Instacalc – publishing calculations and working as easily as data

Now this is my idea of the future. Instead of showing you my result, instead even of showing you my calculation, I can publish my calculator and let you play with it. What better way to let you test my assumptions, challenge my ideas, and generally robustly query my work.

The calculator above shows how my daily cups of coffee are only costing me 22.5p if you factor out the cost of boiling a kettle. If you want to do the same calculation, but you buy coffee at £4 instead of £4.50 just switch the value on the screen. [Or should I say the calc that would be there is wordpress hadn’t eaten it. Ho hum.]
http://instacalc.com to create your own.
We’ve all been data sharing for so long I think we forget we do it. This blog is an example, I find something interesting and I share it with you. But PROCESS sharing, now thats interesting. Even the trivial example above is much more interesting than a simple statement that I figured out the cost of a cuppa. Big deal! Now extend this to election blogs calculating margins based on predicted swings – you no longer need a huge team to come up with this stuff – it’s all getting to be plug and play.

I’ve long thought that online news releases from government regarding budgets should show the workings. Let’s say the base rate goes up next month. Publish a calculator that shows the total change in my spending that will cause – just make it clear which number I change (my mortgage repayment say) and right there in the article I have my answer. This is empowering stuff.

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2 responses to “Instacalc – publishing calculations and working as easily as data

  1. Hi, this is Kalid from InstaCalc. You nailed it — the goal is to let people have an interactive discussion around a calculation, change assumptions and offer feedback.

    At a minimum, when someone says “it will cost 2800 per person to do XYZ” they can back it up with a link (or a reader can disprove them with a link), without the overhead of attaching a spreadsheet.

    I now realize that WordPress and some blogs will eat certain widgets, so I’ll be working on a blog-safe version.

    Thanks for taking the time to use InstaCalc, I’m happy you liked it.

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