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TI vs. Calculator Hobbyists, the Next Round

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-how-google-would-do-it dept.

Handhelds 301

An anonymous reader writes "Texas Instruments has struck back against Nspire gamers and hackers with even stronger anti-downgrade protection in OS 3.0.2, after the TI calculator hacking community broke the anti-downgrade protection found in OS 2.1 last summer and the new one in OS 3.0.1 a month ago. In addition to that, in OS 3.0.1 the hacker community found Lua programming support and created games and software using it. Immediately, TI retaliated by adding an encryption check to make sure those third-party generated programs won't run on OS 3.0.2." But if you want it, you can get OS 3.0.2 here.

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301 comments

Why? (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 2 years ago | (#36189980)

Why on earth would TI want to do this? Seems they are just shooting themselves in both feet.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36189988)

I believe it's related to them being certified tamperproof.. allowed in exams.. academia, their main customers etc etc

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190018)

OK, so then perform an integrity check at boot. If the checksums don't match, display a message for 10 seconds. Invigilators can then confirm that the examinee has a clean device.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190144)

As a non-programmer, which the test creators and proctors likely are as well, here is my train of thought:

1) Cool. Good solution.
2) Wait, that means we have to check every calculator.
3) There were ~100 students taking the SAT/ACT tests when I took them. About 20-30 students in my low level math courses in college. Decent time sink to have each student turn on the calculator, wait for the checksum, verify it, move to the next student. Waiting for students to turn off their calculators because there will always be some who jump the gun.

I had a TI, I loved the customization some could pull off. I just can't blame TI for wanting to perfect their device for their marketing niche. Still, couldn't TI just make a "Academia Certified" version with extra protection and their normal model for those who don't need it?

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190260)

You have to check EVERY Calculator already to look for firmware revision. So how is this a problem? It's not like the older version added wrong, so running a older firmware will give me advantages that lazy test administrators will not bother to look at.

OH how about simply supplying the calculators for the test? Sounds like a better solution that all these highly educated nimrods cant seem to think of on their own.

Re:Why? (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190400)

OH how about simply supplying the calculators for the test? Sounds like a better solution that all these highly educated nimrods cant seem to think of on their own.

This will only work if the school buys calculators for everyone at the start of the year that will be identical in operation to the ones handed out during exams. Else students risk having to spend the first part of an exam learning how to operate a new calculator.
Say $120 per calculator, plus $20 per year for service / replacements. Multiply by number of students at the high school.
Then add the exam calculators, which have to be either bought new or re-flashed and inspected before the exam (what if a last year's exam evil genius hacked his exam calculator and added an overloaded function giving wrong results for a certain type of operations? Too bad for next year's student)

Seems like you have hit on a viable but very expensive solution. Good luck getting the vote for that over, say, books or replacing broken chairs.

Re:Why? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190506)

Have you seen tuition fees lately? $120 is a drop in the ocean compared to all the plasma TVs and sports stadiums.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190270)

There were ~140 students taking the matriculation exam math section when I took it. We left the calculator we wanted to use in the exam at the school the previous day and the supervisors cleared their memories before the exam.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190332)

In high-school I wrote an arbitrary problem approximating algorithm for the TI-82 in its horribly broken calculator basic. Also, we wrote applications to play solitare, reversi, tetris, and a really crappy overhead shooter without resorting to assembly.

If you have ANY ability to program your calculator exposed, you have zero test integrity. Anything less than that is delusional. Whether that's Ti-Calculator Basic or a more modern programming language doesn't really matter.

As another example, the TI-92 I had in College was banned from the SAT's for having a QWERTY keyboard, yet the TI-89's shared the same internals without a keyboard and were OK. The difference? You had to press the "Function" key to type with a QWERTY equivalent. It's security theater.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190490)

If you have ANY ability to program your calculator exposed, you have zero test integrity.

Not really. It's all about memorization, anyway. And your education.

Re:Why? (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190788)

In my high schools a solution you couldn't argue for was considered failed because it could have been calculated by a calculator.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190470)

And why should anyone trust that message? Can you be sure it was generated by the trusted firmware?

Re:Why? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190666)

So, now you'll have test administrators spending up to, say, 15 seconds with each student verifying that their calculators are not hacked. Let's see... in a room with 300 students, you spend 15 seconds with each...

Why 15 seconds? Time for the student to pull out the calculator, hand it to the administrator who would turn it on (because you would be able to program a passable "firmware OK" screen and conveniently run it before handing it over), review it, and hand it back to the student, who might then make some snarky remark regarding a "waste of time".

Re:Why? (1)

squall14716 (734306) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190032)

If you hack a calculator to cheat on an exam, you deserve that advantage, IMO.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190110)

I had a professor who had that mentality. I showed him how to program a calculator as a freshman, and he not only said that I deserve that advantage if I can write a program to compute a riemann sum, but if I wrote the source code on the exam he would count it as showing my work and give partial credit if I got the wrong answer.

Re:Why? (2)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190252)

If you hack a calculator to cheat on an exam, you deserve that advantage, IMO.

The person who implemented the hack, sure, but what of the thousands afterwards who do nothing more than install it?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190572)

If it works then one have to ask what the point of the exam is. If the exam is representative for the course then whatever the school teaches has already been automated by one of the students and is outdated. If not then the exam is pointless.

TI's blocking is a way to cover up a symptom of a symptom of a symptom of a potential problem. If you are going to cover shit up, at least do it at the source.

Re:Why? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190758)

What about those using it for mathematics, physics, and many other subjects that have nothing to do with programming? Does being good at programming give you a free pass to cheat those as well?

Re:Why? (1)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190034)

But the weak model of nSpire has 2 modes, one where some light shows to prove that it is in exam mode and then doesn't show when its got memory features etc enabled (iirc). And the more advanced model of nSpire which i have is just outright banned from exams. So stopping programming for the reason of allowed in exams just doesn't seem like a valid answer, I for one doubt my university would let me use the weaker model with some way of saying whether i have it in 'exam mode' or not.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190086)

The only thing i can see outright different between the nSpire series and other TI calculators would be their teaching ability. Because asfar as i know there is some form of wireless system where a teacher can use some module to see what is on the screen of each calculator in a classroom, i may be wrong because i could never find a great deal of information. But there was always some form of implied wireless ability in their adverts for 'Use Them To Teach in Class!'.

Re:Why? (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190198)

When I took the SATs, you we were given a calculator. A few tests I took, you could only have non-graphing calculators.

I suppose they could do the same thing here and avoid the whole issue.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190516)

Different SATs, kid. These aren't the Stanfords.

Re:Why? (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190628)

Yeah. They have to dumb it down these days. They don't teach kids how to graph by hand and identify the key points (zeroes, inflections, maximum/minimum) by the function itself anymore

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190258)

I believe it's related to them being certified tamperproof.. allowed in exams.. academia, their main customers etc etc

It's a good theory, except that the HP graphing calculators are allowed in all standardized exams while still being hacker-friendly.

The TI managers are just being PHBs. They're non-technical people who think not being in complete control of hardware that they view as "theirs" even after the sale is a bad thing. After all, somebody might add new features, and then how are they going to convince people to buy the newer model if they can just add an extra program to their old model for free to get the same functionality?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190384)

Right, these calculator hobbyists are not TI's target demographic. Academia is.

However, this battle is fascinating from a programmer's standpoint. It demonstrates how hard it is to lock down a device effectively.

Re:Why? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190472)

How long does certification take? Because that may explain this: http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/1996.png [xkcd.com]

I love my TI-89. I couldn't imagine doing too much without it. Yes I can do it all by hand, but it's much faster with the 89. Dec to Binary or Hex. Unit conversion (And you can give it weird inputs like how long to move x ft using m/s^2, etc). rref with large arrays to solve linear problems. (And I don't always have Matlab with me).
But some stuff takes forever to do. We have portable devices that are cracking 1gHz now and the TI-89 is 16 MHz. I'm sure there are chips out there that run faster with less power, especially since the TI-89 came out in 2004. The Nspire series is more on par with a 83/84 replacement than an 89.

Re:Why? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190720)

There is no such thing as a tamper proof device. Any attempt to market such a device is fraudulent.

Re:Why? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190810)

If they want them to be tamper-proof, I think they had better change the design a bit. Get rid of that pesky data port for loading on programs. And encase the circuitry in black epoxy. If you are just going to wipe the calculator before the exam, you don't need a data port to program it. Maybe if the school is really that worried about it, they could have their own set of certified calculators that they hand out at the beginning of exams. Always make sure to have a few extra in case they break (not that I've ever seen a calculator break, but you don't want students using that as an excuse). They would probably last quite a few years, given that they'd only be used for exams. This is probably the only way to prevent people from having hacked calculators. I mean, if someone was really determined, they could replace the entire innards with their own custom hardware, and probably fool just about anybody who came around to clear the calculator contents.

There's really only 3 solutions here.

Solution 1, No calculators period.

Solution 2 No calculators above TI-30 allowed, this is what most classes in my university did. actually they specified about 3 models of TI-30s that were allowed. Most people got the one with the 2 line display, but that's about as complicated as they got.

Solution 3. Allow TI-86 or whatever the student wants to bring, and assume that the exam is basically open book at that point. Design your exam accordingly.

(OT) Your sig. (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190230)

char*f="char*f=%c%s%c;main(){printf(f,34,f,34);}";main(){printf(f,34,f,34);}

Okay, so a source-self-replicator is nice - it got me thinking - how about a self-replicator with an awareness of it's generation-count?

long x=0; char*f="long x=%u; char*f=%c%s%c;main(){printf(f,x+1,34,f,34);}";main(){printf(f,x+1,34,f,34);}

Each successive generation is identified by x

Re:(OT) Your sig. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190566)

char*f="char*f=%c%s%c;main(){printf(f,34,f,34);}";main(){printf(f,34,f,34);}

Okay, so a source-self-replicator is nice

What would happen if that code was run on an EBCDIC machine?
(Oh, and using printf without previous declaration is not allowed in standard C.)

Re:Why? (2)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190274)

Just think about it for a moment; if someone managed to deliberately or accidentally bypass the maths integrity checks they could actually divide by zero and the whole universe would collapse in on itself - this would really ruin everyone's day.

Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36189982)

I mean... Why? Why doesn't TI acknowledge the love that people have for it's products and create an API or something? If you constantly beat down the enthousiast crowd, I would think you shoot yourself in the foot in the long run.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190436)

Because their main customers are academic test producers who mandate TI calculators for use with the scan tron tests because they're less "hackable". This causes every student in high school to be forced to go out and buy one for use on the exams.

The enthusiast crowd isn't even a rounding error in that market, so it makes sense for TI not to care about them.

Re:Why? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190790)

Not only that but enthusiast crowd actually works on actively harming the goals of main target audience (schools, doing only what it is designed to do and nothing else). As a result TI has no choice but to stop hacking by any means necessary.

Well this is disappointing. (4, Interesting)

superslacker87 (998043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36189996)

I remember when the community broke the TI-92. What did TI do then? Release an upgraded version of it and made it easier ton write in assembly. What happened, TI? I no longer need your calculator products, but this is a sad thing to see.

Re:Well this is disappointing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190062)

Kids these days can hack their Iphones and Android phones. Why waste your time hacking a calculator that looks like it's from 1999?

Re:Well this is disappointing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190146)

get out of here. seriously.

Re:Well this is disappointing. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190290)

Because only a idiot that does not know math at all would even TRY To do advanced mathematics on a touchscreen keypad/keyboard.

Re:Well this is disappointing. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190276)

What happened to TI? They had a visit from Sony executives... after the doors closed all anyone heard was screams and a fight, the doors opened and all the TI execs said, "everything is all right, no need to be alarmed.... DRM is holy... DRM is good... All Hail the DRM....."

Even more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190006)

Thus making these TI products even less desireable.

Re:Even more... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190822)

For hackers, gamers and cheaters. None of whom are TI's target audience.

On the other hand it makes them more desirable for target audience, schools.

Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist friendly (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190038)

Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist friendly? Is there something out there that does allow hacking and programming?

Re:Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist frien (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190072)

Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist friendly?

Archos 43. Or any other Android-powered device for that matter. But don't expect to be able to use it on standardized tests.

Re:Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist frien (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190172)

Half of the utility of a calculator is a decent keyboard and layout. Sorry, but an HP48 from 1993 or 41cx or even a 15c from the 1980s wipes the floor with all PDAs and phones.

Indeed, there is going to be a reissue of the 15c this June.

--
BMO

Re:Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist frien (4, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190108)

The HP series of graphing calculators allow hacking and programming.

On the 50g, you can write in RPL, Saturn Assembly, C and ARM Assembly. It uses an ARM processor to emulate the Saturn processor that came in the 48.

While the 50g is not as nice physically as the 48gx in terms of keyboard, it's miles ahead of the 49. Stay away from the 49 and the 48gII.

--
BMO

Re:Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist frien (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190502)

Ditto, I still use regularly my HP48G, best calculator I've ever owned hands down. Once one masters the reverse polsih notation there's nothing better to do calculations.

Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendly (0, Flamebait)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190140)

http://www.libreoffice.org/features/calc/ [libreoffice.org]
http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/ [gnu.org]
http://maxima.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
http://www.scilab.org/ [scilab.org]
http://www.scicoslab.org/ [scicoslab.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_programming_language [wikipedia.org]

Fuck desktop calculators. Fuck nostalgia from 70s engineers and programmers who think RPN is the shite because it works like a computer stack. Repeating anything if you get even the slightest thing wrong, or heck, even checking it is a time consuming nightmare on any desktop calculator. Spreadsheets and programmable math environments have FAR superceded dinky desktop calculators.

But are they pocket friendly? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190188)

Fuck desktop calculators.

And then you go on to list a bunch of software that turns a desktop computer into a desktop calculator. Have you any recommendations for a counterpart to Maxima designed to run on a handheld device?

Re:But are they pocket friendly? (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190316)

Fuck desktop calculators.

And then you go on to list a bunch of software that turns a desktop computer into a desktop calculator. Have you any recommendations for a counterpart to Maxima designed to run on a handheld device?

Calling what I listed "a bunch of software that turns a desktop computer into a desktop calculator" is about as asinine as you can get. The software goes so far beyond what a handheld calculator can do that it isn't funny. You might as well compare a donkey drawn cart to the Space Shuttle.

It is well worth carrying a small laptop instead of a pocket calculator for all the added power you get, unless you're doing simple arithmetic.

Re:But are they pocket friendly? (1)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190530)

[quote]It is well worth carrying a small laptop instead of a pocket calculator for all the added power you get, unless you're doing simple arithmetic.[/quote]
No, it isn't. Unless your level of geekdom is over 9000, that is.

Re:But are they pocket friendly? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190674)

[quote]It is well worth carrying a small laptop instead of a pocket calculator for all the added power you get, unless you're doing simple arithmetic.[/quote] No, it isn't. Unless your level of geekdom is over 9000, that is.

Absolutely. If I go down to the supermarket I might have to compare unit prices, total cash etc - so a small calculator in my pocket is a good idea. I am unlikely to come across anything needing a laptop's power or find it worth carrying one. At geek levels of 8500 or more you may well not be able to resist trying to optimise the queuing at checkouts or simulate the airflow for optimum placement of air-conditioning outlets, freezers and doorways.

Re:But are they pocket friendly? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190734)

Er, I wasnt aware you could do 3d graphing on LibreOffice calc, factor algebraic equations, solve for x, or any of the other basic things a good decent TI-82 equivalent can do (and those things are like 20 years old).
Octave appears to be a programming language, that is, that I cant simply plug in Y=3x+z^2 and get a graph. Hooray for reducing simplicity! Hooray for complexity for its own sake!

Seriously, it sounds like youre either trolling, or have never used a TI-82+ equivalent. They are easy enough for a budding 7th grader to use, powerful enough for real world use, and have a quite nice BASIC programming function (which I credit for getting me into the world of computers). And honestly, I dont know what math class would allow you to bring a laptop in, or why its fair to compare a $100 (new) TI or HP calc to a $450 laptop.

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190208)

>all desktop applications

Yeah, try dragging a PC or even a laptop with you as you swing a machete with 40-50 pounds of gear on your back.

Or try stuffing a PC into your toolbox.

Not everyone works behind a desk.

You're an ivory tower weenie. Shut up.

--
BMO

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (0)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190344)

>all desktop applications

Yeah, try dragging a PC or even a laptop with you as you swing a machete with 40-50 pounds of gear on your back.

Or try stuffing a PC into your toolbox.

Not everyone works behind a desk.

You're an ivory tower weenie. Shut up.

--
BMO

How old are you? 3? How am I suppose to respond to "You're an ivory tower weenie. Shut up.". Schoolyard taunt? Grow the fuck up.

Last time I checked a hiking backpack and a small laptop were an option for most. You can even get toughened notebooks. You'd know that if you ever held a machete you arrogant ass. But I somehow don't see an image of you walking through the jungle with a machete in one hand and your HP or TI calculator in the other even semi realistic.

Go troll somewhere else, and make it believable.

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190670)

>You'd know that if you ever held a machete you arrogant ass. But I somehow don't see an image of you walking through the jungle with a machete in one hand and your HP or TI calculator in the other even semi realistic.

It's called land surveying. Get out of your basement.

--
BMO

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190800)

If you think you can toughen a laptop, with a 10+" screen, large keyboard, large LION battery, heatsinks, fans, and all, up to the same standard you can with a 2" by 4" calculator, you are sadly mistaken. Larger more complex devices are by nature harder to ruggedize, especially when the screen gets large enough to be able to flex and break.

Not to mention ruggedizing it (adding a solid steel frame to the screen, for example) would add quite a bit to the weight and cost, so all of a sudden we're talking about a $1500 laptop weighing 3kg, vs a $100 calculator weighing 250 grams. And for what gain? To use an OS not designed for mathmatics, on a device with 1/50th of the battery life?

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190220)

forgot sage.

Re:Math environments are hackable hobbyist friendl (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190304)

Sounds like a plan, please tell the administrators that I need to have a laptop for taking my exams....

MORON.

Re:Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist frien (0)

JosJuice (1990520) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190476)

The TI-84+(SE) is the best for programming - lots of possibilities, lots of existing programs, and very few limitations. They aren't the most powerful ones when it comes to math, but they're good enough.

Why try to build a better mouse trap? (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190054)

I've said this a couple of times now but if manufacturers are so keen on not allowing the hacker community to do whatever they want with their property, why don't they just license the damn things? Seems to be a better way to get users to not tamper with the electronics (at least legally) and provides a legal recourse should they do so.

Outside of warranty, what incentive is there for a company like TI or Apple to continue to build better mouse traps when the hacker community usually just cracks it within days for the sheer fact that TI and Apple don't want them to?

They do license the damn things (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190096)

I've said this a couple of times now but if manufacturers are so keen on not allowing the hacker community to do whatever they want with their property, why don't they just license the damn things?

Companies do "license the damn things", but sometimes only to other established companies. One example is Nintendo, which requires a dedicated secure office and a previous commercial game on another platform out of any licensee. And even when they do license to individuals, people complain about the $99 per year fee to run your own programs on your own hardware that Microsoft pioneered (App Hub) and Apple standardized (iPhone developer program).

Re:They do license the damn things (2)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190214)

IANAL but if, for example, Apple says, "You aren't purchasing an iPhone. You're purchasing a license to use the iPhone. By using it, you agree not to jailbreak the phone. If you do, we'll take you to court and you will have to pay us $2000 and can not use any other Apple products for five years."

While not very customer friendly, I don't see the difference between this and constantly trying to outsmart the hackers.

Re:They do license the damn things (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190532)

Jailbraking iphones (or other cell phones) in the USA is legal, it has an exception in the DMCA, nothing Apple can do about it through the courts. You are not signing any agreement when you buy a pre-owned iphone. They may block you from buying through their store and try to reflash the FW if you connect to itunes, but that's about the limit.

Re:They do license the damn things (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190624)

The difference is legal. If you jailbreak an iPhone which you own, there's not much they can do beyond trying to make it harder to jailbreak it. If you jailbreak an iPhone which you license, they can just legally say: "You broke our license, give back the iPhone!" And they can even enforce it.

the law says you can hack you phone and unlock it (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190726)

the law says you can hack your phone (for any app) and unlock it (for any network) as well.

Customer Abuse = Customer Refuse (1)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190076)

This kind of behavior is why my wife got a HP 50G for her birthday, rather than the TI-92. As far as I know, HP doesn't care one whit about what you do with their calculators, just as long as you give them money for the initial purchase.

Re:Customer Abuse = Customer Refuse (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190142)

That's great an all, except for when you can't take that calculator into an exam. Texas Instruments gets a guarantee of business from schools in return for fighting innovation, which is why their prices are so high.

Re:Customer Abuse = Customer Refuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190342)

You can't take a TI into any exam that matters.
Fuck this HS bullshit. I used my 82 maybe twice in college. For everything else I had to use my FE approved calculator: A $10 HP.

Re:Customer Abuse = Customer Refuse (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190370)

You also can't take the TI-92 into exams.

Re:Customer Abuse = Customer Refuse (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190846)

One of the things exams test is ability to solve certain kinds of problems on your own. If your calculator is too advanced, and can solve the problem for you, it nullifies the point of the exam.

TI - dead technology... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190116)

... and working hard to stay that way...

Why would I want to buy a product from a company that so hates it's customers?

Re:TI - dead technology... (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190204)

Why would I want to buy a product from a company that so hates it's customers?

Two reasons: 1. If you don't buy one you can't do the homework and quizzes and thus fail the class. 2. If you pull out an Android device during downtime in class (even in flight mode) it gets confiscated by faculty, but if you pull out a TI product you're fine.

Does anyone even use these any more? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190166)

I remember being FORCED to buy a TI graphing calculator in order to pass a college mathematics course. I remember all we needed it for was to plot graphs, which could have been (and probably should have been) done on paper. I didn't really learn anything by using it, except how to use the calculator. I used it for a couple months and then promptly sold it when I was done with the course.
What a scam by my college and TI.

Huh (2)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190170)

So it's a programmable calculator, but users are not allowed to actually programmed it?

I think calculators started to such around the point where the target audience was students doing exams that impose certain restrictions on calculators, instead of engineers.

Biting the hand that feeds you (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190402)

Why do companies so despise their customers?

Re:Biting the hand that feeds you (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190446)

Because there is a profit in it?

Re:Biting the hand that feeds you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190816)

Short term profit may come with lifetime rejection (Sony, are you listening?).

Re:Biting the hand that feeds you (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190864)

Gamers, hackers and cheaters aren't their target customers. Schools are. TI loves schools. Hence it does everything to please them. Such as preventing tampering.

Spurious analogy time. (4, Insightful)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190434)

I just bought a pork joint, now the instructions on the packaging are very clear on how to roast the thing but I was going to dry rub it and then smoke it for a few hours. Does anyone know if pork comes with DRM to stop me doing that or will I get a DMCA takedown notice halfway through smoking?

Re:Spurious analogy time. (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190634)

Yes. The pork DRM package is called Trichinella Spiralis. If you trigger the DRM by using the pork in ways not specified in the pork EULA, well... have you ever seen the movie "Alien"?

Re:Spurious analogy time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190880)

Well, I'm not so sure the pig would think too highly of your plans, but it's a little late for that, I suppose...

Disappointed (3, Insightful)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190440)

I am disappointed with TI. My first programming language was TI-BASIC on the TI-83 Plus. My second was assembly for the Z80 processor on that calculator. Both were supported by TI (the program used to transfer assembly programs from a computer to the calculator was produced and distributed by TI). It is the reason I chose to pursue computer science in college, and has made me the happy programmer I am today. It is sad TI does not want to allow today's youth the same opportunity through the same means.

Re:Disappointed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190824)

Similarly, I started programming on a regular basis on my TI-89, in 2000. I had already done a bit of C before, but I did TI-BASIC for a while, and then I switched to C and 68000 ASM. Thousands of people working today in IT industry can relate the same kind of experience as you and me can.

Nowadays, the choice of student-accessible platforms with programming ability is wider than it used to be ten years ago. And these platforms are much more powerful than even Nspires are. But programming for mildly resource-constrained platforms such as calculators remains important for getting some sense of the hardware's capacities and limitations. Neither CPU nor memory are seemingly infinite resources, and it's valuable to be aware of that.
Pushing the envelope of the platform is a rewarding challenge, certainly more than being a programmer among millions doing stuff in high-level highly abstracted languages on '2011 smartphones.

Sharp EL-9000 (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190482)

I own one of those, and calculators were *never* allowed in my avionics classes, besides 4-function ones

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36190588)

Haven't people got anything better to do than hack a calculator? Hasn't TI got any better ideas than worrying about calculator hacking? Sheesh.

Where are the open source calculators? (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 2 years ago | (#36190606)

Rather than watching this fascinating game of ping pong year after year, when will someone finally make a move and introduce a scientific calculator that runs on an open platform?

Instead of whining about what TI won't let you do, why not apply those skills and help create a calculator that will let you do whatever it is you want to do?
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