Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fine Addition

Do they still teach kids how to use adding machines? The ones that evolved differently from calculators and had to be keyed in a different order, such as pressing the subtract button after the number you're trying to subtract? Without prior warning, those things can throw you for a loop. Before my schooling days, there were times when I desperately needed to do some subtracting and sat down to an adding machine without being in on the joke. Imagine this young lad's shock when I not only ended up with a negative number, but heard a jolting whir as my shamefully incorrect data was printed out for all to see.

Nowadays, all the kids have calculators on their iPhones and can perform basic subtraction operations to their heart's desire. If I had an iPhone, that's all I'd use it for. But my mistakes as a youth illustrate the significance of one of Victor's latest achievements in calculator/adding machine technology: a Help button.

Victor PL8000 Printing Calculator

What makes the Help button really work is the alpha-numeric display. Messages are clearly shown on the LCD display. You don't even have to turn the calculator upside-down to read it. In fact, you can even customize messages for printing, producing make-shift receipts. You can also calculate loan payments, cost/sell/margin and time units, plus program two tax rates and a currency exchange. Set your rate of choice and go from working with American dollars to Turkish lira at the drop of a fez. With all this, no wonder there's a Help button.

Victor 1310 Big Print Calculator

Victor has several other calculators with nifty features, like this machine that can print in a 17 point font. Most calculators only go up to 11. Given how old I feel from the earlier story and how I spend all my free time doing basic arithmetic, my eyes are going to give out soon and this will help me continue subtracting well into my elder years.

Victor TUFFCALC Calculator

After the flooding we had in town last week, a water-resistant calculator sounds like another great idea. It holds up well in the elements, so you can stand outside in a storm and calculate just how crazy you are. It does not protect you from the elements, however, so please find shelter once your calculations are complete.