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Newsletter - September 1999

The ticalc.org Newsletter
http://www.ticalc.org/
September 1999 - Volume 2, Issue 9

IN THIS ISSUE

Letter from the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Calculator News
Interview with Darryl Stanley
Miscellany

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Thank you for reading the ticalc.org newsletter! This has been an exciting month for ticalc.org. In case you've been living in a closet for the past few weeks experiencing obstinate TI withdrawal and don't know what's going on, we have completely redone our site. The new format will allow for a much more powerful and customizable experience, and we hope you like it. Details can be found at http://www.ticalc.org/archives/news/articles/14076.html.

The Program of the Month process will start up again, starting with our new nomination process. In order to nominate programs for the second round, please go to http://www.ticalc.org/community/awards/data/nom081999.html. After a nomination period of one week, the actual voting process will begin, and it will last for an additional week. In two weeks the winners will be announced.

For this month's newsletter, we have chosen to interview one of the lesser-known individuals of the TI-community, Darryl Stanley. Darryl has recently started up a new programming group called T.I.C.A., and we wish him the best of luck. More information can be found at http://stan.freehosting.net/.

Finally, ticalc.org now has a new staff member, me! I have extensive experience with TI calculators, including a stint as co-President of Dimension-TI. At ticalc.org, I'll be working as the Newsletter Editor, Reviews Editor, and also helping out with the Archives. More information about me can be found at http://www.ticalc.org/about/staff/eric.html. If you'd like to talk to me, feel free to email me at eric@ticalc.org or talk to me (Quardox) in #ti on EFnet.

Eric Sun


LETTER TO THE EDITOR

If the TI community, with all its programming skill and free time, would come together, it could make an insanely optimized standard shell (which would have public domain source code available on the Internet for anyone who needed to extend it for personal use) that had support for a wide range of features. Here is a plan that could be accomplished in a month or two with real effort.

This plan consists of five different groups. The system designers would be chosen from the best assembly shell programmers. They would have complete control of the project. The other four groups would not have any formal members; it would be composed of the public.

System analysts : This group would design the shell from the ground up. They would decide what features would be included, create a basic plan, and decide how to implement it in the most efficient manner (as far as code size and speed) and would post what functions were needed (and the basics of how they would work, such as how they received parameters from calling functions or gave responses) to allow the public (and themselves) to program them as efficiently as possible. When the resulting functions were received, the smallest and fastest correctly working (checked by the bug testing group) program (or patched sections of many programs to make a better one) would be chosen. They would send these on with the other functions in one section of the shell to the shell integration group, which would return a finished section of the shell for analysis (to determine whether it is efficiently integrated) and bug checking. When all sections of the shell were complete, they would be integrated and then checked in the same manner as before, and if the shell were passed, it would be released in beta for twenty days to make sure that no big bugs were missed, then released normally.

Bug checkers : This group would hand check all code sent to it to check for any possibility of a bug. It would then attempt to use all possible inputs within specification) to make it operate outside of specifications and to make it crash (it should never be able to be crashed with correct input, and even with absurdly incorrect input, it should be avoided at all costs).

Shell integrators : These programmers would put together various sections of the programs so that they work together with high efficiency according to specifications.

Function programmers : These programmers would code the various functions, within specifications, used by the shell.

Documenters : These programmers would have a mastery of assembly language and would be very good at explaining things to people. The documentation would be very easy to understand for beginning programmers, would include a good shell based assembly language tutorial, and would include a section detailing each assembly instruction and shell function. It would have an index and a table of contents.

Rob Rupertus


CALCULATOR NEWS

In calculator news, Joe Wingbermuehle has released his brand-new Ion shell, which works for both the TI-83 and TI-83+. He has also ported eight of his popular SOS games for the new shell. More information can be found at http://www.ticalc.org/archives/news/articles/14629.html. We hope this new shell will encourage both old and new programmers to start coding for this relatively new calculator.

Just days after the release of Ion, the TCPA released their first game for the TI-83+, Yoshi 83 v1.1. As with all Ion programs, this version will work with both the TI-83 and TI-83+.

Also, Ranh-Ga and Thomas Corvazier have released Street Fighter II v1.0 Beta for the TI-89 and TI-92+. This is an updated version of their popular arcade game, which now includes 5 new players, difficulty level settings, and a speed control.

In other news, TI has released controversial new iMac-style translucent cases for the TI-73, TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-86, and TI-89. These cases have received pointed criticism from our message boards, and the responses can be characterized by this, a post from #ti regular Nick "7h4 /\/336r0" Silkey:

"It seems as if TI is either a.) on crack, b.) now the property of AOL, or c.) asked Steve Jobs on LSD on what to do next. (Yeah, you've seen Pirates Of Silicon Valley, and you know who you are!) This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard that TI has done, but hey. Maybe you MTV TRL-ite teenybopper gurlaiz will buy these alongside your Britney Spears CDs. Seriously, anyone who wastes any money upon this crap either needs to get laid soon and/or should age some more years until they hit high school and/or needs to cease to unveil their existance to me."

In case you're interested, these cases sell for $4 each, or $16 for all six, excluding the usual shipping costs.


INTERVIEW WITH DARRYL STANLEY

Email: stan_9000@yahoo.com
Web URL: http://stan.freehosting.net/

Interview Log
Eric How old are you and what level of education do you have?
Darryl I'm 13 and about to enter the 8th grade.
Eric What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Darryl I'm not sure, that's a little far ahead right now.
Eric What calculators do you own?
Darryl I own the TI-83 and the TI-86.
Eric Do you plan to get any new calculators soon?
Darryl Yes, I'm looking into the TI-89, or the TI-92. However I'm leaning towards the 89.
Eric What do you use your calculator for most?
Darryl My TI-86. I love that thing, it's so complete. I use the TI-83 more for games now than programming.
Eric How did you find out about the TI Community, and when did you first visit ticalc.org?
Darryl Well my math teacher told us these calculators were the best ones you could buy, and recommended the website Ticalc.org. That was in 1997.
Eric What was the first program you ever wrote?
Darryl A weak little game called Nearmiss, a game I had played in math class. I still update it now and then.
Eric How did you learn to program in assembly language?
Darryl I read every tutorial I could find. Finally I found a good one at 86Central. Then I started looking into the source of EVERY game and shell posted on ticalc.org.
Eric Do you have an idol TI programmer?
Darryl I have many; Kirk Meyer, Jimmy Mardell, and Bill Nagel. Basically anyone who has skill. But Kirk would be my favorite.
Eric What projects are you working on now?
Darryl Trying to start a group of decent programmers. I had a few, however they haven't emailed me in days. Anyway we are located at http://stan.freehosting.net/; we are a group called T.I.C.A. (Texas Instuments Calculator Alliance) Please don't use the sign-up page, email instead. You can reach me at stan_9000@yahoo.com.

MISCELLANY

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