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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.
Projects of the Month: September 2018
Published by Michael2_3B on October 14, 2018 at 11:27:58 AM CST | Discuss this article (1)

Hello again, Cemetechians! This month we had slightly less activity, with schoolwork piling up for many; however we had some great projects nonetheless! Check them out:

  • 2048 in ICE: This month, jcgter777 has started working on a clone for the classic game "2048" in ICE for the TI-84+ CE! It appears to still be in the works, so go send your support!
  • BOSshell for the TI-84+ CE Development thread: This month, beckadamtheinventor has made more plans for his shell! There is still lots to do for this project, so go check it out!
  • Calc Crusader (TI-84 Plus CE, ICE): dankcalculatorbro has been hard at work on his crusades game this month. This month, the author has specifically targeted fixing the battles and other important elements of the game. It looks like it will eventually be a very fun game!
  • Fruit Ninja CE [C]: Michael2_3B has started work on a fruit ninja clone for the CE, written in C! We hope to see this project completed in the future. At the moment, the author would appreciate anyone with sprite making skills. Be sure to go show support!
  • Gateway to Legend: This month we are very happy to see that 123outerme has officially released v1.0.0 of his computer RPG! The author has worked very hard to get to this point, so be sure to go try the game out, and leave him some feedback!
  • KhiCAS, a full-featured CAS for Casio CG50/Graph 90+e: parisse has made good progress on his computer algebra system. If you are looking for more math tools, this is the project for you!
  • Latest News on Star Trek: This month, Cemetech member ACagliano has made many updates to his algorithms and other pieces of code, as well as some graphics and gameplay updates. There are some cool new screenshots this month, so check them out!
  • Maker Faire: Calculator Controlled LED Cube: This month, Nik, Kerm, and geekboy1011 collaborated to finish the LED cube for maker faire. They did some awesome work before the maker faire started, so go check it out!
  • NOS - An alternative shell: LAX18 has made some good work on his shell this month. Progress appears to be slow though, so go show him some much needed support!
  • Programming Language / URISC Virtual Machine: amihart has worked hard on his new programming language! There are many different elements to this project, more than I could possibly sum up here. Be sure to check it out!
  • PSEAC: A Simple CAS for the CE: With inspiration from BasicNote, CodertheBarbarian has made a computer algebra system with his very own GUI! There are still some things to fix, but it looks to be very promising! Check out the video in the thread and show the author some support!
  • Recreating Lyrebird API in Python: JWinslow23 has done some neat experiments lately. By reverse-engineering lyrebird, the author has tried to put together some audio files using python. Check it out!
  • Text Dungeon Progress!: Cemetech member [PixelPerfect] has made some good progress this month on his RPG, in which he has implemented a few more features and has worked on shops and battle systems. The project is not done yet but it looks promising!

That's all for this month. Don't forget to vote for your favorite completed project!

Projects of the Month: August 2018
Published by Michael2_3B on September 3, 2018 at 4:41:01 PM CST | Discuss this article (4)

