Welcome to Cemetech! Since 2000, Cemetech (pronounced KE'me'tek) has been teaching programming and electronics and developing software and hardware. Among Cemetech's specialties are TI, HP, and Casio graphing calculators like the TI-84 Plus, TI-Nspire, HP Prime, and Casio Prizm, embedded and DIY electronics, and computer and web programming. Cemetech provides a safe, friendly space for people to learn, show off projects, and share knowledge and expertise. Our staff of friendly volunteers hang out on our forum and IRC and SAX chatrooms, and are happy to help.
Cemetech Projects of the Year 2020 Results
Published by Michael2_3B 3 weeks, 5 days ago (2021-09-21T01:13:40+00:00) | Discuss this article

Well folks, the poll for Projects of the Year 2020 has ended, and it is time to announce the results!

In 6th Place, we have 5 projects:
  • Sudoku CE by Jeffitus. This fun puzzle game for the TI 84+ CE allows you to play Sudoku in a clean, simple, and distraction-free environment.
  • Hue CE by epsilon5. Hue CE is a colorful shooter game, requiring you to quickly and accurately shoot specific targets.
  • Contagion CE by epsilon5 and EverydayCode. This Plague, Inc. port is focused around simulating a global virus, much like the covid pandemic.
  • FPGA as ti link cable by rv68k. This incredible hardware project transfer data nearly 2x faster than a normal TI cable!
  • Calculator in Minecraft by _iPhoenix_. This large and fully functional redstone calculator in minecraft was built to look just like an 84+ CE!

In 5th Place, we have 4 projects:

In 4th Place, we have Nesizm by tswilliamson. This project is an NES emulator for the Casio Prizm, and supports many of your favorite classic games at full speed!

3rd Place goes to 2 projects:
  • HailStorm CE by epsilon5. HailStorm is a fun and graphically-pleasing shoot 'em up game for the TI 84+ CE in which you must navigate a spaceship through an asteroid field.
  • Cemetech Userstyles by _iPhoenix_. This project entails various stylistic and functional improvements to the Cemetech website through the power of chrome extensions.

In 2nd Place, and getting 24% of the votes, tihle by Tari is a project which allows for the emulation of many popular games for the monochrome calculators, and implements many of TI's routines in Rust without using any of TI's code.

And finally, in 1st Place, and getting 28% of the votes in the poll, we have the 2020 Project of the Year:
VYSION CE by epsilon5!
epsilon5 has worked very hard on this project, which is a Windows-like shell for the TI-84 Plus CE/TI-83 Premium CE calculators, and that has many, many features, including a spiffy UI, file operations, program launching, numerous customization options, and more. Be sure to congratulate epsilon5, and download this impressive and very spiffy project!

Thank you to all of our members that competed in the poll, and be sure to keep the great projects coming!

Projects of the Year: 2020
Published by _iPhoenix_ 1 month, 3 weeks ago (2021-08-27T01:40:44+00:00) | Discuss this article

Hello everyone! It is that time of year again; time for reviewing the Projects of the Year for the year of 2020.

Let's get on with the projects!

Our first notable project, from the month of January, is the Zilog Z8671 BASIC/DBG Pocket Computer by Botboy3000. This mostly-hardware project sported many 3d-printed parts, dozens of lovingly-placed vinyl decals on the keys, and no small number of wires on the inside. The project did extremely well in the January Projects of the Month poll, earning itself nine out of the ten votes cast.

The completed project with decals, a screen, and keys. Click to enlarge.

From the month of February is HailStorm CE by epsilon5. Winning all but one of the nine votes that month, this project is an original CE game with great graphics. The game features addicting gameplay, unlockable ships with space lasers, boss fights, and more.

Gameplay Sample

Next up is the month of March, won by NESizm by tswilliamson with five out of the seven votes cast. Finally released to our archives after a long break in progress, this impressive NES emulator for the Casio Prizm supports running many of your favorite classic games at full speed.

NESizm running Donkey Kong on a CG10. Click to enlarge.

For April, the program Sudoku CE by Jeffitus took the cake in its PotM poll with ten out of thirteen votes. Featuring fast puzzle generation and a very clean UI, this distraction-free sudoku affords hours of puzzle-solving fun.

A generated puzzle showcasing the UI

May was a hotly contested month with two winners. Tied with nine votes each out of twenty votes cast, this month's winners are Calculator Water Cooling by AlexTheGreatish with LinusTechTips and Plane Jump by Iambian. The former uses a PC water cooling system to "aid" the overclocking of a monochrome graphing calculator. The latter is a recreation of an online game with neat perspective and spray paint and explosions.

