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Friday, June 19, 2009

On A Friday: Killing time with the Windows 7 Calculator

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Just a note: “On A Friday” is the new name for the former “Friday Fun” section of this blog. On A Friday is also the original name of the band Radiohead – eighth album out late this year.

We all know that the exclamat!on mark has its uses in English literature, but did you know it also has a use in mathematics? The factorial, represented by the ! symbol, indicates that the preceding number should be multiplied by all numbers above zero before it. For example, 4! = 4*3*2*1.

Calculators often have difficulty reaching the giddy heights of the number 30, so when I found that in Windows 7, windows calculator can process factorials I leapt for joy.

My reasoning was that as computers were first built as glorified calculators a high number would be a walk in a 1m park or my computer.

This is what happened:

I started big…



Maybe something smaller… 999,999!:


Maybe 99,999! will work:


(That warning message appeared twice, and I hoped that it meant that a result would follow. But then…)


I concluded that this quest was rather purposeless at this point, however if you decide to continue from my beginning please post your findings in the ‘responses’ section of this post.

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