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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Calyfornia
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    740

    Default Construction calc had a bad day.

    So after spending not insignificant time doing some calcs on my trusty construction pro I realized something didn't seem right and started double checking and kept getting different results. Finally in frustration I tried doing some basic stuff and the damn thing was wrong. So for example 3x3 wasn't equalling 9, but if I did it backwards it was correct i.e 9/3 =3. For a while I really thought either dementia was setting in or all that funny paper I ate in college was coming back to haunt me. I mean I'm no tech guy but I didn't think it was possible for calculators to malfunction like that, In any event the calcs useful life ended when it met the floor...hard.
    I have heard some good things here about the phone app that essentially does the same thing and my question is should I blow off replacing said calc? Is the app good enough to replace it entirely or just handy for some stuff?

    As always thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Quote Originally Posted by aerieandy View Post
    So after spending not insignificant time doing some calcs on my trusty construction pro I realized something didn't seem right and started double checking and kept getting different results. Finally in frustration I tried doing some basic stuff and the damn thing was wrong. So for example 3x3 wasn't equalling 9, but if I did it backwards it was correct i.e 9/3 =3. For a while I really thought either dementia was setting in or all that funny paper I ate in college was coming back to haunt me. I mean I'm no tech guy but I didn't think it was possible for calculators to malfunction like that, In any event the calcs useful life ended when it met the floor...hard.
    I have heard some good things here about the phone app that essentially does the same thing and my question is should I blow off replacing said calc? Is the app good enough to replace it entirely or just handy for some stuff?

    As always thanks.
    Andy- depends on the phone. The iPhone app is something of a mistake, IMO, because it is basically just like the handheld unit, although with all the various models in the one app (I believe). I don't know if they have the same app for the Windows platform that they did 3 or 4 years ago, but that was a fantastic app, much more useful and informative than the iPhone app or the dedicated models.

    Generally they are very, very reliable. All of them will work as well as the CI's units. If you know and are used to the keystroke combinations, then the iPhone app will be pretty seamless to adopt. I started with the Windows phone app and didn't have to memorize all those keystroke combinations, so it was a learning curve still to pick up the iPhone app.

    As for mistakes, any number of ways they can make themselves come on board any computer- most having to do with parts of the hardware going bad and/or corrupted software.

    Interesting- for many years the Apple graphing calculator was an accidental gold standard for testing calculators. We want them to be perfect, but calculator functions of computers can be very problematic. Complex systems yield surprising results sometimes.
    Last edited by Lavrans; 02-24-2012 at 08:45 PM.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  3. #3
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    Calyfornia
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    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    You referring to the build calc app ? Didn't know CI made an app but I will look now. Thanks for the input.

  4. #4
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    CI makes apps. They've had one out for windows phones for several years- they integrated that into their program a long time ago.

    Here is the program I first used, and that is my favorite display. I like having all the rise/run settings displayed because it gives you a good chance at catching a mistake before doing any work.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  5. #5
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
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    5,576

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Andy,

    Full disclouser, I'm a beta tester for the BuildCalc app. I became one after purchasing the app and being extermly impressed with it. I do not, nor have I ever recieved any type of compensation from the developer for my participation in the apps on going development.

    I truly believe it is the most advanced calculator of its type on the market.

    Any questions I'll be happy to answer them.

    Go to the Finish Carpentry and Tech section of the forum, search BuildCalc. You will find a lot of information.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Danbury area of western CT
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    4,441

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Construction Master Pro and BuildCalc are both available for iPhone.
    CMP is $20 for download and BC is $15 if I'm not mistaken. I have BC and have been happy with it. I also have my old CM-IV but it doesn't go to as many significant figures so sometime with very large numbers it chokes. Not a problem on the BC app.

    Phil
    It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    So... I'm still curious about what makes BuildCalc functionally better than CM. The online "test" doesn't give me a sense of anything better. Better "help" function, but it's still the same uninspired, unhelpful display as the single-line display calculators. Seems like a waste of a lot of screen space to give the least amount of available information possible (ie, same problem with most of CM's apps).
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bitterroot Valley,MT
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    I only have the BuildCalc, but their stair calculations and additional drawings are nice, with the necessary numbers it doesn't just give you the rise and run, it gives you everything you could want to know. I have had a CM calculator in my bags for years and am still learning all the BuildCalc on the Iphone as I have only had it for a couple months but it definitely has it'd pluses over the CM app.
    Josh

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Quote Originally Posted by aerieandy View Post
    In any event the calcs useful life ended when it met the floor...hard.
    I have heard some good things here about the phone app that essentially does the same thing and my question is should I blow off replacing said calc? Is the app good enough to replace it entirely or just handy for some stuff?