Plane Jump Gameplay Sample

In June there was significantly less competition. HUE CE by epsilon5 swept the polls, receiving nine out of sixteen votes. This game is a colorful shooter requiring both accuracy and speed to master.

Gameplay Sample

July had many competing projects but tihle by Tari, a Cemetech Administrator, won handily. This project implements many of TI's routines in Rust without using any of TI's code. It allows for the emulation of many popular games for the monochrome models, notably PatrickD's game Phoenix.

The logo of the tihle project

From August came a flurry of projects marking the start of the school year. The winner this month was Contagion CE by epsilon5 and EverydayCode, with seven out of the sixteen votes that month. This Plague, Inc. analogue has an excellent video to go with it and can provide hours of entertainment.

Gameplay Sample

September had the first release of the Cemetech Userstyles started by _iPhoenix_. The userstyle brings various stylistic and functional improvements to the Cemetech website. It did very well in the polls, recieving nine out of the twelve votes submitted.

A section of a page viewed with the userstyle active. Click to enlarge.

October's featured project was FPGA as ti link cable by rv68k. Written using the Verilog hardware description language, it provides nearly a 2x speed improvement over the official SilverLink cable. It won 6 out of 13 votes this month.

A view of this project in action. Click to enlarge.

November had another tie, between Calculator In Minecraft by _iPhoenix_ and Maze Dash CE by matkeller19. The Calculator in Minecraft thread details the design process of a large redstone calculator that was built up by the author on the Cemetech-MC 1.16 server. Maze Dash is a port of a mobile game with nearly 300 levels. The port has very clean graphics and is enjoyable to play. Both projects received 9 out of 25 votes.

A shot of the underside of the calculator, showing the case and some of the wiring. Click to enlarge.

Maze Dash Gameplay Sample

The last notable project this year, for December, is VYSION CE by epsilon5. The 1.0.0 release of his shell features a spiffy UI, file operations, program launching, and numerous customization options. It earned 13 out of the 19 votes cast that month.

Showcasing menuing and file operations in the shell

That's all from me for this post- remember to evaluate each project before voting in the poll for our Project of the Year!

TLM's Buyers guide to the TI-84 Plus family
Published by TheLastMillennial 2 months, 1 week ago (2021-08-10T01:00:00+00:00) | Discuss this article

Hello everyone, I'm a bit late for a back to school crowd, but I figured I would make my own guide anyways. Let me know if you disagree with anything or if I can make something clearer!

TI offers a huge variety of calculators but it's not always clear which you really need. To clarify this common confusion, I'd like to share what I've learned over the 6 years I've been a graphing calculator enthusiast. If a teacher requests the TI-84 Plus CE, can you get away with a less expensive TI-84 Plus? Do you need to buy the calculator new or can you trust used calculators? Does the -t at the end of some calculators mean anything? What about the fancy Nspire calculator TI also sells? Are the third party cases and screen protectors necessary?

Lets take things slow and start with the calculators you should avoid. First, if browsing used calculators, do not buy anything marked as School Property. Not only are those calculators often stolen property, if your school mistakes your calculator for a classroom set, you'll have difficulty proving you own something engraved as School Property.

A 'school property' TI-84 Plus CE

Second, if buying a calculator used, be sure the calculator you are buying doesn't have missing columns on the screen. This is a sign of screen ribbon cable failure which is very common on calculators older than 15 years but is impossible to fix without soldering skills. Ribbon cable failure only gets worse so avoid calculators with these broken screens. If possible, try to keep your eye on used calculators made within the past 10 years. You can get the manufacture date of a used calculator by checking the date code on the back. For example in L-0519M The 05 is the month, so May, and the 19 is the year, so 2019. I should note that this is different from black splotches on the screen. Those spots are from pressure point damage. While they can be an annoyance that's impossible to repair, they do not get worse on their own.

The back side of a TI 84 Plus CE with the date code portion of the serial number circled.

Specific calculators I do not recommend are ones older than the TI-83 Plus. Not only does this include the TI-80, 81, 82, and 83 non Plus. It also includes the TI-85 and TI-86. Although the TI-85 and 86 may sound like upgraded versions of the TI-84 Plus family, they are actually much older and completely different calculators. I don't recommend these calculators since their button and menu layouts are different from the TI-84 family which could confuse your teacher. They also lack modern software features like updates and useful apps.

Another calculator to stay away from is the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition or CSE for short. While it was released in 2013 and had a color screen, it was so underpowered, TI quickly released its successor the TI-84 Plus CE in 2015, and abandoned the CSE. I would not recommend even buying a CSE used and instead I'd suggest going for a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition since it's faster and more widely used.

