I'm happy to announce that I have finished a fourteen page technical report, Cemetech's 4th, detailing the CALCnet 2.2 networking protocol for graphing calculators. It begins with an overview of the motivations and inspirations for CALCnet, then reviews the existing alternatives for two-calculator linking, namely the TI-OS, BELL by Tim "Timendus" Franssen, and TachyonLink by Michael Vincent, and n-calc linking, namely CLAP by Mr. Franssen. It goes on to introduce the electrical systems in the calculator for linking, then proceeds to an in-depth section explaining the bit-level, byte-level, and frame-level protocols for one-to-one and broadcast frames. Although the average CALCnet 2.2 user or even programmer does not need to know any of that, it might help in case a coder wants to write CALCnet 2.2 drivers for another platform (Arduino? libticables?). Next is the meat of the manual for end programmers, how to send and receive data via CALCnet 2.2. I include a full experimental results and benchmarking section, detailing the maximum speeds of CALCnet, the overhead incurred by the protocol, effects of frame size on burst throughput, an effectiveness of collision detection and delivery guarantees. It concludes with information on logos and branding, a survey of possible future work, and a summary of CALCnet2.2's strengths and features.
I hope you'll grab the CALCnet 2.2 whitepaper at the bottom of this article and flip through it. I will be uploading it to ticalc.org as soon as I publish Doors CS 7.1; speaking of that release, I'll be publishing a beta soon. I still need to add safer handling for 15MHz calculators and to tune the randomized backoff. I hope I can interest many of you with at least two calculators to assist in testing; no special hardware is required. Doors CS 7.1 will hopefully be released within about a week.
Cemetech administrator Thomas "Elfprince13" Dickerson, the lead developer on the Freebuild project, informs me that the project is once again under active development after a summer of him working on saving the planet. He has been working hard to overhaul the rendering components of Freebuild with an open-source alternative called OpenSceneGraph (OSG). You can read all about his efforts on the rendering overhaul on the forum.
Finally, some administrative news on Cemetech. As mentioned, September and August were great successes. We foresee a slowdown in October, as is the historical pattern, although depending on how well the strengths of CALCnet 2.2 are marketed outside of the community, we may receive some additional traffic. I discovered last night that the annual fee for hosting Cemetech (a non-trivial sum, I should add) was overdue, but thanks to the heroic techological assistance of Cemetech gmods Alex "comicIDIOT" Glanville and Jon "TheStorm" Sturm, Cemetech is safe for another year. At the behest of members and approval of Elfprince, the Freebuild-related sections of Cemetech now have a custom header image; go check out the Building with Blocks subforum and its Freebuild-related children to see the header in action. Finally, Cemetech's webhost has informed me that the server we use will be down for four to seven hours starting around 11pm EDT tonight, October 8th, 2010, as they move us to a new, faster server. Look for faster page loads and zippier posting!