    As always thanks.
    Well, if the app ever reaches the same fate as the calculator did, wherein it begins giving you wrong answers, and then it reaches the floor, then all the apps will end up suffering the same fate. Unless you can figure out a way to only destroy the offending app, and not the entire phone. Other than that minor detail....

    Quote Originally Posted by coopercustom View Post
    I have had a CM calculator in my bags for years and am still learning all the BuildCalc on the Iphone as I have only had it for a couple months but it definitely has it'd pluses over the CM app.
    WHAT??

    Tom
    Last edited by TSJHD1; 02-25-2012 at 03:47 AM.
    1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
    2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
    3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
    4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.

    May we all endeavor to progress from not knowing that we know not, to knowing that we know.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    377

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    I have a Construction Master IV dedicated calculator and as well as the iPhone app. I have to say, on the job I don't like using the apps. I think it's much easier to pound away on a real calculator with real buttons. The apps do seem to have some added functionality, but 99% of the time I can do what I need with the regular CMIV.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Vermont
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Quote Originally Posted by aerieandy View Post
    So after spending not insignificant time doing some calcs on my trusty construction pro I realized something didn't seem right and started double checking and kept getting different results. Finally in frustration I tried doing some basic stuff and the damn thing was wrong. So for example 3x3 wasn't equalling 9, but if I did it backwards it was correct i.e 9/3 =3. For a while I really thought either dementia was setting in or all that funny paper I ate in college was coming back to haunt me. I mean I'm no tech guy but I didn't think it was possible for calculators to malfunction like that, In any event the calcs useful life ended when it met the floor...hard.
    I guess it's too late for you but for anyone else with a Construction Master calculator that suddenly acts screwy:

    I had the exact same problem. Turns out that one of the keys was stuck part way down (kind of crooked). Not terribly obvious unless you really looked closely. Once I freed it up all was well and 2+2 once again equaled four!

    - Rich

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Grafton, MA, but sometimes on another planet
    Posts
    568

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Generally, I find this thread pretty interesting. I currently have and use my trusty CM.(not the app). However, I have been playing around with my Droid X phone and its various apps for the almost two years now. My reluctance to use the APP (either CM or BC) on the touch sensitive screen of the phone is that I have noticed that it doesn't always work well in various environmental conditions. The button icons that make up the "keyboard" for the particular app might not work if your fingers are dirty, wet, frozen, etc. I find that to be troublesome in the field. For example, there are times when I can't even get the phone app to answer to the damn phone! Obviously, YMMV...

    Don
    I started out with nothing. I still have most of it left.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
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    5,576

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Lavrans,

    It is not just single line display. These are screen shots of various functions. The numbers displayed blue are inputs, the numbers in black are calculated results. The app has store, print and email functions built into it.

    Stair function;

    https://picasaweb.google.com/tbadern...73962519680162

    Hip/Valley set for an irregular pitch roof, notice it gives you the square footage for material ordering;

    https://picasaweb.google.com/tbadernwi/HipValley#

    Jack rafters, so it displays for both the major and minor pitch. I have the O.C. set to "Meet at hip/valley", you will notice the minor O.C. has been adjusted;

    https://picasaweb.google.com/tbadernwi/MajorMinor#

    Arch function instruction pages;

    https://picasaweb.google.com/tbadernwi/BuildCalcArc

    I have 3 or 4 various models of the CM, I have used the CM app on other phones. BuildCalc does so much more. I like the fact that if you have to change between metric and imperial, all you do is swipe the keys. Don't know what a key does, just hold it down. There is a daylight function to adjust the brightness of the screen.

    All I can say is you have to try it to really know why it is better.

    It works on both major OS, and on tablets, great for us old guys who can't see well.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Calyfornia
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    740

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSJHD1 View Post
    Well, if the app ever reaches the same fate as the calculator did, wherein it begins giving you wrong answers, and then it reaches the floor, then all the apps will end up suffering the same fate. Unless you can figure out a way to only destroy the offending app, and not the entire phone. Other than that minor detail....



    WHAT??

    Tom
    That definitely crossed my mind Tom, not that I would hurl the phone (no EWs) but if it was acting up (like they sometimes do) than your out everything. If baluster pro crashes I can still get it done with the calc, if the calc goes I can still get it done but if it's trig it's ganna take a long, long time.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    11,339

    Default Re: Construction calc had a bad day.

    Quote Originally Posted by aerieandy View Post
    That definitely crossed my mind Tom, not that I would hurl the phone (no EWs) but if it was acting up (like they sometimes do) than your out everything. If baluster pro crashes I can still get it done with the calc, if the calc goes I can still get it done but if it's trig it's ganna take a long, long time.
    What do you actually need trig for to build a house?

    I mean, it's nice, but do you really need more than geometry?
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

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