A TI-84 Plus CSE: a slow and underpowered calculator.

Alright, lets talk about the calculators I do recommend now. For those hard on cash, a used TI-83 Plus will get you through high school math just fine. I have friends that graduated with the TI-83 Plus that went through math courses like geometry, Algebra 1 and 2, and Statistics. Science courses like Chemistry and Physics 1 were no problem. Despite its age, the TI-83 Plus still holds its ground in modern curriculums. A bonus for being around for over 20 years is that the TI-83 Plus has a massive amount of programs you can install from ticalc.org or cemetech.net all you need is a Silverlink cable and TI-Connect. The TI-83 Plus does lack a few big comforts such as MathPrint which makes input and results more readable by formatting your equations. It's also slower than a TI-84 Plus unless you get the slightly newer TI-83 Plus Silver Edition. However, if you have the budget for a TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, I would suggest upgrading to the TI-84 Plus.

A TI-83 Plus: a perfectly functional, if slightly dated, choice of calculator.

The TI-84 Plus is a great middle ground calculator. It's adequately quick, it can format your input and results in a more readable way. It's compatible with all the TI-83 Plus programs but has significantly more storage so you can install more of them, especially if you upgrade to the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition which is the same speed, but with even more storage. The TI-84 Plus also has a mini USB port so you don't need to buy the obsolete and increasingly rare Silverlink cable. Instead you can opt for the dirt cheap mini USB cable. This calculator can get you through any high school math and science course and most college courses just fine. It does still have a monochrome screen which is susceptible to pressure damage, screen degradation (mostly on those made over 15 years ago) and it's still powered by AAA batteries rather than something rechargeable. This is all fixed on the next calculator.

A TI-84 Plus: quicker and a little more modern than the TI-83 Plus.

The TI-84 Plus CE is the top of the line graphing calculator in the TI-84 Plus family. Although it's the most expensive option It's much faster than any of its predecessors, compatible with many programs made for its predecessors, it has a built in screen protector so there's no chance of pressure damage, and best of all it has a backlit color screen which is amazing to use at night, especially if you enable dark mode. It's currently receiving software updates with no signs of being discontinued in the next few years. These updates include big upgrades over the TI-84 Plus. New math functions like Piecewise and Left right and center for statistics. There's also new Key shortcuts, new programming commands, TI Innovator support, and external keyboard support. I should warn that these software updates do sometimes remove features. Such as in 2020 an OS update banned most programs from running on the calculator. TI did this because of a massive security flaw in the calculator. TI tried to blame this flaw on programs, even though the flaw had nothing to do with programs. In fact, nothing new has been added since 2017 and all of TI's "new" selling points have been reused since 2017. That's not to say that it's a bad calculator though. A jailbreak has been available for a year now so programs can still be run, and there's big active communities on sites like Cemetech, TI Planet, and Reddit able to assist with any issue you could encounter.

You can buy the TI-84 Plus CE used, and it will still be faster than any of its predecessors. However, new TI-84 Plus CEs made since May 2019 have been refreshed with hardware's that 2 times faster! Even if you speed up the old calculator with a tool I made, you could only get the old calculator up to 30% faster, these new calculators are 200% faster! This means you can shave precious time off each calculation during tests and it's especially useful with graphing. You can tell if a calculator is going to have the faster hardware by looking on the back of it and seeing if the last letter on the date code is M or later. You can also tell if it's going to have the faster hardware just by checking if it's in a cardboard box or plastic packaging. A cardboard box is guaranteed to have the faster hardware while the plastic packaging may not have it. This calculator will get you through any high school math and science course no problem it'll also see you through most college courses as well since you can install programs such as PineappleCAS that will significantly increase its capabilities.

A TI-84 Plus CE: a fast, fancy, and expensive calculator.

The last calculator I'll talk about in the TI-84 family is the brand new TI-84 Plus CE Python released in 2021. This calculator is almost exactly the same as the regular TI-84 Plus CE, it has the faster hardware, same OS, same program compatibility, and same jailbreak. The only big difference is that it has extra hardware so it can interpret Python programs! Unfortunately the Python implementation is heavily cut down, abysmally slow, and has many proprietary functions made by TI. However, it's definitely still usable and if you don't want to spend money on a computer to run full Python or your school requires it, this calculator can be an alternative. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to buy this since it's so similar to the regular TI-84 Plus CE but it's certainly not a detriment if you get it anyways.

A TI-84 Plus CE Python Edition: slightly more capable than the regular CE, but not an important change to for most users.

