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The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware

Posted on 31 December 1999

The following text was written by Benjamin Kong:

The TI-8x/9x calculators have vast capabilities as have been demonstrated these past few years. One issue that I have been thinking about is calculator shareware. The concept of calc shareware, in theory could be programmed via assembly. One would have to use a lock out method with an encryption program (within the program) that, when the user enters his name and address, would run those strings through the encryption sub program and using the strings would generate a serial, which would be entered by the user to unlock the full version of the software. With any calc below the TI-86, shareware would be a waste of time, due to the power, and more important, memory capacity of the calcs. The TI-89, TI-92, and TI-92 Plus would definitely contain enough memory to be used for shareware purposes. The question still remains, however; if the shareware idea is acted upon, will it succeed financially? In my opinion, probably not. Though possible on the TI-8x/9x series, the shareware program would have to be extremely revolutionary to be successful (say for example, the first shell that made possible assembly for the TI-8x calcs). Maybe with the TI-89 and TI-92 Plus some worth paying for programs will be created though. There is always the possibility shareware being decompiled, the source code looked at and hacked; as well as numerous sites with pirated serials. Yes, calculator games/programs are at this present level, probably not worth paying for, but in the future, who knows... the whole concept of calc shareware is possible though. Obviously there are many programming problems to overcome, but the skill and effort demonstrated by the TI community is, in my opinion more then able to accomplish this feat. I hope in the future, that someone will create at least one shareware program just to demonstrate TI-8x/9x is possible.

  Reply to this item

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Jason Brisch
(Web Page)

I suppose if someone really wanted to ruin the whole basis for the TI community, they could by selling their programs. I seriously doubt that more than a few people would actually PAY for calculator games because they spread so rapidly. I have a friend who made a fool out of himself because he tried to sell calculator games at my school soon after I got my graph-link. I distributed them for free and the freeware won. (I think he found one sucker to sell games to before his enterprise was prematurely forced out of business)
Personally I prefer the freeware concept that the TI community has been using for the past several years. If programmers start to sell their programs, I think I will be adding a CaLc WaReZ section on my page.
As a final note, I prefer my Bills being Nagels, not Gate$.

Reply to this comment    23 April 1999, 04:19 GMT

Benjamin Thompson Account Info

Most of the people who post responses on this site have a demented perspective of TI programming. It is hard work to program anything worth playing. How can you make comments about shareware "hurting the TI community" when you are not even a part of the "community"? No, just downloading games from the internet does NOT make you a part of the community. You are not giving back to others, so don't complain when someone suggests that you might not always get free games. If you are so spoiled that you can't pay for a game, when most of the rest of the gaming world has to pay and you go to "WareZ" sites instead, then you don't need to be making comments. I agree that calculator shareware would not be financially successful. However, the author(s) of a great calculator game do deserve at least minimal support. So send those great authors some encouraging email, and maybe even a few dollars. Think of all the effort these people put into catering to your short attention spans. Writing a game is nowhere near as easy as playing one; it is twenty times more difficult than writing a 10-page essay for your English class, and probably takes about that long.

Reply to this comment    6 August 2000, 04:07 GMT

Demented perspective?
Arthur O'Dwyer  Account Info
(Web Page)

As an advanced TIB programmer and gamer in general, I think I'm qualified to comment on
TI programming. It may be hard work for some people to program worthwhile games, but
most programmers program for the fun of it, or because they're bored, or maybe to impress
other programmers, NOT to make money. If I wanted to make money off of TI calcs, I'd
be a shoplifter. (joke)
And as for the true extent of the "TI community": you can't really believe that programmers
are all there is? The audience is at least as important as the programmer; otherwise, distribution
sites like ticalc.org wouldn't exist!
Finally, I'd like to express my extreme dislike for the entire shareware concept, especially in
relation to TI calculators. The idea of paying the programmer is great - I'd like more money,
too - but there's a fine line between giving away a great program and giving away a piece of
"cripple-ware". Most shareware authors (IMHO) tend to err on the side of cripple-ware, thus
giving the gamer one more reason to hate programmers and love pirated software. Bad for
everyone. If a programmer wants to be paid for his work, he needs to get lots of experience
and go to work for a PC or Nintendo-type game company.
Keep the TI community free!
(P.S.: English papers take me a lot longer than writing a decent Duck Hunt.)

Reply to this comment    22 August 2000, 22:02 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
yoshter1  Account Info

Shareware is a horrible idea! In my Algebra class, one guy made a great quadratic formula in BASIC, converted it to ASM, and borrowed a routine that only allows it to run on people's calculators who paid for it. But then, a person comes, gets the ASM version (pays) and converts it into BASIC and changes the price to $0.00. One example of a failed shareware attempt.

Reply to this comment    29 March 2001, 01:15 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
hanzillika and phil muckrakin

You know what,!!! I saw one of those calculator things at Costco for 20 $!!! You people are funny##=solution: riverview Sanitarium. ;}

Reply to this comment    9 July 1999, 05:37 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

I, for one, would not pay a cent for any program on my calculator. I have yet to see a program so revolutionary that I must have it, no matter what the cost. Keep it free for everyone.


