If you’ve ever struggled to do math in your head, get this app: Soulver - the notepad calculator
There used to be 2 separate versions, one for iPad and one for iPhone. I bought them both and never regretted it, but now that it’s a ‘universal’ app it will work natively on both. Right now it’s on sale for $2, and that’s a bargain. (Not sure when the sale ends, so go quick.)
Soulver lets me do math. I have never been great at math.
(I don’t say that with pride. In fact, I do not understand people who say “Oh! I can’t do math!” like it’s not that big of a deal. I once heard it said that the same people who would be horrified to have anyone think they were illiterate would have no problem gleefully identifying themselves as being incapable of doing math.)
Soulver lets me do math not because it’s magic, but because it is flexible enough to let me put things into something like “natural language” and (most of the time) it just understands what I am trying to figure out.
It can do things like make simple tallies. For example, how much is that new iPhone really going to cost, once you add in the monthly contract and a case?
I’ve never been able to calculate percentages in my head (well, except for 10%, but that’s just because I can move the decimal over by two places). I have always worried about trying to figure out how to describe something as percentage change from one year (or whatever) or the next. Soulver makes that easy.
When the iPhone first allowed apps, everyone made fun of all of the ‘tip calculators’. Ok, sure, maybe if you only ever eat by yourself, but how many times have you been in a group while trying to split the bill and figure out what to tip?
I have this saved in Soulver:
If I change the amount of the bill and the number of people splitting it, Soulver will immediately calculate each person’s contribution, plus a tip of 20/15/10%.
Now, before you get all hot and bothered about me “recommending” a 10% tip, I think it actually has the opposite effect. If someone thought “Oh I’ll throw in $23” and looked at this, they would see that’s closer to 10% tip than 15%. I suspect that most of the people I know would throw in $24 if they could. There also might be someone in the group who can’t afford more than 10%, or someone who wants to put their share on a credit card but leave tip in cash.
My point is that pulling this out and tapping in a few numbers is almost always going to be faster easier than trying to have someone in the group do it in their head, especially if that person is me. Truth be told, I do use this a lot when I’ve eaten by myself, just to make sure that I haven’t miscalculated the tip in my head.
Perhaps this next month you’re going to be wondering about interest on credit card balances after Christmas shopping. Or maybe you’re looking for a new car, and when you get to the financing talk you want to be able to calculate the actual total or the annual total instead of the monthly total that the salesperson wants you to focus on.
Or maybe you’re going out post-Christmas shopping and want to know what the price of something actually will be once you take off 15% from $23.81 minus another 10% if you use a certain credit card.
Soulver can also do currency conversion and a whole host of other real word questions/conversions (hours to days, days to months, MB to GB, seconds to hours, feet to miles, centimeters to inches, knots to MPH, “14 stone” to pounds (I was watching a British show earlier today).
Long story short: unless you’re Rain Man, you can probably use this.
- How is it working out for you?
- Is it as easy and user-friendly as it seems?
- How quickly were you up and running?
Shoot me an email (steelopus at gmail) if you’ve got any feedback/pros/cons.
I’m not, but maybe one of you fine people reading this are.