new user help

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg13296] new user help*From*: john at dlugosz.com (John M. Dlugosz)*Date*: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 03:18:44 -0400*Abuse-reports-to*: abuse at airmail.net to report improper postings*Organization*: at home*Sender*: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

I'm lost. I just don't know how to get started... The excersize I've chosen for myself is to start with x^2+y^2+4x-6y+4==0 and manipulate it into the form (x-h)^2+(y-k)^2==r^2 So... how do I "manipulate" the equasion? The functions like Expand, Factor, etc. don't help much. I my calculator (an HP48) I can point to specific subexpressions and apply operations to them, like factor, distribute, changing forms, etc. How do I collect the x's together in parens, the y's in parens, and complete the squares? Doing it on paper defeats the point! I want to learn how to "do math" using this tool. That's more than just asking "OK, what's X?". It means manipulating things and arranging them, getting to know how the symbols all fit together. --John