Calc98 Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have asked questions about Calc98, how it came about, etc. Here are answers to some of the most common ones.
- Why was Calc98 created?
- Why have you released Calc98?
- Who are Flow Simulation?
- Who uses Calc98?
- What are Flow Simulation's contact details?
- Is Calc98 Y2K compliant?
- How do I register?
- Can I really download this program and use it for free for as long as I need it?
- What are the terms for site licensing?
- Why is Calc98 free of charge?
- Isn't it a bit risky using free software?
- Can I obtain the source code of Calc98?
- Is it okay to include a link to Calc98 on my personal home page?
- Is it okay to include a link to Calc98 from our organization's web site?
- I would like to redistribute Calc98. Is this okay?
- I would like to unofficially "mirror" Calc98 on my home page. Is this okay?
- Can I distribute Calc98 along with my software product?
- Can we include a customized version of Calc98 as part of our software?
- I work for a magazine publisher. May we include Calc98 on our cover CD?
- How do I obtain technical support?
- How do I download and install Calc98?
- Why doesn't Calc98 have a 'proper' Windows install program?
- Will installing Calc98 unleash some bug that will crash my system?
- Where is the Help file?
- How do I replace the Windows Calculator with Calc98?
- Another program starts the Windows Calculator. How do I get it to run Calc98 instead?
- Why does my browser window fill with garbage when I try to download factory.prp?
- Where does Calc98 store its files?
- Why does Calc98 use the Windows Registry?
- What Windows Registry entries does Calc98 use?
- Why are you using HTML Help?
- Why does Calc98 try to use Internet Explorer?
- Why does a file called "default.dat"' keep appearing on my desktop?
- Why does a file called "default.dat"' keep appearing in my Start Menu?
- I have just upgraded Calc98. Why does it look and behave like the old version?
- How do I un-install Calc98?
- How frequently is Calc98 updated?
- Which Windows operating systems does Calc98 run on?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Windows CE (Pocket PC)?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for 16 bit Windows (e.g. Windows 3.1)?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Linux?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Unix, BSD etc.?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Palm?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Psion (EPOC)?
- Is there a version of Calc98 for Apple Macintosh?
- Why does the revision history refer to Version 4.53, when I have Version 4.52?
- What happened to the extra fonts in Calc95, e.g. Buttons, Sevenseg and Minitron?
- Can I get rid of the Flow Simulation splash screen when Calc98 starts?
- Why can't I use the computer keyboard instead of clicking with the mouse on the buttons?
- Could you please provide a list of the keyboard shortcuts?
- How do I make the button legends bigger?
- How do I make the display bigger?
- Where are Calc98's statistics functions?
- Where are Calc98's financial functions?
- Where is the pi button?
- Where is the percent button?
- How do you get mode selections to be the default mode?
- How do you get the button size to stay at what has been selected?
- How do I view the stack in RPN mode?
- Where is the button to exchange X and Y in RPN mode?
- Where is the button to move the stack down in RPN mode?
- Why do the trigonometric functions give inaccurate values (e.g. sine of 10 degrees gives -0.5440211109)?
- Why do the trigonometric functions give inaccurate values (e.g. sine of 10 degrees gives 0.156434465)?
- How do I clear the Memory?
- Is there a way to get Calc98 to put the decimal point in automatically (like an adding machine)?
- How do you change the decimal point symbol?
- How do you change the thousands separator?
- Why, if I enter "1 + 2 x 3 =" do I get 7 and not 9?
- Why is the value truncated to two significant figures when I try to calculate a monthly interest rate?
- Why does Calc98 minimize after a period of inactivity?
- Why do I get a message "Unable to open properties database" when I start Calc98?
- How do I get units and conversion factors added to Calc98?
- How do I get physical constants or physical properties added to Calc98?
- How do I correct erroneous values for conversion factors or constants?
- How do I report a bug in Calc98?
- How can I suggest an enhancement to Calc98?
- Why am I getting 743559489.4000000059 instead of 743559489.4?
- Why do you get (e.g.) 12.3499999999999943 if the display precision is set to 16 digits, but 12.35 for 12 digits?
