TI Education has announced that the newest OS for the TI-83 Premium CE, the French version of the TI-84 Plus CE, removes the ability to run native programs - assembly, or ASM, and by extension C programs, which compile into assembly. This new version, OS 5.5.1, both disables assembly support and prevents the OS from being downgraded. BASIC, and where supported, Python, will continue to work as-is. Although no such software update has been announced for the TI-84 Plus CE yet, our observations of the broadly shared featureset between the TI-84 Plus CE and the TI-83 Premium CE makes us strongly suspect that ASM/C support will be removed from the TI-84 Plus CE in a similar OS update in the near future.

What does this mean for me?
  • Students: TI-BASIC and Python programs and games will still work, but once you have OS 5.5, assembly and C programs and games will no longer run on your calculator. Downgrade protection will prevent you from switching to an older OS to restore that functionality. We suspect that some exams in France will require you to upgrade to this OS version in order to use your calculator on those exams. On the plus side, OS 5.5.1 also introduces exciting new Python features for the TI-83 Premium CE Edition Python that have been extensively outlined by critor on TI-Planet.
  • Teachers: Very little will change for teachers.
  • Hobbyists: Depends whether this change remains restricted to the French community or will be rolled out to all TI-84 Plus CE calculators. To a smaller or larger extent, the community will no longer have as wide an audience for assembly and C programs. As students continue to buy and upgrade calculators, a smaller and smaller audience of pre-OS 5.5.1 users will exist to use assembly and C programs and games. If this change does indeed affect all TI-84 Plus CE calculators, we anticipate that there will be decreasing motivation in the community to continue to write and maintain new ASM/C programs. Unfortunately, students-turned-hobbyists will no longer be able to progress from TI-BASIC to assembly/C on their calculators, and will instead need to be directed to Python (if they have Edition Python calculators) or to other platforms like smartphones, computers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, etc.

Why?
According to our contacts at TI, who took the time to share this difficult decision with us ahead of time, pressures from a combination of standardized testing groups and teachers drove this decision. While TI-BASIC programs can be removed by clearing memory, and Apps can now only be signed by TI-approved vendors, ASM/C give programmers significantly more control over the calculator. As we know, the majority of the community has used these powers to make TI's calculators (including the TI-83 Premium CE/TI-84 Plus CE) a more engaging platform, pedagogical concerns remain. More succinctly, an official statement:
Quote:
At TI, we are constantly working on ways to improve our products to give students more opportunities to learn, explore and investigate math and science. After careful consideration, we made the decision to remove ASM functionality in our latest OS update to prioritize learning and minimize any security risks.


Now What?
I expected that you're as shocked as I was when I first learned of this change. Although optimistically we might hope it won't come to the TI-84 Plus CE as well, we're fairly confident that the established pattern means we will see this before the next school year here in the US. It would be nice if this removal was offset by Python support on non-European TI-84 Plus CE calculators, but we don't know of this being in the current development pipeline. We will keep you posted on new developments, and we will continue doing our best to champion the community as an important part of TI's customer base. We anticipate having further information and commments from TI on this issue as it continues to develop, and we will share that further information with you as we're able.

Download
TI-OS 5.5.1 for the TI-83 Premium CE (TI France)
Quote:
At TI, we are constantly working on ways to improve our products to give students more opportunities to learn, explore and investigate math and science. After careful consideration, we made the decision to remove ASM functionality in our latest OS update to prioritize learning and minimize any security risks.
I have a feeling this "careful consideration" was a ten-minute meeting where Peter Balyta simply told the product team that's what they're going to do, no debate. It sounds to me like they never even thought to ask us if we might have some other idea to address this supposed problem---and that any suggestions we have will be summarily dismissed without any genuine consideration of potential pros and cons.

