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


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.

C-ORM: docs, API.

Last 100 entries

Have to add...; Culturally Liberal and Nothing More; Weird Finite / Infinite Result; Your diamond is a beaten up mess; Maths Books; Good Bike Route from Providencia / Las Condes to Panul\; Iain Pears (Author of Complex Plots); Plum Jam; Excellent; More Recently; For a moment I forgot StackOverflow sucked; A Few Weeks On...; Chilean Book Recommendations; How To Write Shared Libraries; Jenny Erpenbeck (Author); Dijkstra, Coins, Tables; Python libraries error on OpenSuse; Deserving Trump; And Smugness; McCloskey Economics Trilogy; cmocka - Mocks for C; Concept Creep (Americans); Futhark - OpenCL Language; Moved / Gone; Fan and USB issues; Burgers in Santiago; The Origin of Icosahedral Symmetry in Viruses; autoenum on PyPI; Jars Explains; Tomato Chutney v3; REST; US Elections and Gender: 24 Point Swing; PPPoE on OpenSuse Leap 42.1; SuperMicro X10SDV-TLN4F/F with Opensuse Leap 42.1; Big Data AI Could Be Very Bad Indeed....; Cornering; Postcapitalism (Paul Mason); Black Science Fiction; Git is not a CDN; Mining of Massive Data Sets; Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah; How great republics meet their end; Raspberry, Strawberry and Banana Jam; Interesting Dead Areas of Math; Later Taste; For Sale; Death By Bean; It's Good!; Tomato Chutney v2; Time ATAC MX 2 Pedals - First Impressions; Online Chilean Crafts; Intellectual Variety; Taste + Texture; Time Invariance and Gauge Symmetry; Jodorowsky; Tomato Chutney; Analysis of Support for Trump; Indian SF; TP-Link TL-WR841N DNS TCP Bug; TP-Link TL-WR841N as Wireless Bridge; Sending Email On Time; Maybe run a command; Sterile Neutrinos; Strawberry and Banana Jam; The Best Of All Possible Worlds; Kenzaburo Oe: The Changeling; Peach Jam; Taste Test; Strawberry and Raspberry Jam; flac to mp3 on OpenSuse 42.1; Also, Sebald; Kenzaburo Oe Interview; Otake (Kitani Minoru) move Black 121; Is free speech in British universities under threat?; I am actually good at computers; Was This Mansplaining?; WebFaction / LetsEncrypt / General Disappointment; Sensible Philosophy of Science; George Ellis; Misplaced Intuition and Online Communities; More Reading About Japan; Visibilty / Public Comments / Domestic Violence; Ferias de Santiago; More (Clearly Deliberate); Deleted Obit Post; And then a 50 yo male posts this...; We Have Both Kinds Of Contributors; Free Springer Books; Books on Religion; Books on Linguistics; Palestinan Electronica; Books In Anthropology; Taylor Expansions of Spacetime; Info on Juniper; Efficient Stream Processing; The Moral Character of Crypto; Hearing Aid Info; Small Success With Go!; Re: Quick message - This link is broken; Adding Reverb To The Echo Chamber; Sox Audio Tools

© 2006-2015 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".


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

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.


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