Ok. So I'm trying to do things with C, and/or C++ (depending on my mood at the time) and have a few books to help me along. The titles are unimportant at this point in time.

I get started, and get going, and all is well, until it occurs to me: I'm on Chapter 11 out of 25 (give or take) and What am I doing? I'm still making calculators! i realize that at heart a computer only deals with numbers (and very, very simple ones at that) and that facilitates the easy development of calculators, but do we really need another calculator? When you built your bawx (you DID build it, didn't you?) did you plan to spend two thousand dollars for a calculator that covers your desk? Of course not. You have better things to do with your time, and so does everybody else.

Mathematics are an important concept, especially in programming. But instead of taking two variables from stdin with scanf(), why not do something useful?

Strings are infinitely more sophisticated than simple integers, so why spend so little time studying them? The people who actually USE your application are not going to see a lot of numbers (unless you aim low and make a calculator like the book recommends). I suppose calculators are good for people who like to choose one of three dozen installed calculators, but that's not most of us.

Great! Now I can make a command-line driven calculator written in ANSI C. That'll be a big hit, and change the way the world spins. Hey, if you don't have some kind of development environment, Get one! And join the increasing army of calculator-coders for yourself! Go interesting places, see interesting people, and get a merit badge for mathematical excellence for yourself!