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Newsletter - July 1999

The ticalc.org Newsletter
July 1999 - Volume 2, Issue 7


Letter from the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Calculator News
Interview with Jonah Cohen
Signs You're A Calcoholic


Thank you for reading the ticalc.org newsletter! The Program of the Month continues this month. Please note that the newsletter is no longer being sent exactly at midnight GMT. Rather, it is being sent a few hours later than that, which is midnight somewhere in the Atlantic ocean ;) We have changed the voting process slightly; it is now possible to vote on all programs which have been submitted during the past month. This was done to prevent bias and other problems with the nominations. There is now a nomination period of one week, followed by the actual voting for another week.

NOTE: Because of a major setback having to do with the PostgresSQL system, the nomination form will not be open when this newsletter is sent. A news item will be posted once the nomination form becomes available.

Kirk Meyer


Recently, on the Assembly 83 mailing list a member from the Hays Games Compan y sent word that the company has been defeated. Why? All of the major TI sites n o longer accept programs from them. This is not a bad thing, and they did this f or a good reason. You see, for a long time the Hays Games Company has copied gam es from real people who made games for the TI calculators. Only recently, thoug h have they learned to edit assembly programs and change them by putting their n ames in and taking the real authors' names out. Tetris Gold is an example of thi s. The Hays Games Company must be stopped at all costs. How are we going to acco mplish this? Do not download any of "their" programs (copies). And never talk ab out them any more. If you own a TI site do not add any of the Hays Games Company 's programs. Here is a list of all the games they copied so you know what not to download.

The real game is first, followed by the Hays copied game. Cham pionship Bowling, Fella Bowling; NBA Jam, NBA Hangtime; Baseball, Major League B aseball '98; Jackoff, Batman and Robin's MOM?; ZTetris, Tetris Gold; Duckhunt, D uckhunt 83; All Star Baseball, All Star Baseball '99; Race IV, San Francisco V; Screensaver 83, Hays Plus Screen Saver; ZCon83, Hays Plus Contrast Changer.

What else did they do to annoy the heck out of everyone? Their list of wrong doings includes Code Theft, Use of authors name, lying, and even home page hacki ng. It all started in a yahoo chat room, four of them were chatting and found out they each had TI-83's and wanted to use them to make money, so they founded the Hays Games Company. Their plan was to make it so that Hays Games Company owned all the archives and programs, and they actually charged people $1 per month so they would send you upgrades to your software. There were some problems however, and Bill Nagel to them was the main one. They were going to monopolize the TI-83 platform using these steps:

  1. Get rid of Bill Nagel (at all costs);
  2. Get on one TI site's good side;
  3. Release quantity over quality;
  4. Release new Doorways with 50+ programs at once;
  5. Charge money for program upgrades.

They got as far as to step four, until something went wrong. Bryan Rabeler found out about their copies and deleted all of them. This was their first major set back. Then along came the New Programmers Order, which was founded by Chuck Taylor, one of their former members. Soon they had more enemies then they could handle, and had to hide out for awhile. They started a new company called Ellis Industries as a front to their operations while anti-Hays died down a bit. Then they came back, but the NPO had allied itself with a group called Z80-AC and took over their home page. After they made a new home page, Kirk Meyer informed them that ticalc.org, the last site to hold Hays Games Company programs, deleted all of their software and will not accept it anymore. They then knew they would never get further than step 3 in their plan for a TI-83 monopoly.

A lot of it sounds like another Microsoft. I hope this informs the people who didn't know so now our lives can be Hays free! Feel free to email me your comments!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hays recently released "Grand Car Stealer 83" for the TI-83 listing me, Kirk Meyer, as the author. This is, of course, insane, since I haven't touched a TI-83 in my entire life.



In calculator news, a port of Diamonds has been released for the TI-86. Also ported to the TI-86 was Tetris Attack, which won our Program of the Month award for both the TI-82 and TI-83. For the TI-83, SOS v2.0 was released. Joe has also released some of the first ever programs specifically for the TI-83 Plus calculator.