Hello fellow Cemetechians! I have found a little bit of time this labor day weekend to write, and am back with another POTM for the month of August! For many, this month was the start of another school year. However we still saw many amazing projects being worked on, some of which were released! Take a look:
  • Agenda CE [ICE]: SM84CE has some awesome plans for a new electronic agenda program, written in ICE! Here you will supposedly be able to keep track of your classes and other events, all from your calculator! There isn't much code yet, but it looks like it will be a great project!
  • Arcade Bartop DIY tutorial powered by RetroPie & Rasperr: This project was a wonderful surprise! New Cemetech member Ryadel has constructed an arcade game player, which can sit on a bartop or other table! This project is fully completed, and has images, documentation, and much more in the thread! Be sure to check it out!
  • Attack of the Snails!!!: This project, being worked on by _iPhoenix_, is a port of an unreleased TI-BASIC game into Assembly! It is _iPhoenix_'s first actual Assembly game, and it features fun sprites and an epic font. It looks cool, and was released into the archives this month, so go check it out!
  • BasicNote CE Progress Thread: After a successful release last month, Michael2_3B has made a few updates to his powerful TI-Basic text editor this month! With the current version being 1.1.2, there is now a find&replace feature and a compression on/off feature to save time! Be sure to check this one out!
  • BOSshell for the TI-84+CE Development thread: beckadamtheinventor has been hard at work on his epic new shell for the TI-84+CE, in the ICE language! BOSshell, which stands for "Beckadam Operating System Shell", will be capable of many of the things you'd expect out of a shell: file and folder management and editing, file importing, various subroutines, and more! There looks to be a pre-release in the thread now, so go check it out!
  • Boxman TTL: Botboy3000 has recently announced that he will be porting his famous box game to another piece of hardware he is making! It will use TTL, or transistor-transistor logic, and we can't wait to see this project develop.
  • Calc Crusader (TI-84 Plus CE, ICE): An adventurous and fun looking game, dankcalculatorbro has continued work on this Oregon trail-esque, city conquering game. This month, among many other things, he has updated battle mechanics, saving, soldier count, and more. Go show the author some support!
  • CEmu - A CE Emulator: MateoConLechuga has made a huge update to his full TI-84+ CE emulator! With version 1.1, there are many helpful additions for programmers, as well as GUI improvements, other improvements and bug fixes. Be sure to get the latest version!
  • Gateway to Legend: 123outerme has released some more betas for his awesome new computer RPG game! There are screenshots and downloads in the thread, don't miss out on them!
  • Generating electricity from sound.: TheLastMillennial has come up with an ambitious new project. Though difficult, the author plans on getting some microphones or piezos in order to generate power. The power may be minimal, but this project sounds very awesome and could potentially power small things like an analog clock!
  • HD picture viewer [ICE] [TI-84 Plus CE]: TheLastMillennial has made some awesome progress on his project this month! He has fixed some math and other things, and now has a menu to display different pictures! This project is developing quite nicely, so be sure to go check it out and show him some support!
  • iPhoenixBot: This month, _iPhoenix_ tried his hand at creating his own bot that imitates his own IRC chat logs. Inspired by nikkybot, iPhoenixBot looks like a cool new spin in the bot area. Be sure to check it out!
  • KryptonIDE - A better program editor for the TI 84+ CE: KryptonicDragon has made a ton of progress on this project this month! He has changed and added a ton of features to his program editor, so be sure to check them out! There are also beta releases in the thread, so don't miss them!
  • Latest News on Star Trek: This month, ACagliano has made some neat progress on his Star Trek game! There are some flashy screenshots in the thread, and be sure to go show ACag some support!
  • Maker Faire: Calculator Controlled LED Cube: Nik has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming Maker Faire! The plan is to have an animated LED cube displayed, with a GUI on the calculator that is able to customize animations and change the colors of the LED. It is not quite done yet, but be sure to check out the code and electronics information if you're interested or can help!
  • NOS - An alternative shell: Created by LAX18, NOS is still under development! NOS promises to be a simple shell to scroll through programs, similar to a Kindle Fire Home Screen. This month, LAX18 has done a lot of work internally, but he has also posted an icon creation contest! Go show the project some love!
  • Online Pictochat Remake: This month, Cemetech member ckosmic has come up with a Pictochat remake, from the DS into HTML. Pictochat has almost all the features of the original such as typing, drawing, dragging letters from the keyboard, rooms, and more, and allows you to creatively chat with friends online! Go check this project out!
  • RPG Game: The RPG You've Seen Before: One of our newer Cemetech members, [PixelPerfect], has stepped right out and released his first program! As the title suggests, it may be simple, but it looks cool nonetheless! Don't forget to look at this one.
  • Text Dungeon Progress!: Yet another new program from [PixelPerfect], this Text Dungeon game looks to be a simple but promising RPG through an endless dungeon! It is not finished yet, but check out the cool screenshots in the thread, and show the author some support!

