My daughter wishes these math apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
My math-averse daughter wanted to cheat on her algebra homework. So we downloaded PhotoMath, a free app that lets you take a picture of your mathematical and algebraic equations, solving them for you and showing the steps to the solution.
PhotoMath has been at the top of the App Store charts for a couple of weeks, hitting number one on the Education, Kids Games and Top Apps lists. Small wonder, as it seems like a great way to get out of doing homework.
However, despite the concerns of some parents and teachers, apps like PhotoMath just won’t help when it comes to cheating — they’re far too limited. Still, it’s a promising technology that, once it matures, might actually turn into the type of wonder tool for education we’ve long been promised, turning our iOS devices into useful educational tools that will help kids actually learn math, rather than simply giving them a shortcut to homework answers.
Although a graceful crystal ballet danced in the world of symbols, for those of us who aren’t particularly math minded, all those plus signs, minus signs, dividers and parentheses can get confusing when we’re trying to figure out a problem.
For us, iOS app Soulver is a godsend, allowing you to perform various mathematical captions and functions by just typing them out on real text. Today, the plain text math app has received a beefy update, not only updating its look for iOS 7 on iPad, but also making it universal.
Soulver is pretty much the best calculator app on the Mac and iOS, mostly because it doesn’t tie itself to the UI of old pushbutton calculators. But Llumino will probably win the award for the best-looking calculator app in the App Store, coming on like a 1970s flashing disco floor and, uh, a pushbutton calculator.
The reason Orchestra has set it up this way is to prevent demand from crushing their servers, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying (for more info on Orchestra’s rationale, see this article). When we download apps, we expect to be able to use them right away, not sit in a queue for an indeterminate amount of time.
We can’t help you get to the head of the Mailbox queue, but we can tell you roughly how long you’ll have to wait based on how fast Mailbox has let people into the app in the past. Here’s how.
Sure, you could use the calculator, or any one of a dozen-odd apps that allow you to tap the screen and calculate the tip in a restaurant, but why even bother? iOS and Siri can meet your needs just by talking to your iPhone–or iPad, but won’t that get meatloaf gravy all over it?
Regardless, here’s how to ask Siri the right way to calculate the tip for the super-helpful server or bartender in your life.
Plug in your iPhone or iPad and charge it up, and you’ll notice that while the first 80% or so will go by pretty fast, they actually kind of suck at charging up that last 20%, taking a lot more time to do so than it feels like they should.
There’s a reason for this. Charging batteries up to “full” is a complicated process. There’s no real way to tell if a battery is completely “full” so all you can do is measure the voltage, which (and this is a vast simplification) tells you how much resistance is being met when you try to put more electricity into the battery.
That’s why it takes so long for an iPhone to charge that last 20%. It charges full blast until it measures a certain voltage, then goes into what’s called “trickle mode” to slowly allow small sips of electricity into the battery until it thinks, based upon some software calculations, that the battery is more or less full. But a new algotihm could make the time it takes to charge your iPhone or iPad go by a lot faster.
You wait for ages for a calculator, then two come along at once. Following on from Sums which we reviewed the other day, here’s Calculator LCD, a smart-looking one dollar desktop-style calculator for iPad.