Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Aug 2012 12:48 UTC
In the News "We all know about the gadgets that get showered with constant praise - the icons, the segment leaders, and the game changers. Tech history will never forget the Altair 8800, the Walkman, the BlackBerry, and the iPhone. But people do forget - and quickly - about the devices that failed to change the world: the great ideas doomed by mediocre execution, the gadgets that arrived before the market was really ready, or the technologies that found their stride just as the world was pivoting to something else." I was a heavy user of BeOS, Zip drives, and MiniDisc (I was an MD user up until about 2 years ago). I'm starting to see a pattern here.
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RE: Comment by drcouzelis
by Morgan on Fri 24th Aug 2012 11:04 UTC in reply to "Comment by drcouzelis"
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

I hate hate hate TI graphing calculators.


This makes me sad. ;) I absolutely loved programming in TI-BASIC and ASM on my TI-86! Granted, that was several years before the smartphone era, and the PDAs of the time were barely more powerful than the TI calculators and certainly not capable of emulating them.

I've never used BeOS but I'm an active Haiku user.


I think that is so awesome, and bodes well for the project if you're not the only person who uses Haiku without having used BeOS. I did use BeOS back in the day; I started out with the free version of 5.0.3 and was so impressed I immediately bought 5.0 Pro from GoBe Software. I put it on my PII home-built system and it was freaking amazing! I even managed to get it to install on a modified Netpliance i-Opener (anyone remember that device??) but it didn't support all the hardware so I went back to GNU/Linux on that one.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis
by drcouzelis on Fri 24th Aug 2012 16:23 in reply to "RE: Comment by drcouzelis"
drcouzelis Member since:
2010-01-11

"I hate hate hate TI graphing calculators.
This makes me sad. "
I'm sorry, I should have been more specific. I agree that what you did on your calculator in the year you did it was very cool. ;)

But the fact that calculators like the TI-83 are still the same price and still the same form factor and still "required" for math classes makes me mad. It's been well over a decade! I just can't see it as anything other than milking a business model on an outdated product.

I believe a student nowadays should be able to easily do all of the cool fun stuff you did on your calculator on their mobile phone. Oh. That reminds me. I'm mad at the mobile phone market too. ;)

Edited 2012-08-24 16:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis
by smashIt on Fri 24th Aug 2012 16:46 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

But the fact that calculators like the TI-83 are still the same price and still the same form factor and still "required" for math classes makes me mad.


the required part is the main problem
the 84+ should cost 50 bucks and be the only non-CAS model in TIs lineup

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis
by Morgan on Fri 24th Aug 2012 19:17 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Have you played with the newest TI-Nspire CX calculators? We got a couple of them in at my part time job as former demo units, and I must say that they are very impressive devices! The screen is simply gorgeous, they are rechargeable with excellent battery life, they can do chemical notation(!) and they are so, so fast.

I hate that I sound like an advertisement but, short of the inescapable form factor, they really are outstanding for their intended use.

I think the key difference between using a calculator like that and using a mobile phone, when speaking of the classroom, is the ease with which a student could cheat given an Internet capable phone. I suppose the instructor could require the phone be placed in airplane mode, but it's still just way too easy to cheat with one. It's not impossible with the calculator either, but it's also not so drastic to ask a student to wipe the calculator and reset it to defaults as it is to have them wipe their phone and risk losing months or even years of valuable data.

I could even see a situation where an instructor would confiscate the phone for the duration of the class, whereas he wouldn't do that to a student's calculator given they are designed specifically for use in the classroom.

I believe a student nowadays should be able to easily do all of the cool fun stuff you did on your calculator on their mobile phone.


Though I certainly agree with your sentiment here, unfortunately there's a key variable in this situation: A phone is a media consumption device that distracts the student from truly immersing himself in the experience of programming on the device. A second factor is the lack of good programming environments for the devices; though Android and even Windows Phone have rudimentary IDEs for this, they are severely limited in what they allow access to. In the latter's case, it's basically a GUI-driven GUI creator, similar to Visual Basic but with little actual code.

A third factor is the lack of a physical keyboard on most current devices, and while one could always whip out a Bluetooth keyboard, at that point it becomes tedious enough to say "screw it, I'm carrying a netbook/ultrabook with me". And a fourth factor is scope; back when I was programming on the TI calcualtor, it was because I was interested in learning about that specific platform. Programs were designed to enhance the device and "fill in the gaps" in its default software. With a modern smartphone, there is no need for that for most users; they just download an app (written, tested and debugged on a PC) that fills that need. If I truly want to delve into the inner workings of the ARM platform, well that's what I bought a Raspberry Pi for.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis
by whartung on Mon 27th Aug 2012 17:16 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06


But the fact that calculators like the TI-83 are still the same price and still the same form factor and still "required" for math classes makes me mad. It's been well over a decade! I just can't see it as anything other than milking a business model on an outdated product.


What I find sad is that the $10 Casio Scientific calculators with their nice screens, solar powered, eleventy zillion functions, etc. have absolutely NO programmability. Zero. You're lucky if they have 1 memory slot.

Case in point: http://www.casio.com/products/Calculators_%26_Dictionaries/Frac...

Seriously? 1 MEMORY?? Couldn't add in 4 K of RAM and simple keyboard programming/macro facility for another $0.27?

Instead, it's either this for $10 or a $100-150 device with 128K of RAM, USB dongle, WI-FI and Joystick ports.

The closest we have today in philosophy of a pure programmable calculator is the HP-35s, but its $50.

Just want a calculator, I don't want to model the weather or port a SNES emulator to the thing.

Oh, and don't get me started on somehow adding Time/Value/Money facilities to a calculator makes it now worth +$30 since it's a "business calculator" now... Please...

Edited 2012-08-27 17:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis
by zima on Fri 24th Aug 2012 16:26 in reply to "RE: Comment by drcouzelis"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Netpliance i-Opener (anyone remember that device??)

Hm, I'm picturing a kitchen ~web terminal integrated with a can opener(?) ;p

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by drcouzelis
by Morgan on Fri 24th Aug 2012 19:30 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by drcouzelis"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Close enough! They were originally designed as a "web appliance" with no local storage, and sold as a loss-leader. When the hacking community inevitably turned them into full fledged computers by adding a laptop hard drive and scrounging up drivers for Windows 98, the company jacked the price up and tried to monetize the community's efforts while simultaneously sabotaging future revisions of the hardware against hacking potential.

I had picked up several of the units off of eBay around 1999-2000 for about $50 each and turned them into full fledged computers that I sold to friends at cost +$20 for the time invested. It made several of my poorer friends and coworkers happy that they could afford a second computer for the kids or a kitchen computer for the spouse, and I had a blast doing it. I kept one for myself, without any mods apart from installing a custom GNU/Linux OS on the 16MB internal storage chip, and used it as a thin client with Blackbox as the WM. I ended up giving that last one away to another friend when I lost interest in the platform.

Reply Parent Score: 2