During your research you may have come across calculators that had dash T at the end. Those are just European versions of the same calculator and typically are very similar to the US calculators. For example, the only difference between the TI-84 Plus CE and the TI-84 Plus CE-T is an LED that indicates when the user is in Exam Mode. Unless your teacher specifically asks for this type of calculator, I would recommend sticking to the non -T versions for the TI-84 family.

A TI-84 Plus CE-T Python Edition

I'd like to touch on the accessories you may see while browsing. For example you may see silicone cases for the calculators. Unless you're prone to dropping your stuff multiple times a day, the cases are unnecessary. All of TI's calculator's plastic shells are built like tanks and do not crack or break easily. The silicone cases don't even add water resistance or protect the most vulnerable and fragile part, the screen. If you have a color calculator, TI thankfully built in a screen protector so there's no vulnerable part there. You do not need a screen protector for your color calculator's screen protector. That'd be like adding a pocket protector to your pocket protector… not that I have a pocket protector or anything… Anyways, the built in protector does not scratch easily and the parts that scuff over time aren't distracting at all.

Briefly moving away from the TI-84 family, you may have seen TI also sells a different lineup of calculator, the Nspire and the TI-89. While these calculators are far faster and more feature rich than the TI-84 family, they are completely different calculators so their buttons and menus are not the same at all. They are great calculators to use but they are sometimes too feature rich and are not allowed in certain classes and standardized tests. Since this video is about the TI-84 family I won't go into detail, but if you're considering these calculators, I would check that your standardized tests allow them, and also consult your teacher to be sure they're not only allowed in the classroom, but that your teacher can help you if you don't know how to operate a certain function.

A TI Nspire CX-II A TI-89 Titanium

I hope that's cleared up any confusion you had. If you'd like to know what I think about my TI-84 Plus CE which I've been using for 6 years, feel free to check out my video review! That's all I have, let me know if you have any questions or comments In the thread!

Cemetech Contest #25: Heat Results
Published by epsilon5 3 months, 2 weeks ago (2021-07-01T04:26:33+00:00)

As I'm sure most of you are aware, Cemetech Contest 25 has been over for some time, so it's time for the results! I was very impressed with the turnout and quality programs made for this contest, so excellent work to all of the participants.

As outlined in the initial post for the contest, the rules are as follows:
epsilon5 wrote:
The standings for the contest will be determined by means of a new format: entries will be graded by a panel of judges in the same manner that was done for the 23rd and 24th Cemetech Contests, and there will also be a community vote, in the fashion of Cemetech Contest 22. The program receiving the highest marks by the judges will obtain an additional 50% of the votes that were submitted to the contest (so if there were 50 community votes, the best-judged program would receive 25 extra). The judging will take place before the community poll, and its results will be released in the final standings post.

Judging Results and Feedback
As stated above, there were two variables for the final results of this contest: the results of the judging and the results of a community poll. Each entry was judged based on these criteria:
epsilon5 wrote:
Originality: How novel and interesting the core ideas for your game are, including implementation details and platform.
Style: How well the game is implemented visually.
Theme: How well the game fits the theme.
Code Quality: How well the game is implemented. This is a combination of readability, speed, documentation, and optimization.
Enjoyability: How much we liked playing the game, in general.

So, here are the results of the judging:

1st place: Fire and Flames by slimeenergy (judging score: 8.4/10)
2nd place: Food Fighter by KingDubDub (judging score: 6.7/10)
3rd place: Hot Chicks by commandblockguy (judging score: 6.5/10)

There were 26 total votes in the community poll, and as outlined above, the winner was to receive an additional 50% of those for the final standings, which evaluates to 13 votes for Fire and Flames. If you competed in this contest and would like to see the judges' feedback on your entry, please send a private message to me (epsilon5).

Courtesy of tr1p1ea, there will be some prizes for the contest! These will be awarded in the form of Steam vouchers, in the following amounts: $25 for first place, and $10 for both second and third places.

Final Results
And now, it's time for the final results. In third place for the contest, with 3 total votes, we have Food Fighter by KingDubDub. This entry was praised by the judges for its gameplay, graphics, and novel execution.

In second place for this contest, with 7 total votes, we have Hot Chicks by commandblockguy. This entry's humor and day/night cycle impressed the judges, as well as its integration with the TI-OS time.

That leaves just first place: Fire and Flames by slimeenergy, with 11+13=24 total votes. This entry wowed the judges with its graphics, unique idea, deep gameplay, polish, and replayability.

Finally, I've made some userbars for the contest, which (hopefully) can be uploaded to Cemetech and have their links posted here by an admin. They can be clicked to find their links.

Congratulations to all of the participants in this contest!