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Calculator Networking With CALCnet and Doors CS

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the site-for-sore-thumbs dept.

Hardware Hacking 60

KermMartian writes "In an effort to make your trusty graphing calculator more like a computer, a shell called Doors CS has been developed, with an integrated networking stack, CALCnet2.2. The protocol is demonstrated in a nine-calculator pong-type demo, and the many file management, GUI, and other features of Doors CS can be seen at here. All the associated software is available for download."

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60 comments

How does this hook up (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580498)

To my TI-80?

Oh, what. I could already play Pong on it (c=

What a Bloddy Mess (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580740)

At first I considered my size to be a handicap. But than I learned that it's not the size, it's what you do with it. So I took a shotgun, stuck it up the pussy of the bitch that rejected me, and pulled the trigger.

Re:How does this hook up (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581282)

It doesn't (just to spoil the joke). As you know, the TI-80 doesn't have a link port, so it can't be connected to other calculators. That's also why it took so long for someone to release games for it, because it wasn't easy to hit (unlike the 85, for example, which had things installed with a simple corrupt dump).

Note: Information current as of ~1999, not responsible for design changes TI made in the last decade

Re:How does this hook up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34581398)

Note: Information current as of ~1999, not responsible for design changes TI made in the last decade

Don't worry; there have been none. Calculator technology has been stagnant for decades.

Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580658)

If schools start replacing textbooks with tablets, there's a high probability that they will install a graphing calculator app too. Complete with access restrictions restrictions during tests I'm sure.

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580758)

That will work, right up until those tablets are rooted. Which will happen about 1 hour after the first geek gets one, then he will do this to the rest either for the attention or women, money from his peers or the keep the bully happy.

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580778)

Don't forget fun and profit!

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580966)

those were the first two things on his list!

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582126)

Actually, they were #2 and #3 ("attention" was #1)

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583080)

He was right, I typed or but meant of.

Re:Compter on every graphing calc soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34583324)

I must have telepathically read the intent of your typo

Imagine A Beowulf Cluster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580716)

of these [youtube.com].

Yours In Miami,
K. Trout

But... Ummm... (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580790)

The reason to get a TI calculator is they are very powerful calculators, and easy to use. When you need to get your math on, they do a great job of it with minimal fuss. If you start adding to them, well then you kinda take away from that. I mean if you want a small computer, get a small computer. There's no shortage of candidates these days, including things like smart phones. They also usually have things like a color screen, built in networking and a way more powerful processor.

The whole point of a specialized device is that it does less things but does them well. Like I own a Blu-ray player. Its jobs in life are to play DVDs and Blu-rays and play Netflix streams. It does so extremely well. It is easy to use, fast to boot, and so on. That's all it does though (well it can stream from a few other sources too). It doesn't surf the web, or play games or anything. Now I have a computer that does. It'll surf the web, play games, play Blu-rays, and really do anything else I want. So why then would I own a Blu-ray player? Well because it does its limited function real well. It is good at what it does. It is simple to use and just its job efficiently and well. Makes it work having.

So this seems kinda silly to me, particularly given TI calculators extremely poor displays.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580898)

The TI calculators are also far more expensive for the functionality that they grant than comparable general-purpose devices. Save only that all the math departments still require 'em, they would have lost all marketshare years ago.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34587380)

This just goes to show that after some point you really don't need any more functionality. Some times old tools serve you quite well. In the last 10 years computers have grown exponentially more powerful, and linearly cheaper. However all this power is being squandered on 'friviality'. Better graphics, in smaller and smaller devices. A larger array of mind numbing applications e.g. 'Angry Birds', and Facey Book.all with exponentially slicker interfaces, that keep our minds off the futility of modern life. I would argue that the 'real' application e.g application for people that actually need a computer (word processing / spread sheets etc). have not advanced much since 1995.

With the TI calculators, you get a very good CAS, that is totally portable, and does not need to be plugged into a wall for months at a time. Sure I would love to have a larger screen, and color, but, If I had choice of a larger screen or battery life I would choose battery life. With my Voyage 200, I use it for math. I don't want to surf Utube, or facey book. Those things are for those uber elite, hoy poloi socialites, with their interesting and real social lives. I am better of with my equations.