- If I put in 19.4, it changes that to 19.3999999999999985. Why?
- Is Calc98 capable of doing fractions?
- Why don't you have a scrolling tape?
- Can Calc98 calculate exchange rates?
A: The software was developed in the early 90's as a component of a specialized integrated engineering software system. In 1995 we decided to make it available as a stand-alone software product, which was originally called Calc95.
A: Because we thought computer users would find it useful. It also gains us a small amount of publicity, and an opportunity to experiment in software distribution methods.
A: Flow Simulation develops software under contract and provides consultancy services for the engineering and financial services industries. See our web site for more details.
Q4: Who uses Calc98?
A: Because of the way Calc98 is distributed it is difficult to obtain precise numbers of users. On a typical day, between 300 and 500 users download Calc98 from our web site. Calc98 can also be obtained from magazine cover disks, software archives, user's home pages and in software collection CD's sold separately or included with textbooks. In early 2000, about a quarter of a million users had downloaded Calc98 from one online software archive alone. We currently estimate that about 3 million users have downloaded Calc98. Many users report that they have distributed the software around their departments or organizations, which include major industrial corporations and government departments. A large proportion of users are located in North America, although there are users of Calc98 in most countries of the world. As well as scientific and engineering industries, Calc98 seems to be particular popular in education, financial services and health-care. For further background you can see a selection of user comments.
A: There is no date function in Calc98. We tested it using the rollover date and other key dates. It worked fine.
A: You don't need to register this software any more. If you want to register anyway, there is a form in the help files, or just e-mail us - we'd love to get your feedback.
A: The free version of Calc98 is free, whether you install it on one computer or a thousand (as some have).
A: In 1995, when Calc98 was initially released as "shareware", we analysed the economics of distributing this type of product. We found that the effort expended by users in arranging payment and the corresponding effort of collection of payment didn't make sense. We therefore decided to make it free. Although it was an unusual approach for a commercial organization to take at the time, subsequent developments in the software marketplace have now established this as a valid business model.
A: We have found that the quality spectrum of free software is about the same as for conventionally marketed software. Users need to exercise the same level of critical evaluation as with any other goods. The advantage of free software is that it is less trouble to obtain in the first place, and if it is unsatisfactory you don't have the bother of returning it and obtaining a refund. The disadvantage is that it is less likely that the software will come with professional support, unless you pay somebody to provide it.
A: Sorry, no. Calc98 is not an Open Source project. We have no plans to make Calc98 Open Source. Note that Calc98 is not "free" in the sense of the word used by organizations such as the Free Software Foundation. It is licensed software.
A: Yes, please do.
A: Yes, please do.
A: Yes, please feel free to redistribute the Calc98 distribution file in its original form. However, you may not modify the files, separate or distribute them individually, or alter the copyright and legal notices.
A: "Mirroring" refers to the practice of keeping a copy of a file on your web site for visitors to download, instead of going directly to the original site. We have no objection in principle to web site owners doing this. In practice however, this can cause problems when we update the software, because we don't know who has out of date versions of the software on their site. We support a number of "official" mirrors, which simply means that we are aware that they are making the file available and direct users to them, and that they have agreed to post updates when we send them. An alternative to "unofficial" mirrors is for sites to link to our download page. This helps us to keep downloads up-to-date.
A: Yes, as long as it is made clear to users that Calc98 is a separate product which is credited to Flow Simulation. Please take care not include any wording that gives the impression that Flow Simulation endorses your product. You must not modify the files, separate or distribute them individually, or alter the copyright and legal notices.
A: No, sorry. You may not disassemble or reverse engineer or incorporate into another work the software or its components. If you require a customised version of Calc98 on a commercial basis, please contact us.
A: We would love to see Calc98 on your cover CD. Please do not separate the files, distribute them individually, or alter the copyright and legal notices. Please contact us if you need a written release.
A: We are not able to provide technical support for the free distribution version of Calc98. However, please feel free to e-mail us if you have a problem or query, or suggestions as to how we could improve the product. We will do our best to deal with your request if we can. Alternatively, you can write to us at our address below.
