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Newsletter - July 2003

The ticalc.org Newsletter
July 2003 - Volume 5, Issue 3


Letter from the Editor
A Response to June's Editorial
Ask ticalc.org
Humor: A brief bit of number magic
A Modest Proposal
Interview with Jude Nelson


Thank you for reading the ticalc.org Newsletter! The only real change around here is the fact that the newsletter is actually on-time, so let's move on with the news.

The ticalc.org staff wishes to extend a warm congratulations to our own Morgan Davies on his graduation from Capital High School. He will be attending Washington State University in the fall to pursue a Master's degree in architecture. Way to go, Morgan!

This month we've got an interview with the author of Spazian and the newly released TI Pinball, Jude Nelson, a great idea from Brandon Sterner, and more. Since this newsletter is constructed for the benefit of the community, let me know how to improve it at newsletter@ticalc.org. I am also looking for someone who would be willing to do a monthly column, so let me know if you're interested.

Joey Gannon


In last month's issue of the ticalc.org Newsletter, I commented that "someone in our community designs an alternative [to the pricey TI-Navigator], wireless calculator networking will be not much more than a dream." An email from Burkart Lingner pointed me to his website.

Burkart and two of his friends designed a method of wireless networking between calculator and PC. He is selling the radio units for €50, a little more than $50 US. Although you need two units for a functional network, this is significantly less than the price of the TI-Navigator. Good work, Burkart!

Joey Gannon


Q: I want to get some help with my calculator or just talk to some fellow community members. ticalc.org doesn't have a general discussion board, and I can't get into #ti on IRC. What can I do?

A: Unfortunately, our formerly "official" IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel, #ti, has been taken over and made invite-only. However, #tcpa on EFNet is open for real-time chatting. Although not officially supported by ticalc.org, #tcpa is maintained by a few ticalc.org staff members and some programming legends. For information on how to get started on IRC, head over to our IRC information page.


I couldn't get anyone to write a humor bit for me this month, so I thought I'd point out the following number magic. If you take 1337, the number of the hacker, and add it to 666, the number of the devil, you get 2003. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Joey Gannon


Brandon Sterner, author of PuzzPack, Symbolic, and so much more, made the following proposition on #tcpa: "I'd like to see some sort of romcall documenting database where many people can come together and add things." Since TI hasn't released all of this information, it is mostly spread out across the Internet. If a member of our community could create such a database, assembly programming would become easier for all. Brandon also points out that "there would need to be some sort of moderators, keeping everything in line or else it would get spammed." I personally would love to see something like this set up, so let's see what we can do!

Joey Gannon


Email: judecn@aol.com

Interview Log
Joey How old are you, and what level of education do you have?
Jude I am 15 years old and I just completed my freshman year in high school.
Joey What are your plans for after high school?
Jude I plan to go to college and major in computer software development.
Joey Where do you live?
Jude I live in southern Arizona.
Joey What calculators do you own?
Jude I own a TI-83+ (which I got in 7th grade for Algebra I), a TI-83+ SE (birthday present), and a TI-89 (8th grade graduation present).
Joey What was the first program you ever wrote?
Jude I've deleted it now, but it was a simple program that calculated how many belches one could make depending on how many cokes they consumed, and showed a pic of a guy belching. It was a TI-83+ BASIC program.
Joey What do you use your calculator for the most?
Jude I use my TI-89 for C game testing/developing as well as in Trigonometry and Geometry.
Joey How did you get into programming calculators?
Jude One of the requirements in my 7th grade Algebra I class at my middle school was a TI-83+. Since everyone had one, some students who were already aware of the capabilities of the TI-83+ (especially if the calculator belonged to an older sibling) had an extensive collection of games, which they copied over to other students. Within a few weeks I had compiled a sizable game collection (mostly TI-BASIC progs), which I played more than anything. About halfway though that year, I begin to read the TI-83+ manual regularly to attempt to optimize my calc usage, when I stumbled across the programming chapter. After some experimentation with the commands, I wrote a prototype of the Belch program mentioned above. Once it worked properly, I begin to develop more simple programs like it, but with more variations and complexities. Soon enough, by the end of the school year, I had already started to develop simple mathematic programs as well as simple games in TI-BASIC. A year later, after I honed my BASIC skills, I wrote a few Ion assembly programs for the TI-83 and the TI-83+. By that time, I had a TI-89 at my disposal. It wasn't until recently (sometime around March of this year) that I started developing C programs for the TI-89.
Joey Are there any programmers you admire?
Jude Yes, there are quite a few notable programmers at this site. I really enjoy using Thomas Nussbaumer's programs, as well as those by Patrick Davidson and Sam Heald. I wouldn't have written anything in assembly for the TI-83+ if it hadn't been for Joe Winghermuehle and his Ion shell. Additionally, I admire the TI Chess Team and all of their hard work.
Joey Do you have any plans for future programs?
Jude Yes. I first plan to complete my pinball game, which shouldn't take too long, as well as release the final version of Spazian. After that, I think I'm going to write a Miniature Golf program (68K), and (if I can figure out a good ball label system) a Pool program (68K). If I can, I'm going to port my pinball program to the TI-83+, as well as Spazian.
Joey What do you see for the future of the TI community?
Jude It seems that TI has lost its sense of imagination for the time being. Until it finds it again, I don't expect any "new" hardware, as in, a completely new calculator model (although a color LCD would be nice, even if it was added onto an existing model). Until then, programmers like those here at ticalc need to be more innovative and stop copying each other's work to keep up intrigue, concern, and interest in TI products. If TI runs out of ideas, then the future looks grim. If we continue creating clones of other programs, the future also looks grim. There needs to be some new bright ideas in the TI Community if it is to thrive.


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