Now if they ever port Mathematica (any version. ie. V1) to the Kindle, I will get rid of my Voyage 200. The kindle and Mathematica would be the perfect combination. Good batter life. Decent Screen (well a lot better that the Voyager) and full qwerty keyboard.

Re:But... Ummm... (2)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581214)

Do you mean to tell me that a TI calculator is "very powerful" compared to a smartphone, when TI's designs haven't changed notably in twenty years?

Compared to a smart phone, a TI calculator loses on so many fronts, including the three most important: CPU power, RAM, and display. I have little doubt that playing Angry Birds on an Android device or an iPhone generates more mathematical operations in five minutes of play than the TI graphing calculator I used in high school (and which is still being made twenty years later) ever performed in its entire lifespan.

Once TI secured a position as the industry leader for the "you have to buy this specific series and brand of calculator to take this class" market, innovation stopped. There is no reason why, for example, the "TI-Nspire CAS with Touchpad" should cost $145.35 (Amazon), or that the TI-86 should cost $142, and not have a color screen, a touchpad, programmable buttons, wi-fi for software updates, etc.

I realize a graphing calculator is not contractually obligated to be a smartphone, but the product wasn't so good 20 years ago that all real development should have stopped. TI's scientific and statistical calculator market share is waiting for an Android tablet or iPad app to come along and render it completely irrelevant.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

dc8e6589a1e4fb80f1f8 (1395761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581608)

TI's advantage is in their software. Anyone who has actually tried to get through a math course using a general-purpose computer knows what I'm talking about. Sure, Maple, Matlab, and Mathematica will all compute faster on my $300 netbook than my $200 TI-89, but it's so much easier to enter the equation into the TI, the total time spent is less.

If anyone has had a different experience, please share with me your resources for learning how to use the software.

(It's not like I'm bad with computers, either; one time I found it easier to write a C++ program than learn the equivalent Maple code.)

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582820)

LOL troll.

but it's so much easier to enter the equation into the TI, the total time spent is less.

Yeah, if you include the time it takes to boot your computer. You're saying with a straight face that it takes more time to type solve(1.5 = 2*PI*sqrt(L/g), L); and hit enter that it does to go into the menus and have to use function keys on keypad the size of a condom wrapper.

(It's not like I'm bad with computers, either; one time I found it easier to write a C++ program than learn the equivalent Maple code.)

Wow, you're good. instead of typing int(1/Sqrt(1 - Cos(x), x, x=0..inf); you wrote your own complex integration program in C++? [stoned] Whoooooooa, dude. Elite. [/stoned]

Re:But... Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34583170)

Yeah, if you include the time it takes to boot your computer.

Don't forget the time it takes to start up Maple.

Re:But... Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34581636)

Here's an interesting factoid: TI makes the semiconductors that support the iPhone touchscreen interface, as well as all the ICs on the NOOKColor. How do I know this? Just finished a tour of their DMOS6 fab in Dallas. In fact, TI makes ICs for a large number of consumer devices, all of which are more powerful than the TI calculators. I also learned that by the time a $100 300-mm silicon wafer has been processed (takes about 3 weeks), the value of said wafer has grown on average 250 times. Quite a profit...I would daresay much more of a profit margin than can be had on a calculator.

Here's another little factoid: TI's profits from calculators is a very small fraction of its profits from semiconductors. In fact, TI itself makes no semiconductors for their calculators! This was long ago outsourced to much cheaper production facilities. The only thing the calculator shares with the company is "TI" stamped on the case.

The bottom line here is that TI makes far more money off their fabs than they do off their calculators. Semiconductor manufacturing is a cash cow (albeit with a high cost of entry), calculators are not. Is there any wonder why TI has allowed their calculator line to languish into obscurity?

