Wolfram Alpha is a great search engine for data geeks, but it has plenty of computation tricks up its sleeve that are useful for the rest of us too. Here are some of the most useful.
Instantly Setup and Play Time Information on Board Game
Most people like to know the recommended age, playtime and how many players you need for a board game before you pull it out of the closet. Just type the board game’s name into Wolfram Alpha and it will spit out those details and then some. You can also type in queries like “How long is Small World” and Wolfram Alpha will highlight the average play time for the game. More importantly, you can do comparisons between games, like “Ticket to Ride vs Small World” to quickly compare the number of players, set up time, and play time. It’s all pretty helpful if you’re trying to pick something to play for game night.
Calculate Scrabble Scores Before You Play a Word
Not a fan of doing the basic maths required in Scrabble? Just type in “scrabble” followed by the word you want to get the score for and you’ll get the point total alongside some other possible words — that is, if cheating is your thing.
Compute Depth of Field, Focal Distance and Other Photography Equations
Most modern digital cameras can calculate things like depth of field and aperture for you, but if you prefer to do things yourself (or you just have an older camera), Wolfram Alpha can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Type in something like “depth of field f=1m” and you’ll get the f-number and focus distance. Wolfram Alpha can handle basic f-stop arithmetic, hyperfocal distance, field of view and a number of other parameters. It can even help with things like pixel density in photos or finding the right paper size.
Decode Terms like ‘Second Cousin’ or ‘Once Removed’
Ever wonder exactly what your “uncle’s uncle’s son’s daughter’s cousin” is called? It’s a second cousin, but more importantly, it’s also something Wolfram Alpha can help you figure out. Just type in whatever genealogical tree information you want, and Wolfram Alpha will map it out for you.
Estimate Your Blood Alcohol Level
First, at no point in your life should you ever rely on Wolfram Alpha to tell you if you’re “OK to drive” after drinking. However, it can be used to estimate your blood alcohol percentage. Just type in your weight, height, number of drinks and the number of hours that have passed for a quick estimate. Remember though, this doesn’t factor in what you’ve eaten, your metabolism, or even the alcohol content of your drinks, so only use this for fun.
Quickly Find Rhyming Words
Whether you’re writing your own stupid limerick, trying to drop a mixtape, or you’re just sitting around rhyming for the fun of it, Wolfram Alpha makes it easy to find rhyming words. Just type in “rhymes with” before whatever word you want.
Convert Your AU Shoe Size to International Sizes
If you’re travelling or ordering from a retailer abroad, and find the perfect pair of shoes, you need to be able to figure out what your shoe size is in their measurements. For those moments, Wolfram Alpha does a great job. Type in “country gender size shoe in country size,” like “AU men’s size 8.5 shoe in france size” and you’ll get all the info you need. It can also find equivalents in shoe sizes and even compute ring sizes.
Make Your Own Nutrition Labels
Sure, you can easily glance at any nutrition label you want to get some basic information, but that’s really only helpful if you eat one serving size. But what if you want to eat say, 48 snickers bars? Type in the number you want to eat followed by the name of the food and Wolfram Alpha will tell you just what you’ll get out of it. More reasonably, this is perfect for those times the package’s serving size is a fourth of what a normal human being would eat and you’d still like to know exactly how many calories or grams of protein you’re eating.
See How Popular a Name Really Is
Whether you’re naming your child or your dog, you might be curious as to how popular a name is. Wolfram Alpha makes it easy to compare the the popularity of names in the US by just typing them out with a comma in-between. Some names might need to get the addendum “name” afterwards if they’re associated with something else, like “Gandalf” for example. Good opportunity to find out how many other “Khaleesi”s your new daughter will meet as she gets older.
Calculate US Inflation
Inflation is a gradual thing that most of us don’t really notice, but it’s still important to the economy and a hot topic of conversation. Type “US, $number, year” into Wolfram Alpha and it will get you the inflation rate, and the current worth of a dollar value from that year. So if you hear an estate sold for $US20,000 in 1912, or watch an old game show from 1965 where someone won a $US5000 car, you’ll know how much that is in today’s dollars (Spoiler: the estate is worth over $US523,000 [$735,862] today, and the car was worth the equivalent of $US39,000 [$54,873].)
Play a Note to Help Tune an Instrument
Need to quickly hear an F# or just see exactly where it is on a keyboard? Type any musical note in and Wolfram Alpha will kick out everything you need to know, from its major and minor scale to its MIDI note. Click “Play Sound” to hear it through your own speakers or headphones.
Get A Ton of Celebrity Trivia
Fancy yourself a celebrity trivia machine? Wolfram Alpha can help accent that knowledge with all kinds of different search parameters. You can see what bands someone was in, what movies star two different actors or video games released in a particular month. Heck, you can even hunt down the opening sentence of classic novels.
Find the Best Pokémon
Need to compare some basic Pokémon stats? Just type in name of a couple of Pokémon and Wolfram Alpha will spit out an insane amount of information about them. You’ll get the basics like their Pokédex number and icon, but you’ll also get their physical characteristics and base statistics, making it a pretty solid addition addendum to an actual Pokédex.