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The Matrix Media Movies Hardware

TI Calculators Play Movies 227

ipapusha writes "TI Calculator enthusiasts rejoice. A few weeks ago, Dan Englender released a new flash application usb8x. Usb8x is a driver that interfaces with the On-the-Go USB port in the TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus Silver Edition. It is designed to be used by other programmers to create drivers for a variety of USB peripherals, including a keyboard and mouse. Already, ticalc.org's own Michael Vincent has interfaced his Lexar JumpDrive to play The Matrix's famous lobby scene. (mirror) ."
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TI Calculators Play Movies

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  • by XaXXon ( 202882 ) * <<xaxxon> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:35PM (#13367963) Homepage
    Here's another mirror if necessary:

    http://xaxxon.slackworks.com/2005-08-16-usb.wmv [slackworks.com]
  • Obg. (Score:5, Funny)

    by deutschemonte ( 764566 ) <lane.montgomery@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:36PM (#13367968) Homepage
    Yeah, but does it run linux?

    *Dodges Tomato*
  • by GreatBunzinni ( 642500 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:38PM (#13367977)
    I must be old. I remember the time where calculators were used to do calculations and even plotting a nice graphic of a function.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:42PM (#13367991)
      You are old. Nowadays you can play violent video games on them which leads to you being violent. So I guess you could say that nowadays, using calculators leads to violence.
    • Re:I must be old. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by superyanthrax ( 835242 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:51PM (#13368035)
      They still do. It's just that they have much more features now and that the original purpose of a graphing calculator has been obscured. Now for most they are either cheating implements or a glorified Gameboy. Honestly, for mathematical applications I'd rather use Mathematica, because I'd rather have my 2.66 GHz P4 crunch numbers rather than a Motorola 68000 10 MHz processor (this is the processor on a TI-89).
    • I must be old. I remember the time where calculators were used to do calculations and even plotting a nice graphic of a function.

      You're a young whipper snapper if you "remember" plotting a nice graphic. The true old coots will remember way back when punching in 710.77345 and turning the display upside down was about as much fun as a person could have on a calculator (this trick doesn't even work on the newer bit-mapped font-based calculators). Of course as technology improved, I wasted many an hour pl
      • " The true old coots will remember way back when punching in 710.77345 and turning the display upside down was about as much fun as a person could have on a calculator "

        Um...if thats the most "fun" phrase you could come up with, I'm just going to take a stab and guess that you weren't invited to a lot of parties...

    • I believe the right answer is:

      "All I want is a calculator that can calculate".

      or something.
    • I must be old. I remember the time where calculators were used to do calculations and even plotting a nice graphic of a function.

      I must be ancient. I remember a time when calculators were used to do calculations and graphs were done point-by-point on graph paper. It's much harder to fudge a calculator graph.

      Of course, I had a calculator that was so old that it had red LEDs for the display. Occasionally I had to smack it against the table to make the display work properly. My friends called it "Slappy". Who
      • My first *real* digital calc used a nixie type 7segment display..

        Nice cool orange color.

        The 2nd was green, some other sort of gas type display..

    • Re:I must be old. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dj245 ( 732906 )
      Real engineers use HP calcs. I love mine. The TI's are standardized in schools, however, so thats what most people are used to. I wouldn't be surprised it there was a bit of secret lobbying and lunch-buying going on the back rooms of school administrations.
    • I must be old. I remember the time where calculators were used to do calculations and even plotting a nice graphic of a function.

      I just pulled out my old calculator (AKA slide rule) and can't find the plot function - can you point me to the hack that enables that function?

    • Not old enough. I remember the time when calculators were used to do calculations that didn't overflow 8 digits. Period.

      And others are no doubt older than I ...

    • I must be even older then you. The calculators I used in high school/college could not even plot graphics! (TI30, anyone?)
  • by heeeraldo ( 766428 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:39PM (#13367978) Homepage Journal
    I'd ask if it'd run OSX86, but there's way too many buttons. Maybe if it had a scroll ball, though.
    • iCal Rumour (Score:4, Funny)

      by @madeus ( 24818 ) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @09:47PM (#13369100)
      I'd ask if it'd run OSX86, but there's way too many buttons.