Quote:
Hopefully in 5.5 TI will allow lower-case typing by default
Without assembly or a special tool
Cue heavy laughter. Listening to student is not something TI Education does; they listen to teachers. If teachers aren't saying, man, this capitals-only thing is such a drag, it'll never get changed.
I really wish TI had asked how to make their calculators actually secure, because now it's just going to be a dumb exploit cat-and-mouse game. They've done nothing other than satisfy the money stream at the expense of students and hobbyists.

This whole deal was started because someone mislabeled their silly youtube video to get more views and downloads, hence more money. Everyone is a greedy pile of sausages. Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JIPqcK3wwY

Anyway, if TI wants to see what true ASM exploits can do, then true ASM exploits they will get. Because up until now we have mostly prevented anyone from releasing anything too nefarious into the world. But now there is zero incentive for us, because TI will do whatever they want anyway, without any of our thoughts.
I pretty much got the same thing in your most Kerm Martian, but the person I talked to was a little more specific. They said that they would remove all assembly support in OS 5.5 for the TI-84 Plus CE as well. Rest in peace TI-84 Plus CE games, you will never be forgotten.
Quote:
I have a feeling this "careful consideration" was a ten-minute meeting where Peter Balyta simply told the product team that's what they're going to do, no debate. It sounds to me like they never even thought to ask us if we might have some other idea to address this supposed problem---and that any suggestions we have will be summarily dismissed without any genuine consideration of potential pros and cons.
That's extremely unlikely. Dr. Balyta has been one of the community's biggest proponents, and his ascension is the primary reason that TI has supported programming at all lately (his predecessor was strongly anti-community). He has made a significant effort to reach out to us, to listen to what we need, and where it doesn't conflict with their largest customer base (exam-taking, class-taking students), to make what we need possible.

We don't have a full picture of the impetus behind this, but we've heard speculation that it has to do with specific weaknesses that were found in test mode.
KermMartian wrote:
Dr. Balyta has been one of the community's biggest proponents, and his ascension is the primary reason that TI has supported programming at all lately (his predecessor was strongly anti-community).
I did not know that!

MateoConLechuga wrote:
They've done nothing other than satisfy the money stream at the expense of students and hobbyists.
Eeer . . . duh? It's a for-profit corporation. They don't care if we think it's dumb, but they will care a lot if this ends up hitting them in their market share.
Quote:
Hopefully in 5.5 TI will allow lower-case typing by default
Without assembly or a special tool

Off-topic I know, but that's already possible through a bug. Just set your calc to non-english (so, transfer a lang app first), then go to the new catalog menu item at the top ("Characters"), turn off your calc while being still in that menu, and turn it back on. Tada, lowercase enabled.
TheLastMillennial wrote:
Texas Instruments wrote:


John35588 at 2017.10.13 22:27:03 UTC wrote:
it is not TI that are the experts

I find myself quoting that more and more... :\

I find this ban completely ridiculous! What does TI think they're doing?

This is from almost exactly 3 years ago and it still applies.
As a hobbyist this is extremely disappointing to hear and will only discourage learning. I for one would not have even gotten into C or gotten excited about it if it weren’t for programming on the CE.

What they need to do is start selling hobbyist calculators and student calculators as different things, just like they sell teacher kits. But we all know that’s a really silly idea as there’s but a very small percentage of actual hobbyists among the consumer base.

Bio_Hazard1282_rPi3 wrote:
Hopefully in 5.5 TI will allow lower-case typing by default
Without assembly or a special tool

As lower case typing is not needed for algebra and such, I don’t see that as a big priority. In fact I can only see that confusing calculator normies who would just be given calculator errors when they didn’t use uppercase for their variables.

