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The Best Ways to Use Wolfram|Alpha in Real Life

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As one of the smartest sites on the web, Wolfram|Alpha's reputation is rooted in academia and the workplace. However, there are many everyday uses for Wolfram|Alpha that go unnoticed. In fact, Wolfram|Alpha is the brains behind Siri, a tool you may use everyday to find out new information.

In this tutorial, I'll show you seven ways to put the web app to use as a helpful tool for everyday processes.

Conversions

Converting units is really easy to do in Wolfram|Alpha. To convert units, all you need to do is enter Convert X units to new units, where X units is the amount of an item you have and new units is what you want to measure in, into the search bar. Wolfram|Alpha then computes the value in your preferred units and also provides equivalents in other units.

A pounds to kilograms conversion
A pounds to kilograms conversion.

Finding Nutritional Values

Wolfram|Alpha is extremely powerful when it comes to finding the nutritional values of food, even brand-name items like candies or menu items. To find the nutritional value of a food, just type the name of the food and the amount you plan to eat into the search bar, and Wolfram|Alpha will spit out values for every nutritional aspect of the food.

A WolframAlpha search for the nutritional value of a hamburger
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the nutritional value of a hamburger.

If you're looking for a specific nutritional aspect of a food, you can simply type queries like total fat, calories, or caffeine in a certain food item, and the results will be stripped down to include what you're looking for right on the surface.

A WolframAlpha search for total calories in a hamburger
A Wolfram|Alpha search for total calories in a hamburger

Nutritional value can be computed for entire meals at once as well. By entering each item in your meal—separated by the word "and"—you can see the combined nutritional value of the whole meal on one page.

A WolframAlpha search for nutritional value of hamburger and fries
A Wolfram|Alpha search for nutritional value of hamburger and fries

Tip: For more accurate results, Wolfram|Alpha gives the option to specify different brands of foods, as nutritional value does fluctuate depending on how healthful the brand is.

Generating Passwords

While Wolfram|Alpha's password generator is quite a simple concept, its definitely one of the most overlooked features the app has to offer. Random passwords can aid your security both online and offline, which is essential in our digital era.

To generate a password, simply type generate password into the search bar. You can even refine your random password by specifying the amount of characters you want in it, and determining whether or not you want numbers, lowercase or uppercase letters, or even special characters in the password.

WolframAlpha generates random secure passwords
Wolfram|Alpha generates random secure passwords. 

For each password generated, Wolfram|Alpha displays a phonetic form of the password, which can serve as a mnemonic to memorize the password easily.

Phonetic forms can serve as a mnemonic to remember the password
Phonetic forms can serve as a mnemonic to remember the password. 

Linguistics

Wolfram|Alpha's linguistic capabilities are top notch. By searching queries like word [word], you're able to gather basically anything you'd want to know about the word you searched. 

A WolframAlpha search for the word spring
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the word spring.

A general search of a word will present you with the definitions of the word first, then will display pronunciation, etymology, word usage over time, synonyms, broader and narrower terms for the same word, and even rhymes. 

Specific search queries, such as define [word], synonyms for [word], or etymology of [word], may also be conducted, and the results will be stripped back to display the aspects you want above all else.

 A WolframAlpha search for synonyms for spring
A Wolfram|Alpha search for synonyms for spring.

Wolfram|Alpha also has the power to translate words from one language to another. To do so, enter translate [word] to [language]. While its translation algorithms are not as strong as Google Translate, they do work pretty well. 

A WolframAlpha translation
A Wolfram|Alpha translation.

Shopping

The pain of shopping—both online and offline—can be greatly reduced by using Wolfram|Alpha

Finding Specific Products

Wolfram|Alpha may be used as an all-in-one catalog to greatly streamline the online shopping process.

If you're looking for the best deal on a product, all you need to do is search cheapest [product]. Wolfram|Alpha will not only pull the price of the cheapest item, but pictures, specs, ratings, and the closest equivalents to the product at hand as well as their prices and ratings.

A WolframAlpha search for the cheapest camera
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the cheapest camera.

You can also scope out a whole market of products by searching [product] under $X, which will list all the products on the market under that price point. 

A WolframAlpha search for all cameras under 100
A Wolfram|Alpha search for all cameras under $100.

When looking at a price range, features among the models are  compared, so you know if you're getting your money's worth with the item you're buying.

A comparison of features among cameras under 100
A comparison of features among cameras under $100. 

Additionally, your search can be limited by specifying a brand or feature, which will yield results that are only manufactured by that company or have that feature respectively.

A brand-specific search for Canon cameras
A brand-specific search for Canon cameras

Locating a Store

Finding local brick-and-mortar stores is easy in Wolfram|Alpha. To find a store nearest you, search nearest [store name], and the nearest location as well as the distance will be displayed at the top of the page. 

A WolframAlpha search for the nearest CVS store
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the nearest CVS store.

Further down the page, the five nearest locations are displayed, along with whether or not they are open at the time of the search. There also is a map that gives general directions about how to get to the nearest location. 

The same can be done in reference to a location other than the one you currently are in by searching nearest [store name] to [landmark].

A WolframAlpha search for the nearest CVS to Ambassador Bridge
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the nearest CVS to Ambassador Bridge

You can search by store hours as well, especially if you need to find a store open at an odd hour. To do so, search [location][store name] stores open at [time], and Wolfram|Alpha will find the nearest locations of that store that are open at that hour.

A WolframAlpha search for Detroit CVS stores open at 9 PM
A Wolfram|Alpha search for Detroit CVS stores open at 9 PM

Wolfram|Alpha can also locate stores that carry a specific item. For example, you can find nearby drugstores by searching nearest drugstore, and Wolfram|Alpha will find drugstores near you.

A WolframAlpha search for the nearest drugstore
A Wolfram|Alpha search for the nearest drugstore.

Weather

Wolfram|Alpha creates some of the most comprehensive weather reports that are available on the internet. Simply searching weather forecast not only yields the temperature outside on the current date, but also visuals that depict rainfall, windspeed, cloud cover, and historical high and low temperatures.

Weather forecast yields both a visual representation of the weather as well as specific details
Weather forecast yields both a visual representation of the weather as well as specific details.

Longer reports can be produced simply by searching X day weather forecast, where X is the number of days you'd like the weather report to cover.

Searches can also be conducted on specific aspects of the weather, such as chance of rain or the maximum temperature for the day. 

A WolframAlpha search query for high temperature today
A Wolfram|Alpha search query for high temperature today

Conclusion

Wolfram|Alpha is a powerful tool beyond the walls of the classroom and the workplace. From converting to shopping to generating passwords, Wolfram|Alpha has the ability to make everyday processes much easier. Let us know about any other household tasks you complete in Wolfram|Alpha in the comments!

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