I have to admit right now that I’ve got a crush on Wolfram Alpha. Sadly, the “Computational Knowledge Engine” was latched onto by the media and over hyped. It’s not going to change the world, as some reports breathlessly prophesied, and I have a feeling that a lot of people ended up writing it off as a cute toy, but for day to to day stuff, I’ve just found it generally awesome, like the google calculator on steroids,

These are some real world queries I as a sysadmin/programmer use it for:

  1. Calculate the relative cost of hosting plans, even if one uses GiB/mo and the other uses mbps @ the 95th percentile.

  2. Compare the running time of algorithms using Big O notation

  3. Calculate, when, say 30 days ago was, or even 5 sundays ago, or something simple like 2 weeks in seconds,  or feed it a Unix time and get a bunch of useful info about it. 

4. How many horsepower can you get out of 1 carrot per hour (ok, maybe I’ve never actually had to use this one, but pondering the fuel consumption of horses is entertaining).