Algebra: The very word still turns strong wills to water, yet somehow they haven't stopped teaching it in school. And your algebra teacher was right; you may need to know this stuff later, and not just for midterms. But this problem is easy to solve. You have a computer. Computers are really good at math. Algebra is math. We'll cheat a bit and tell you the answer: The missing variable is the software. UMS Team's Free Universal Algebra Equation Solver is a freeware algebra solver and tutor. It offers step-by-step solutions, including commentaries, to any algebra problem up to college level. It is aimed at college undergrads, high school students, and home schoolers. Since it's based on Universal Math Solver, it requires an Internet connection to access the UMS server's database.
Universal Algebra Solver's installer includes the option to run when finished, so be aware of your firewall settings; the program will contact the UMS server automatically. A pop-up noted that we merely had to enter a problem and press the green dot to get an answer. We started simply (we also finished simply, to be honest) with some quick equations, which the tool solved instantly. Pop-ups let us choose to solve for multiple variables when appropriate, and it warned us when our syntax (or plain lack of knowledge) led to illegal expressions. (It turns out the laws of mathematics aren't covered by the freeware EULA). This program is supereasy to use, with large, colorful fonts and clearly expressed equations on a whiteboard view tabbed for Problem and Solution. With four toolbars and a menu bar at the top and a status bar at the bottom, Free Universal Algebra Equation Solver certainly offers a lot of features, though some of the options and tools listed on the menus only apply to the full version of UMS. Nevertheless, we were more than a little impressed with the freeware.
As an educational tool, Free Universal Algebra Equation Solver is excellent, maybe even essential. The explanations and commentaries it provides make it much more than a simple calculating engine. It can help you understand algebra, not just get past it.