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TI vs. Calculator Hobbyists, the Next Round 301

Posted by timothy
from the not-how-google-would-do-it dept.
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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TI vs. Calculator Hobbyists, the Next Round

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  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burisch_research (1095299) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:39AM (#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? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:57AM (#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?

  • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:07AM (#36190204) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:19AM (#36190260) Homepage

    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:27AM (#36190332) Homepage

    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.

  • by senorpoco (1396603) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:39AM (#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?
  • Disappointed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pgn674 (995941) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:39AM (#36190440) Homepage
    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:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:42AM (#36190470) Homepage Journal

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

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Friday May 20, 2011 @09:23AM (#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.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WorBlux (1751716) on Friday May 20, 2011 @10:48AM (#36191826)
    Because it strengthens the part of the brain that does symbol manipulation. Learning to do long division quickly and accurately sets up the brain so it can do more complex algorithm's involving variables quickly and accurately.
  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday May 20, 2011 @12:02PM (#36192584)
    Great plan, except you are one generation away from having no one capable of creating new algorithms for computers. If one cannot do it, one cannot tell the computer how to do it.

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