0768: "1996"

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0768: "1996"

Postby Ayeshan » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:38 am UTC

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Title-text: College Board issues aside, I have fond memories oi TI-BASIC, writing in it a 3D graphing engine and a stock market analyzer. With enough patience, I could make anything ... but friends. (Although with my chatterbot experiments, I certainly tried.)

OH THE WRETCHED NOSTALGIA.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Dr_Revels » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:41 am UTC

Last year I went shopping for a graphing calculator before starting med school, thinking it might come in handy, and that graphing calculators ought to have evolved since my geometry class in 1996. This comic expresses my reaction quite well.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby miles » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:43 am UTC

but the color doesnt rub off as easily!!!
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BlueNight » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:43 am UTC

In 1996, I predicted a computer ten years in the future with everything the school's 286 had, times 1000. It sounded ridiculous. I'm writing this post on that very computer right now.

And I still have my TI-86 in my backpack. I remember my joy on the day I discovered the display resolution was designed to nicely display a graph of pi. I wrote a program to procedurally draw a yin-yang; it took three minutes to draw.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:44 am UTC

Niche market?

Maybe so many schools buying them/requiring students to buy them has distorted the market and made innovation less than cost-effective. If you have a captive market, why bother trying? See also: textbook publishers.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby BlazeOrangeDeer » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:44 am UTC

My TI-84+ is like 3 inches from my mouse. I'm the designated programmer for our school math team, and I've made some cool games too :)
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Zhaveriane » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:45 am UTC

I believe you mean 'of' TI-BASIC.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby DesperatMezures » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:46 am UTC

I've thought about this very situation, and been saddened that CollegeBoard allows TI to keep their monopoly unopposed. It's really up to them to break it, because until they allow other calculators in, the most friendly, fair, modern, cheap calculator won't be a success due to the test restrictions. TI is freaking printing money with the prices they charge for this terrible, old hardware!
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby finity » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:49 am UTC

What is with TI's current trend of locking out programmer hobbyists? I'm sure their calculators produced a large group of geeks fluent in computerese who all got their start on TI.

My friends and I also experimented with chatterbots on a MOO (MUD (Multi User Dungeon) Object Oriented) we built at our school. At one point they got stuck in infinite loops, one bot talking with another, until the MOO crashed. You can have a lot of fun with text...
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby rwald » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:50 am UTC

GOOMHR! Not only was I in an Office Depot earlier today looking at the calculators (I mocked them when they came out with the 84 Plus and 84 Plus Silver, but that was years ago and they still haven't done anything new), but I was chatting with a friend about only a few hours before the comic was posted. I know the statistics which make GOOMHR moments inevitable, but it's still weird to have one.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby emanaton » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:51 am UTC

... so - *someone* has to mention it: is "oi" a typo (meant to be "of"), or am I missing something?
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby bitwiseshiftleft » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:56 am UTC

Too true. I think they've improved slightly (16MHz M68k, 256k ram and 2MB flash in the TI-89, sez Wikipedia), but not exponentially.

My favorite TI exploit was a TI-86 program which ran continuously in the background (like one of those old DOS TSR programs...). It made it so that if you tried to clear the memory, it would write "Mem cleared. Defaults set." and dim the screen, but not actually clear anything. Very useful for gaming after math tests.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby pgn674 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:16 am UTC

TI-BASIC on the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator was my first programming language. Assembly for the Z80 chip in the same calculator was my second. Self-taught, too.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby FrancovS » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:20 am UTC

Wow, I have been googling graphic calculators this Sunday all night, and reached the exact same conclusion. This "Randall, get out of my head" stuff is for real.

BTW, makes me wonder: why isn't there some decent ipod touch/adnroid phone replacement for a HP 50g / TI-89? Doesn't seem that hard to program one...
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Quicksilver » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:21 am UTC

Casio > TI's. I still use my graphics calculator to this day to help with recursions.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby weex » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:24 am UTC

pgn674 wrote:TI-BASIC on the TI-83 Plus Graphing Calculator was my first programming language. Assembly for the Z80 chip in the same calculator was my second. Self-taught, too.

I had a Sharp graphing calculator when most everyone else had a Ti-82 or 83 and I recall my calculator also being my first programming experience. I made a simple prog to calculate the area of a triangle with a few options of how to input measurements and a simple game that grabbed a random number from 1-1000 and asked you to guess it with guidance. Others actually played the game but nobody else had my model so they had to do it on my calculator...Not to start anything but I recall the Sharp being superior in most ways to the 82/83.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby metagross111 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:25 am UTC

bitwiseshiftleft wrote:Too true. I think they've improved slightly (16MHz M68k, 256k ram and 2MB flash in the TI-89, sez Wikipedia), but not exponentially.