Reply to this comment    31 December 1998, 23:35 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

I agree. No matter what the quality of the program, it will still be confined to the limitations of the calculator which are, needless to say, very large. To pay anything for a program that is less than 1 tenth of a megabyte is ludicrous in itself. Andreas Ess asked for a measly one dollar contribution for the full version of MC Mik, which was a fantastic, full assembly, greyscale TI-85 mario clone. And from what I hear, he didn't get many takers. If programmers start to charge money for their programs, people simply won't pay. I would hate to see the calculator program community turn into the computer software industry.

"Full versions, get your full versions here! Get 'em before the feds realize we've got'em!" - unlikely scenario, but you get the point.

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 02:17 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
TI-89 User

I agree. There is absolutely no way that I would pay for calculator programs. I have already paid enough for my calculator and graphlink. With the current freeware format, I enjoy getting games and other programs off the internet, but if programs go to a shareware format, I would just do without. The shareware idea absolutely stinks.

Reply to this comment    3 January 1999, 19:36 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

The idea of shareware for calculators only would encourage the same type of behavior in the TI community that does in the computer industry..... namely pirating. I have friends that have (literally) 7Gigs of programs (Games, productivity, OS's, etc.) and have put out less than $50 for all of it combined.
Go ahead with the shareware idea if you like, but the thought of paying for calculator software turns my stomach, I know I'll never pay a cent for it.

Reply to this comment    4 January 1999, 02:11 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Kent Horvath

I, as do most of us I assume, believe that software (especially CALCULATOR software) was meant to be free. We are a community (consisting mostly of nerds, granted but still a community) and we should not exclude others from the fruits of our labors. We should exist and program solely to help one another and ourselves. When I heard of the idea of third party software developed for the TI-89, I was appalled. Let us not become another group of profeteering morons. I, for one, am not hoping to see any Microsoft products for my calculator. I doubt that anybody else here is jumping at the thought of anything similar either...

Reply to this comment    4 January 1999, 04:51 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Ian Lamberson

I think that the whole idea of charging for games, programs, etc is a terrible idea. I find enough enjoyment in programming, and knowing that people are playing my games, that I think that charging for them would be against the point. In the community of TI-users around the world there have been very good programs made purely by people who enjoy programming. I for a fact know that anything I program, I could not rightfully charge for because of the poor quality :-(. Would I pay for a calculator program? probabley not, maybe on how desperate I would get. I admire everyone out there that programs, for there time and the enjoyment they give poor Algebra 2 students. So Shareware let's not?

Reply to this comment    31 December 1998, 23:38 GMT

Clap clap clap bravo
givethe86achance  Account Info

I say the people who want to charge should go ahead. That way programmers like us get more satisfaction of doing a service to the TI-community by giving them our stuff for free.
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Reply to this comment    9 February 2000, 05:03 GMT

I would love that...
tigren  Account Info
(Web Page)

Personnally, i would LOVE it if they started shareware- programming games is getting VERY boring, and something new would always be good (like HACKING games... hehehe) games are always funner if they are illegal! yay shareware!

Reply to this comment    20 March 2001, 05:35 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
(Web Page)

Ahem. *gag* This idea is Not Good. Why? Because, once unlocked, a program can be copied as much as possible. There is one way to get around that. To have the program check the serial number of the calculator that it's on. Shareware for calculators is a bad idea. Free is better. Shareware won't make people program better. Or more. I believe in freeware, and I'll only pay for a program when it's made by a company. Even then I find the idea of TI Corp making me pay for some updates to my 92+ ROM terrible. How much money could someone make by doing calculator shareware? Not a hell of a lot. How much annoyance would it create? A hell of a lot. I, myself, and hopefully others, will refuse to acknowledge the existence of any programmer who participates in this "shareware" gibberish, NOR any of their other programs.
Being somewhat of a programmer myself, I can tell you I won't be doing this gibberish to my programs *ever*. Especially PRIME6.
Sorry if this is a rant. Don't bother nitpicking this, or finding flaws in the pseudoargument I've tried to make here. I won't respond.

Reply to this comment    31 December 1998, 23:40 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

Shareware on the calculator is a stupid idea since all programmers are students who are doing it for fun.

Reply to this comment    31 December 1998, 23:40 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Ben Fuhrman

I've got just one question about your article... WHY THE HECK DO YOU WANT TO RUIN THE FREEWARE SYSTEM ALREADY IN PLACE??? I've been involved with the ti-calc comunity for 3 years and have never paid for a program. This is because the system in question is a calculator. Shareware only is applicable if the software is developped by independent companies for the purpose og generating profit. But now thanks to the internet, we can just pirate the full version. But in the event that someone does produce shareware calc programs in the manner you suggested, piracy will not be needed because all you have to do is edit the source code with one of the free program development kits. In conclusion, STOP RUINING EVERYONE ELSE'S FUN BY POSTING THE IDEA THAT WE NEED TO PAY. And, while I respect the programmer, if this idea takes hold, I will personally show people how to hack the source code thus defeating your sophmoric ideal of shareware calc programs.

