Calculators & Converters

Calculator Precursors

The concept of calculators and converters has been around for a very long time. So long, in fact, that most historians can't even really trace the origins of the calculator. The abacus is widely considered to be one of the original counting and calculating devices. Often referred to as a "counting frame," the abacus is first seen in the ancient East in countries such as Europe and China. Even though these devices are typically made of wood, marbles, or beads, the original abacus counting devices were simply stones that slid in lines of the sand or mud. The design of the device, however, is not nearly the most innovative part of the concept. The abacus was not simply a counting device. It was a lot more like modern calculators than you think. You see, the user of the abacus was able to perform a variety of different functions with the right methods. From basic counting to addition and multiplication, and even square roots, the user could calculate all of these functions and more. 

This was incredibly helpful in calculations and conversions between different kingdoms during the age of trade. They could calculate and convert the weight and value of goods and create a fair deal. People in Eastern Europe and Asia still use these devices for trading purposes. The abacus is also used to teach children basic arithmetic, along with being a great calculator alternative to the visually-impaired. 

Early Calculator Technology

Although the abacus was designed as the earliest calculator thousands of years before, the earliest electronic calculator came about in the 1960s. These were large machines intended to make calculations quickly and easily, but they were hard for most people to access. The 1970s saw the dawn of the pocket-sized electronic calculators. Due to the newly developed microprocessor, the Intel 4004, the pocket-sized calculator as possible. The Japanese company Busicom was the original manufacturer of the small calculators, and they were soon used in a variety of occupations and purposes throughout the world. They were great calculators, minus the bulk.

The mid to late 1970s made them more affordable and portable as integrated circuit technology developed further, even allowing them to be common in schools. This led to students using the calculator in schools for answers. In turn, schools added proper usage of the calculators into their curriculum. Instead of simply using these calculators for easy answers, students could now reap the benefits of using the calculators to their fullest potential. Instead of struggling to figure out how many feet are in a mile or what a store would charge with a 7% sales tax, the students could use calculators to expedite the learning process. 

Real Life Conversion Purposes

Conversion problems aren't just difficult for students, however. There are numerous calculators and converter techniques that are helpful for adults in their occupations and in everyday life as well. Think about all the times you could use conversions throughout your day. Changing the dollars into quarters, dimes, and nickels may be simple enough in your head, but calculating sales tax or converting US dollars into Canadian dollars may be difficult. 

Or you may need to decide whether or not you need to buy gas with your current mileage. Without a calculator and an easy converter, you may have a tough time figuring out if your car that gets 25 miles per gallon can make it to the next town and back if it's 30 miles away and you only have a quarter tank. It may seem simple but if you tried to go through a day without a calculator or a converter, you really don't realize how much you might need one. Modern technology is there for a reason. Whether it's an emergency situation or just a way to make your life easier, making the most of their everyday use can work in your favor. 

Calculator & Converter Applications

To make life even more convenient, there are now calculators and converter mobile apps available for your smartphone and tablet. So instead of having to know the conversion units in your head to change units of measurement, your phone will simply do it for you. For example, if you wanted to know how many seconds would tick away in 4 and a half hours, just using a calculator would only get you so far. You'd have to know that there were 60 minutes in an hour and then multiply those 60 minutes by 60 again to calculate the number of seconds in 1 hour before multiplying by 4.5. 

However, a calculator and converter mobile app would simply have you punch in the number of hours and the desired units you'd like it converted to and then voila! You'll have your conversion in less than a second. You can even do fancier tricks like finding out exactly how many days a certain date is away. Then you won't have to do complicated math or use the knuckles trick to remember which months had 31 days. These apps are incredibly convenient, quick, and saves you a lot of headaches. 

No matter what problem you're trying to solve in your everyday life or on the job, calculator and converter mobile apps will help you make the most of your time. 

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