Thursday, March 25, 2010


This last weekend I was working on some ANOV problems for my class. I found that I was having problems looking at my handheld calculator (only purchased for my proctored exams) and the standard calculator on windows was lacking a square root function.Now I know I can get around it by giving a power of .5 to whatever number to which I'm trying to find the root, but I find this silly. It's literally more work. This is why software was created.

This annoyance put me on a 30 minute chase on the web to find a software calculator which is not connection dependent. I wanted to find one which was available on the web for both windows and OS X. Someone read my mind.

I found eCalc. Web based, OS X dashboard ready, runs in windows. I found it nice, easy, and intuitive. This is great software! It does the following effortlessly:

Scientific Functions (Algebra, Trigonometry, Engineering)
RPN or Algebraic Operating Modes
Interactive Unit Converter
Linear and Root Equation Solver
Complex Number Math with Polar and Rectangular Formats
Drop-Down Stack with History
Interactive Decimal to Fraction Converter
Free Online Calculator
Windows Desktop Version (Win98,ME,NT4,2k,XP,Vista) (Also works in Win 7-64b)
Mac OS X Dashboard Version

Plus: A square root button...I'm so easily entertained.

$14.95. Done. Sold. My handheld crappy TI-blah-blah cost me $9 at target. I have to admit I do like well designed software and I have a tendency to purchase based on functionality and design and this calculator won my devotion on both fronts. There is even an iPhone app ready and available.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Benford's Law

A friend of mine recently introduced me to Benford's law, also known as first digit law a few days ago. I had never heard of it until then, granted I'm not up on the majority of statistical probability laws, but I found it fascinating.

It made me wonder. I have a wonderful book, "Tables of Integrals and Other Mathematical Data" by Dwight Herbert (1961 ed). I used this book heavily in college and still hit it for reference every so often. Is there anything like it for statistical models specifically?

Thanks to Don for the Benford's Law intro too!