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» Cemetech Contest #12 Results and Winners
» Tweet Your Calculators with the #TISelfieContest
» Back-to-School 2014: What Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?
» A Brief Reverse-Engineering Tutorial with the g3p Format
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Cemetech Contest #12 Results and Winners
Published by KermMartian on September 1, 2014 at 12:48:50 AM CST | Discuss this article (10)
Last Wednesday, Cemetech Contest #12 drew to a close. For this contest, entries were restricted to TI-83 Plus, TI-84 Plus, and TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition programs, yet we still had close to a dozen community members come up with creative projects. We received seven entries by the Contest #12 deadline: four assembly programs and three TI-BASIC programs; three TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition-compatible programs, and five TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus-compatible programs. All seven showed the ingenuity and inventiveness we expect from Cemetech members, and all seven met the requirement of teaching users or students something concrete in their program. Many of the entries included some form of quiz or game to test students' knowledge, and many also included reference information or tutorials for students to learn from. I'll first introduce the non-winning but still admirable entries, and conclude with the winners.
And now, our third, second, and first place winners, in that order. Our prizes include three calculators: a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, a TI-Nspire CX, and an overclocked TI-83 Plus Silver Edition. We again thank our anonymous donor for the two new color-screen calculators.
To all our contestants and winners, congratulations! Please PM me your mailing address, and we'll get your prizes to you soon. If you feel like eventually posting up photos of your prizes and/or what you plan to do with them, we certainly won't complain. Since all contestants have uploaded their entries to the Cemetech Archives, we ask that you notify us if you don't want us to accept the upload. Most importantly, if your entry is unfinished, please finish it as soon as possible and publish it to help underscore the value of programming for creating educational calculator programs! If you didn't win, then keep your eyes open for Cemetech Contest #13 starting this fall, which will have more TI-84+CSEs and TI-Nspire CXs as prizes and for which we have a few extra surprises in store.
Left to right: "A Whole New Perspective", "Resistor Calculator", and "Element Teacher"
Tweet Your Calculators with the #TISelfieContest
Published by KermMartian on August 21, 2014 at 3:28:03 PM CST | Discuss this article (13)
Our friends at Texas Instruments have sent along information on TI's latest contest, "Express your Selfie". Tying the popular culture fad of taking selfies with the fun TI (and Cemetech) think that graphing calculators enable, the contest challenges you to take a creative selfie with your calculator or other TI technology. Entering the contest is straightforward:
Good luck to all of you in coming up with creative ways to promote math and science (and programming, please!) with TI's contest, and if you win, I hope you'll make the videoconference include our enthusiastic graphing calculator users and programmers here. You can learn more about the contest at http://tiselfie.com, and feel free to add the #cemetech hashtag to your #TISelfieContest tweets so that our bots will repeat the tweet here.
Back-to-School 2014: What Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?
Published by KermMartian on August 19, 2014 at 6:28:12 PM CST | Discuss this article (3)
Four years in a row, Cemetech has brought you Back to School guides, helping you figure out the best graphing calculator to get for school and how to use it. In 2011 and 2012, we published trios of guides, showing you which calculator to buy, how to get programs and games onto your calculator, and how to learn to program your calculator. In 2013, we held your hand through Which Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?. This year, we are starting out with a guide to selecting from the baffling array of graphing calculators now available to high school and college students. We'll help you figure out which calculator is right for elementary school, high school, or college students, whether for yourself, your child, or your students.
Texas Instruments currently leads the United States graphing calculator market, and has the most widely-recognized lines of graphing calculators. Casio and HP also offer strong options. I'll take you through five popular models of calculators that you might be interested in getting: the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, the Casio Prizm, the TI-Nspire CX, the TI-Nspire CX CAS, and the HP Prime. All five of these calculators are accepted on standardized tests like the SAT; the non-CAS calculators are allowed on the ACT. All five are powerful, modern graphing calculators, and with a few small caveats, all would be appropriate for the average student. However, even among these top contenders, the playing field is hardly level. A note: for the first time, we will not be recommending the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition and the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and TI-Nspire CX CAS would be the best TI substitutes, respectively.
TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition. The quintessential calculator for high school (and some college) math and science, now updated with a high-resolution color screen and a rechargeable battery. More details>>
:: Great for programmers and hackers, but not well-supported for school: the first semi-modern, color screen graphing calculator was the Casio Prizm, now about three and a half years old. More details>>
:: The TI-Nspire CX and TI-Nspire CX CAS are the latest in TI's Nspire product line; if you have an iPad, there's also the TI-Nspire Apps for iPad. Two color screen calculators that represent half of TI's "hero product" portfolio along with the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, which means extensive support and lots of programs and activities. The TI-Nspire CX is good for high school students, the TI-Nspire CX CAS for college and some high school students. Continue reading>>
:: The HP Prime, HP's first color-screen calculator, complete with a CAS and touchscreen, a unique graphing application, and an extremely fast built-in BASIC language. Shows great promise, although news of upcoming connectivity hardware and software has been slow to arrive. Continue reading>>
The Final Verdict:
With more graphing calculator choices appearing and more options available to consumers, a better but more confusing selection now confronts students, parents, and even teachers. Continue on to the full article to read in-depth reviews of each of these five models, plus a recap simplifying which calculator you should get.
A Brief Reverse-Engineering Tutorial with the g3p Format
Published by KermMartian on August 13, 2014 at 9:13:29 PM CST | Discuss this article (7)
I recently announced that I added support for Casio Prizm pictures (.g3p files) to Cemetech's SourceCoder 3 online calculator programming IDE. The hardest part of creating that new feature was not the code that implements it in SourceCoder, but the reverse-enginering work necessary to understand how to read .g3p files and then generate new .g3p files that the Casio fx-CG10 and fx-CG20 will both accept. At the request of several Cemetech members, I have decided to write a short tutorial showing how I reverse-engineered the .g3p format, which I hope will help you with any new file or data format that you might want to try to understand. The tutorial will be roughly divided into sections explaining what you should have to successfully understand a new format, what existing information will accelerate the process, and how to actually peer into the unknown format.
Click here to read the full topic >>
Reverse-engineering the .g3p format was time-consuming but fun, and I learned about a new compression algorithm and a new checksumming technique along the way. I will shortly be releasing the full, more technical description of the different .g3p file formats. In the meantime, I hope this tutorial helped you learn a bit more about the techniques, tools, and experimentation inherent in reverse-engineering a format. As always, questions or comments in the attached topic are encouraged.
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