[TUHS] The most surprising Unix programs

Grant Taylor gtaylor at tnetconsulting.net
Sat Mar 21 01:40:50 AEST 2020

Aside:  I'm sending this reply to TUHS where the message that I'm 
replying to came from.  But i suspect that it should migrate to COFF, 
which I'm CCing.

On 3/20/20 5:48 AM, paul at guertin.net wrote:
> I teach math in college, and I use an RPN calculator as well (it's 
> just easier).

Would you please elaborate on "it's just easier"?

I'm asking from a point of genuine curiosity.  I've heard many say that 
RPN is easier, or that it takes fewer keys, or otherwise superior to 
infix notation.  But many of the conversations end up somewhat devolving 
into religious like comments about preferences, despite starting with 
honest open-minded intentions.  (I hope this one doesn't similarly devolve.)

I've heard that there are fewer keys to press for RPN, but the example 
equations presented have been effectively he same.

I've heard that RPN is mentally easier.  But I apparently don't know 
enough RPN to be able to think in RPN natively to evaluate myself.

I dabble with RPN, including keeping my main calculator app on my smart 
phone in RPN mode.

So I am genuinely interested in understanding why you say that RPN is 
just easier.

> Sometimes, during an exam, a student who forgot to bring their 
> calculator will ask if they can borrow mine. I always say "sure, but 
> you'll regret it" and hand them the calculator. After wasting one or 
> two minutes, they give it back.


> (Note that I always make sure no calculator is needed for my exams, 
> but it's department policy to authorise non programmable calculators, 
> and it seems to reassure students to have the calculator on the desk, 
> so I don't mind.) >


Grant. . . .
unix || die

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