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Handhelds Programming Software

TI-Nspire Hack Enables User Programming 88

An anonymous reader writes "Texas Instruments' most recent, ARM-based series of graphing calculators, the TI-Nspire line, has long resisted users' efforts to run their own software. (Unlike other TI calculator models, which can be programmed either in BASIC, C, or assembly language, the Nspire only supports an extremely limited form of BASIC.) A bug in the Nspire's OS was recently discovered, however, which can be exploited to execute arbitrary machine code. Now the first version of a tool called Ndless has been released, enabling users, for the first time, to write and run their own C and assembly programs on the device. This opens up exciting new possibilities for these devices, which are extremely powerful compared to TI's other calculator offerings, but (thanks to the built-in software's limitations) have hitherto been largely ignored by the calculator programming community."
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TI-Nspire Hack Enables User Programming

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  • by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) < minus herbivore> on Sunday February 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#31307778)

    It's the fact that it is such a limited piece of hardware that makes it interesting. These people are hackers in the most flattering sense of the term, they take resources that they have and make something more. They get their kicks by seeing what different things they can make calculators do that they were never supposed to, and by besting TI in all things calculators. If you can't see the value or fun in any of that, then quite simply you just lack a proper hacker mindset and I feel sorry for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @04:52PM (#31308698)

    See the Casio fx-115MS. Cost me $10, used it for the last 8 years, and I think it still costs $10-15. I've dropped it, sat on it, and otherwise abused it more times than I can count and it still works without so much as a battery replacement. Does all of the mathematics needed to get through a full Chemical Engineering curriculum's worth of exams (can't do some of the tougher stuff, but no reasonable professor requires calculations on exams that must be done with a graphing calculator. For homework I just used Maxima or the like if necessary).

  • by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @08:05PM (#31310274)
    It's not the concept I have a problem understanding, it's the target. Compare this with, say, Nintendo DS, iPhone, or XBox hacking. Once you crack the security on these devices, you get access to:

    DS - 3D accellerator hardware, cool touchscreen stuff, NES style controller,
    iPhone - too much cool stuff to list (though not as appealing now that there's an officially supported SDK),
    XBox - a powerful (at the time) console that can handle network functionality and play video, or
    Calculator - a bunch of buttons and 100 or so monochrome pixels.

    No doubt it was fun for the guy who cracked it to allow it to run custom code.. But I can't think of anything you could do with a handheld calculator that would really improve upon the capabilitie it had when it left the factory. So basically what I'm saying here is that it's cool someone cracked it, but I'm having a hard time understanding why there would actually be a home brew community rallying to this platform.
  • Re:WHY? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ChrisMP1 ( 1130781 ) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @08:53PM (#31310614)
    So what? They're already dumb -- either they cheat on the test and learn nothing, or they cram for the test, forget it the next day and learn nothing. You know what they say about leading horses to water...

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin