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Handhelds Programming Games Your Rights Online

TI vs. Calculator Hobbyists, the Next Round 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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TI vs. Calculator Hobbyists, the Next Round

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  • by superslacker87 ( 998043 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:36AM (#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.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      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....."

    • by schnell ( 163007 )
      My understanding is that their calculators won't be allowable in standardized testing environments anymore if there is a likelihood that users are modifying the devices. I have never been part of the market for scientific calculators, so I'm not sure whether this is really a huge market for TI or just an excuse.
  • Which calculator is powerful and Hobbyist friendly? Is there something out there that does allow hacking and programming?
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      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.

      • by bmo ( 77928 )

        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.


    • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:53AM (#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.


      • by c0p0n ( 770852 )

        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.

  • 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 d

    • 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).

      • by sohmc ( 595388 )

        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.

    • by Arlet ( 29997 )

      To properly license something, it needs to have periodical payments or something like that to make a proper distinction between a sale. You can't just sell something, and call it "licensing". []

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:01AM (#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.

  • Why do companies so despise their customers?
  • 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?
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      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"?
  • 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.
  • I own one of those, and calculators were *never* allowed in my avionics classes, besides 4-function ones

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