Thankfully, my one and only real CE that I own is still on 5.3.0.0037.
Alright, well, can't say we didn't see it coming, I didn't think it would be so soon though. Ever since 5.3.1, there's been rumors about this and I'm very sad to finally see it. Hopefully TI is bad enough that we won't have to resort to complicated hardware mods. Laughing
I wouldn't be so quick to point the finger at Peter Balyta, he has a history of supporting learning to code through calculators and we don't know how involved he was with this decision.
Like Mateo pointed out, it seems to be because of a video that showed how the exam mode could be bypassed that went pretty viral for a french calculator video, but I fail to see how this is fixing the problem at all. In that particular video, the guy says that the exam mode clearly doesn't completely reset the calculator, which it obviously doesn't and its not supposed to so I don't know why he would think that. He also claims that TI hasn't released any OS updates to address these issues, which is just plain false, he was running OS 5.2.2 in February 2020, which was a handful of version updates behind at the time, some of which did increase security.
Judging by their comments, it looks like TI is invoking the "its for exam rules" excuse, which isn't really valid. Honestly, I would be less ticked off if TI would just tell us that its because they want the mainstream to view their calculators as secure, rather than bullcrapping us with some opaque legal excuses that don't add up.
I'm also not a big fan of the fact that they decided not to have a discussion with the community about it. It would have been VERY easy. They did contact a couple people, but only to give them the bad news, not to actually get their opinion. To try to appease the community maybe?
In light of this recent heartbreaking news, Cemetech will begin refocusing on other, far superior calculators, with a focus on the open-source Numworks calculator from Numworks, the Numworks people™.

Here's a sneak peek at what you can expect Cemetech to look like in the near future:
To be honest, I’m still hoping/thinking there will be enough of us that still want to program C and ASM for the community that doesn’t have updated calculators.
This will be a blunder for TI that I expect they’ll walk back from after a little while. The security of their calcs has so far been due to the general obscurity of explicitly “cheaty” applications, like fake RAM clears, Test Mode bypassers and the like, and only because the hobby community discouraged them in favor of good relations with TI.

Their blunder is thinking they can trade security by obscurity for security by force. Cemetech knows more about the inner workings of every calculator than TI themselves, so no anti-ASM security they implement will last long. There’s always another exploit. And with no reason to stay on TI’s good side, it’ll get easier and easier for the average student to find cheating applications on sites like ours that use exploits we’ve discovered. I think this will be a step back for their calcs’ security, not forward.
I appreciate the sentiment that it's a mistake, and I have no doubt that some of our best and smartest members already are pondering exploits to get around this measure in their heads. With that said, I believe Cemetech and the community as a whole have plenty of reasons to stay on TI's good side; Cemetech will continue to uphold its existing policy of not hosting discussion or downloads of ROMs (calculator or game console), exploits, and cheating programs.
I also think that there are plenty of calculators out there that won't have this update. Means it's time to make some cool programs to let TI give us more access :p
Ehhhhhhhh... It feels more like TI has left our good side than we are leaving their good side.
I agree with Sam that this is likely a step back for their security, and I agree with Kerm that Cemetech should stay on TIs good side. Can I say the same for other websites and hobbyists though?
I think the best solution to this is to purchase a non-TI calculator and recommend that others do the same.
I spent too much time on this.

Music stolen from Charles Cornell
I'mma be transparent: today was a pretty good day until I heard about this... essentially could lead to invalidating about 90% of my programming and hard earned knowledge. I've been through hell and programming calculators helped keep me sane. Like I've started probably over 50 personal projects some of which I have shared but most I have never actually made it past the drawing board. This is devastating to me. TI is the crusher of dreams. Crying
I am very disappointed about this sad news, but I hope that TI will work out a solution to protect their educational reputation and allow the calculator community that has grown up around their platform to continue developing for it.

From TI's perspective, I think this was probably an attempt to prevent a massive sales slump. With the pandemic driving all of the schools and colleges online, there is nothing to stop major OS manufactures (Windows, Apple) from creating their own virtual graphing calculators to go with the online classes that the institutions are now offering. Possibly the schools could design their own graphing calculator software or pay someone to do it for them, in which case TI could probably come back by offering an emulator. However, this is just my speculation. The graphing calculator could still be around for many decades more.

I do think what Mateo said about making programs to encourage TI to support the hobbyist community is a good idea. If Cemetech and TI could partner, I'm sure that we could make some really good educational software together.
  
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