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The Quality of Our Archives
Posted by Michael on 4 March 2004, 22:29 GMT

You may have noticed the low numbers of new files added to our archives. We're having a debate about what to do with a growing problem: Programs that simply aren't very useful to anyone. There are more quadratic solvers in our archives than should ever exist, notwithstanding the fact that most models have this as a built-in feature. Our possible solutions are:

Currently, all files that meet the site policies are processed and uploaded to our archives. Since this doesn't seem to be working well, here are the ideas under consideration:

  • The file archivers could manually screen programs for those deemed "junk", in the sense that they lower the signal-to-noise ratio of our archives rather than increase it. Authors would have to e-mail an appeal for rejected programs. This would cause a longer waiting time for processing files.
  • We could implement a rating system and organize programs by rating. This allows all programs to remain on the site, but the most useless could be filtered out. A method of dealing with new programs and low/high numbers of votes would have to be developed.
  • Our current folder system stops at games, programs, math, et cetera. For ease of browsing, this could be expanded to sub-categories like games/board, games/shooter, and games/guessthenumber. This doesn't limit the number of files added, it only categorizes them so folders are more concise and relevant.
  • Lastly, we could just leave everything as it is now.

We're asking for your input on what to do. There is a survey posted in conjunction with this article where you can vote on this issue. Thank you.

Update (Archiver): We will not be deleting files (at least not this time around), that was never one of the options. If you do want some of your programs deleted e-mail filearchive@ticalc.org.

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The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.


Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Nick_S  Account Info

They should have a separte directory for demo's/early in development prgms.I also liked the rating/hiding the lower rated prgms ideas.

Reply to this comment    5 March 2004, 23:17 GMT


Some files must be deleted.
Andy Kukwa Account Info

I agree.

But I also think that somehow, someway, files will have to be deleted, and for good reason:

Let's say that a certain games folder has 1000 files, and, if no files are deleted, it is divided into sub-folders, say, 100 files each. If no files are deleted, then the sub-folders will get to 1000 files eventually, and then what? We're back where we started!!

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 02:19 GMT

Re: My dollar (part 1)
alow27182818  Account Info
(Web Page)

Well...here's an idea. Get rid of all the programs that deal with built-in functions of calculators unless it is significantly faster. As an example, all 68K calculators need to have the quadratic eq solvers removed since there is a function in the OS...for those of you that don't like to read the manual, solve(equation,variable), like this: solve x^2*2x*1=0,x). As for multi-variable eq solvers, they are on since the flashapp released by TI is bloated (but it WOULD be good if people could be tought the way of the matrix.....) Also, there's a program that collapses the folders of the var-link menu of the 89...try the menus.
Also, people should be able to get a program removed for simply displaying some silly text. Here's one I found...89/asm/programs/Hello World by Mr. Wagner of ACZ (of VTI fame)
Also, for popular types of games, such as the phoenix-type games, a subfolder WOULD be of a lot of use, even though ti may seem pointless. Since there are so many of them and people have their preferences, they can look in there for all of the uploaded games. Also, there are pther types of programs that could use this like APD and lock programs.
Yet another suggestion is to remove duplicates of programs. This happens when a person uploads another file to the archives instead of updates an old version. This can lead to extras...I believe there are some extras lying around in phoenix...

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 04:24 GMT

Re: Re: My dollar (part 2)
alow27182818  Account Info
(Web Page)

Now...we have the matter of old betas. beta releases are okay, but 2+ year old betas are betas. There whould be a requirement to alert the TI staff about the beta progress and make perodic updates to the program. Otherwise, it will become stagnant. I propose a rule that sets a periodic update, if even as much as 6 months per update. After this six months, an email gets sent to the author inquiring about project status. This would weed out the dropped programs. After one year of no updates, they should either get deleted or moved. Also, programs where the author actually drops should be moved into a "dropped" folder for processing.
As for the rating system, that may be ok, but people have biased ratings. For example, there may be some person that writes a program which is very similar to another one. They probably would rate the competitor's program low, even if it is in fact better. The rating system for the masses is flawed.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 04:25 GMT


