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The Old Calculator Web Museum

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Remember that old paper-tape calculator your folks used to do their taxes? Or the crazy beige 70's calculator your high school math teacher insisted on using? Well, those look positively modern compared to what you'll find at The Old Calculator Web Museum, an extensive collection of vintage math machines.

The calculators in this online collection range from simply antiquated to utterly bizarre. Others look like they're taken from early NASA programs (surprise -- the Wang LOCI-2 was indeed used to test space suits at NASA). Some of the calculators have cool styling, like the Facit 1111, which shows its numbers in a hip, tilted typeface.

The museum also features an Advertising and Documentation Archive, which is a hoot. The ad for a Mathatronics Mathatron 8-48 calculator read thus (emphasis added):

"They laughed when I sat down to play the Mathatron."

"Little did they realize then that this was no ordinary $5,000 Mathatron. All they could see was the simple algebraic keyboard, and the paper tape readout.

"But underneath the Mathatron, cleverly disguised in the table, was capacity bringing the totals to 48 individually addressable storage registers, 480 steps of program memory, 18 prewired programs of 48 steps each, increased speed, and added program control!

"By my right hand, unknown to those snickering on my left, close by the candelabra, was an additional control box which told me, by blinking lights, which of the 10 loops I was addressing. And there were other buttons there, too.

"When I finished my evaluation of the formula involving trigonometric, logarithmic and other functions, matrix manipulations, triangulation and the solution of polynomials, they applauded generously." Send for complete details.

Other notable calculators: Hewlett Packard HP-01 Calculator Wristwatch (the gold version went for $795), Wang Model 360SE Calculator System (which featured high-end math functions at a low price -- as well as awesome Nixie Tube displays), and Toshiba BC-1211S Electronic Calculator (which omitted the division function to save money).

Check out the museum to satisfy your retro calculator fetish.

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Getting Calls From Your Own Phone Number? Don't Answer!
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There’s a new phone scam that could affect you, according to Washington’s KIRO 7 News. In addition to keeping your eyes open for calls that come from area codes like 473 or involve people claiming to be Equifax representatives, you now have to watch out for your own phone number.

Scammers are manipulating your phone’s caller ID to make it look like you’re getting a call from your own phone number, then posing as someone from a wireless carrier like AT&T or Verizon. They tell whoever answers the phone that their account has been flagged for security reasons, then ask for the last four digits of that person’s Social Security number. The FCC has been aware of these scams for at least two years, but they seem to be ramping up once again.

In general, you shouldn’t give out any part of your Social Security number over the phone on an incoming call. If you’re suspicious, you can always call your carrier back using the official customer service phone number on their website or on your bill. But it’s best not to pick up at all. If you receive a call from your own number, don’t answer or press any buttons. Instead, file a complaint with the FCC.

[h/t KIRO 7 News]

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Samsung

Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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