Hats off to everyone who completed a project, and to those who are still working hard to finish their own projects despite time constraints! As always, be sure to check out each of the projects listed, and vote for your favorite completed project in the poll.

Projects of the Month: July 2018
Published by _iPhoenix_ on August 12, 2018 at 4:28:20 PM CST | Discuss this article (6)

This month featured a ton of amazing projects from lots of amazing creators. There were also several releases that have been years in the making! Here are your projects of the month for July 2018:

  • Agenda CE [ICE]: Starting off our (alphabetical) list, we have Agenda CE, from SM84CE. Agenda CE is a program to help organize your classes. He doesn't seem to have much code done yet, but if he finishes the program it will be a great tool for students. Go show SM84CE some love and support!
  • Attack of the Snails: _iPhoenix_'s project "Attack of the Snails!!!" is a port of an unreleased TI-BASIC game into Assembly! It is his first actual Assembly game, and it features fun sprites and an epic font. It looks cool, so go check it out!
  • BasicNote CE Progress Thread: This month, Cemetech user Michael2_3B made a lot of progress on his "fully functioning text editor for the TI-84+CE"! The features include line wrapping, copying and pasting, autosaving, and much more. After much anticipation, we finally received a release! More information and the much-awaited download can be found in the thread.
  • Chip-84 Ports: As seen in the title, Chip-84 Ports is a series of Chip-8 ports created by ckosmic! This month, he ported it over to several new platforms. It looks fun, so go check the thread out!
  • Fsh Shell: pixiys has been trying to complete his shell for the TI-84+CE, written in ez80 Assembly. It already has loads of amazing features, with much more coming soon! You can find more information in the thread.
  • Gateway to Legend: 123outerme's project "Gateway to Legend" received several improvements this month. He added all kinds of fun abilities, fixed some bugs, added some menus, and more! Go check the thread out!
  • KhiCAS, a full-featured CAS for Casio CG50/Graph 90+e: Cemetech newcomer parisse kicked things off well by unveiling a very intriguing CAS for the Casio CG50 and Graph 90+e models. It has more features than I can expound on here, so go check out the thread!
  • MD5 in TI-BASIC!: As seen in the title, MD5 in TI-BASIC! is a implementation of the cryptographic hashing function MD5 in TI-BASIC created by SopaXorzTaker! For a simple TI-BASIC program it is very impressive. We would love to see more of this project!
  • NOS - An alternative shell: LAX18 has been trying to complete his shell for the TI-84+CE. He got a truckload of things done this month, even if he still has a massive to-do list. It looks like LAX18 is making lots of progress!
  • Pi Practice Program: From Legoman314, Pi Practice Program is a program to help you memorize digits of Pi. He's completed a lot so far, but there's still quite a bit left! It looks sweet, so go check the thread out!
  • SnailFont: _iPhoenix_'s font "SnailFont" is a self-described "perfectly imperfect font face". He took the partial font he is using in his other project, Attack of the Snails, and turned it into a complete font that can be used practically anywhere! You can find more information, a demo, and a download in the thread!
  • TI Monopoly: Kydapoot made a lot of progress on his project this month! He fixed some bugs, created others, and is working on adding quite a few features. You can find more information in the thread.
  • TI-Boy CE Progress Thread: calc84maniac's project "TI-Boy CE Progress Thread" received numerous improvements this month. He fixed several major bugs in this update. It looks like calc84maniac is making lots of progress!
  • TiQR-B, a QR Code encoder written in pure TI-BASIC!: As the title suggests, SopaXorzTaker created an intriguing QR code encoder in TI-BASIC! Simply input some data, wait a little bit, and you have a functioning QR code that can be scanned by practically every device with a camera. Go check the thread out!
  • TPT3D - a 3D falling sand game in JavaScript!: SopaXorzTaker has created an awesome game similar to The Powder Toy, but in 3D! It's very cool, and uses a fully custom 3D rendering engine to do all of the math. Go show SopaXorzTaker some love and support!
  • TwoStep - The challenging, multiplatform puzzle game!: Muessigb's project TwoStep is a challenging and addictive puzzle game written in Axe! After several years of waiting, he finally released it! More information can be found in the thread.
  • Village: _iPhoenix_ has been working hard adding improvements to Village, an esolang that feels like a game. He added quite a few features this month, way too many to list here! We cannot wait for new updates!

