A83: Re: Breaking 8k size limit ?? [83+]
A83: Re: Breaking 8k size limit ?? [83+]
Sure, simple, you create a flash application on the fly that contains the
code you want to execute it, and tell the calc to execute it. Two problems.
First, this would involve writing to the EPROM each time you want to execute
the program. You could setup some caching, so it doesn't get overwritten
unless needed, etc., but this is still going to be a lot of writing. But if
you only do it for a few programs and don't delete it, not that bad. And,
really, if you run a program a hundred thousand times on a calculator, then
the cost of replacing it is probably not the least of your problems.
Second, and the more major issue, is that you can't write to the flash rom.
Yeah, it would be cool if there was a _CreateFlashApp call, but there's not.
If you can figure out how to write to the flash rom, then you can really do
Personally, I think the 83+ is pretty crappy calculator anyway, but that's
just me. My first graphing calc was an 82, which I bought because I'd used
it in class the year before, and it was what most people were using. Then I
used the 85 and realized what a pile of crap the 82 was. I could almost
overlook the terrible menus, but the fact that they missed all the cool 85
features like an equation solver, polynomial solver and unit conversions
(take a physics class), and you will wonder what they were thinking.
Granted, the 82 is more intuitive than the 85, and maybe a bit easier to use
than the 85, but if you take a few minutes to look through the manual and
try the samples, you will really see how the 85's menus are nicer and that
the 82's get in the way. And then there are other issues, such as having a
smaller, terrible screen, and not letting you actually name variables.
So the 82 was a mistake, not so big of a deal. But then they go and make it
even worse by releasing the 83, which is hardly any better. Add to insult,
it seems, is the release of the 86 a year later. There is just no comparing
the two calculators. And then for some reason, they decide to release the 8
3+. Why? It doesn't really improve anything, except having a bit of flash
memory. And they make it even worse by adding all the bs flash protection.
They want to market flash applications. They have already proven that the
82 line is good up through about Algebra II. This means high school level
math, and for most people, within the first two years of high school. How
many high school students do you know that would care anything at all about
applications for a graphing calculator? Most people I knew in high school
knew enough about their calcs to add some numbers and maybe graph something,
and would be thrilled if you showed them that you could play Nibbles or
Tetris on it. Even really cool games, like Vertigo, Bomber Bloke or Sqrxz,
people would prefer Nibbles or Tetris. Of course, these people wouldn't
have a clue how to send the games over the link, but if you loaded them on
their calculator and showed them how to run them, then they would play them.
So buying flash applications? Right...
Now, take a calculator like the 86 or the 89. People who purchase and use
these calculators can use them in any college level math or engineering
course (assuming they are allowed). Being a CS major, I think that the
EEPro application might be useful for an EE course. But at least from the
people I've met at my university, there aren't a lot of people who would
feel the same. Most people know about as much about their calculators as
the people in high school, only they know how to use it a little better for
math (which is the point, I suppose). Let's face it: applications sold over
the internet that are sent to a calculator using a link cable that costs
more money than the application are only going to appeal to a very, very
small select group of individuals.
Palm Pilot software works in this manner because people purchase them with
this in mind, because they come with a cradle, and because the software to
use them is incredibly easy to use. I have always had difficulty with graph
links and sending stuff to the calc, no matter which calc, which computer or
which link. The link port sucks, although on the 68k calcs they did a
better job by having a hardware interrupt for the link port, but it's still
far from perfect. There is always an issue with getting the com port setup
right, getting the cable connected properly, or some other weird thing.
Palm Pilots come with (I believe) a serial cradle. My (HandSpring) Visor
came with a usb cradle. And let me tell you how difficult it is to install
new programs on it. It was just so hard. I had to take the thing out of
the box, plug it into the usb port on the back of the computer, run the
setup program that came on the CD, double click on the program to be
installed that I downloaded, stick the Visor into the cradle, and push the
button on the cradle. And from there, the crazy thing took over, turned on
the Visor, sent and installed the software all by itself. Seriously, the
concept is not that hard. Anything can be made that easy to use. The
serial cradle's might be a little more difficult to use, but I know many
people that have them and have never heard any complaints. TI should take a
lesson. When I was doing Game Boy programming, it was easier to use the
Bung Xchanger to flash rom images onto carts and run them on the GB than it
was to send stuff to the calc. Again, a lesson here. Intended audience.
If your end users can't use it, then it's worthless.
Ok, so who is going to be buying flash applications then? The people who
have boxes and boxes of graphing calculators sitting around: your high
school math departments. For the 83+, the flash application market is
similiar to that of the 73. Applications are useful as a teaching tool, not
directly to the end user. Are schools going to be pirating apps? No, of
course not. So why all the protection? No reason, really. It's not
necessary. But even if it annoys everyone on this list, or everyone who
visits ticalc.org, it isn't going to matter. We are the minority, a very,
very small percentage of the total number of customers. The average user is
never going to know or care.
Just some random thoughts from a guy who does this kind of thing all day...
One other thing, directed at the original poster (if you read down this
far): please post your messages using ISO-8859-1. Sending messages as HTML
or MIME makes it very annoying, even for those of us that use more advanced
email clients. Most clients will not allow you to quote messages sent in
this format, forcing one to manually line break and quote the original text
(maybe I'm lazy, but I'd much rather let me mail client do that for me). If
you are using a text based mail reader such as pine, the problem is even
worse. Make sure your mail client is set to send plain text messages. This
goes for everyone.
> If we could somehow make an Appvar loaded on the start of the 0x4000 (It
> could be done on a physically hacked calc, but if it is possible on a
> "legacy 83+"..., maybe TI made some logic in their system so they might
> be putting 16k vars in a single Flash page...)
> Well, anyhow if they could be loaded on the start of a flash page, and
> this flash page would be loaded in the 0x4000 to 0x7FFF, a simple call
> to 0x4000 just might let the Assembly program put into the Appvar