      I hear there is a rumour Apple are thinking of releasing their own calculator to help spur iBook sales in schools.

      The iCalc has the same number of buttons as a TI-84, but as consession to asthetics, they arn't marked but are instead all a single unified service in a 'brushed metal' finish. Thankfully, contrary to some initial concerns that were expressed, this turns out not much of a problem because it's been intentionally optimised to perform and output the result of a single operation operation (6 x 7), additional operations having been removed so as to avoid confusing novice users.[1]

      [1] Though further rumours abound this is in no small part due to the sourcing of Intel for the core chip design and that unresolvable heat disspation problems cropped up when attempting more complex operations. In fact, internal testers have reported that after extended usage, they have noted rounding errors in the units they have received (resulting in the system displaying a result for the calculation of 41.999 (recurring)).
  • old school (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Madd Scientist ( 894040 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:40PM (#13367984)
    i still remember getting one of the first external hard drives for the TI-85. some home grown kit with zshell drivers. it was awesome.
  • needs color (Score:4, Funny)

    by Romancer ( 19668 ) <romancerNO@SPAMdeathsdoor.com> on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:41PM (#13367986) Journal
    so what calculating functions would need color graphics? like the code editing software that automatically colors tags and modules, could there be a benifit to a color display in high end calculator. Aside from playing movies that is. :)
  • I had a TI-99/4A that hooked up to a TV and it never played movies - you could only change the terminal colors with BASIC!
  • by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:42PM (#13367992)
    Student was expelled from school when he accidentally played loud porn in a classroom during an exam.

  • Master Plan (Score:1, Funny)

    by cmdrTacyo ( 899875 )
    1) Make calculators
    2) Make calculators that play movies
    3) ???
    4) ???
    5) Profit
  • Nice, but... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...TI calcs have been able to play movies for a long time now. TItanium MultiMedia (TIMM) [ticalc.org] encodes a movie file to a native format for playback on TI calcs. Of course, this new project is much more impressive if it is decoding standard .avi / .mpg files on the fly.
  • by PepeGSay ( 847429 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:44PM (#13368006)
    Some things clearly must be done... just because you can.
  • my EYES!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by John.P.Jones ( 601028 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:44PM (#13368011)
    It looks more like the Matrix than the Matrix...
  • What a pity (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:49PM (#13368027)
    that this was one on a TI. It would have been much cooler on a HP. Still a nice hack though.

    I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you TI fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of my calculator (a TI-89) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to invert a 7 by 7 matrix. 20 minutes. At home, on my HP48 running at 4 Mhz, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this TI, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

    In addition, during this matrix inversion, The calculator will not work. It has ground to a halt. Even BBEdit Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

    I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various TI calculators, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a TI that has run faster than its HP counterpart, despite the TI's faster chip architecture. My Casio FX-100 runs faster than this 12 Mhz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the TI is a superior machine.

    TI addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use TI calculators over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.
    • Re:What a pity (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Doppler00 ( 534739 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @08:06PM (#13368699) Homepage Journal
      Okay, the REASON it is probably taking 20 minutes is because you are probably asking the calculator to invert a matrix _symbolically_ which by all means will take almost forever. I just executed randMat(7,7)^-1 and it took no more than 5 seconds. Make sure the calculator is in approximate mode (or diamond Enter) if you're just interested in floating point numbers. What type of matrix are you trying to invert anyway that it takes even 2 minutes on a hand held calculator? If you're doing that you're wasting your time (and calculator batteries) and you should be using an appropriate math package on a PC.

      I like the TI-89 because it's easy to use and supports symbolic math. But to be honest with you, Texas Instruments has done absolutely NOTHING to upgrade the hardware to something modern. Oh yes, they think people will just keep buying their 1995 dated technology.

      Come on! We have Gameboy's with color screens with more horespower than any of these calculators! It's pathetic that there are no new calculators of any significance being released now.

      • I'm a HP fanboy but I can tell you why they don't shift to a new architechture.

