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Why do even the simplest calculators feature a square root key?
05-06-2018, 09:07 PM
Post: #15
RE: Why do even the simplest calculators feature a square root key?
(05-06-2018 08:10 PM)Dieter Wrote:  ...if I were to design a simple calculator and I had to choose one single additional function, it would be the power function yx. This is far more useful and it can even be used for calculating roots. Or, looking at the typical user of such calculators, why not add a percent function instead of a rarely used √x ?

It seems lots of folks believe that since they've never seen a low-end calculator user actually use the square root button, this somehow means that it wasn't used. Personally, I don't watch folks using low-end machines closely enough to discern if they use that function or not.

I believe it's included on such low-end machines simply to make them appear more sophisticated (and therefore justifiably more expensive) than the nominal 4-banger. Also, it takes very minimal efforts to test and document this function.

Though technically you are right that the power function is more useful and flexible, these aren't key concerns for such a machine, and only the tiniest fraction of such machine's users even know what it's for. And again, explaining and testing this takes much more effort. And as for using power function for roots, this is something even many high-end machine users don't know/do.

Finally, I agree that percent seems to be far more generally useful, and have often wondered why it isn't included on every calculator. I imagine any person that purchases any calculator would need, and be able to use percent sooner or later, but in any case more often than a square root.

--Bob Prosperi
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RE: Why do even the simplest calculators feature a square root key? - rprosperi - 05-06-2018 09:07 PM



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