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Comments

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Summer Programming Courses Before Heading Off To College?

KermMartian Calculators; Python (183 comments)

I've spoken to countless now-engineers and professional programmers who started learned programming by playing around with graphing calculators. They're ubiquitous, your audience is huge, and the built-in TI-BASIC language is surprisingly powerful. I'd definitely recommend he pursue that as a means to learn to think like a programmer, skills like structuring programs, prototyping with pseudocode, debugging, and all that. In fact, I wrote a book teaching those very skills. Alternatively, Python is a great beginner computer language in that the syntax is clear and cruft-free (yes, Java, I'm looking at public static void main()...) and crashes are generally graceful and easy-to-debug.

about a year ago
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NASA: Curiosity Has Found Plastic On Mars

KermMartian Check the URL (293 comments)

I'm amused how many people overlooked the fact that although all the links on the page go to jpl.nasa.gov, the site itself is fake. Didn't the Mardi Gras beads give it away?

about a year ago
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Color-Screen TI-84 Plus Calculator Leaked

KermMartian Re:More details (245 comments)

That we don't know yet, but we strongly suspect they will. Unless things go terribly wrong, though, they won't be locking it down the way they locked down the Nspire.

about a year and a half ago
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Color-Screen TI-84 Plus Calculator Leaked

KermMartian More details (245 comments)

Since i posted this article, we discovered many things: - The TI-84+CSE will have a z80 processor, same as the TI-82, TI-83, and TI-83+/84+ - It will have an Nspire-esque rechargeable battery - It will have a TI-84+/SE-compatible OS, so the same math books and lessons will work with it.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Assembly programming (302 comments)

That's only for TI's terrible new TI-Nspire calculators. The TI-83+ and TI-84+ series have the free TI-Connect software available.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Beowulf Cluster (302 comments)

On a z80 processor, yes; on a TI-83/+/84+/SE, sadly no. Nowhere near enough RAM and ROM, sadly.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Kids interested in PROGRAMMING! (302 comments)

Absolutely agreed. I just wrote a book on learning to program using graphing calculators as a springboard, entitled "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus", which ironically ships from the bindery to stores today! I heartily recommend getting kids excited about programming with graphing calculators, and in thirteen years of volunteering my time to the community I've seen hundreds of users become calculator programmers and later engineers or software developers. Sidebar: the LCD is 96x64, or 96x120 on the TI-86.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Keep using them as loaners (302 comments)

Actually, the TI-84+/SE have a USB slave port, which with some software bitbanging enterprising community hackers have turned into a host port for HID peripherals. So the USB keyboard/mouse with a calculator is a reality. Even the "dinky" TI-83 can be made to speak PS/2 with one or two KB of assembly code.

about a year and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Found Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Your duty is clear: (302 comments)

CALCnet allows networking of TI-83 and similar calculators with relatively simple external hardware.

With that detail out of the way, you are free to implement a display-wall and/or the most powerful z80 cluster computer in the known universe.

Extra credit, of course, will be awarded if you succeed in writing an xorg driver that can treat an MxN array of networked calculators as a greyscale display of appropriate resolution.

As the author of that hack, I solidly second that suggestion. We also have a bunch of other calculator hacking projects that might interest you, like case-modding, adding features likes backlights, PS/2 ports, a touchpad, etc. There was the FloppyTunes project ( http://www.cemetech.net/projects/item.php?id=38 ) that lets you play music on a floppy drive with a calculator. Since you have so many calculators, though, CALCnet would be fun to play with, and since we're always looking for people to help with a wireless version of CALCnet, that might be something fun. And no one has written a distributed computation system with CALCnet yet!

about a year and a half ago
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Online Multiplayer Games On TI Calculators?

KermMartian Re:qazqaz (75 comments)

Capitalization failures aside, Qazz is correct. I'm working on a direct USB counterpart for the TI-84+ and the TI-84+SE, both of which have a miniUSB port, to enable globalCALCnet with no extra hardware.

more than 3 years ago
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Online Multiplayer Games On TI Calculators?

KermMartian Re:WHY!? (75 comments)

Asking "why" is the wrong question. We do this kind of stuff because we can. I enjoy the challenge of pushing calculator hardware as far as it can go, then a bit further, because it's hard, and therefore rewarding.

more than 3 years ago
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Online Multiplayer Games On TI Calculators?