My favorite TI exploit was a TI-86 program which ran continuously in the background (like one of those old DOS TSR programs...). It made it so that if you tried to clear the memory, it would write "Mem cleared. Defaults set." and dim the screen, but not actually clear anything. Very useful for gaming after math tests.


that doesn't 'run continuously'. It was a hook.

also, I LIKE those calculators, especially the 84+s. Man, there was no better way to ease into a programming hobby in this day and age. I could really get a creative foot in the door there, eventually moving on to z80 assembly.

I don't care what Munroe thinks (he got the specs wrong), TI's made some good calculators. They don't radically change the formula to often so College Board can be comfortable with the same stuff year after year after year. I bet you those calculators are really cheap in bulk, though. I doubt schools pay $110 per calculator, but even so, they're that expensive for regular consumers cause people ideally are only going to buy it once.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Born2killx » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:30 am UTC

TI-Nspire. ;)
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:30 am UTC

Well, $110 in 1996 is like $200 now, so TI calculators have gone down in price by around half.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Schadenfreude » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:33 am UTC

FrancovS wrote:BTW, makes me wonder: why isn't there some decent ipod touch/adnroid phone replacement for a HP 50g / TI-89? Doesn't seem that hard to program one...


So, let's say I present something like this to you and your teacher. essentially, a virtual TI-whatever on your phone. It's a calculator/phone, right? You hear "calculator." Professors hear "phone." meaning they hear "means of communication during test."

which is bad.

...what?
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby darkspork » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:34 am UTC

I hated that damn thing, but I programmed it anyway. It got to the point where I wrote an IDE for it so that I could edit my terrible TI-BASIC programs on my computer. I'm fairly certain that program is on these forums somewhere. You know the RSA key for that thing was cracked last year, right? To me, that was bigger than 09 F9. I won't make any mention of what it is or where to get it (try asking Grandma Otis Or George Lewis Eubert) because TI made a big stink. It's their fault for using a 128 bit key and never updating their software. TI sucks.

Also, the software they have to transfer files to and from that thing is terrible, and why the hell can't the calculator run off USB power when it's plugged in? Why does it take ten seconds to draw a simple sine curve? Why can't programs be executed from flash memory? What's so damn hard about adding more RAM? My WATCH has more computing power than the TI84 I used throughout the upper grades. Innovation is to TI what darkness is to the Sun.

Also, why the hell does TI have a monopoly on the test taking market? It's not like there's any feature I'd use on a test that an HP calculator has that I can't emulate by programming that thing, and the 84 quite certainly isn't immune to cheating. Plus, the hardware sucks and I've had to fix my calculator many times.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby GyRo567 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:37 am UTC

I picked up a TI-Nspire on the cheap a few years ago, and the display resolution is much nicer. I never read the manual, so I still haven't figured out how to graph things with it, but it's been most helpful for matrix iteration. And if they had existed back when I first learned integration, I'm sure it would have made checking my work a bit faster than the TI-89's command line interface.

Also, the top of my TI-Nspire reads DON'T PANIC. With the shape & all the buttons, I couldn't resist.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby FrancovS » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:38 am UTC

Born2killx wrote:TI-Nspire. ;)


From what I got, they can't even do indefinite integrals. They just seem edgier.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby _infina_ » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:40 am UTC

Not too long ago I found a PC Mag from '97 in an old desk. Amazing reading such old articles about computers. If you upgrade regularly, the realization of how far computers have come in the past decade is lost. It is truly amazing, yet graphing calculators appear to be nearly timeless.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Time Kitten » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:51 am UTC

Yep, I fell for getting a TI 86 Silver even. Came in a debug state, so it couldn't actually do anything til I found a factory reset on it. Then, about 3 months in, I've learnt it's programing language (from the helpfile in the calculator) and write a program so it can actually do quadratic formula.

Yeah, that should be native for a graphinc calculator?

Then, I lose it. But lucky me, the Nokia trackphone I had at the time turned out to be MORE powerful, have the same resolution, and be in colour, with a much friendlier language. All I had to do was teach it math as I needed it.

Now I'm looking into getting myself my first smartphone... with about equal power to my current laptop... which I'm pretty sure that I don't even need a calculator program for, as google will do just fine.

