Question about doing math homework on a mac

App Developer

Hey guys.
So I'm taking a college level algebra class this summer, and wanted to get some opinions about how people who have taken math courses have completed their homework. I am thinking of using my mac for this. Has anyone used a mac to do math homework? I have seen the word LaTex come up in another forum topic. Is this a math program? While I do know braille and nemeth code, the only access I have to braille is my tiny little braille sense u2 mini from Hims. I am thinking this is not a viable solution because you can only write one line of braille at a time.
But what are your thoughts? Do you think using a mac for math is a viable solution or would you just stick to braille? I'm curious to hear other people's opinions if anybody has had any experience with this.

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#1 Stick to Braille

I would suggest that you stick to braille. I tried to use my Mac in high school for math, but quickly found it became unmanageable rather quickly. The most advanced thing I did was to define keyboard commands for subscript and superscript so I could apply the font to the selected characters. I found that using a braille writer with braille paper was a much better experience as I could feel multiple lines at a time. Fortunately, I'm done with the public education system and have no plans to ever return to Algebra or a higher math class ever again.

#2 Hi,

App Developer

Hi,
let me elaborate a little bit on this difficult topic.
The first question is: What is your primary goal? Is it to understand things in Algebra or to type-set your work? LaTeX is a great tool for the latter. I wrote my master theses with LaTeX containing lots of math formulas.
LaTeX is accessible by design as it is based on command line tools. There is an installer for the mac containing a GUI application for input and compilation and that is accessible for the most part too.
https://tug.org/mactex/
At some point in time you'll need to write down your work in a professional manner to be read by sighted people and as far as I know LaTeX is the easiest (and probably only) choice for this.
So you want to show the square root of the term 3 over 4. This would look similar to this in LaTex:
$$\sqrt{{{x}\over{y}}}$$
And it would look nice when printed out. Don'T worry, you will get error messages if you make a mistake.

The only problem is: It is not comprehensive for tasks like substitutions or even getting an idea on the equation.
This may be done easier with braille but you'll have to put up with the fact that you need to rewrite your work for presentation.
When I was in college (which was quite a while ago) I used a graphical tactile reading machine for this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optacon
and since they don't make them anymore I keep several of these devices around - mainly for cases when I have to read math.
If you feel comfortable with braille sheets then I would stick to them for transformation work.

Fractions. roots and integrals remain a pain and I find it easier to treat them as a functional notation sqrt(x) instead of actually placing x under the root.

/Roland

#3 Latex

App Developer

It seems like Latex is a major waste of time for those who need to represent math in homework assignments or in some programming language. Discussing this with a few people that have a PHD in math, the conclusion is that Latex is good for journalism, academic journals, and possibly typesetting for a discertation on math. Anything else is most likely a huge waste of time and money. Not many students have the time to spend 4 months to earn beginner status in Latex syntax to do 8 or 16 homework assignments, then never use it again. For those using it in programming, get used to writing it the way a programming language expects it: Math.Sqr(), PI, E, *, %, /, +, -, (, )...
(0.75 * 10)/2 is the same as the result of three fourths times ten divided by two.