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

KermMartian (707470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582300)

As far the enthusiast community has been able to figure out, since they make a massive profit on the hardware, what they're mostly selling is a piece of software, namely the calculator's OS. It costs them nothing to replicate that OS ad infinitum, and the only recent updates they've made to it have been poorly-tested and quite buggy, so they have little incentive to improve their calculator line other than pressure from other calculator manufacturers like HP and Casio.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583192)

I heard calculators are about 4% of TIs revenues.
The processor in my smartphone is a 1GHz OMAP processor from TI.
I have on that smartphone, btw, an app that simulates a HP48 calculator.
I have a real one in a drawer and it still works (from the days when HP still meant quality hardware) but I don't use it anymore. The Saturn processor in it was 2 MHz clock speed and HP made it themselves AFAIK.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583716)

I have a real one in a drawer and it still works (from the days when HP still meant quality hardware)

I had one too for a while, and I loved the nice clicky keys and that big fat "Enter" button just in the right place. I had to let it go, though, because the damn thing kept letting me down with random lockups and spack-attacks during assessments in the course of my undergrad degree.

I replaced it with a TI-89 which is much faster and more functionally powerful at the expense of poorer build and lack of RPN.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583426)

TI Semiconductors is a different company. They're both under the Texas Instruments umbrella, sure, but TI calculator division has to purchase TI chips like everybody else.

And they also use the (now very old) Zilog Z-80 and Motorola 68000 CPUs, not TI's own OMAP.

Anyhow, this is too little, too late. I remember soldering wires from my modem to my TI calculator back in the late 80s, so I could use it to dial in to a BBS and post/read when my computer was away for repairs. And a long time before that, I used multiple HP-41s plus a printer and a tape station in a HP-IL network. That wasn't even a hard hack -- it was provided functionality.

(And my HP-41CV is still the calculator I have that sees the most use. My TI programmer is #2, while the newer TIs are in drawers or boxes in the basement.)

Yes, I do (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582456)

By "very powerful" I don't mean CPU. You'll notice that I noted smart phones and so on have more powerful CPUs. I mean in terms of calculator functions. TI calculators are extremely capable, especially their higher end ones. They handle pretty complex symbolic manipulation, numerical analysis, graphing, and so on. In terms of ability, as a calculator, they are really good. In fact, I don't really know of any computer programs that match them save for Matlab which is rather complicated and overly expensive. If the name of the game is to, well, calculate, then TI calculators do a great job.

Also part of that is they are easy to use for it. They do a good job of being as complex as needed, but not more. If you want something simple, like to just add two numbers, you can do that easily and intuitively. As you want more complex things, you can do that too without sacrificing the interface of the simple stuff. They are quick to activate and immediately ready to take calculator input since that's all they do.

I'm not saying a more general device can't do what they do and more. We have Matlab at work, I've seen its power. However, cost aside (have you seen the price on Matlab?), I don't wanna fire up a laptop and then fire up something as complex as Matlab to do some simple math. A TI calculator works great for that. It is a special purpose unit, it does its purpose well, and thus I fail to see what people are developing this OS for it. My point is if you want a computer, get a computer, there's no lack of them.

I understand why there was some obsession with getting the TI calculators to do shit back when I was in school, because they were some of the only economical small computer-like items out there. Fine, but that's not the case. You want a small computer now you get one. Trying to make a TI calc in to one is silly.

Re:Yes, I do (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583782)

They do a good job of being as complex as needed, but not more.

Exactly. Which is why my TI-89 spent so much time being carried around everywhere in my bag, while my much heavier computers remained at home. Besides, computers are often at some risk in lab situations where bench space is at a premium and liquids are being handled. The TI spreadsheet and stats applications are perfect for such portable use.

Re:But... Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34582486)

TI calculator hackers don't play around with graphing calculators because they think they're good at math, or because they're powerful and cheap.

They play around with them because they're *fun*. The hardware, while horrifically obsolete and expensive, is accessible, informative, and provides a challenge.

Most calculator hackers I know also own HP calculators (or more commonly smartphones) and prefer those devices for math. I think you are completely missing the point.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583824)

Most calculator hackers I know also own HP calculators (or more commonly smartphones) and prefer those devices for math.