Re: Re: My dollar (part 3)
alow27182818  Account Info
(Web Page)

One last thing I would like to mention is the amazing number of math programs. I would suggest seeking out a set of good programmers who would create definitive programs for certain functions. Maybe even a difinitive suite of applications. This would be the work of many people, including voulentary contributors woh can send in formulas and possibly, even routines. Create a webpage with the needed forumlas and current progress. Also, create a standardized form for the sections of the math suite so that there are standard requirements such as an explanation of the variables. It also would be of interest to create a series of text documents with the formulas listed for those who do not want all of the programs and functions on their calculator. I think that this would allow the file archives to be cleaned up a lot. However, we could still host the other programs that people submit. If they are good enough, their ideas can be implemented into the math suite. Also, if the program size is smaller, it can be implemented. This is all just an idea, but it was one that I was considering a long time ago but failed to go through with.
Sorry for my psot length, but I was waiting for a news post to let this all out ^^

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 04:25 GMT


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burntfuse  Account Info

That sounds like a good idea...everyone has tried to create their *own* "ultimate math" program, and you can see the result in the BASIC math program archives.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:25 GMT


Re: ¤
alow27182818  Account Info
(Web Page)

which is why we get everyody together to eliminate all the duplicates, of which all are missing a lot of stuff.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 21:20 GMT

¤
burntfuse  Account Info

Yes!!!

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 00:18 GMT


Re: Re: ¤
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

hmm, not a bad idea. It would be really good for there to be a definitive math program. But i dont think the old ones should be deleted, they should just be pushed to the bottom, or put in another category. We should have the math sections divided into "official, definitive programs" and "mess of other stuff." Those who only want a simple program or want to learn from a simpler program can look at the old ones, but users looking for the best math program can look in the "official" folder.

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 05:14 GMT

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burntfuse  Account Info

Yeah, I defintely agree. There is WAY too much junk in the archives. I haven't even looked in the BASIC archives for months, just because there are so many programs to sort through. There are good ones, but they get lost among all the quadratic solvers and "AMAZING!!! ALL MATH FORMULAS EVER WRITTEN!!!" programs. Another thing that makes it hard is the number of identical programs. Everyone who's considering uploading one of their programs should check in the archives first and, if there are others that do the same thing, only upload their program if it has significant advantages over the other programs, and even then, mention the advantage in the description so that it can be found more easily. Altogether, I like suggestions 1 and 3 the best. Even just the number of programs (~300 BASIC math programs for the 86, which isn't even the most popular calc, and ~1000 for the 83+) makes it hard to find what you want, even if all the bad programs were removed, so some kind of sub-sub-folders would be nice. Ratings are good, but many great programs never get any recognition (I'm NOT talking about mine ;-) ), and I think they wouldn't accurately reflect the quality of the program. For example, since I rarely download any BASIC programs, I couldn't rate any of them. Also, someone could visit ticalc.org without logging in, and rate all their junky programs highly, or if an account was required for a rating, get a friend to do it for them. Different people have different interpretations of ratings-someone might think that 3 out of 5 stars means "bad:, where someone else might see it as meaning "good". It takes the fair and consistent views of the file archivers, who see *all* the new programs, to do that. If it really helped, I wouldn't mind my programs taking a few more days to be uploaded.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:05 GMT


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burntfuse  Account Info

Now, an issue related to archive quality that I especially hate: <rant> I just CAN'T STAND to see all these darn idiotic equation solvers, matrix multipliers, and quadratic solvers that do things that the calculator already does!!!! What darn point is there???? Just about all the programs are much slower, and don't have as good of an interface as the calc's built in function!!!! Even if the calculator doesn't *automatically* solve for any variable in V=IR, just enter the darn thing in the darn equation solver, unless you're too darn lazy to do that!!!! These programs just raise the SNR of the archives-no one has any use for them!!!! </rant>

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:10 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Mads Soendergaard  Account Info

I am much in favour of suggestion 2 and 3:
I believe that the first main problem of searching archives, like math, is that programs that target advanced users are placed in a list with a lot of very simple programs. As the simple programs can be useful to some they should have the right to stay, but not side by side with the more advance ones. So, I purpose that the programmer selects a target user group when uploading in the file upload from (the group can be changed if the users find that it’s wrong):

*Advanced: The programs deals with advanced mathematical issues and require a high level of knowledge to use.

