If I were a math major, I'd probably be rolling in dough somewhere in Silicon Valley right now, but since multiplying numbers and figuring out tangents gives me panic attacks, I went the English route... pays much better.
Still, I never would have graduated if I didn't pass a math class or two, and I have my trusty TI-83 calculator to thank for that. The folks over at Texas Instruments have been helping students like me out for years with their super advanced calculators.
Now, with the proliferation of smartphones, kids and adults are using physical calculators less and less compared to calculator apps. However, when it comes to those complicated Algebraic equations, Mr. Smartphone isn't going to cut it. Not on its own that is.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S3 or other Android device, you can actually turn it into a certifiable TI calculator for some extreme math using the Graph 89 Free, a TI-89 emulator by Dritan Hashorva. You will need a TI-89 ROM, though, for this to work.
Like any emulator you'll find on Google Play, Graph 89 Free does not come with any calculator ROMs, so you'll need to find some ROMs online or do the heavy work yourself and extract the ROM from your physical TI-89 calculator.
If the latter option is too much work for you, you can do a quick Google search for a "TI-89 ROM" and you'll find a few download options, but I would suggest downloading the ROM straight from the Texas Instruments website.
No, that was not a mistake. Texas Instruments has the file readily available for download in an .89u file.
It is suggested to download the file to your computer and then add it to your GS3 via the USB cable connection. This is the safest way to download the file.
A ROM is basically the pure data from which a piece of equipment is derived, so downloading one for a game or OS like this is basically the same as downloading the actual game or OS. Unless you already own a TI-89, I can't advise you to download the ROM. It's kind of a gray area, and technically anyone can download a ROM, but just make sure you know that it may or may not be okay.
After downloading the TI-89 OS file onto your GS3, you can load it on the emulator. Hit the menu button on the main screen of your Graph 89 Free application and the following popup menu will appear.
Hit load ROM and find your .89u file in the folder where you saved it. The installation process will begin.
Once completed, you can begin using your free TI-89 calculator right away.
You can access the app settings by hitting the menu button and tapping the wrench icon. Here you can change the zoom, feedback, screen size, and auto-off settings.
The allowance of smartphones and mobile devices varies widely depending on the district and state you're in. Some teachers may allow smartphones in the classroom for normal activities, but when it comes to test days, they're usually banned since students can freely access the internet for answers. This emulator is most valuable for homework and work/office calculations.
There is a "Donate Version" available in the Play Store for $3.75, which also adds support for the TI-84, if that's your calc of choice.
It also adds new skins, lets you change the max speed of the emulation engine, and gives an energy-saving feature that slows down the emulator during no-activity periods.
If you're not a fan of Texas Instruments, another good option is the beefed up version of the stock Android 4.3 calculator that's included in CyanogenMod ROMs. For installation instructions and tips on using it, head over to Mike's guide to getting CyanogenMod's sleek graphic calculator and widget on your Android device (no root required).
TI-83 photo via Brothers Le
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