In a nice piece of ironic serendipity, I found this reference to an old Chris Wellons post on Calc while reading my feed with Chris Wellons’ excellent feed reader,
As I written a several times, I really like
calc and am always amazed at its power. I have a shortcut key for it in Emacs but usually end up just using “quick” mode. That’s mostly because the power of
calc comes at the cost of a certain complexity and I don’t use it often enough to internalize its interface. It’s not that
calc has a stack based RPN interface—my oldest “computer” was a programmable HP RPN calculator—it’s the sheer number of functions and their sometimes abstruse commands that I find difficult.
Getting better at
calc is perpetually on my TODO list. One year it was even a New Year’s resolution but, alas, life intervened and I failed. Reading Wellons’ post, which is a series of examples showing the power of
calc, has inspired me to once again try to really learn it. That’s probably going to involve using it more often than I normally would even if that use is “just for practice.” If you have the slightest use for a calculator or sometimes want to do symbolic mathematics, you should take a look at the post. It may inspire you, too, to spend some time learning it.
Update: Fixed link.