So you're back in school. Suddenly you're stuck at a desk for eight hours a day, five days a week, and life looks bleak. Luckily for you, you have your trusty TI or Casio graphing calculator by your side, perhaps a TI-83+ or a TI-84+ Silver Edition, a Casio Prizm, or (heaven forbid) a TI-Nspire. Now you want some math programs and some games for your calculator to keep yourself educated and entertained. You've come to the right place! Or perhaps you are looking to buy a graphing calculator for yourself, or for your son or daughter for school. You, too, are in the right place at the right time. Without further ado, please enjoy Cemetech's brief guide to getting started with your new or love-worn graphing calculator!
Buying a Calculator If you already have a calculator, then you don't need to read this section, unless you're interested in expanding your collection or are doubting your choice. If you happen to have a recommendation or requirement from a teacher or professor, that narrows things down significantly. Our personal recommendations:
High school students (and below): Your best choice is a TI-84+ Silver Edition graphing calculator. It's powerful, has tens of thousands of math programs and games available, lasts for months on a set of batteries, and is attractive to boot. Even better, you can put Doors CS on it (more on that later). If you're the sort that cares, the TI-84+SE is accepted on standardized tests like the ACT and the SAT. Your second-best choice is only second-best because your average teacher is likely to be less familiar with it: the Casio Prizm. For the same price (or cheaper!) than a TI-84+SE, you can get a huge, bright, full-color LCD, an extremely fast processor, ten times the memory, and for you programmers, easy coding in BASIC and C. Like the TI-84+/SE, it can do algebra, simple numeric calculus, graphing, statistics, and is accepted on standardized tests.
College students: Are you doing engineering? If so, a TI-89 might be appropriate, as it has much more powerful symbolic features than the TI-83+/84+ series of calculators, extensive calculus capabilities, built-in 3D graphing, and much more. In addition, if you enjoy programming, you can write C programs for the TI-89. However, if you're not doing engineering or math, and you're not an experienced, hardcore programmer, then you're probably better off with a TI-84+ Silver Edition or a Casio Prizm (see above).
Read the rest of this article to learn more about calculator choices, programming tools, and where to download the best shells, programs, and games for your calculator!