A: Calc98 can be downloaded from the Calc98 download page. Select the site you wish to download from by clicking the appropriate link. Your browser will prompt you for a location to save the file. The downloaded file is a self-extracting zip archive. Run it to extract the files into the directory of your choice. For more detailed information, see the online documentation
A: The size of the Calc98 executable is of the order of 300k and the compressed distribution file is not much larger. This makes Calc98 extremely quick to download and capable of distribution using low capacity media like diskettes. We have looked at professional install programs and determined that the resulting installation files would be considerably larger than the software itself. Until we can find an installation program with a very small footprint (or write one ourselves) we think most users would prefer to have the benefit of a smaller download file, and tolerate the inconvenience of having to drag a shortcut onto their desktop to complete the installation.
A: We certainly hope not! Millions of people have installed Calc98 on their systems without problems.
A: The help files have their own directory, "CalcHelp". A single index file "index.htm" exists in the Calc98 directory and links to the other files.
A: This depends slightly on which version of Windows you have. Drag and drop a Calc98 shortcut to your Start Menu (right click on the "Start" button and select "Open" to open it, or right click on the task bar and select "Properties" and selecting the "Start Menu Programs" tab, or go directly to the directory "C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories"). A shortcut to the Windows Calculator should be in the "C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories" directory and can be deleted and replaced with the Calc98 shortcut. Alternatively, edit the Windows Calculator shortcut and change the target to the Calc98 executable.
A: The executable for the windows calculator is usually called "calc.exe" and can be found in the Windows directory (typically "C:\Windows"). To replace this with Calc98, first rename "Calc.exe" to e.g. "Calcexe.old" and then create a shortcut to Calc98 and rename it "Calc.exe". If for any reason you need to reverse this process, delete the shortcut and rename "Calcexe.old" back to "Calc.exe".
A: In Internet Explorer, right mouse click on the link and select "Save Target As..." from the pop-up menu, and save to the Calc98 directory. In Netscape Navigator, right mouse click on the link and select "Save Link As..." from the pop-up menu, and save to the Calc98 directory.
A: Calc98 stores its files in the directory from which it is run.
A: Using the Registry allows different users of the same computer to individually configure and customize Calc98.
A: Calc98 saves registry settings in "HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/FlowSimulation/Calc98". The registry entries are used to store the current calculator mode, display configuration and keypad layout.
A: We switched from Windows Help (WinHelp - the help system used exclusively on versions of Windows up to Windows95) to HTML Help because this was the direction Microsoft encouraged developers to go at the time. HTML Help offers many advantages over WinHelp, but unfortunately support in older versions of Windows was incomplete. In these cases Calc98 needs to find a browser to display the help files, which gives rise to other problems (see below).
A: On older versions of Windows which do not have built-in support for HTML Help, an HTML browser needs to be located. When you click on the Help button, Calc98 first tries to launch Windows HTML Help (which is a standard component of more recent versions of Windows). If this fails it starts looking for Internet Explorer, because most Windows systems have IE installed. If Windows fails to locate IE it looks for Netscape Navigator. If this fails, the user is given the opportunity to specify the location of the browser. You can also specifically tell Calc98 which browser executable to use within the Data tab of the Options dialog.
A: Calc98 creates a file called "Default.dat" in the directory from which it is run to save values when you quit the calculator. You can delete the file, but you will get a new one the next time Calc98 is run. When you install Calc98 on Windows, one way of making it easily accessible is to drag a shortcut of the Calc98 executable onto the desktop. The problem occurs as a result of accidentally dragging the executable itself, or a copy, onto the desktop, instead of creating a shortcut. This means that Calc98 gets run from the directory corresponding to the desktop, and this is where it will store its data file. To create a shortcut, drag the object and hold down the ALT and SHIFT keys before releasing the mouse button. Or you can use the right mouse button as you drag to get a pop-up menu; then select "create shortcut here".