And yay, first post. One finally wrangled me in.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:15 am UTC

Not to be a combo-breaker, but my first programming was in Qbasic on an ancient HP my aunt gave us. Gorrilaz was the shit. In an attempt to make it more visually appealing, I accidentally broke the game because the hit detection was based on color.
I did program in TI-Basic, but I preferred to make levels in Super Mario for TI 83+
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby sillydreamer » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:23 am UTC

As a math teacher, it's actually really nice that this technology has NOT changed. I can teach my students on the calculator that I learned on and maybe one of them will teach a future math student on a TI-83+ as well.

As for an app for iPhone/Android... I downloaded "handycalc" for my android. It's nice if I'm tutoring or working or something and for some reason my TI-83+ isn't within reach. I can still get texts while using it, though, so I would never allow my students to use it on a test. Inputing values (and other functions) is also a bit more complicated (or limited, all together) because of the on-screen keyboard.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Amnesiasoft » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:28 am UTC

darkspork wrote:Why does it take ten seconds to draw a simple sine curve?

Because you didn't turn the "slow drawing of graphs*" option off. No, really, there's an option for it.


* Name may be inaccurate.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby kerowhack » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:33 am UTC

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.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby savanik » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:35 am UTC

Ah, I remember my TI graphing calculator fondly. I used it in my high school pre-calc class to optimize the number of Land cards to use in my Magic: The Gathering rush deck. *nostalgia*

That said - graphing calculators have evolved! They added the functionality of a mobile phone to it.

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby tuckels » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:41 am UTC

I had to wikipedia TI. Here in Australia, it seems every calculator is a Casio. (Granted, I don't go calculator shopping all too often).
I did enjoy discovering discovering that TI has made calculators, missiles, & speech synthesisers.
More on topic: I remember my year 7 maths teacher showing the class the lame probability game (called Greedy Pig) he had programmed into his graphing calculator.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby squidfood » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:03 am UTC

Benefit to staying low-powered: my calculators (both HP and TI) which I use fairly regularly, have needed one battery change (and no charging) in ten years, between them.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby ecce » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:05 am UTC

I took the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in the spring, and they allowed Casio, HP and TI calculators (no programmable ones allowed though). I've always despised CollegeBoard, so its nice to know I can fairly blame them for the TI monopoly (I used a TI on the test, but I already had it from junior high).
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby thatguy_ » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:09 am UTC

I had to wikipedia TI. Here in Australia, it seems every calculator is a Casio.


I would have to disagree. All the calculators at my school are currently TI-83+, but they are slowly being fazed out in favour of TI-84s. It still annoys the hell out of me that pretty much every student has a phone with more power than a TI, yet we're still forced to pay $100 for a second hand one bought from the school's hire program, and it has the mental capacity of a chimp. Surely an update is required by now, considering that the technology is now so updated....

But anyway, blah blah blah etc.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Drop Bear » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:14 am UTC

The 84+, 89 and the N-Spire all sitting on my desk were glaring at me when I read this comic. Someone should build a calculator with a quad core, and an SSD.
Also, I finally signed up because of this comic.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby Izahg » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:16 am UTC

This was an intense "get out of my head Randall" comic for me. I was thinking of upgrading from my 89 Titanium just earlier today. I still use it all the time, though. Graphing 20+ terms of a Fourier series is slooow.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby peutetre » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:33 am UTC

There is a typo. "oi" in alt-text, instead of "of"
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby slashme » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:37 am UTC

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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby xpuctaqpGT » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:42 am UTC

I teach high school math in Tampa, Florida. TI is overpriced crap. I prefer Casio graphing calculators by a lot. They're about 2/3 to half the price of TIs and in most situations work better.
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Re: "1996" Discussion

Postby gormster » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:51 am UTC

thatguy_ wrote:
I had to wikipedia TI. Here in Australia, it seems every calculator is a Casio.


I would have to disagree. All the calculators at my school are currently TI-83+, but they are slowly being fazed out in favour of TI-84s. It still annoys the hell out of me that pretty much every student has a phone with more power than a TI, yet we're still forced to pay $100 for a second hand one bought from the school's hire program, and it has the mental capacity of a chimp. Surely an update is required by now, considering that the technology is now so updated....

But anyway, blah blah blah etc.


tuckels could be doing that thing that I also do, where My Town == Australia. I know for sure that where I live pretty much all the calculators are Casio.
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