So I was checking a simple calculation today, and couldn’t find a proper calculator, so I reached for gnome-calculator on the desktop. That was a mistake.

It seems to think that

`8×10¹²÷6×10⁹`

comes to

1.333333333×10²¹

which is not correct. It would, if I’d typed it as:

8×1×10¹²÷6×1×10⁹

You can only get the right answer (1333.333…) if you type

(8×10¹²)÷(6×10⁹)

so it’s clear that gnome-calculator isn’t apply the right exponentiation operator precedence when you hit ‘×10^{y}’. It would have been so much better if gnome-calculator supported ‘E’ scientific notation (1.333E21 for 1.333×10²¹).

A bug is filed, but I don’t think I trust it any more. ~~I’m looking at having a proper calculator again, or maybe invest in one of the delightful tiny HP clones from SwissMicros.com~~.

Almost forgot that I had a barely-used HP 49G in the cupboard. It was barely used because the thing eats AAA batteries. Who knew that Dollarama would have a pair of NiMH AAAs for only $2?

## 2 replies on “This is why we still have real calculators…”

For 8×10¹²÷6×10⁹ is correct 1.333333333×10²¹ is correct!

For (8×10¹²)÷(6×10⁹) or 8×10¹²÷(6×10⁹) is correct 1333.333!

Commutative property baby!

8e12/6e9 has to be of the order 1e3, not 1e21 …