On to site news, we proudly celebrated our third anniversary this past month. We announced the membership of Nick Disabato, who has integrated quite a few of the screenshots into our archives. Speaking of screenshots, we have the pleasure to announce that we now have the ability to quickly and easily take animated screenshots of calculator programs. You can expect to see animated screenshots soon of the more popular programs available.


Email: ComAsYuAre@aol.com
ICQ UIN: 34197076

Interview Log
Kirk How old are you and what level of education do you have?
Jonah Right now I'm 15 years old and entering my junior year in high school.
Kirk What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Jonah Definitely college, most likely majoring in computer science. Not sure what I'll do afterward...something having to do with computers.
Kirk What calculators do you own?
Jonah TI-86 and TI-89. I used to have a TI-85, but I sold it when I got a TI-86.
Kirk Do you plan to get any new calculators soon?
Jonah Nah. My TI-89 was my big investment, and I'll probably stick with it. There's nothing better out there in the TI world anyway. Maybe someday I'll get an HP-49 :-)
Kirk What do you use your calculator for most?
Jonah Well, now that I have a TI-89, my TI-86 is used almost exclusively for programming. I use my TI-89 more for math and games, although I've learned a little 68k assembly at this point.
Kirk How did you find out about the TI Community, and when did you first visit ticalc.org?
Jonah I think it was sometime around January or February 1998. I had just gotten a graph-link, and I had been searching the web for cool games for my TI-85 when I found a link to ticalc.org. Back then TI-Files was down every other minute and Dimension-TI was really an irrelevent sidenote (no offense atom, but it was), so at the time ticalc.org was essentially a godsend to someone looking for games.
Kirk What was the first program you ever wrote?
Jonah A really crappy text-based drugwars program for the TI-86. It was modeled after a TI-83 BASIC version I had played. I had originally written it in BASIC, so I decided to port it to assembly just for learning purposes. The game has improved a lot in recent releases, though.
Kirk How did you learn to program in assembly language?
Jonah I read every tutorial I could get my hands on. That alone didn't teach me, though. What I had to do in order to learn asm was just program. I started with simple text, moved up to primitive graphics and checking keys, and eventually wrote DrugWars. Programming DrugWars was definitely the biggest learning curve for me.
Kirk Do you have an idol TI programmer?
Jonah Jimmy Mardell, definitely. ZTetris and Sqrxz were inspirations for me :-) Plus, unlike a lot of other really good asm programmers, he released his source code so others could learn from it, which was very useful. It's a real shame that he and the other members of Icarus Productions have pretty much given up TI calcs and moved on to the gameboy, because they have released some amazing programs.
Kirk What projects are you working on now?
Jonah Well, aside from learning 68k, which is going veeery slowly, I am working on a TI-86 racing game with Ahmed El-Helw. In general, though, I am just maintaining programs I have already released. I'm always finding new problems with diamonds which need to get fixed...
Kirk What advice would you give to people wanting to learn to program in assembly?
Jonah Tutorials are good references, source code can provide optimization tips, and the mailing lists are a great resource for questions. However, the only way you're going to learn anything is by programming. You won't be comfortable with it immediately, but a tutorial is not going to do the work for you. You just have to program.


10. The first thing that you do when you go online is check your favorite TI site to see what's new.

9. Whenever anybody says, "Is that an '89?", you think they mean a calculator and not a car model.

8. You've convinced your parents that graphing calculators are necessary for ALL subjects, not just math.

7. You have more than 10 link cables in your drawer that people have "accidentally" left with you.

6. You've bought one of those little adapters so that you can plug headphones into your calculator.

5. You talk about your calculator as an "investment" - sorry Jonah, that applies to you too :)

4. You are very passionate about debates such as TI-86 vs. TI-89 and Assembly vs. BASIC.

3. You really wish that you could have a clock built in to your TI calculator. Just because it'd be cool.

2. You can type at 30 words per minute, even on the non-QWERTY keyboard.

1. You show the girls at your school how you've put in this switch that makes your calculator run faster. You can't understand why they don't really seem to care.


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