Author Archive | Jason Meserve

Are You an HP Calculator Geek? There’s an App for That.

HP 12C CalculatorIf you hate the iPhone’s built-in calculator and long for your old HP calculator with its programmable goodness and fancy built-in algorithms, you can now download three classic apps from the iTunes App Store to emulate the HP 12c, HP 12c Platinum, and HP 15C.

The new apps give you all the functionality of your trusty hardware version with some new features such as a tip calculator that shows up when the phone is in portrait mode. Most of the advanced features of the calculators can be accessed by rotating the iPhone into landscape mode, and the cheat sheet formulas found on the back of the hardware counterparts can be accessed by tapping on the HP logo to “flip” the calculator over.

Even better, things run a little faster given the iPhone’s far superior processing capabilities. The hardware calculators run on a 4-bit processor and can’t even make phone calls.

HP fans will have to pony up a little dough for privilege of turning their iPhone into their favorite HP calculator. The HP 12c is available for $15, the HP 12c Platinum is $20 (which is due in August), and the HP 15c is $30. Before you complain, a hardware version of the 12c costs $69.99 while the 12c Platinum is $79.99. HP no longer makes the 15c, but you can find them on eBay with prices starting around $130.

I am just waiting for Texas Instruments to make an iPhone version of my old TI-81 graphic calculator. I could plot out a mean sine wave with that baby.


Michael Jackson’s Death Shows the Web at Its Best. And Worst.

The untimely and shocking death of Michael Jackson is proving to be another milestone moment for the Internet, confirming the medium’s ability to spread news quickly while at the same time steps still need to be taken to handle massive, unexpected spikes in traffic.

For many, including myself, the Internet–most likely Twitter or Facebook–was the first place they heard the news of Jackson being rushed to the hospital followed quickly by the news of his passing. To wit, Twitter reached a 5,000-tweet-per-minute rate on Jackson related items, while Facebook saw triple the traffic to its status updates. For Twitter, the rate of posts reached levels last seen around the historic US Presidential election, co-founder Biz Stone told he the LA Times. Even the Times itself saw record traffic, with nearly 2.3 million page views in an hour, which it says is more traffic than any single hour during its previous peak on Election Day.

In general, online news sites tracked by Akamai saw traffic jump 20% above average as the news broke.

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