        Because there is so much invested in the current architechture. TI only just switched to 68K and they threw away 10 years of product development to switch to 68K in the first place.
      • But to be honest with you, Texas Instruments has done absolutely NOTHING to upgrade the hardware to something modern. Oh yes, they think people will just keep buying their 1995 dated technology.

        HP is the same way. I've been using my HP48SX since I bought it back in 1994, and I still use it daily at work. A couple years ago I had a sudden panic as I realized that if my SX died I wouldn't have a replacement, so I went off to Frys to get a "new" HP calc. Well I ended up getting a 48GX, which apparently has

      • It's pathetic that there are no new calculators of any significance being released now.

        Maybe because they aren't needed? Current HP and TI calculators are more than powerfull enough for school use. The only way to increase sales there is to add crappy features (cfr. cell phones). Few people I know use a calculator professionally, instead they use matlab, mathematica, octave, the Windows calculator, bc or even excel. I occasionally use my TI86, but no longer for matrix inversions etc. On the other hand the

    • Uh, apparently the mods are unfamiliar with the old Mac troll about copying a file. You even got two serious responses.

      Troll successful! Unless, you know, BBEdit Lite really does run on a TI-89...

    • Re:What a pity (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peawee03 ( 714493 )

      TI is pushed *hard* in schools. You get an HP, and when going to try to explain something to a teacher, they'll look at you like you've grown a 2nd head when you start punching in RPN. Especially the younger generation of teachers coming up that were raised on TI.

      Also, have you looked at a modern high school math textbook? The ones I used were designed to be used with a TI grapher. Down to not discussing what you were doing, but just giving button pressing sequences.

      I use Mathmatica myself nowadays,

  • AWSOME (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quick Sick Nick ( 822060 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:49PM (#13368029)
    *Throws out DVD Player and Laptop*

    I don't need these anymore! I've got my TI-84!
  • Dithering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:51PM (#13368041) Homepage
    The dithering looks like crap. My old HP-49G supports grayscale, what about TI calculators?
    • But IIRC, grayscale on hp48gx was a hack where you would light a pixel half of the time. Has it changed on the 49g model or is it the same unsupported hack? I guess that TI calculators are not really different and can do the same.
      • The HP49G does it the same way it was done on the earlier HP48's - by turning the pixel on and off rapidly. This is pretty obvious if you load up the grayscale pictures inbedded in the ROM of the developers (I believe you have to hold down a key combination while turning the calculator on to see these, it's been a long time since I played with the 49G). I believe the newer HP's can do grayscale in hardware without the flickering.
    • The TI-89 and 92 support grayscale; lower-model TI calculators don't.
  • Hrm, no greyscale? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keesh ( 202812 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:53PM (#13368048) Homepage
    The ti86 has an interrupt which is called ~186 times per second. By toggling the graphics viewport every two then one cycles, you could get a very realistic-looking four level greyscale setup. Do the newer models no longer have such a feature? Or is this down to slower CPUs?
  • Hmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @05:55PM (#13368060) Homepage
    I'm not sure if this particular "matrix function" is going to be smiled upon by college linear algebra professors...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:01PM (#13368087)
    CmdrTaco: You know, we haven't had the chance to use that great 'Blue and Red Pill' icon for the Matrix section in a while. I really miss that. They were good movies, and while some might argue that they don't deserve their own section and icon, I believe they are truly a geek phenomenon.

    ScuttleMonkey: Hey, why don't we post this story about using calculators to play movies. Some guy played The Matrix on his TI, it's just the excuse we need. Now everyone who visits the homepage will see the icon and think 'Wow, something about The Matrix! I am interested in that story.'

    CmdrTaco: You know, that's just crazy enough to work. Well done ScuttleMonkey, when you get home tonight there'll be another storey on your parents' house. You can finally move out of the basement. Now, all we need is some news on The Hobbit movie and the One True Ring will shine on the homepage for all to see!

    Disclaimer: Post written under influence of a few Pub Quiz beers.

    - HM
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:04PM (#13368098)
    For those of you tuning in on your TI calculators:


    Act One:

    N          G
    |-R ~~~~~~*X  <- