0768: "1996"

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BrianX
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BrianX » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:05 pm UTC

I still have my TI-83 from ~15 years ago; I'd like to replace it with an HP-50 or TI-89 (or maybe an Nspire, now that they've removed most of the brain damage from the initial releases), but that ain't happening with my current budget.

There was a point, shortly before Palm gave up on standalone PDAs altogether, where you could get a Z22 for about $10 less than you'd pay for even a TI-83; even the lowest of the low-end Palms could outrun everything TI had at the time. And, truthfully, there was no way anyone was ever going to get to use one in school, because the College Board disallows QWERTY and touch-screen calculators. Considering that otherwise, the most widely available programming language to new computer users is JavaScript, this literally leaves would-be hacker larvae in the 8-bit era, with all the cramped memory and weak-ass programming languages that implies. (Feel free to move hyphen one word to the right.)

I think this is largely a factor of being targeted at an educational market; the HP-50 and TI-Nspire are pretty much the only graphing calculators on the market with reasonably modern specs, but the HP-50 is massively nonstandard in the educational world, and the Nspire (which is, in theory, roughly as powerful as a Nintendo DS) came out of the gate massively lobotomized, with very weak programming capability and a tight platform lockdown. It's gotten better, and the calculator hacker community has managed to squeeze its way in around the cracks, but it does point to some of the major problems with being largely sold to an educational audience. Not only do you have to worry about students using it as a time-waster or cheatsheet, but since TI has virtually unfettered control over the K-12 calculator market, they really don't have a whole lot of incentive to do anything but the bare minimum of what the teachers want, so as a whole their hardware is overpriced and underpowered because they can get away with it. Casio doesn't have to care because they're a small sector of the market that can undercut TI on price with impunity, and HP doesn't have to care because they're not shooting for the K-12 market in the first place.

On a sadder note, my TI-83 is largely retired -- I have EasyCalc on my Palm z31 if I need graphing, and my iPod Touch if I don't.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:26 pm UTC

Back in the very early 1990s, HP was better than TI, Sharp, or Casio by miles. They had:
  • more processing power
  • more memory
  • the ability to connect to a computer
  • better programming languages
  • the ability to perform symbolic math (ex: find the formulaic solution to an integral, not just a numeric result)

I still have my HP 48SX calculator, with HP's 128KB RAM add-on card, HP's EQ Library add-on card, and Sparcom's Mathematics Pac add-on card. I even still have all the manuals (beat up as they are) and a boatload of software ("HP 48 Goodies" downloads, database software from James Donnelly, HP's development tools). The EQ Library card comes with a loan calculator tool that I still use to this day. There used to be a thermal printer for it as well as a floppy drive availalbe.

Unfortunately, HP always had the high-priced calculators so most people didn't want to pay $250 or more for one (and then buy add-on cards for $100 a pop afterwards). The other calculator manufacturers were more reasonably priced, which made them more popular and more successful in the long run. After a few more models after HP 48SX, HP stepped aside and let the other guys catch up.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Mysidic » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:27 pm UTC

kerowhack wrote:Ahhh, yes, this one takes me back. Just the mention of Computer Shopper in the first panel had me grinning nostalgically. I had a TI-82 and I wrote a video poker program to get me through math class. It spread like wildfire through 11th grade, and eventually made it's way to a teacher, as these things often do. I got one of those "so much potential if..." speeches when they finally figured out who wrote it. This comic makes an awfully good point though; I think the only thing keeping TI in business anymore is their graphing calculator monopoly and supplying oddball chips to government and military agencies. As the supply guy for my division on my sub, I used to see the prices for all these components when we ordered replacement parts. One IC, which IIRC was a quad NAND gate or something, was 60 bucks! Even rad-resistant and mil-spec, there's no justification for that price when you could get the equivalent from Mouser for maybe $3. Every TI shareholder should thank the Navy, Air Force, NASA and the College Board for every cent they get.


I attend UTD, which a large part of is funded by TI. One of the things that shocked me about the company is learning just how much of their income is from litigation.(The calculator part is actually just a fraction of the business.)
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

Wow, this is actually so freaking true. Lulzy.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Wow, most of you guys missed a TERRIBLE graphing calculator from TI: the TI-81.

My school got into these things so entire math classes had the sea of blue going on. They did basic things very well (ex: graphing, calculations, etc), but the flaws were:
  • They could only hold around 2.4KB of TI-Basic code (comparison: HP 48SX had 32KB, upgradable to 288KB and unofficially even more).
  • It had no ports so programs could not be backed up.
  • The coin-cell backup battery only backed up data if the calculator was turned off when the AAA batteries were removed.
  • The battery cover was made from a cheap flexible material. Thus, even a minor 2 foot drop to a linoleum floor would pop the cover and spray the batteries everywhere.

The effect of this was:
  • All code was backed up or shared on hand-written paper. Code had to be manually enterred.
  • Due to the battery cover flaw, people in my high school frequently lost their code. Very frustrating. You could hear classmates sigh in sympathy when we heard a TI-81 hit the floor.

Fortunately, TI fixed these issues in later models. In the meantime, I upgraded to an HP 48SX and gave my TI-81 to my younger sister.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby cspirou » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:49 pm UTC

In the case of TI it's not the hardware you're paying for, it's the software. Just like at Windows now and Windows back then. It's gotten more expensive and hasn't really added features. It's just gotten more bulky. Or a more reasonable comparison is Mathematica. The software hasn't gotten that all that cheaper.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby LexiphanicLogorrhea » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

I need to send this to my uncle. He works for TI. :D

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby davidstvz » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

I guess they cost so much because of the software.

In any case, it's good to know my TI-89 from the year 2000 is still state of the art.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:04 pm UTC

Still have my Casio fx-7700g from 1990. Can't believe the thing is 20 years old and pretty much does about the same thing my Son's TI84+ does.

When I got it, it was the popular model in my math class. I wrote the typical blackjack and craps games on it and they got manually copied and floated around a bit. Then I made a game using a simple inverse parabola with the graphics to emulate shooting missiles at the principal and vice principals. That one got traction. A couple of weeks later a friend in another class wanted to show me this cool game he had on his calculator. Turned out it was my missile game. Pretty much knew I wanted to be a programmer after that.

The next year the TI-81 became popular and pretty much became the defacto standard.

Every few years when I look at the calculators in best buy or somewhere, I keep thinking that the technology will have improved. It never does.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby XbHW_TestEngr » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:08 pm UTC

Quicksilver wrote:Casio > TI's. I still use my graphics calculator to this day to help with recursions.


HP (RPN) > Casio > TI's

(Sorry if someone already pointed this out. Got to it on the first page and couldn't wait to respond.)

So, since HP stopped upping the game on calculators (i.e. stopped making them), TI hasn't done much in the way of innovation.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Poposhka » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

This was an awesome strip!

and hits close to home, because I wrote a 3d engine for mine in college too!

seriously, we should have a pissing match about which ti-calculator-3d-engine is the best. mine could import 3Ds max files! ... no not really.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby squareroot » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

I've programmed in TI-BASIC a lot, and this summer I finally need to buy my own graphing calculator. So far I've just been leeching of my friends. ^.^ One story I'd like to share with you: My friend had owned a graping calc (I think it was 84 Silver?) for almost year, he'd been using it in his Trig/Algebra class. Probably about 1 in 5 homeworks were about learning how to program it. When we were going to MathCounts, I mentioned to him that he might want to put a program in to factor large numbers automatically, just in case it came up. The scary part is - he was astonished that could even be done. I think it was a major revelation for him when I explained that he could set up his calculator to do *anything* with numbers he wanted, especially if a computer could do it. It also took a lot of persuasion. I almost cried.

Well, the 3D engine sounds like a cool idea, maybe I'll do that while I'm goofing off in Precalc next year. ;-)
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

Poposhka wrote:This was an awesome strip!

and hits close to home, because I wrote a 3d engine for mine in college too!

seriously, we should have a pissing match about which ti-calculator-3d-engine is the best. mine could import 3Ds max files! ... no not really.



Mine could do texture mapping, and pixel shading all in software. The first person shooter I wrote on it ran beautifully in 4 color greyscale at 0.0000003 frames per second!


... ok not really either.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby mojo-chan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:44 pm UTC

I think the reason calcs are still so basic is that they sell them to the education market. Many of the teachers/lecturers are set in their ways and will only approve a calculator they can fully understand and trust for use in tests. As such they keep them as basic as possible while still performing the functions needed at school/college/university level.

I have a question. What is a good calculator for a programmer? I see lots of them now have binary/hex modes but they mostly seem to suck. I would like something where I can edit individual 1s and 0s in a binary number and see the result in hex and dec updated in realtime. A lot of them don't even have ABCDEF keys for hex mode. The ability to generate lookup tables and save them to SD card or over USB would be handy too. How about a regular expression builder/tester or logical expression generator (for really complex if() statements or decision trees).

Multiple "screens" where I can flick back and forth while doing calculations (very handy when doing PCB layouts) would be nice too. Some electronics functions like built in common formulas and colour/code decoders would be useful.

Even seemingly quite basic stuff like magnitude converters (e.g. 500ns = 0.5ms = 2000Hz) or plug-in RMS calculation don't seem to be very common. I know you can program them to do it on the ones with more advanced BASIC interpreters (my old TI-85 isn't very flexible when it comes to moving the cursor or allowing free-form input or even text rendering) but I'm just amazed that after decades of these things being on the market they don't just build this stuff in or offer the apps themselves. In fact, why is there no app store?

Casio do some which can act as USB keyboards which is very handy. To paste a result into something on your PC just position the cursor and press "send". Again this seems to be fairly uncommon though.

At the moment the best option seems to be to just write an Android app.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:45 pm UTC

Randall, it's a calculator; it doesn't need an NVidia graphics card and a friggin' Pentium Quad Core.
That being said, there's a lot of work going into third party software for TI calculators.
http://www.ticalc.org/ <-- There's one of many sites.
There's packages of software that will allow you to emulate various programs, there's a Gameboy Emulator (along with several games), more material is always in the works, there's Tetris, there's a few RPGs, and someone cracked the signing keys for a few TI graphing calculator models, allowing custom third-party OSes to be installed on them. Actually there was some legal controversy over that, TI told the sites to remove the signing keys or they would sue, claiming it was copyright infringement and was somehow stealing from the company. After a legal battle, the fansites came out victorious, and the signing keys are free to be used.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:57 pm UTC

SpringLoaded12 wrote:Randall, it's a calculator; it doesn't need an NVidia graphics card and a friggin' Pentium Quad Core.


That is no excuse.

For the price, these things could easily be running on a decent ARM chip with a larger, color, possibly touchscreen display. The resolution on graphing calculators is pathetic.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby The Scyphozoa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

GET OUT OF MY HEAD RANDALL! This comic bears a striking similarity to part of an article in the San Jose Mercury News today...

"The typewriter cost nearly $1,000 in 1978. Adjusting for inflation, that's more than $3,000 today. But my Apple II cost nearly $3,000 in 1979 dollars."
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby mojo-chan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:10 pm UTC

monteslu wrote:For the price, these things could easily be running on a decent ARM chip with a larger, color, possibly touchscreen display. The resolution on graphing calculators is pathetic.


I agree. It would be very useful to have not only a higher resolution graph but the ability to touch-scroll around it.

Full colour medium resolution screens with touch input like the ones found in cheap mobile phones or portable games consoles cost <$5. Fast ARM chips are even cheaper and come with 32MB+ on-board memory and USB.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Lathe » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

mojo-chan wrote:Even seemingly quite basic stuff like magnitude converters (e.g. 500ns = 0.5ms = 2000Hz) or plug-in RMS calculation don't seem to be very common. ... In fact, why is there no app store?

At the moment the best option seems to be to just write an Android app.


Good comments. The HP 48SX has magnitude and units conversion (still use mine for quick S.I. <--> Metric conversions). There was an "HP 48 Goodies" BBS back in the early 90's for free apps. Those without a modem (or couldn't deal with long distance charges) could buy floppies with collections of programs. Certainly not an app store, but this was 1.5 decades before the term existed and most people were not even on the Internet.

Regarding an Android app, I've been debating on downloading the HP 48SX calculator emulator or just getting a collection of apps that perform the same functions. Seems like it would be the smarter way to go but I'm somewhat set in my ways. :D

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby DorkRawk » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

Hmmm.... this comic makes a disturbingly good point. This is sort tarnishing my quaint memories of my TI-82...

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BrianX » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:27 pm UTC

monteslu wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Randall, it's a calculator; it doesn't need an NVidia graphics card and a friggin' Pentium Quad Core.


That is no excuse.

For the price, these things could easily be running on a decent ARM chip with a larger, color, possibly touchscreen display. The resolution on graphing calculators is pathetic.


Interestingly, a lot of the issue here has to do with College Board requirements for the SAT/SAT II/AP exams. The rules as I understand them is that a calculator with a QWERTY keyboard is, de facto, a computer, which is something of an absurdity since the difference between the TI Voyage 200 and the TI-89 models is largely a matter of form factor (both units have roughly the same computing power as a Mac SE), and the HP-50g and TI-Nspire (particularly the CAS model) are pretty heavy-duty for something you carry around in a pocket or Trapper Keeper. Styli and touchscreens are also frowned upon.

There is also the matter of WiFi and Bluetooth -- those are pretty standard on smartphones, PDAs, and portable game systems these days. There are some pretty good reasons why those aren't allowed on calculators approved for College Board exams (I shouldn't have to explain), and I think that if nothing else continues to insulate the graphing calculator market from outside market forces -- without any real competition from the more connected sectors of the pocket computer market, they don't have to care. (If the market did converge, I'd tend to wonder about the future of onboard programmability -- after all, the initial release of the Nspire provided barely any at all, just enough for custom functions. Presumably that was to discourage writing games. Presumably that discouraged Nspire sales.)

Incidentally, I mentioned EasyCalc for PalmOS earlier -- check out LispMe as well, along with the virtual HP-12c and TI BAII-Plus apps for iPhone. (I assume there are similar items for WebOS, Nintendo DS, and of course Android.) That's the sort of stuff that you're not supposed to be doing on your graphing calc.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Schadenfreude » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:39 pm UTC

am I the only person bothered by the fact that the peoples' heads are floating? and not just in panel 4. you can see their heads floating in 3 and (okay, so this is a perhaps) in panel 1.

Or is this just a style thing? because I'm flipping backwards through the archives and seeing it a lot, now that I'm looking for it.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby a.sub » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:43 pm UTC

i can proudly boast a rudimentary physics engine, involving one particle, constant friction, gravity and 3 levels of elasticity (all changeable) where you used the arrow keys to apply a force on the particle and see how it reacts.
the biggest issue was that the particle (1 pixel) lost 97% of its energy when it hit a wall even at 100% elasticity :(
i also made a magnetic field line grapher (where you input the points, their charge, and position) which was slow as hell
and Mine sweeper, which worked like a charm :D
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

I miss my old TI-82... some @#!$% stole it from me in Differential Equations in college.


That being said, I still use my HP-11. And my totally badass HP-200, a netbook before they came out with such things (Windows 3.1 and AutoCAD 9 on something that fits in the palm of my hand? Brilliant!)


HP > all other calculator makers.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby flguy1980 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:44 pm UTC

Another stagnant technology: the BlackBerry. I have a personal phone and a work phone. Personal phone: Motorola Droid. Work phone: BlackBerry Tour. Although the screen is color, the Tour feels like an old Palm, and is not very configurable at all.

Example I just griped about with a coworker: my Droid has discrete vibrates for text and call. Call: long repeating. Text: short-short.

My BlackBerry? E-mail: long-long. Call: long repeating. I can't tell if I have a phone call or a rapid-fire avalanche of e-mails.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:I miss my old TI-82... some @#!$% stole it from me in Differential Equations in college.


Whoa, dude. Sorry. I didn't know it was yours. :oops:
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Fixblor » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:49 pm UTC

In 1996 I assembled my first PC with money from my paper route (cite this!).

Through a computer show (Allentown Fairgrounds), it cost me about fifteen hundred US for a 133MHz Pentium with 128MB RAM, a 1MB video card and DOS 6 with Windows 3.11

About TX Instruments: the TI-nspire comes with an ACT/SAT approved interchangeable keypad (TI-84+) in addition to a compatible furnace control panel from Myst, so I'm not quite sure what Randall is whining about now.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Solt » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:33 pm UTC

BrianX wrote:
monteslu wrote:
SpringLoaded12 wrote:Randall, it's a calculator; it doesn't need an NVidia graphics card and a friggin' Pentium Quad Core.


That is no excuse.

For the price, these things could easily be running on a decent ARM chip with a larger, color, possibly touchscreen display. The resolution on graphing calculators is pathetic.


Interestingly, a lot of the issue here has to do with College Board requirements for the SAT/SAT II/AP exams.


Disagree!

You guys are missing the biggest reason by far, which is battery life! Battery technology for the cheapest alkaline batteries hasn't changed at all in the last 10 years (at least). Start stuffing in color (hell, even backlit) screens, touchscreens, and faster processors, and battery life would go to shit. You'd have to replace the batteries every week at best, or put in rechargeable Lithium Ion which would be even worse because there's no cheap way to have a backup if you accidentally run out during a test.

That's not to say TI isn't improving the things they can improve without hurting battery life- A quick search shows the TI84 plus silver is packing 1.5 MB of flash memory and USB connection to a computer, as well as "more than twice the speed" of the TI 83 plus. Still overpriced but there's a good excuse for certain specs not having improved.

mojo-chan wrote:At the moment the best option seems to be to just write an Android app.


Please do! My wish is actually that there be a port of matlab that I could run on my droid.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby monteslu » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:48 pm UTC

Solt wrote:Disagree!

You guys are missing the biggest reason by far, which is battery life! Battery technology for the cheapest alkaline batteries hasn't changed at all in the last 10 years (at least). Start stuffing in color (hell, even backlit) screens, touchscreens, and faster processors, and battery life would go to shit. You'd have to replace the batteries every week at best, or put in rechargeable Lithium Ion which would be even worse because there's no cheap way to have a backup if you accidentally run out during a test.


Yet more excuses. The radio and wifi are a major battery draining component on smartphones. I didn't propose adding either to these calculators(though wifi that could easily be toggled off would be nice).

Given the size of these TI relics, they could contain massive batteries that charge over USB and last for weeks or even months if not in full time use.

Solt wrote:That's not to say TI isn't improving the things they can improve without hurting battery life- A quick search shows the TI84 plus silver is packing 1.5 MB of flash memory and USB connection to a computer, as well as "more than twice the speed" of the TI 83 plus. Still overpriced but there's a good excuse for certain specs not having improved.


Wow a whopping 1.5MB of flash memory.

The Samsung Vibrant android phone has 11 thousand times more internal memory, and a 1 GHz processor in a tenth of the volume of a TI84+.

I get that people giving tests don't want test takers to cheat. That doesn't mean a calculator with hardware from this millennium couldn't be submitted for approval.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby skinnydaddy » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:57 pm UTC

I'm getting a huge kick out of this thread I used to work support for T.I. calculators. My god the calls we got every time some school board or ISD required the students to get one. There was also that huge issue we had when the first 83+ silver editions came out and started dieing everywhere because of a design flaw. Also the real reason none of their graphing calculators have really change is they are scared to change them. In the late 90's when the T.I. voyager came out they where working a way to network all the calculators together and it bombed so badly it pretty much killed any innovations that where in the pipeline for the products. T.I. is a semiconductor company first and fore most so any cash for development goes there. Where they had 20+ buildings, 9 plants, 15k+ employees to call on the calculator division had less then 100 and most of them where in the call center. Ok man thanks people, I've not laughed this hard in awhile...

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BrianX » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

monteslu wrote:Yet more excuses. The radio and wifi are a major battery draining component on smartphones. I didn't propose adding either to these calculators(though wifi that could easily be toggled off would be nice).

Given the size of these TI relics, they could contain massive batteries that charge over USB and last for weeks or even months if not in full time use.


And where is the demand? You're forgetting that this is one of the rare cases where the target audience and primary users are two different sets of people. It's the teachers (and to a lesser extent the parents, who actually pay for the things) who drive demand, and they don't really care what the students want as long as it's not impossible to use. That's why the TI-Nspire was lobotomized on arrival and why TI threw a hissyfit in court when people cracked it -- using current hardware, it was too powerful for the classroom, so they needed to do as much as they could to cut functionality to just about adequate.

Yes, it thoroughly sucks that a calculator with such power is so fettered. But TI leaves the pro market to HP -- they don't have to care.


Wow a whopping 1.5MB of flash memory.

The Samsung Vibrant android phone has 11 thousand times more internal memory, and a 1 GHz processor in a tenth of the volume of a TI84+.

I get that people giving tests don't want test takers to cheat. That doesn't mean a calculator with hardware from this millennium couldn't be submitted for approval.


I agree that it's an outrage. But those are the breaks. You want a calculator that isn't limited, get an HP.

was_fired
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby was_fired » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

I have to second the battery life argument. My TI-83+ has a battery life that can easily put my droid incredible to shame. I wouldn't be surprised if it can run for over one hundred hours on four double A batteries which are dirt cheap compared to the forty dollar rechargeable battery in my phone which can only last around four hours of heavy usage. Also, as for the usage breakdown when wi-fi, and syncing are turned off it still can only go six hours. If half of that is the antenna that means it would run for twelve with the display and non-network applications running. Compare that the a TI-83's 100+ hour run-time and you can see where the slower processor and low resolution black and white display pay off.
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ZeroG
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby ZeroG » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:45 pm UTC

I registered just to reply to this:

OH MY GOD IT'S SO TRUE! I remember being pissed at having to pay $100+ for excruciatingly slow hardware in 2003.

freddyfish wrote:does anyone besides me still think the ti-89 is the hack for ALL math( except stats because its just hard to type in the data on that calc))?
admittedly i hate using matlab since its bulky and makes my computer cry... but seriously. symbolic integration is AMAZING. as is solving systems of equations by simply typing them in


Respectfully, I have to disagree with one point here: Symbolic integration isn't really that amazing. If I were creating a math system (hardware, software, or both), I'd be embarrassed to sell it if it didn't have symbolic math capabilities (note the term "sell"; obviously if I was making something free I might not feel such an obligation). The algorithms are well known now (and have been for years). Granted, it'd take quite a few man-hours to implement that, but nothing even remotely close to enough to justify the obscene price markup on the SAME DAMN CALCULATOR for 15 years (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-92_series, citing the 92 as coming out in 1995). That's gouging, plain and simple. If they really can't improve on it for the same battery life, fine, but it should cost substantially less than it does.

All that being said, I'll concede that I did do my fair share of relying on my TI-89's skills rather than my own to float me through some college math classes.

mojo-chan
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby mojo-chan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:46 pm UTC

Lathe wrote:Good comments. The HP 48SX has magnitude and units conversion (still use mine for quick S.I. <--> Metric conversions). There was an "HP 48 Goodies" BBS back in the early 90's for free apps. Those without a modem (or couldn't deal with long distance charges) could buy floppies with collections of programs. Certainly not an app store, but this was 1.5 decades before the term existed and most people were not even on the Internet.


I miss PD libraries. I spent hours looking through those catalogue disks!

I will keep an eye out for a reasonably priced 48SX but from what I read about it the prices are likely to stay high for a long time.

Regarding an Android app, I've been debating on downloading the HP 48SX calculator emulator or just getting a collection of apps that perform the same functions. Seems like it would be the smarter way to go but I'm somewhat set in my ways. :D


I downloaded it and will have a play :)

I asked a Japanese friend about calculators and she reminded me of something I saw once. It was a Casio "pocket computer" with a full QWERTY keyboard and numeric pad, similar to the FX-850P but IIRC with a graphic LCD. They were popular in Japan in the early 90s and from what I understand were quite powerful. You could program them in assembler or some variant of BASIC. Despite being called computers they were really graphing calculators.

kps
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*cough*HP*cough*

Postby kps » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

One good thing you can say about TI: their calculators of today may not be better than the ones they sold in 1996, but at least they aren't worse.

Not_an_S
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Not_an_S » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:22 pm UTC

Really, for me it's not the processing power or the size of the screen, it's the price.
A calculator like the ones that TI are selling should only go for about $50.

irrelevant
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby irrelevant » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:32 am UTC

Genuine "get out of my head" comic.

But I supposes this one would be for many... atleast anyone who's had to buy TI83/4/9 recently, which is a lot of people I assume.

I mean, unless that's packaged as a TI 83/4/9 you can't even give that hardware/software away anymore, can you?
Last edited by irrelevant on Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:42 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

squareroot
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby squareroot » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:37 am UTC

Try $15. You could probably make more powerful things from stuff people throw away.
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BrianX
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BrianX » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:20 am UTC

irrelevant wrote:Genuine "get out of my head" comic.

But I supposes this one would be for many... atleast anyone who's had to buy TI83/4/9 recently, which is a lot of people I assume.

I mean, unless that's packaged as a TI 83/4/9 you can't even give that hardware/software away anymore, can you?


I don't know... the Z80 and Freescale CISC stuff are still quite useful for embedded purposes. I mean, high-end math packages from back in the day like Macsyma ran on what we'd consider some pretty lame hardware that the 68000 in the TI-89 could probably outrun rather easily and the average smartphone would crush.

zoommathguy
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby zoommathguy » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:33 am UTC

Oh, wow! Three of my employees told me to read today's XKCD immediately. Good call. My company (Zoom Math) makes apps for TI calculators, and I've made this same comment about TI technology dozens of times. Our forthcoming trig app can barely fit on a TI-83 Plus--and this, even though we custom designed a byte-code-interpreted math manipulation language for maximum compression!

But hey, I deeply respect TI's marketing department. For those who are wondering, TI dominates the graphing calculator market because they work so well with teachers. Math teachers are usually smart, but often they're not the sort who enjoy learning arcane technology. Why do they recommend TI calculators? Because every math teachers conference in America features TI-sponsored speakers who clearly explain how to use TI calculators! If you buy a Casio or HP, chances are your teacher won't know the first thing about your calculator.

Last week I got an email that reveals how one teacher feels about TI. "You all are extremely easy and nice to work with, which doesn't happen very often anymore. This is another reason teachers like dealing with you and Texas Instruments. We are not all technically qualified and occasionally we need help with our technology that is beyond our level of knowledge."

-Jeff


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