*Upper level: The programs deals with upper level mathematical issues, and require knowledge to use.

*All: The programs can be used by all.

*Development: The programs are under development, and users/other programmers can send comments/suggestions to the programmer. Files in here will be deleted after some period of time like 1 year.

Of cause the programs of different calculators like TI83 and TI89 can’t separate by using the same criteria’s. So maybe a commission should be appointed to setup the criteria’s.

The second problem is how one can differ between good and bad programs in the archives –here only a rating system will help! I suggest a 5 or 10 calculator rating (small calc icons). It would be more relevant than icons of stars.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 14:56 GMT

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burntfuse  Account Info

If you do implement a rating system, it shouldn't use stars, or calcs, or whatever. 5 stars will mean something different to person A than person B. Instead, there should be choices such as "I would download again", "It might be useful at some point, so I keep it on my computer, but not my calc", and "I would never download again".

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 15:36 GMT

Re: ¤
Mads Soendergaard  Account Info

So if I download a good program I can’t use, should I then just give it an “I would newer download again” rating? Moreover, how can you generate an overall opinion from this rating system?

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 16:44 GMT


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burntfuse  Account Info

No, you just wouldn't rate it. A rating shown could be the number of "would download again" divided by the number of "wouldn't download again" votes. Maybe it isn't the best way...

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 00:19 GMT


Re: ¤
Ben Cherry  Account Info
(Web Page)

but how do you average ratings given like that to make it easy to sort the archives?

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 05:18 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
chemoautotroph Account Info
(Web Page)

I have an idea to increase the quality of the archives... update them!!

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 16:52 GMT


Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Mads Soendergaard  Account Info

Who must update what and when should they do it?

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 17:00 GMT


Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
chemoautotroph Account Info
(Web Page)

The file archives have been updated very sparingly lately, and there are over 200 files in the queue.

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 00:43 GMT

Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Lewk Account Info

All right, sorry for getting off track but I really need help and I figure tons of experianced people are looking through these. Sorry for any inconveinance.

Alright, here's my problem. I own a 83 plus that had OS 1.14 on it. I go to ti.education.com to get OS 1.16 for my calculator. However half way through putting it on my calculator my batteries die!!! Now I can't even turn on my calculator!!!! HELP!!!

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 17:23 GMT


Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Robert AK  Account Info
(Web Page)

Did you change the batteries? Then, send it to your calculator. I think it should work...

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 17:43 GMT


Re: Re: Re: The Quality of Our Archives
Lewk Account Info

It still turns on even though it said change is required. However when i turn it on it says waiting for system software then as soon as i start to send it it gives my an error.

Reply to this comment    6 March 2004, 17:51 GMT


¤
burntfuse  Account Info

That's what happened to me too a while ago. If you have a ROM image, open VTI, set up the cable link options, connect your calc to your link cable, and send the OS from the virtual calc.

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 00:21 GMT


Re: ¤
Lewk Account Info

VTI supports the 8s plus?

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 04:32 GMT


Re: Re: ¤
Joey Gannon  Account Info
(Web Page)

I assume you meant "83 Plus", and yes it does.

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 05:07 GMT


Re: Re: Re: ¤
Justin McKinley Account Info

or, you can just plug it into another real 83+ and it should automatically send the os.

Reply to this comment    7 March 2004, 14:47 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: ¤
Lewk Account Info

Alright, i figured out what was happening. Since the batteries went dead in the middle of the trasfer there were some remnantes of operating system on the calculator, enough to make the computer think that it was already on the calculator so it would stop. I did use another calculator and it worked! (thanks)

BTW did you no that while your calculator is dead (without functioning operating system that is) if you hold [MODE] and press on it will run a FLASH check? While mine was down I was tring out alot of stuff and found this out.

Reply to this comment    10 March 2004, 00:53 GMT

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