A: Calc98 creates a file called "Default.dat" in the directory from which it is run to save values when you quit the calculator. You can delete the file, but you will get a new one the next time Calc98 is run. When you install Calc98 on Windows, one way of making it easily accessible is to drag a shortcut of the Calc98 executable onto the Start Menu, for example using the Taskbar Properties or adding it to the "C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" folder. The problem occurs as a result of accidentally dragging the executable itself, or a copy, onto the Start Menu, instead of creating a shortcut. This means that Calc98 gets run from the Start Menu folder itself, and this is where it will store its data file. To create a shortcut, drag the object and hold down the ALT and SHIFT keys before releasing the mouse button. Or you can use the right mouse button as you drag to get a pop-up menu; then select "create shortcut here".
A: You may have had Calc98 running when you ran the installation program. You need to make sure that Calc98 is not running, and then run the installation again. It is a good idea to make sure that you don't have any applications running when installing any software.
A: Simply delete the directory into which you installed Calc98 (which is usually called "Calc98"). There is a small entry in the Windows registry which can be deleted, although this is neither necessary nor recommended. If you really want to remove all trace of Calc98, you need to delete the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/FlowSimulation/Calc98". If you created any shortcuts to Calc98 (e.g. on the desktop or Start Menu), you will need to remove these also.
A: It largely depends how busy we are. Our main business activities obviously take priority. The period between major releases is typically two years.
A: Calc98 runs on Windows95, Windows98, WindowsME, WindowsNT, Windows2000, WindowsXP and WindowsCE.
A: Yes. You can get it from the usual download page.
A: There is a 16-bit version of Calc95. This version has not been developed further to keep up with Calc98, but can still be downloaded for use on 16-bit systems.
A: No, but we have had reports of it running under Wine.
A: No, sorry.
A: Sorry, no. However, we periodically review the possibility of developing a version of Calc98 for the Palm platform.
A: Sorry, no.
A: Sorry, no.
A: Version 4.53 is really a version 4.52a which was released very shortly after 4.52. Because of the way some of the share-ware archives and links sites are updated it would have been very difficult to release a 4.53, so all the version 4.52 files are actually "4.52a". Unfortunately an error in the documentation confusingly refers to Version 4.53. In any case, this version is way out of date. Please download the current version.
A: We now support arbitrary font sizes and that means we need to use TrueType fonts. Buttons, Minitron and Sevenseg fonts supplied with Calc95 weren't TrueType so you could not re-size them. It seems that these fonts were quite popular and we plan to re-introduce them as TrueType fonts in a future version.
A: Please do not attempt to remove the Flow Simulation splash screen. This brief advertisement is our only reward for the effort of developing Calc98.
A: Click on the "opt" button or Options menu to bring up the Mode dialog box. Select the "View" tab and click on either the "Main Keys" or "Function Keys" buttons to change the button size, spacing, font etc. For more information, see the documentation.
A: Click on the "opt" button or Options menu to bring up the Options dialog box. Select the "Display" tab to change the font, size, background colour etc. For more information, see the documentation.
A: Click on the "opt" button or Options menu and select statistics mode. See the online documentation.
A: Click on the "opt" button or Options menu and select financial mode. See the online documentation.
A: Use the shift button to get additional functions in normal operation. See the online documentation.
A: Use the shift button to get additional functions in normal operation. See the online documentation.
A: Calc98 saves its settings in the Windows Registry automatically when it exits.
A: Calc98 saves its settings in the Windows Registry automatically when it exits.
A: Click on the "shift" button, and then the "stack" button, or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-^).
A: Click on the "shift" button, and then the "x><y" button.
A: Click on the "shift" button, and then the "R<" (stack rolldown) button.
A: You have the angle mode set to Radians, instead of degrees. Click on the "opt" button and select the "Mode" tab, and select "Deg" as the angle mode. The correct answer for the sine of 10 degrees is 0.1736481777.
A: You have the angle mode set to Gradients, instead of degrees. Click on the mode button and select the "Mode" tab, and select "Deg" as the angle mode. The correct answer for the sine of 10 degrees is 0.1736481777.