After you've checked out the appropriate topics, please vote in the poll above for your favorite project within the next ten days! There were so many impressive releases this month from quite a few authors!

Back to School 2018: The Best Graphing Calculator to Buy?
Published by Alex on July 9, 2018 at 9:29:15 PM CST | Discuss this article (6)

For the eighth year in a row, Cemetech is excited to bring you a Back to School guide, helping you figure out the best graphing calculator to get for school and how to use it. In both 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 through 2017, we held your hand through the process with Which Graphing Calculator Should I Buy?. This year, we once again present a guide helping you select 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 primary school, high school, or college students, whether you're buying for yourself, your child, or researching for your students.

The landscape of available graphing calculators in 2018 is largely the same as in the prior years, but we updated our democratic vote from 2015 with a new democratic vote for 2018, tempered with our two decades of graphing calculator experience. In that poll, we asked our members to vote on the best calculators in three categories: (1) High School Math and Science; (2) CAS (College); (3) Programming. As you'll see in the discussion below, the TI-84 Plus CE released in 2015 (which as since been updated in a palette of colors including gold, white, gray, mint, coral, and blue) was a very popular contender. The TI-Nspire CX CAS and HP Prime also earned high marks. All three of these calculators are accepted on standardized tests like the SAT, and of these three, only the TI-84 Plus CE is allowed on the ACT. We stopped recommending the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition in 2015, as both of which have been effectively made obsolete by the TI-84+CE (although each is a great calculator by itself). While the TI-Nspire CX is a fairly popular high school math and science calculator, we feel that the TI-84 Plus CE is a better, easier-to-use choice, and the general student, teacher, and programmer consensus appears to overwhelmingly agree.

:: Math and Science: The TI-84 Plus CE remains TI's latest entry to the 19-year-old TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus line, offering a bright color screen and a rechargeable battery. Introduced early in 2015, the interface is nearly identical to the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition released two years earlier in 2013, but the processor is faster, the RAM is larger, and the case is slimmer and lighter. The interface is also very similar to the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, but with a higher-resolution color screen that can fit more math and higher detailed graphs. The color screen makes it easier to graph and explore multiple functions, and it introduces a few new statistics features (as detailed in Chapter 12 of "Using the TI-84 Plus"). Its greatest strengths lie in how it reinforces already-proven TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus features, but its underlying CPU and memory do improve significantly on the older calculators, giving programmers more flexibility to create powerful programs and games. Cemetech and community leader ticalc.org's download statistics indicate that most students buying new calculators have welcomed the TI-84 Plus CE with open arms, and we recommend that you do too. The TI-84+CE has a 48MHz ez80 processor, 154KB of user-accessible RAM, 3.0MB of user-accessible Flash memory, a 10-hour rechargeable battery, and an MSRP of $129 (plus, it comes in 8 fun colors). To recap, the TI-84+CE is the quintessential calculator for high school (and some college) math and science, updated with better specs, a high-resolution color screen, a slim, light case in fun colors, and a rechargeable battery.

Learn to use your TI-84 Plus CE with Using the TI-84 Plus, from math and graphing to statistics and programming. Learn to program your calculator with Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus.

