to round up or down during calculations - up on forces, down on material strength. It's interesting how Maytag stopped building washers like mine when CAD and the computer-driven practicality of finite element analysis allowed them to optimize the design to within an inch of its life.

Thanks for the tip about LyME! That's a new one to me.

My pleasure! Glad to help.

Meditor for Java, Midp and Palm (1)

kanenas (172422) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607297)

Others said EasyCalc which is a very good calculator for Palm's. If you want symbolic capabilities check Meditor. It is portable without losing any symbolic features.
http://www.sf.net/projects/jscl-meditor

Description from the sf project:

java symbolic computing library and mathematical editor, with : polynomial system solving, vectors & matrices, factorization, derivatives, integrals (rational functions), boolean algebra, simplification, MathML output, java code generation

kanenas

Things you could try... (0)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607814)

Porting Octave to your Palm or equivalent (if it's not already done)

Or, you could try developing something specific to what you are going to do...

I guess the main problem is typing (as opposed to a calculator, with lots of keys)

Discrete Maths and more - Pari/GP (4, Informative)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607847)

http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/

It's a bit like Mathematica, but faster, GPL'ed and amazingly well supported (i.e. bugs get fixed within days of reporting).

YAW.

Re:Discrete Maths and more - Pari/GP (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608540)

Runs on WinCE/PocketPC PDAs as well as the Zaurus (and other Linux PDAs).

Not just for handhelds (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610402)

Portability would seem to be a design goal. I'm downloading the Windows binary as we speak. There are also notes on running it on Mac (both 9 and X).

Re:Discrete Maths and more - Pari/GP (2, Insightful)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610732)

When you say that it is a bit like Mathematica, what exactly do you mean? When you say it is a bit like Mathematica, do you just mean that it's a math app, and Mathematica is your only frame of reference? Or do they have similar strengths or syntax?

From my understanding, Pari/GP's concentration is number theory where Mathematica's is symbolic computation.

I have used Matlab/Octave, Mathematica, and Maxima but never Pari/GP and I'm curious what Pari/GP can do. I've the most experience with Matlab/Octave, and at least right now, there isn't a good Octave environment for either Linux or WinCE PDAs, so I am thinking of learning Maxima, as there is a good environment for it on WinCE at least (but not Linux PDAs ... yet!). But if Pari/GP would be able to do the stuff I need- matrices, eigens, some symbolic manipulation, etc- and be better than Maxmia in other ways I may consider using it instead.

Re:Discrete Maths and more - Pari/GP (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624414)

heheh, put it this way, when I used Mma, (and I still ahve it here), all I sued if for was it's number-theoretic functionality, which I found to be superior (either in functionality or usability) to Maple, MathCad, Octave, and Maxima, which I uninstalled after only brief mucking around.

I appreciate that I probably never even looked at 90% of mathematica (although when bored I would sometimes just browse the manuals and run the examples).

Pari/GP is certainly more number-theoretic based. Pari/GP will do symbolic computation to a limited extent, but Mma is incomparably more competant. I didn't know what the OP was after, but the most common things I see newbies on newsgroups ask about is arbitrary precision computation, sin, cos, bessels, stuff like that, and stuff outside the reals - complex, matrix, polynomial etc.
That's where GP and Mma overlap quite a bit.

Matrices? Eigenvalues - sure:

(03:28) gp > m=[1,2,3;4,5,6;7,8,0]
%1 =
[1 2 3]
[4 5 6]
[7 8 0]

(03:28) gp > m^-1
%2 =
[-16/9 8/9 -1/9]
[14/9 -7/9 2/9]
[-1/9 2/9 -1/9]

(03:28) gp > mateigen(m)
%3 =
[-0.3142480469693890687437828696 8.027583885419092951566794272 0.4684823433684779353588067792]
[-0.4418467016799 187378123492531 -7.072683880042621318876020258 1.105439672631630965779278602]
[1 1 1]

But let's get funky and have the matrix as a space over Z/17Z:

(03:28) gp > Mod(m,17)
%4 =
[Mod(1, 17) Mod(2, 17) Mod(3, 17)]
[Mod(4, 17) Mod(5, 17) Mod(6, 17)]
[Mod(7, 17) Mod(8, 17) Mod(0, 17)]

(03:30) gp > Mod(m,17)^-1
%5 =
[Mod(2, 17) Mod(16, 17) Mod(15, 17)]
[Mod(11, 17) Mod(3, 17) Mod(4, 17)]
[Mod(15, 17) Mod(4, 17) Mod(15, 17)]

But oops, sorry, that's more like number-theory!

Give it a try - you might like it, you might hate it.
It's cheap (free), it's portable (from handhelds to crays), and it's exceptionally well supported ( http://pari.math.u-bordeaux.fr/ )

YAW.

note to self (1)

1eyedhive (664431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7607945)

I need to get my hands on a Ti-8x calculator, Algebra II trig/Calc will kill my aging Ti-30.

I like the Ti30, simple scientific calc, single line display though, and with anything higher than algebra 1 type stuff you REALLY need more firepower (I should have gotten one three years ago, I see they haven't dropped in price at all).

I'm all for the TI's.

PalmOS - LyME (2, Informative)

sysadmn (29788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608234)

If you're using a PalmOS-based device, look into Lyme & Sysquake from Calerga [calerga.com]. It's a free mostly-Matlab compatible math language. From the website:
LyME is a port of LME ("Lightweight Math Engine", the heart of SysQuake) to Palm OS handheld devices. It implements more than 360 native commands, functions and operators, mostly compatible with Matlab, and 70 functions written in LME. It requires Palm OS 3.1 or higher and at least 1.5 MBytes of free memory. Palm OS 3.5 or higher is preferred; Palm OS 5 offers optimal performance and functionality.
Excellent documentation is available here [calerga.com].

Pocket PC based calc (1)

pauldy (100083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608314)

One I like to use although it is arguable if it is more capable than your 49G is RDCalc. I have downloaded it and played with it a bit. It seemed capable but the demo period simply was not enough to evaluate it properly. Still worth checking out though, as it is one of the most complete calculator apps I was able to find for the pocket pc.

http://ravend.com/ [ravend.com]

Maxima and GNUplot on WinCE (1)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7608486)

I've been pretty happy with Maxima on Windows CE. In my case, I'm using it on WinCE.NET 4.1 on a device with a real touch-typeable keyboard, which is a dream- but it'd work just as well on a PocketPC. Alongside Maxima, I've got GNUplot working well too. I'm trying to get Xmaxima working, the integrated Maxima environment, but I've run into a couple snags and haven't had the time to look at it. There is an older version of Maple for WinCE, but I've not found any place to grab a copy. There are some other apps, but I try to stick to the free stuff on WinCE when I can. (and that is almost always!)

On the Zaurus I usually use GNU Octave, a Matlab clone. It is a lot crappier to use than Maxima is on my WinCE-based Sigmarion III. You are given a straight up command line, you don't even get readline. :P It'd be nice if someone made a front end app, it would increase the usability of this thing a ton.

In the end, I usually end up using Maxima on the WinCE box. I've more experience with Matlab/Octave than I do with Maxima, but I'm learning, and it's paying off.

Other options include Formulae 1, a simpler Java math app for WinCE or the Zaurus. There are a couple other Java math apps, but nothing near as good as Maxima or Octave.

I know it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7608701)

Your fingers, duh!

two different great ones: (2, Informative)

laika$chi (676655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7609091)

Power One:
Finance, Scientific, Graphing flavors.
Infinity Softworks [infinitysw.com]
Alot like the HP, TI power scientific calcs. Has Pocket PC & Palm versions

CmplxCalcPro:
Has a powerful programming capability, but the UI is a bit rough. Only Palm, I think.
ADACS [adacs.com]

lispme? (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7609622)

It's pretty much roll-your-own, but lispme [lispme.de] provides access to a reasonable set of mathematical functions, and lisp in general is well-suited to functional programming (that is, building your own calculations).

Power48 (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 10 years ago | (#7610317)

http://power48.mobilevoodoo.com/ [mobilevoodoo.com]

Power48 runs on palms and palm compatibles and it emulates a HP48 at the hardware level.

It is, however, slow and locks up by sony SJ-33 rather often.

It's not as good as a real HP48 because there is no keyboard so it is very hard to tap and click as fast as you can type on a real HP48

HP 49G on your PDA (1)

SeanAhern (25764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7614538)

I've been very happy carrying around an HP49G emulator on my Sony Clie. It's free, though it takes a bit of room on an external card. It's not limited to Sony devices. Check it [mobilevoodoo.com] out. [geek.com]

Re:HP 49G on your PDA (1)

madcow_ucsb (222054) | more than 10 years ago | (#7614918)

Ahhhhhh if only there was such a thing for my iPaq! :(

I'd definitely be willing to pay to have a 48/49 emu for that thing - it's really the one killer app I feel like I'm missing. Yea, I know there's rdcalc and whatnot, but if it's not RPN, it's not a real calculator.

Lyme - Matlab clone (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7616178)

You can try LyME [calerga.com] from Calerga. It's a lightweight Matlab clone that runs on the Palm OS.

And the best part: it's free! (as in beer)

Real Calculator (1)

Derg (557233) | more than 10 years ago | (#7625408)

Reading through this listing inspired me, I am always searching for toys for my ppc, and am in a math class so hey. Ran across this forum [mobigeeks.net] thaht seemed to be talking about essentially the same thing, and specifically this calculator [vorwerk-stengel.com] seemed to be perfect. What do you all think?

Derg
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