A: To clear the memory, clear the calculator using the "AC" button (or just clear the display using the "C" button), then click on "Min"
A: No. Whilst this can work well for an adding machine as used for book-keeping, it would be very confusing for a general purpose calculator. A simple solution is to simply work in pence, rather than dollars or pounds. The danger with this is that you forget to enter the zeroes for the pennies when entering a round number of pounds or dollars, especially if you do not use calculators exclusively in this way.
A: Click on the "opt" button and select the "Display" tab. You can then change the decimal symbol. When you install for the first time it should default to the regional setting on your computer.
A: Click on the "opt" button and select the "Display" tab. You can then change the digit group symbol, or disable it (by setting to "no").
A: The order in which arithmetic operations is carried out is called precedence. Calc98 defaults to algebraic precedence which is the way most scientific calculators work. This means that multiplication takes precedence over addition, which is equivalent to 1 + (2x3) = 7 because the multiplication is evaluated first, even though it was the second arithmetic operation entered . Some calculators (particularly very simple ones) do not use algebraic precedence and only the order of entry is significant, so (1 + 2) x 3 = 9. Calc98 can be configured to use either type of precedence by clicking the Mode button and selecting the Mode tab. There is a section on this tab page called "Precedence" which gives you three options: As Entered, Algebraic (the default) and a third option "RPN" (Reverse Polish Notation; a very elegant solution which allows you to enter complex expressions without using parentheses, and made popular by Hewlett Packard's calculators). If you switch to "As Entered" mode, the calculator will compute "1 + 2 x 3" as 9.
A: When you switch to financial mode, the display automatically switches to Finance mode (i.e. two decimal places). This means that if you calculate a monthly interest rate (which is likely to be some fraction of one percent) there is not sufficient accuracy unless you flip back to decimal mode. To change to monthly interest rate, use the buttons on the rates dialog which converts without losing accuracy.
A: This is usually because the "auto power off" feature is enabled. See the online documentation.
A: For some reason Calc98 could not load the properties and constants data. These are stored in files in your installation directory with the extension .PRP. Calc looks for a file called DEFAULT.PRP in this directory, which is where you would store customized properties and constants data for automatic loading. If this file is not found, the file FACTORY.PRP is loaded from the same directory. If both files are missing or inaccessible for some reason, Calc98 fails to load the data and the properties and constants will not be available. Check if these files have been deleted or moved. If no properties files can be found, they can be replaced from your backup copies of the distribution files, or you can re-run the Calc98 setup.
A: You can edit the values stored by your own copy of Calc98 as described in the online documentation. You can help us improve the range of units covered by submitting units for inclusion in the units/properties database. You can do this by e-mail.
A: You can edit the values stored by your own copy of Calc98 as described in the online documentation. You can help us improve the range of constants included by submitting constants and properties for inclusion in the units/properties database. You can do this by e-mail.
A: You can edit the values stored by your own copy of Calc98 as described in the online documentation. If you think that one of the values is in error, please help us by submitting an update. You can do this by e-mail or using the units/constants submit page.
A: If you have suggestions for future enhancements, please do e-mail us with your ideas. We are very keen to hear user's suggestions. Even if the idea is not new to us, it helps us to know which proposed features are of most importance to users. A large number of the improvements to the last version were as a result of user suggestions.
A: This problem should be solved in the current release of Calc98 (version 5).
A: Although it is possible to set the accuracy to 16 digits, the floating point unit does not support this precision. In the current version of Calc98 the maximum precision is 15 digits, and most of the rounding problems have been resolved.
A: This can happen if you set precision to 16 decimals in fixed point mode. In the current version of Calc98 the maximum precision is 15 digits, and most of the rounding problems have been resolved.
A: No, sorry, not at this time.
A: This is the most requested enhancement for Calc98. We have so far hesitated to add this feature because it is difficult to reconcile, from a usability point of view, with a scientific calculator with matrix functions. We hope very much to find a solution to this and add this feature to Calc98 at some future date.
A: If you know the current exchange rate you can of course do the conversion just like any other calculator. It is not so easy to simply add exchange rates to Calc98's data files, however, because obviously exchange rates are constantly fluctuating.