KermMartian Re:More academic integrity headaches... (75 comments)

Siwelwerd, notice that at this point the hardware I've designed requires a wired connection to a computer with an internet. If I were to make it wireless, or remove the need for a computer, then you might have more of a headache, but I don't think you'll have that much of a problem at this point.

more than 3 years ago
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Online Multiplayer Games On TI Calculators?

KermMartian Re:CEMETECH (75 comments)

Thanks, Anonymous Coward, although I fear Slashdot users might frown on that sort of shout-out. :)

more than 3 years ago
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Online Multiplayer Games On TI Calculators?

KermMartian Re:Cool trick? (75 comments)

Thanks! Yesterday I played the latest beta of Obliterate on my calculator with a user in Massachusetts and another in California. If you're going to ask "why", you don't understand the motivations behind calculator coders such as myself.

more than 3 years ago
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Calculator Networking With CALCnet and Doors CS

KermMartian Re:But... Ummm... (60 comments)

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.

more than 3 years ago
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Calculator Networking With CALCnet and Doors CS

KermMartian Re:Why only Ti-83/4 (60 comments)

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.

more than 3 years ago
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Calculator Networking With CALCnet and Doors CS

KermMartian Re:Cluster? (60 comments)

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

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Hands on with TI's Color-Screen TI-84 Plus

KermMartian KermMartian writes  |  about a year ago

KermMartian writes "The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition isn't the first color-screen graphing calculator, or even TI's first color calculator, but it's a refresh of a 17-year-old line that many have mocked as antiquated and overpriced. From an advanced review model, the math features look familiar, solid, and augmented with some new goodies, while programming looks about on par with its siblings. The requisite teardown uncovers the new battery, Flash, ASIC/CPU, and LCD used in the device. Although there are some qualms about its speed and very gentle hardware upgrades beyond the screen, it looks to be an indication that TI will continue this inveterate line for years to come."
Link to Original Source
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TI Rethinks Graphing Calculators as iPad Apps

KermMartian KermMartian writes  |  about a year ago

KermMartian writes "Yesterday, TI spoke about two new apps they've introduced for the iPad. These attempt to replicate the functionality of their TI-Nspire CX and TI-Nspire CX CAS graphing calculators, without quite being emulators. They tout the large screen and ability to drag graphs as part of its appeal to help make math more visual and intuitive. Of course, they also acknowledge that since iPads aren't allowed on standardized tests, their handheld calculators aren't going anywhere."
Link to Original Source
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In Calculator Arms Race, Casio Fires Back: Color Touchscreen ClassPad

KermMartian KermMartian writes  |  about a year ago

KermMartian writes "In what seems to be an accelerating arms race for graphing calculator supremacy between Texas Instruments and Casio, the underdog Casio has fired a return salvo to the recently-announced TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. The new ClassPad fx-CP400 has a massive color touchscreen and a Matlab-esque CAS. Though not accepted on the SAT/ACT, will such a powerful device gain a strong following among engineers and professionals?"
Link to Original Source
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Color-Screen TI-84 Plus Calculator Leaked

KermMartian KermMartian writes  |  about a year and a half ago

KermMartian writes "It has been nearly two decades since Texas Instruments released the TI-82 graphing calculator, and as the TI-83, TI-83+, and TI-84+ were created in the intervening years, these 6MHz machines have only become more absurdly retro, complete with 96x64-pixel monochome LCDs and a $120 price tag. However, a student member of a popular graphing calculator hacking site has leaked pictures and details about a new color-screen TI-84+ calculator, verified to be coming soon from Texas Instruments. With the lukewarm reception to TI's Nspire line, it seems to be an attempt to compete with Casio's popular color-screen Prizm calculator. Imagine the graphs (and games!) on this new 320x240 canvas."
Link to Original Source
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Calculator Networking: CALCnet and Doors CS

KermMartian KermMartian writes  |  more than 2 years ago

KermMartian (707470) 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 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mjn98Bs2Cg, and the many file management, GUI, and other features of Doors CS can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FRi6HX8mP4. All the associated software is available for download at http://www.ticalc.org/archives/files/fileinfo/430/43068.html."
Link to Original Source

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