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Newsletter - June 2003

The ticalc.org Newsletter
June 2003 - Volume 5, Issue 2


Letter from the Editor
Editorial: TI-Navigator
Ask ticalc.org
Humor: You know you're a TI programmer when...
Interview with Andy Hou


Thank you for reading the ticalc.org newsletter! Yes, I am aware that the newsletter is quite late. This is due to the immense amount of homework that was suddenly piled upon me in these last few weeks of school. I apologize for it being late, and I'll do my best to avoid such in the future.

This month we added our 7500th author, William Deich. It continues to amaze me how many people participate in our community. Let's hope we're all still around to see author 10000, and that there is no A10K (think Y2K) glitch in the server. ;-)

Morgan Davies would like me to extend a special thank you to Philip Shirey, Patrick Sidney, Josh Mottaz, Andy Janata, Jake Griffin, Will White, and Jude Nelson for contributing a large number of screenshots for programs other than their own. Keep up the good work!

This month we've got an interview with the creator of Calcwars, Andy Hou, the best "Ask ticalc.org" question yet, and more. I got virtually no feedback on the last newsletter, so please let me know what you think at newsletter@ticalc.org. Also, send any material you'd like added to that address.

Joey Gannon


TI has finally released the TI-Navigator. The features are attractive, but TI has put a steep price tag on it. First, for those of you not familiar with the TI-Navigator, here is a brief description from TI's website:

"The hardware creates a wireless network for TI handhelds already in widespread use. The software allows the teacher to send and receive student assignments and maintain student results."

By linking students together and transmitting the results, teachers can do mini-quizzes and immediately know if the students understand the material. This sounds like a wonderful idea. However, most of us will never see such a system in action because of the price. A 16-student setup costs $2425 US, and a 32-student system costs $4000 US. Multiply that by the number of math classes on your campus, and you can almost bet that your school district wouldn't even consider shelling out that much money.

The TI-Navigator would be an excellent addition to many classrooms to enhance the learning experience. However, unless TI drops the price or someone in our community designs an alternative, wireless calculator networking will be not much more than a dream.

Joey Gannon


Q: Where can I find a movie starring the voice talents of ticalc.org staff members Chris, Joey Gannon, and Michael Vincent, community members Jimmy Dolengewicz and Michael McElroy, and the lovely Diana Kimball, in a story about ticalc.org's own Nick Disabato, with Spanish dialog, done entirely in Legos?

A: Funny you should ask! ticalc.org is hosting such a movie. You can download the version of your choice, as well as the English text translation there.


10. You know what IS>( and DS<( do, and you know the syntax for seq().
9. Your math teacher realizes it's not worth the bother of trying to stop you from programming in his/her class.
8. You are constantly leaving off ending quotation marks and parentheses in your writing due to habit.
7. You only buy pants that have a big enough pocket for your calculator.
6. All English essays are done in Assembly.
5. You use GDB's to hide and save BASIC game information.
4. You have a box with pipe cleaners, those glasses wipes, and paper towels for mobile calculator cleaning.
3. You use finance menu functions to optimize your code.
2. You have worn of the writing on your 2ND Key from playing games too much on your calculator.
1. Your teacher singles you out, making you the only one in the class not able to use a calculator on a test.

Joey Gannon


Email: andyehou@hotmail.com

Interview Log
Joey How old are you, and what level of education do you have?
Andy I'm 17 years old, and I'm just finishing my junior year in high school.
Joey What are your plans for after high school?
Andy I'm thinking of studying computer science in college, but I'm not sure where I want to go yet.
Joey Where do you live?
Andy I live in Pullman, Washington. It's a small town about 60 miles south of Spokane.
Joey What calculators do you own?
Andy I own a TI-89 (HW1) and a V200.
Joey What was the first program you ever wrote?
Andy The first program I wrote was a little BASIC program for my TI-89. It was a screensaver that displayed random numbers on the screen.
Joey What do you use your calculator for the most?
Andy Right now, I use my calculator mainly for programming. I also use it for math and games.
Joey How did you get into programming calculators?
Andy I won my first graphing calculator, the TI-89, at the 2000 National Mathcounts Competition. When I first got it, I was amazed by what it could do. I had been interested in computer programming and I wanted to try programming my calculator.
Joey Are there any programmers you admire?
Andy Thomas Nussbaumer is a programmer I admire a lot. I use his TICT-Explorer a lot and it is very useful. His programs are always well done and user friendly.
Joey Do you have any plans for future programs?
Andy First, I plan to finish Calcwars, a very complete turn-based strategy game. I plan to add more features such as AI, more units, battle graphics, and a map editor. I am also thinking about making a better text editing program.
Joey What do you see for the future of the TI community?
Andy I think there needs to be more programmers working on bigger projects. There needs to be more original programs in development. Also, projects should be completed. All too often, unfinished programs leave people hanging. As long as there are programmers putting out good quality programs, I believe that the TI community will continue to thrive.


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