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Newsletter - August 1999

The ticalc.org Newsletter
August 1999 - Volume 2, Issue 8


Letter from the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Calculator News
Interview with Andreas Ess
Signs You Didn't Buy Your Dream Calculator


Thank you for reading the ticalc.org newsletter! 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/survey/potm/nom071999.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.

This will be my last newsletter, as I am retiring from my positions as news editor, newsletter editor, and reviews editor. Perhaps it is because too many of my job descriptions contained the word "editor"! I will continue to perform miscellaneous programming tasks for the site, and someone else will take over my previous posts shortly. As part of this transition, Nathan Haines has done this month's interview.

Kirk Meyer


It has been discovered that there are a number of ASM programs that do not work on the new v1.05 TI-89/92+ ROM released by TI recently. I've put together a semi-comprehensive list of which programs work and which don't on the new ROM. The list may be found at http://www.calccity.freeserve.co.uk/ which is my CalcCity website. As the old ROM version is now hard to come by, I think it's important to tell people not to upgrade to this new version if their favorite program no longer works on it!

Additionally, I am now offering a calculator problem solving service through the website I previously mentioned. If anyone has a TI calculator problem of any kind and emails it to me or posts it on my message board, I will do my best to try and solve it (be it programming based or to do with operating calculators). Also, last weekend saw the launch of the weekly TI calculator magazine TI-Calc Weekly, which can also be seen at my website. If you have a problem for me to solve, please send me email with the subject header of "Problem to Solve".

David Hart


In calculator news, Sam Heald has added some more ports to his already large list. They include ports for the TI-83 and TI-85. For more information about these, please refer to http://www.ticalc.org/news/articles/13351.html which is the news article relating to these events. Also, Ben Mickle has released Super Mario 86 v0.65 Beta for the TI-86. It has the distinction of being the first released greyscale scroller for a Z80 calculator.

Additionally, Bryan Rittmeyer has moved the page for the Expander2 (E2), a somewhat popular device that allows you to have 512kb of extra memory for your TI-85, TI-86, and TI-92. The driver files have been udpated as well. Please visit http://horizon.pair.com/e2/ for more information. Finally, SiCoDe Software has formed the TBQA (TI-BASIC Quality Alliance), an organization dedicated to bringing quality games to TI-BASIC on all calculators. Further information can be found at http://sicode.ticalc.org/tbqa/ which is their home page. Instructions for joining this group are provided at the link given above.


Email: ess.andreas@cable.vol.at
Web URL: http://icarus.ticalc.org/
ICQ UIN: 2078470

Interview Log
Nathan How old are you and what level of education do you have?
Andi I'm 18 years old now and just finished the "Gymnasium", basically the Austrian high school. During the next eight months, I have to go to the military service (unfortunately obligatory in Austria) and after that, I plan to go to some university to study computer science, maybe followed by economics.
Nathan What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Andi Umm. That's a long time to go! Something in the computer business, most likely. But things can change =)
Nathan What calculators do you own?
Andi Two TI-85, and I also have a TI-36 because I wasn't allowed to use my graphing calculator for the finals.
Nathan Do you plan to get any new calculators soon?
Andi Possibly a TI-89, or the new calculator from HP, which seems way cool. But actually, I'm really happy with my TI-85, despite the fact that it starts getting obselete.
Nathan What do you use your calculator for most?
Andi As of now, I haven't touched my calculator for about 2 months now, but back then, I mainly used it for programming the various games most of you are familiar with. Of course, it was also pretty helpful in mathematics.
Nathan How did you find out about the TI Community, and when did you first visit ticalc.org?
Andi I've been coding TI-Basic programs for the TI-85 since I'm 12 years old when I got my first 85. With 15, I found out about the HP-48's assembler possibilities and asked my father to bring me along a few news group archives, as Internet wasn't so popular back then and we hadn't it at home. Thus, I found out about ZShell, and decided to borrow some book about Z80 programming, and after like two weeks, I had my first game, namely XC-1701 ready. Seeing that I still hadn't Internet access at home, but always checked the Internet once a week in school, I suppose I saw ticalc.org in its very early stages, that is, June 1996, if I remember correctly. As you can imagine, I was pretty happy about having a great information center for the TI community.
Nathan What was the first program you ever wrote?
Andi Umm. The very first one? That must have been some QBasic program when I was 10 years old. As far as I remember, I wanted to start right off with a jump'n'run, but it wasn't really too good. If I happen to find the time, I might upload it to Icarus' website. But it's really not worth playing :)
Nathan How did you learn to program in assembly language?
Andi I read two books about Z80 assembly programming, namely "Programming the Z80" by Rodnay Zaks and some other one I don't remember right now. Intel's assembly language first kinda scared me, as I didn't quite get what it's about, but when I found out how easy Z80 assembly actually was, I also tried myself at Intel's again.
Nathan Do you have an idol TI programmer?
Andi Hm. That would have to be one of our programming group, Icarus. Well, Jimmy, Matt and Clem (in order of joining) are all great programmers and I'm really happy to be in Icarus with them. It's fun, and they really know what they do.
Nathan What projects are you working on now?
Andi Currently, I hardly have time for programming, but when I occasionally get it, I work on some projects for the GBC. Right now, it's mainly a completely new version of the music engine already heard in Sqrxz and Willy Wonderworm.
Nathan What advice would you give to people wanting to learn to program in assembly?
Andi I have a few Articles/FAQs on the Icarus website which give links to other sites such as Jimmy's great Usgard/ZShell school and explain some basic questions concerning assembly programming. I guess that should be a good place to start from.


10. When you first turn it on, it outputs random quotes such as "To err is human; to forgive the calculator, divine."

9. It has a password protection feature, except it doesn't seem to remember your password properly.

8. After taking it appart to see what kind of processor you have, all you see on it is "Made in Zimbabwe".

7. When you first use it, it asks you what country you are in. Nothing seems to work. You finally determine that the only country it supports is Burundi.

6. It has one of those old LED digit displays... and it only displays letters.

5. It doesn't seem to be designed for you... the reading order appears to be from right to left.

4. After you register your calculator, you receive mail from the company asking you to buy their "Special Compensation Package". It seems ominous.

3. It turns out that the enter key is really rigged to one of those water squirting devices.

2. There's a little slot on the top, and every time you play a game, it asks you to deposit a quarter first.

1. Whenever you enter a calculation, it asks for your credit card number and wants to be hooked up to a phone line. And then a mysterious message appears saying "Dialing... transmitting... approved." If you don't give it your credit card number, though... it gives you a wrong answer.


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