Login [Register]
Don't have an account? Register now to chat, post, use our tools, and much more.
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.
The new TI 83 Premium CE Python Edition
Published by TheLastMillennial on March 11, 2019 at 9:29:34 PM CST | Discuss this article (21)

As some of you know, Python has been making its way into the calculator market. So much so that HP, Casio, and NumWorks all have some kind of on-calculator Python interpreter built in! For some reason, TI didn't get with the program, so to speak, and instead released an external module for the TI-83 Premium CE that allows it to run programs written in Python. As you can imagine, carrying around a bulky module isn't very efficient or fun. In fact, it disqualifies the TI-83 Premium CE from many standardized tests because they don't allow anything to be plugged into the USB port. To combat this, people have even tried to stuff the module's circuit board (without the case) into the calculator chassis!

TI has apparently realized their blunder and has been implementing a more reasonable option. This was hinted during a video, produced by TI France, because a mysterious TI-83 Premium CE "Python Edition" was mentioned. Julien, an amazing person over at TI, confirmed that a new TI-83 PCE was in the works:

Julien (Translated): Indeed, just before the next fall, a new version of the TI-83 Premium CE containing Python will be available in stores. If you do not have the calculator yet, we advise you to wait for the news.

Although it's unclear how exactly TI will build-in Python to the TI-83 Premium CE Python Edition (there's a guessing poll on TI Planet), we do know that it will not be reliant on an external module which will allow it to be used on tests and it will be a lot more convenient, though most likely still not nearly as fast as competing calculators). We finally definitive evidence of the new calculator, and an official picture of the TI 83 Premium CE Edition Python! Some of you may have noticed that the name doesn't quite match up with the video TI published, I believe we think that's the video narrator's error.

I know we all want to know when will this be available and how much will it cost? Today, promotion shop TS (name may have been botch through my translator) confirmed that the TI-83 Premium CE Edition Python will be available in the fall of 2019, right during the rush when students and parents are looking for a calculator to buy for the upcoming school year. Fortunately, the price won't be changing at all! It will stay at 80 Euro which is about 90 USD! Sadly, it will not be sold in the USA so if you are considering buying it, you will want to consider high shipping costs!

So what are your thoughts about this calculator? How do you think TI will build-in Python support? Do you think the USA will ever get a TI 84 Plus CE Python Edition?

Cemetech Tools for Teachers, and Overhauled Resources
Published by KermMartian on March 9, 2019 at 12:39:42 AM CST | Discuss this article (9)

Today, we're proud to announce new resources for students and teachers at Cemetech, and a new way for all of our visitors to find the resources relevant to them. Our Resources section (previously the Tools page) has been revamped with curated sections for Teachers, Students, and Programmers. One motivator behind this overhaul was making it easier to find the sections of the site that even many long-time visitors might not have stumbled across, like SourceCoder, jsTIfied, the Learn @ Cemetech wiki, and our calculator reference pages. The second big motivation was the new Educational Projects and Lesson Plans section of our Archives.

As we've been reminded by the last two years of TI's T^3 International Conference, the company and the teachers that use its tech have gone beyond embracing programming to embracing electronics and robots, via the TI-Innovator Hub and the TI-Innovator Rover. We've also seen teachers working with VEX Robots, Raspberry Pi-connected hardware, and even the Arduino (the inspiration behind ArTICL). We noticed a big gap: there's no good online community for teachers and students to collaborate on interesting projects with electronics, hardware, and calculators together, from TI, HP, and Casio or elsewhere. Therefore, we've added this new section to the Archives, and have shifted several sections of our Forum accordingly, as an experiment to see if we can provide that community.

Over the documented life of Cemetech over the past nineteen years, we've worked to continually expand the resources that we offer and the audience that we can help. Cemetech was built on a foundation of knowledge, information, and community: a place where projects could be shared, then later where questions could be asked, and most recently where documentation and tools could be found. Notable milestones along that journey have included:
  • July 2004: A real forum, where members could converse, ask questions, and share projects, replacing a rudimentary message board.
  • April 2005: File Archives, where Cemetechians could upload programs that they created and the public could download them.
  • November 2005: SourceCoder, Cemetech's online TI-BASIC editor and IDE, was first released.
  • June 2006: Cemetech starts its first programming contest, one of 21 that have been held to date.
  • October 2006: An official IRC channel, #cemetech on EfNet, was launched, linked to our in-page SAX chat system (itself introduced in May 2006.
  • October 2010: A weekly video conference called Have Calc, Will Program (HCWP) was first held, initially with a set weekly agenda, and later evolving to an informal programming and collaboration session.
  • January 2012: Development started on our jsTIfied in-browser calculator emulator.
  • March 2012: The first of three books by Christopher Mitchell, "[url=https://www.cemetech.net/news.php?year=2012&month=all&id=504]Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus, began, and was published in September.
  • August 2012: Cemetech's first annual Back-to-School Calculator Buying Guide released.
  • September 2012: Cemetech has a substantial presence at its first big event, World Maker Faire 2012 in New York City.
  • March 2013: Cemetech begins its yearly tradition of sending founder Christopher Mitchell, often with other Cemetechians, to Texas Instruments' annual T^3 Conference.
  • June 2014: The monthly Cemetech Projects of the Month (PotM) feature is first published.
This step is the latest effort to expose our tools, resources, and community to the larger community of teachers and students. Please help me welcome any newcomers into the fold!

Visit the New Sections
Cemetech Resources for Teachers, Students, and Programmers
Educational Projects and Lesson Plans files and downloads

Python on Calculators: Prizm fx-CG50 and TI-Python for 83PCE
Published by KermMartian on March 1, 2019 at 1:09:08 AM CST | Discuss this article (5)

For years, the possibilities of programming high-level scripting languages on calculators has been discussed and in some cases implemented by the manufacturers or the community, including Python for the TI-Nspire, Lua for the TI-Nspire, Lua for the Casio Prizm), and Lua for the TI-84 Plus CE. As Python has gained wider adoption in the broader world, as both a useful scripting language and a teaching language, the desire for Python on our favorite calculators has grown as well. Although our French friends (and collaborators) suceeded in putting MicroPython on the TI-Nspire, as above, no native Python support was provided. As a preface to the following, we must give an honorable hat tip to NumWorks, who with an open-source calculator were able to easily offer Python support, Sadly, very few of our members and the student community at large have the NumWorks calculator yet, so very few have access to Python on their own graphing calculators.That has finally begun to change with new offerings from Texas Instruments and Casio.

One in their unfortunately largely overlooked set of firsts, Casio was the first of the three major graphing calculator manufacturers (Casio, TI, and HP) to release official native support for Python on a handheld. To our knowledge, Casio is also still the only such graphing calculator manufacturer. In August 2018, Cemetechian Amazonka brought Prizm Python support to our attention, added in OS 3.20 for the Prizm family. In fact, it isn't just the calculator community that's taking notice: even Adafruit posted about Python on the Casio Prizm. We meant to post a news article about this breakthrough back in 2018 (we even took the screenshots at the end of this article!), but... time got away from us.

As far as we can tell, Texas Instruments released news of Python on the TI-83 Premium CE handheld (with some prodding via a TI-Planet-reported leak) in May 2018, but didn't actually make the device available until after Python was publicly available on the Casio Prizm. Support is provided not by software on the calculator itself, but via an external, USB-connected cube containing an Atmel SAMD21E18A-U microcontroller with 256KB of Flash and 32KB of RAM (ironically, significantly less powerful than the calculator itself). This adapter actually runs the Python interpreter, while the handheld acts as a terminal emulator communicating with the cube. Speculation for why TI didn't directly build Python for the calculator is rampant, but inconclusive. For those who really want to get into the weeds, Adafruit recently determined that the cube uses their own CircuitPython, rather than the more popular MicroPython interpreter (from which CircuitPython is forked). And disappointingly for our American membership, we (and TI-Planet) only know of compatibility for the European TI-83 Premium CE calculator, not the TI-84 Plus CE.

We're happy that Python, one of our favorite computer languages (and one that many Cemetechians know) is finally making its way to calculators. We hope that we see many interesting applications of this language to our favorite calculators soon, and that you force us to add Python categories to our Downloads section!

TI-Nspire CX II, TI-Nspire CX CAS II Confirmed
Published by KermMartian on January 24, 2019 at 4:17:42 PM CST | Discuss this article (24)

A few days ago, we heard that a TI-Nspire CX CAS II was rumored to be released this year, and we now have confirmation. Our friends at TI-Planet linked their discussion; for clean-room principles, we've done our research here solely from primary sources. Specifically, we found that TI-Education France discusses the TI-Nspire CX II and TI-Nspire CX CAS II, and thanks to the wonder of parallel URLs, an unlinked English page about the TI-Nspire CX/CX CAS II also exists. We spot a few key features that appear to be promoted with this new calculator:
  • A Faster Processor: Both the English and French pages mention "faster performance", but only the French version has specifications. Unfortunately, all we can tell is that the calculator has the same amount of memory (~90MB of Flash, 64MB of RAM) as its predecessor.
  • TI-Nspire BASIC Drawing Support: For the first time, it appears that you will be able to manipulate the graphscreen with the TI-Nspire's own flavor of BASIC. The BASIC variant therefore joins the Lua language for these calculators in allowing graphical programs (and perhaps games?) to be written.
  • Interface Improvements: Many Cemetechians prefer the TI-Nspire over its TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus brethren; I am not one of them. In fact, I've been quite outspoken in my criticisms of the Document interface. TI appears to be working to improve this, touting "[n]ew app icons, supported by color-coded screen tabs, improve the user experience."
  • Interactive Graphing Features: Animated graphs, function coefficients that can be adjusted in real time, and dynamic points defined by expressions or sliders all appear to be part of a push to make graphs more interactive and intuitive.
  • CAS-Specific Features: The ability to more accurately solve differential equations and to lock out CAS functionality during tests have been added.

Notably, since most of the above appear to be improvements in the calculators' operating system, and the calculator's memory has not been expanded, it is not clear whether these features will also be available as an OS upgrade for the older TI-Nspire CX models.

Have you discovered anything else interesting about the new TI-Nspire CX II and TI-Nspire CX CAS II? Do you think we'll get to play with it at T^3 this year? Will we manage to get our hands on the nice red European -T version? Will the TI-84 Plus CE be refreshed as well? Let us know your thoughts in the attached thread.