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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.
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Mobile 'phones tend to have rubbish calculators but if
didn't 'they'd still be unsuitable in certain circumstances.
would still be unfeasible to use them in classrooms,
halls, cinemas, theatres and so forth.
In an earlier idea, linked below, i have proposed virtual
accounts. l stand by that idea, so this will try to
incorporate that. Here we go.
There are two devices, both free to use - no charge.
a perfectly adequate calculator with the usual functions
plus fairly fancy stuff like hyperbolic and trig functions.
one corner, it has a hole. The other device is a cylinder
acting as an aerial, speaker and microphone, also freely
available. When this is slipped into the hole, the device
immediately as a basic mobile 'phone, able to make
emergency and toll-free calls and locatable. It also
the user to log into any mobile phone account they might
have, which as mentioned in the linked idea is now
However it's now even more virtual, because the
is now revealed in fact to be a media player, able to
display a remote interface representing the virtual
If the user has paid for a device with video playing
it'll do that, but if they've only paid for basic voice calls
and texting then not even the camera will work, just
texting and calls.
This has the advantage to the service provider of
giving away a perfectly capable but crippled device which
the user knows is capable of really super-duper stuff but
only if they pay for it, providing temptation, but at the
same time the consumer could just pay for the facilities
for when they really need them and do without the rest
the time, so there's an advantage to both. The actual
ability to use them is "streamed" from the user's
into and out of which they log.
Also, the calculator is quite swanky anyway. It'll do nice
things like graph, be programmable and so on, and has a
So, it's a calculator which can be used as an emergency
mobile with an accessory, both of which are free, which
can be used simply as a calculator by removing the
audio assembly, and which can be used as a device with
any capabilities up to its full hardware specifications via
virtual account. The user can configure the full device
according to their requirements, making it an audio
player, video camera, still camera, digital radio, mini-
tablet computer, calculator, all according to their
settings, and change it according to short- or long-term
Mobile cellphone user profiles
Virtual 'phone profiles - read both together if this doesn't make sense alone. [nineteenthly, Oct 31 2011]
App Store: Symbolic Calculator
I use the linked application fairly often, and I think it's really good! [zen_tom, Nov 01 2011]
||I quite like the charging model - though there are
issues with making it economically viable - I don't
think it's necessarily cheaper to release a phone
with limited 'oomph' than it is to release a phone
with lots of 'oomph' - If the price a consumer pays
doesn't pay for the 'oomph' that's supplied, then
you're selling loads of phones for less than they
might otherwise earn.
||On the general concept of pluginability and fancy
calculators - you can indeed get mobile-phone
calculators that do all the stuff you describe - I
have found a particularly useful one for example
that provides me the roots of any given
quadratics, plots graphs from given formulae - and
another calculator that provides symbolic
functions, providing algebraic mappings between
one set of surds and another, for example.
||After deciding to configure my phone to use
them, they were 'streamed' onto my phone, and I
was charged accordingly - just like in the idea. I
only paid for these
functions after deciding that I would find them
useful, and now I use them all the time. You
might consider that my phone was 'crippled' or
lacked this functionality prior to my purchasing
those 'features' - but by the same line of thought,
you might also think that your home PC is
'crippled' in terms of functionality prior to
installing a certain piece of software - it's a
different point of view, and if that's how you want
to think about it, nobody's stopping you.
||I suppose if I wanted to, I could call my mobile
phone operator and ask them to alter the details
of my contract
in a way that limited the call usage available on
to emergencies etc only. Again, you're totally free
to do that right now.
||My point being that you've outlined a set of
requirements, all of which are available now, to
anyone who wanted to benefit from the particular
combination of limitations and benefits you
describe, using technology that
exists right now. The only element that doesn't
exist is the precise charging model (i.e.
really cheap) but there's always a combination of
ebay and sensible consumer research to help
achieve that. In the meantime, the same general
model is available for slightly more than really
really cheap - with the companies supplying those
sets of requirements apparently remaining quite
profitable at the current general price-levels.
||In other words, how do we get what you're asking
for, for cheaper than it's already available for?
||Finally, the other major difference is this ability
to cripple the device physically -
this is also possible with existing
technology - albeit via optional settings, rather
than having to physically remove a chunk of the
device - but I don't see what the difference is, in
terms of what you want to achieve.
||I suppose what i'm trying to say is, this is a calculator
which is also a mobile, whereas other devices are
really mobiles which are also calculators. I envisage
this looking like a calculator with a larger screen
which turns into a mobile when you stick in the
aerial. The other bit is because that's how mobile
'phones work in nineteenthlia (or at least the pre-
apocalyptic version of it).
||With the advantage that you could physically remove the antenna etc. and take the remaining calculator into exams, right?
||I would almost be in the market for this; I'd prefer a well-designed calculator that can also handle calls and texts than a mobile phone with an annoying and fiddly calculator.
||However, the bit about aspects of the hardware not working until certain subscription services are paid for is not so good. Handset manufacturers already do this; why the #$&! should I not be able to use a perfectly good camera without an authenticated SIM? Shenanigans, I say!
||And some old lady in Portugal starts wondering why all these people are calling her up to ask what the square root of 197456923 is.
||It's a dumb idea, but + under general principles.
||Some university subjects allow calculators; the only requirement is to remove and replace the batteries to erase any programming.
||// What kind of schools allow calculators to be
used in exams? //
||I feel your pain, [21 Q]. Sadly, until my daughter
went to college i also assumed that this was still
the case. However, the current situation, at least
as far as her college is concerned, is that not only
must you take calculators into maths classes, but
you actually get excluded from the classes if you
don't. This is of course the kind of thing which
persuaded me not to send the children to school
in the first place, but being over sixteen, she's
now old enough to make her own decisions
regarding her education.
||But surely it is a fact universally acknowledged
that a person in possession of a bog standard
mobile must be in want of a decent calculator?
||[Spidermother], that would make it a microcosm of
the global economy. There are artificial barriers
everywhere. It is, for example, entirely feasible
for an entire hospital staff to work for nothing -
their skills and experience would still be the same.
Asking for wages constitutes an artificial barrier
there but few people would criticise them for
||//I'd prefer a well-designed calculator that can also handle calls and texts//
||A very small difference engine with a semaphore messaging option, via very small flags?
||HD cameras on mobile phone masts to pick up the semaphore when there is line of sight, or the signals for accelerometers on the flags if not. I'm in condition tonight....