Sometimes I just have to geek out. Whether it is pulling my old 8-bit Atari's out of storage to play a game of MULE, or installing an ancient C (pre-ansi) compiler to really test my frustration levels, I enjoy geeking out.
Lately, I have come to use more frequently my tried and trusty HP-41CV calculator. I got this from my father when I graduated from High School, and it has served me well for 29 years. Back in 2006 I had it rebuilt (some batteries leaked and corroded the battery compartment), and have kept it on my desk ever since. Instead of firing up the built in calculator on Windows (or my home machine, the Mac) I reach for this trusty friend.
I wrote a lot of programs for it in college and while I was a process engineer. From titration calculations, to runge-kutta solutions for differential equations, my HP-41CV is a trusted friend. Today, it really is just used for arithmetic, but it does feel comfortable in the hands.
I have long had an HP-15C app for my iPhone, but just the other day, I came across the HP-41CV app. Naturally I had to buy it. I am a geek. I apologize to no-one.
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I am a big believer in using open source software for much of what I do (non-professionally). I have long used Wordpress, and am now moving to Joomla for my online presence, and have other tools and utilities that I use from the Open Source realm.
But all is not unicorns and kittens. While it is great that the OSS revolution is steamrolling forward, and I have complete access to all the source code and libraries I might need, there are some limitations. I should note that I am not a programmer. I am a hack (note: not a hacker) by any measure. I can follow instructions, am familiar with Unix and enough of web hosting to get a site up and running.
But, going beyond the basics and you begin to see some chinks in the armor.