Cataloging my Gadgets Part 3: Calculators

For whatever reason, schools in Germany seem to prefer Casio calculators, while in the US everyone was using Texas Instruments. So while I grew up with the former, I switched to TI after I first got to use one of their graphing calculators during my time as a foreign exchange student in high school. All calculators I bought thereafter, were TIs. I particularly loved the TI-89 I had in college (see below).

Calculators Small

Casio fx-115s

In active use 7th grade until the end of High School
Type Scientific calculator
Comments The first calculator I got for school in 7th grade and the only one we were allowed to use on exams.

Casio Euro Conversion

In active use 1999-2002
Type Basic calculator
Comments Between 1999 and 2002 Euros were used in electronic transactions (such as securities trading) while Deutschmarks were still used in cash transactions. So when I got interested in the stock market I thought I needed a calculator to convert between the two currencies. I was wrong. This calculator was barely used.

Texas Instruments TI-81

In active use Junior year of High School
Type Graphing calculator
Comments This model was a loan from the school when I was a foreign exchange student during my junior year of high school. Getting into programming at the time, I wrote a few utilities for the TI-81, e.g. for converting between the metric system I was used to and the units used in the US.

Texas Instruments TI-89

In active use College, Business School
Type Programmable graphing calculator, computer algebra system
Comments This calculator is amazing. On many exams in college they allowed programmable calculators, since in some states students had already been using them at the end of high school.
I don’t think, though, if they were aware of the capabilities of the TI-89 which was far more advanced than anything the other students had: symbolic differentiation and integration, statistics package, note taking app that synced with a PC, downloadable apps.
Needless to say, learning to use the TI-89 effectively made my exams a whole lot easier. Except for one time, when the calculator crashed during an exam, refused to restart and I had to use my old Casio instead. It worked like a charm again after I had installed an updated version of its operating system.

Texas Instruments BA-II Plus

In active use CFA exams
Type Financial calculator
Comments There are only a handful of calculators allowed on the CFA exams and this one was the cheapest.

Texas Instruments Little Professor

In active use (never)
Type Backwards calculator
Comments I saw this calculator long after I had graduated college and thought it would be a nice addition to the TI-89 and the BA-II Plus, completing my collection of Texas Instruments calculators. After I bought it used, I played around with it for a while, but otherwise had little use for it.

See also


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