Reply to this comment    31 December 1998, 23:50 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Kent Horvath

Woah there tough guy! Slow it down a bit... First of all, not all programs are made in BASIC, and the best programs generally are not. In fact, the better programs are made in assembly language which is "compiled" and then placed on the calculator. Granted, it is possible to download the ROM from your calculator, dissassemble it, and then examine and change the coding, but I doubt that you are that skilled of a coder to be able to do something of that nature. And even if you were, I doubt that you could "personally teach" every one of us to code assembly language, and I doubt that you'd be willing to provide every one of us with a link and software to do it with. Anything else I am forgetting? Please feel free to respond. I am not being sarcastic or flaming, please forgive me if I rub off this way, I merely want to illustrate that the problem reaches far beyond the BASICs...

Reply to this comment    4 January 1999, 05:00 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
Andrew Moe

I seriously doubt that you have any idea if he's that good of a programmer. You don't know his background or anything. Plus it's not that tough to disassemble a calc assembly program, I do it routinely. Besides, he never said he was talking about TI-BASIC only, I suspect if he's involved enough to read through all the pages of this site, he knows darn well that we're talking about assembly. Who knows? Maybe just because you don't know an easy way to decrypt a serial number, it doesn't mean he doesn't. Don't assume he's an idiot. Plus I'd like to point out that you can only get so complex with encryption on a calculator before you've maxed out the capability of the calculator.

Reply to this comment    7 January 1999, 02:28 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

I sugest that you read part of my later artical(near the bottom of this forum). I have said that I am intrested more in the programming theory of a shareware lock out method; not a mass microsoft money scam. And via the method I sugested, you can't just "edit the source code". Were talking about assembly not BASIC. And the method uses an encryption program to creat(and protect) the serial. To figure out the serial, you better be good at decryption and the encryption theory. Another way would be to use the calcs rom serial, thus preventing the program from being spread to other calcs.

Reply to this comment    4 January 1999, 05:45 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
DaRk SToRaGe
(Web Page)

WHAT?????? ARE YOU NUTS????? The entire purpose of providing programs for calculators is for fun, not profit. What sort of idiot would get a 'shareware' program. No moron in their right mind would use it. At any rate, at least each school or group of people who own a calculator have some ASM genius who would willingly crack the program so that you won't have to pay for it (who would? I'd like to see someone, other than you say they would like to BUY a calculator program). I question your logic behind such a proposal, it is obvious you have no idea how dumb your idea sounds (and how improbable)

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 00:30 GMT

Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

CALCULATOR WAREZ!!! get your ti warez, crackz, appz, serialz and mp3z at the Ti50 top 50 ti warez site. www.Ti50.com ... also visit www.tiwarez depot.com!
click the porn banners!

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 00:43 GMT

I see your point...

I see your point... but Calculator MP3z?

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 02:11 GMT

Re: I see your point...

O O O O H H H H H H H H H YEAH!!!!
DoorAmp to be released
download only if you own the cd

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 03:57 GMT

Re: I see your point...

Well, like they said on those old cheesy McDonalds
commercials, "Hey, it could happen." :o)

Reply to this comment    2 January 1999, 00:42 GMT

Re: I see your point...

I have proven calculator porn can be done (its rather easy), but have never found any rationalization for doing that. But shareware? That leads to the same thing that happened in the PC and Mac community: lawsuits, cracks, warez, a divorce lawyer, and a nasty incident with a lost dog named Fufu. Seriously, shareware is a horrendous idea, and since it leads to worse things, PLEASE FORGET ABOUT THE ENTIRE STUPID IDEA!!!!!


Reply to this comment    9 January 1999, 06:48 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"
- bkb -

My ideas exactly ...

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 03:35 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The Possibilities of Calculator Shareware"

You forgot gamez.

Reply to this comment    1 January 1999, 16:34 GMT


my god, imagine the new revenue for porn sites! a whole new cracking industry, new dedicated posts for the latest open prog, the massive amounts of bandwidth wasted because some dope decided that you should pay for your progs. you gotta FIGHT for your RIGHT to download FREEWARE!

please understand i am not attacking the author of the article, i've seen the same ideas at several different places.

still, the issue is clear. who the hell wants to crack calculator progs, and who in their right mind would pay for the full version. the whole idea's completely insane.

once again, no personal attacks are directed toward the author of the article. although you might want to try adding paragraphs to your next one.


Reply to this comment    2 January 1999, 07:15 GMT

Re: tiwarez.com
Andrew Moe

And you might try discovering the benefits of capitalization.

Reply to this comment    7 January 1999, 02:31 GMT

Re: tiwarez.com
Andrew Moe

Oh yeah I forgot, you also might want to take a grammer and punctuation course.

Reply to this comment    7 January 1999, 02:33 GMT

Re: Re: tiwarez.com
Olathe  Account Info
(Web Page)

That's pretty funny...grammer, huh ?

Reply to this comment    19 August 1999, 08:30 GMT

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