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Newsletter - December 1999

The ticalc.org Newsletter
December 1999 - Volume 2, Issue 12


Letter from the Editor
Ask ticalc.org
Calculator News
Interview with Andrew Magness


Thank you for reading the ticalc.org newsletter! This month has once again been quite exciting. New sidebars were among the many features released at ticalc.org; we now list our Top Downloads as well as our Featured Programs.

Our Comment Boards Survey ended early this month, with the great majority of users voting for Trial #1 (which was to delete inappropriate comments and revoke posting privledges for repeatedly abusive users). For more information, see http://www.ticalc.org/archives/news/articles/20925.html.

This month, we will migrate to our new Program of the Month system. Programs will be selected in four categories: TI-82/TI-83/TI-83+, TI-85/TI-86, TI-89/TI-92/TI-92+, and Computer Utilities/Miscellaneous Programs. Eligible programs include all of this month's Featured Programs.

For this month's interview we have selected Andrew Magness, a member of the TCPA. Andrew is currently working on many projects, most notably Laser Mayhem for the TI-89.

Eric Sun


At ticalc.org, we often receive many of the same questions. In this column, we hope to address some of these questions for a broader audience. If you'd like to submit a question, please email it to ask@ticalc.org.

Q: How can I open files that end in g (e.g. .83g)?

A: First, you need to download the TI-Graph Link software. You can find this at http://www.ti.com/calc/docs/link.htm. After installing this, you can view the source to any BASIC program. To open a "g" type file (which is a group file, meaning that many "p" files are grouped together in one file), go to Tools -> Ungroup in the TI-Graph Link software. This will convert the "g" file into multiple "p" files, which you can then open normally with the TI-Graph Link software. --Eric Sun


This month has produced relatively few notable calculator programs. However, sparks of promise have been delivered: Dan Englender has released CalcSys, the first third-party FLASH application for the TI-83+. The program allows you to do such operations as hex editing, modifying the RAM, running assembly programs, and decompiling. In the coming months, we will no doubt see more and more FLASH applications for the TI-83+. Congratulations to Dan!

Matt Teiken has released a side-scroller for the TI-89 called The Next Dimension. This challenging game features enemies, shooting, and oxygen tanks. More information can be found at http://www.ticalc.org/archives/news/articles/20127.html. Other notable programs include Sonic Misadventures (Patrick Pelissier) and Zip86 (Ben Mickle).

This month has also fueled some Assembly vs. BASIC wars. After Phillip Ringsmuth's great Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening game for TI-89 BASIC, talk arose regarding the future of BASIC games. Later, SiCoDe Software created a campaign to raise awareness of high-quality BASIC programs, called Basmic. You can read more about Basmic at http://sicode.ticalc.org/basmic/. Soon after, Patrick Davidson countered this with study of his own, entitled The Truth About TI-BASIC. You can read this essay at http://pad.calc.org/basic.html.


Email: AndrewM@ev1.net
Web URL: http://tcpa.calc.org

Interview Log
Eric How old are you and what level of education do you have?
Andrew I'm 16 and a junior in high school.
Eric What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Andrew I'll go on to college (Texas A&M) and probably major in Computer Science.
Eric Which calculators do you own?
Andrew I own a TI-83+, TI-86, and a TI-92+.
Eric Do you plan to get any new calculators soon?
Andrew No, i'm satisfied with what i have for now. Maybe when I get to college I might need something else, but I think that my TI-92+ will be okay then too.
Eric What do you use your calculator for most?
Andrew I use my TI-83+ and TI-92+ mostly for programming, but my TI-86 is mostly used for math.
Eric What was the first program you ever wrote?
Andrew I honestly dont remember... my first assembly program was just something that displayed text and drew a couple lines on the screen.
Eric How did you learn to program in assembly language?
Andrew I started by getting all the tutorials I could and reading them. At first, I didn't understand anything that I was reading, and all my attempts at programming failed. However, I kept reading and eventually started to understand it. I also got some help from some other programmers.
Eric Do you have any tips for new assembly programmers?
Andrew Just keep trying. It takes a lot of patience, but assembly is (in my opinion) one of the most fun languages to work with.
Eric Tell me about your programming group and the way things are done there.
Andrew I'm a member of the TCPA, and it's great! We all work together to get our projects completed. We also help each other with testing, debugging, etc.
Eric Do you have an idol TI programmer?
Andrew Probably Jimmy Mardell, since he brought TI programming so far with all his great programs and games. Also, Dan Englender because he always helps me with all my problems and dumb z80 questions :).
Eric What projects are you working on now?
Andrew Mainly Laser Mayhem for the 89/92/+. It's a rewrite of the TI-83 SOS game with a few new features. It will also have an on-calc level editor. I hope to be finished with this soon. In the TCPA we're also working jointly on several projects which are all listed on our web site (http://tcpa.calc.org/). In the future, I would like to write some more games and maybe (if the 86k SDK ever gets released) write some FLASH applications for the TI-89 and TI-92+.


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