:: College (CAS): The TI-Nspire CX CAS has a color screen equal in size to that of the TI-84 Plus CE, a mouse-based interface, and support for Lua programs. The TI-Nspire's operating system is based around the idea of Documents, in which you type calculations, enter equations, and draw graphs. It has templates for linear, parabolic, circular, elliptical, and hyperbolic equations in which you can enter coefficients and graph the result. The OS has a "Scratchpad" for quick calculations, and like the TI-84 Plus series, variables are shared between the calculation and graph modes. It can perform all of the trig functions you need for math classes. You can name your own variables, and are thus not limited to the A-Z variables of the TI-84 Plus, and variables are "linked" with graphs so that when you change a variable, a graph that uses the variable will be updated as well. The TI-Nspire CX is $150 or $130, for the CAS or non-CAS models respectively. If you have an iPad, consider the TI-Nspire Apps for iPad, an App version of this calculator. The TI-Nspire CX CAS is physically identical to the non-CAS model, but allows students to perform symbolic computations, great for calculus, physics, and other advanced courses. With the CAS, you can integrate, differentiate, and simplify symbolic expressions. The TI-Nspire CX CAS has a Document-based interface, like its non-CAS sibling, and is generally available for about $10 to $20 more. Both the TI-Nspire CX and the TI-Nspire CX CAS are allowed on the SAT, while the non-CAS model is permitted on the ACT, but some teachers will not allow a CAS calculator to be used on school exams. To summarize, the TI-Nspire CX CAS is a computer-like color-screen calculator with a symbolic CAS. Good for some high school students and for college students, especially STEM majors.

The HP Prime is also a very powerful CAS calculator, albeit with a few growing pains like a smaller support community. It offers a multitouch screen, a very powerful arbitrary graphing features, and CAS features similar to those on the TI-Nspire CX CAS. When it was first released, the Prime's OS was buggy, but has been substantially improved in the interim, and with a beautiful design, powerful hardware, and an extremely fast BASIC programming language, the HP Prime promises to continue to improve into a great tool for college students and professional engineers. Given the traction that the HP Prime has gained in our community, we were surprised that our members voted the TI-Nspire CX CAS as the superior calculator for engineering and college. In short, the HP Prime is a sleek, powerful, and improving touch-screen calculator with a symbolic CAS that makes it a great choice for college students, especially STEM majors, and for professionals.

:: Programming: For the fourth year in a row, we are recommending the TI-84 Plus CE for programming as well as for high school math and science. In the past, we have recommended the Casio Prizm as our top pick for programming: it offers a BASIC language and can be programmed in C. However, C, ez80 ASM, and TI-BASIC are all now possible on the TI-84 Plus CE, with its 48MHz ez80 processor and 154KB of RAM. While we can't create Apps on the TI-84 Plus CE, the available C SDK/toolchain in its many forms, including online in the SourceCoder 3 IDE, has grown rapidly. In 2015, the tools for TI-84 Plus CE were less complete than the tools for the Casio Prizm, but C programming for the TI-84 Plus CE continues to be very popular, and the TI-84 Plus CE C programming toolchain is now mature.

The Final Verdict:
If you need a new calculator, here's what you should consider:
  • If you (or your child) are a middle or high school student, your teachers may recommend a TI-84 Plus CE or a TI-Nspire CX, in which case you should follow their advice. For high school students getting a new calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE is our favorite choice.
  • If you're looking to take college classes in higher math, science, or engineering, the TI-Nspire CX CAS or the HP Prime are the calculator for you.
  • If you're a programmer, or you want to encourage your student to be a programmer, the TI-84 Plus CE is the best option. It allow BASIC, ez80 ASM, ICE, and C programming. The HP Prime also has a very fast BASIC language, and the Casio Prizm (fx-CG20 and fx-CG50) was the original C-programmable calculator.
Good luck with the hectic rush that is Back to School, and I hope this guide helped make at least one decision easier. If you need help picking a calculator, getting games and educational programs for your calculator and onto the device, or you want to learn to program, just stop by Cemetech and chat with us. We're always happy to help.

Notes about the ACT:
Remember, all models mentioned herein are accepted on the SAT, and most on the ACT, so there are no winners or losers on that count. Don't forget to double-check the SAT calculator policu or the ACT calculator policy to ensure your calculator is permitted! In particular, note that the TI-Nspire CX CAS is not allowed while the non-CAS version is acceptable.

Finally, if you prefer this information in visual form with some calming narration, here's our Back to School Graphing Calculator Guide as a video, with everything you need to know to select your first (or next) graphing calculator: