Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 14th Oct 2009 13:21 UTC
Legal So, we have Apple who is paranoid about people installing legally purchased copies of its operating system on non-Apple labelled machines. Just when you thought it couldn't get any more ridiculous than that, we have a hardware company trying to prevent people from installing operating systems on its hardware. Wait, what?
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Comment by Praxis
by Praxis on Wed 14th Oct 2009 18:01 UTC
Praxis
Member since:
2009-09-17

I would guess the reason that they make hacking their calculators so hard is that they have a vested interest in making sure people don't use said hacks to cheat. TI calculators are some of the most popular for standardized tests in America like the ACT and SAT, I don't know what calculators are used in other countries. If TI gains a reputation as an easily hackable calculator their is a chance that those standardized tests will stop allow the use of those TI calculators. Students buying calculators for tests is assuredly a huge source of income.

This doesn't make it anymore right though, but its easy to see why TI cares about something that seems so benign at first. The response will probably up to up the crypto protecting their calculators, that's really their only legal choice. It would be nice if you could buy a calculator that was more modder friendly, but since it would never be allowed on school tests no one would ever sell one.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Praxis
by bhtooefr on Sat 17th Oct 2009 19:50 in reply to "Comment by Praxis"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Of course, I wouldn't need to replace the firmware to make a very effective cheating device.

Device boots up into a shell that looks and acts exactly like a TI-83+. Teacher issues reset command. Device appears to be wiped clean.

Now, I enter a password into it, which drops it out of the shell... into my completely unharmed device, with all of my notes and programs and such designed to cheat with.

Not only has this been done before, half the apps on ticalc.org are apps designed specifically for this purpose. ;) (The other half are games, of course.)

Now, using that, you can use other apps to get features from banned calculators - there are various third-party apps out there that can give a TI-83+ just about every capability that a TI-89 has.

Note that none of this involved hacking the OS, it was all done with applications running on top of the completely unmodified OS, and using TI's startup program. I believe that approach is even resilient against attacks involving removing the batteries.

Reply Parent Score: 1