The trouble with phones, however, is that they are rarely acceptable during any kind of examination at undergrad level, and there are courses where you could put yourself at a serious disadvantage if you disdain to use a reasonably powerful calculator.

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

pantherace (165052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34584560)

Speaking as a long time ago calculator hacker. If you can't do the math itself, you frankly, aren't doing yourself any favors by using a calculator. A calculator is a useful shortcut, if you know what you are doing. Also, for undergrad work, quite often calculators are flat not allowed on mathematics tests. If you want people to learn, you don't use a calculator to teach them, and you don't let them use a calculator to 'learn' it.

Imagine this situation: AP calc test, and your calculator breaks, and doesn't seem to want to work, after a little bit of messing. My solution to that exact situation was to put the calculator on the desk, and get the highest score possible (which was a 5, so I probably could afford to miss a few problems), though it took me a bit longer. After messing with it for a while after the exam, it finally reset. (Still no idea what happened, I actually didn't have any programs on it at that time.)

Re:But... Ummm... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34585244)

Fair enough, up to a point: I didn't use a calculator at all for any of my maths courses at Uni. In fact, it would have got in the way.

However, since my degree was in biotechnology, I had to do a lot of data crunching in lab situations, and that's where having a decent calculator really shines.

iPhone already has HP and TI replacements ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583492)

TI's scientific and statistical calculator market share is waiting for an Android tablet or iPad app to come along and render it completely irrelevant.

What do you mean waiting? I have an iPhone app, Perpenso Calc 4 [perpenso.com] that offers the functionality of the non-graphing TI and HP scientific, statistical and hex calculators and more. It offers a la carte pricing so you only pay for the functionality you need. Features like the alternate worksheet interface leverage the handheld computer nature of the device.

Re:iPhone already has HP and TI replacements ... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34588542)

TI's scientific and statistical calculator market share is waiting for an Android tablet or iPad app to come along and render it completely irrelevant.

What do you mean waiting? I have an iPhone app, Perpenso Calc 4 that offers the functionality of the non-graphing TI and HP scientific, statistical and hex calculators and more. It offers a la carte pricing so you only pay for the functionality you need. Features like the alternate worksheet interface leverage the handheld computer nature of the device.

Do they run for weeks to months on 4 x AAA user replaceable batteries?

I have an HP-50g now but I have changed the batteries in my 20 year old HP-48G twice. I swap out the 4 x AAA NiMH cells on my HP-50g about every year whether it needs it or not.

Re:iPhone already has HP and TI replacements ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34588802)

What do you mean waiting? I have an iPhone app, Perpenso Calc 4 [perpenso.com] that offers the functionality of the non-graphing TI and HP scientific, statistical and hex calculators and more.

Do they run for weeks to months on 4 x AAA user replaceable batteries?

People tend to keep their phones charged. Face it, convergence has happened with standalone MP3 players and it is currently in progress with respect to dedicated calculators.

Re:iPhone already has HP and TI replacements ... (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34599832)

What do you mean waiting? I have an iPhone app, Perpenso Calc 4 [perpenso.com] that offers the functionality of the non-graphing TI and HP scientific, statistical and hex calculators and more.

Do they run for weeks to months on 4 x AAA user replaceable batteries?

People tend to keep their phones charged. Face it, convergence has happened with standalone MP3 players and it is currently in progress with respect to dedicated calculators.

I actually have more of a problem with custom and non-user-replaceable batteries than convergence except when the later leads to planned obsolescence or mediocre quality, performance, and reliability. Every calculator I have used in the past 30 years is still usable but nothing with a custom battery format is from only 4 years ago. My FT-530 with AA battery pack works fine while my FT-51 without must remain in its power cradle. I would consider buying an AA powered rugged netbook in spite of the weight, size, and performance penalty.

Devices which rely on phone network reliability are notoriously unreliable. When you need them the most is when they become unavailable. My standalone GPS, standalone MP3 player, and standalone calculators have never failed for lack of network access, remote controlled DRM, or battery power. My Palm IIIx will never suffer from Amazon like ebook deletions. I have no interest in surrendering my 4th amendment rights to the third party data exception any more than necessary.

Re:iPhone already has HP and TI replacements ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34600408)

Unlike the standalone calculator the functionality is not tied to the hardware. The phone's battery may die over time but people tend to replace their phones before that happens. The calculator app may be portable to the new phone. If not it was probably a very small fraction of the cost compared to the standalone.

Re:But... Ummm... (2)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581520)

The only reason to by a TI calculator is because your teacher tells you to.

When you need to get your math on (or your physics or engineering), you use an HP:

My HP-15C is a pocket-sized programmable scientific calculator capable of handling matrices, complex numbers, and numerical root finding and integration. Its battery life is 2-3 years under moderate use.

My graphing calculator is an HP-50g, which has a 200Mhz ARM9 processor (by default underclocked to 75Mhz), an SD card slot that enables you to store all the programs you might want including full source code and documentation, a more powerful computer algebra system than in the TI-89, and it costs less than the TI-89. Also, it can connect to the internet using a modem connected to the serial port or through an IrDA connection to a computer.

In related news... (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580834)

In related news the developers of Doors CS were sued by Nintendo of copyright and trademark infringement because of their games Mario, Space Invaders and Tetris and their website got a DMCA take down request from the calculators companies claiming that the hack will remove any DRM on their calculators. The calculators companies spokesperson gave the statement in an interview: "With our calculators, our companies built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. The companies I represent will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep our calculators tamper-resistant."

/vgj (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34580868)

What is a "graphing calculator"?

Yo, Dawg... (0)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34580954)

Yo, Dawg, I heard you like calculators, so I put a network in your calculator so you can play NetPong while you calculate.

Cluster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34581292)

I wonder what the combined computing power of a cluster of ti-83s would be...or would that even be worth doing...

Re:Cluster? (1)

KermMartian (707470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582244)

Funnily enough, there are a few coders on my website [cemetech.net] who are thinking about writing some distributed applications with CALCnet2.2 for the fun of it.

Why only Ti-83/4 (1)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581486)

The Ti-83/4 series are utter garbage, why not develop for the Ti-89? or how about the nSpire? The 89/92/Voyage have absolutely wonderful processors, the Motorola 68000 compared to the dogshit z80 chip in the 83/4?

Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34581846)

Because the shitty hardware is the entire fucking point. Going by your logic, why develop for an 89 when you can develop for a smartphone instead? Because it's these peoples fucking hobbies, it's something they do for fun.

Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (1)

KermMartian (707470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582256)

Exactly. I do plenty of coding for high-performance systems for not-fun; it's a fun challenge to kick back and try to challenge myself with a low-resource device. Also, as far as the TI-Nspire goes, it's an extremely locked-down platform, and one on which TI actively discourages third-party development.

Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (1)

hufman (1670590) | more than 3 years ago | (#34582364)

Because high school students, the main target of calculator hacking, will be using the cheaper algebra-oriented TI-8[34], instead of the more expensive calculus-oriented TI-89.

Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34584566)

Also, they don't let you use the higher-up ones on the ACT, SAT, etc. The qwerty 92, 92+, Voyage are too much like a PDA, the Nspire has just ridiculous math functionality, and I don't know whether 89s are currently okay. It might vary.

Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34613754)

Probably because newer calcs are more expensive. Also, the nSpire is more locked down than the previous models - the 89 (Ti) can run (compiled) programs written in assembly/C, but the nSpire can only run slower (interpreted) programs written in BASIC.

Makes me think of (1)

twoears (1514043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34581604)

Microsoft Bob. The networking part is cool, but the rest is a 'meh'. And it's still a crappy TI calculator. I'll take my HP any day.

HP-48GX (1)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34583406)

Might be nice if I can do this with my trusty old HP-48GX. I once installed VT-100 (emulation) terminal software on it, connected it to a TNC (Terminal node controller aka AEA PK-88) and connected to my AX.25 packet 2 meter Internet gateway and used w3m to surf the Internet. Slow, but cool.

Re:HP-48GX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34584250)

Man, that's leet in it's own rights!

73

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