Scalar: The Better Calculator
Everybody has a calculator, but you will find times that this calculator is better than anything you are using. The reason is that this is a combination of a calculator and a spreadsheet program, and extremely easy to use. The app works on your iPhone and your iPad. The $5 cost is worth every penny. The enlargeable screenshot to the left shows how I used it recently to get a handle on design fees for a project. Here are some of the features:
1. Every calculation happens on a 'tape' like the old desktop printing calculators, but better. The calculation sheet (tape) is endless. You can save the tapes on your device and name them. You can email them. You can share a link to them since your work is saved to the cloud(?). Or you can save them wherever you like. Evernote connectivity is built in.
3. Subtotals can be dragged and dropped into calculations further down the sheet. No need to transcribe the earlier result. This takes the place of memory like in a typical calculator, it is more like a spreadsheet. And if you have labeled the number, the label comes along to the new instance, but is editable.
4. You to rearrange the individual calculations on a sheet to make your calculation more understandable to your audience.
5. The calculator keypad includes a second screen with pi, square, square root, log, sine/cosine etc.
6. A help key brings up a sample calculation with an overlay showing the features.
Here is a list of ways that I have used Scalar. The key benefit in each case is having a simple way to recall the calculation whenever you need it and, no matter how much time has gone by, you can understand it because of the annotations.
- To ballpark a design fee
- To evaluate credit card balances, which to pay off
- To track calculations for a storm-water tax bill
- To determine the full value of an employee's impact on expenses
- To calculate a home office share of space and utilities
- To determine what-if impacts of adding or deleting expenses
- To track outstanding proposals against a targeted goal