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TI removes access to assembly programs on the TI-83 Premium CE
Posted by Xavier on 20 May 2020, 21:35 GMT

We're sad to relay news about the fact that in the currently latest OS 5.5.1 version released today for the TI-83 Premium CE & TI-83 Premium CE Edition Python (such a mouthful ^^), TI completely removed access to assembly programs... Support for unsquished ASM programs was already removed earlier in OS 5.3.1 onwards, though it didn't matter much at the time, because squished ASM programs remained unharmed. Yes, TI has retroactively removed an advertised feature, many a user's favorite feature at that.

This slam shuts a golden age of over two decades (!) of native code being officially supported on at least one actively maintained TI graphing calculator model. Unofficial availability of native code started a bit earlier, thanks to arbitrary code execution achievable through specially crafted backup files. Thousands of programmers have published thousands of programs (and produced even more), many of these published programs can be found in the ticalc.org archives, because ticalc.org has been around since 1996, i.e. for the entire period of official native code availability, give or take a few months time :)

As far as we can tell, TI did not make this move out of the blue. The trigger was probably a teacher posting, on his popular video channel, a video about a long-fixed flaw in an earlier version TI's implementation of PTT mode for the TI-eZ80 series. The fix is from 2018, the video was posted in 2020. Shortly thereafter, we can imagine that TI had to give in to pressure from some people who regulate standardized tests (as a matter of fact, they, not end users, are the real customers TI needs to appease). Needless to say, removing user access to native code has extremely little to do with exam security...

In fact, looking at what happened time and again on other platforms, e.g. the Sony PS3, we can confidently predict that this move will worsen exam security. From now on, the French 83 Premium CE, and certainly the international 84+ CE versions thereof in the near future, are in the same situation as the Nspire platform: a cat & mouse game of jailbreaks, fixes, and newer jailbreaks. Both the Nspire series and the TI-eZ80 series are insecure platforms, all the more users have unrestricted physical access to their calculators; more generally, at the time of this writing, no manufacturer produces any secure graphing calculator model, but the people who regulate standardized tests don't know or don't care...

Like all true calculator enthusiasts, we have hard feelings about the matter. The community had always been nice to TI - nothing really damaging for TI's business was ever released over 20+ years! - but a moral barrier has probably been broken today... However, there are so many much worse things in life, so let's focus on the future instead. It's the beginning of a new era - certainly an era of heightened tension. For now, let's only send our warmest thanks to all past, present and future programmers of native code programs for TI graphing calculators... and on to the new, upcoming chapters of a still ongoing story :)

The news wishlist contains a number of TI-eZ80 ASM programs, among other things; even without future POTY votes, we'll keep featuring programs as time permits.

Article written by Lionel Debroux.

  Discuss (19 comments)  

2019 POTY results (and an important announcement)
Posted by Travis on 5 February 2020, 02:52 GMT

The 2019 Program of the Year contest results are finally up! Congratulations to all the program authors of this year's roundup.

This was an unusually complex POTY, with an unprecedented number of categories. The Nspire category happened to tie just as the voting was closed. Normally we would run an additional tie-breaker poll, but due to the extremely long time period the contest had already run, the low number of votes cast, and some technical issues, we have decided instead to give a POTY award each to both programs which tied with the most votes.

And now some bad news. Because of the steady drop in number of votes during the last few contests and the increasing lack of time each year available to manage the contest, this will likely be our last POTY contest. While we intend to continue posting news features for noteworthy programs throughout the year, this means there will probably be no POTY for 2020. It's been an amazing 17-year run, and I'd like to thank everyone who has created and submitted programs, voted, sent in news tips, written news features for the site, and otherwise participated in the event.

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TI Nspire voting begins
Posted by Travis on 20 January 2020, 16:12 GMT

Our final POTY contest poll is now up! Just vote for your favorite Nspire program, and we're almost there!


TI-92 POTY voting begins
Posted by Travis on 13 January 2020, 16:39 GMT

We have a couple of classic TI-92 (not TI-92 Plus, but the original TI-92) programs in the running. Their POTY poll is now live.


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New files for Thursday, 13 August 2020
Time Action File Location
TI-84 Plus CE Assembly/Flash/OS
16:52Added PARSEC Encryption (PoC)TI-84 Plus CE Assembly Misc. Programs
16:52Added Penrose TilingsTI-Nspire Lua Math Programs

New files for Monday, 10 August 2020
Time Action File Location
TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus
18:19Added Music by 2080 The BackupTI-83/84 Plus Assembly Sound
18:17Updated LNRGTINT.zipTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Statistics)
18:18Added SatMath2SolverTI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
18:18Added AlgebraSolverV2TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
18:17Updated Bees of New YorkTI-89 BASIC Games (Puzzle/Word)

New files for Thursday, 6 August 2020
Time Action File Location
17:19Added PhysicsFormulaSolverTI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Science Programs
17:18Added UnitCircleSolverTI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
17:18Added BasicMathSolverTI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
17:18Added AlgebraSolverTI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
17:17Added Minesweeper CETI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Games
17:17Updated Crosswords of New YorkTI-89 BASIC Games (Puzzle/Word)
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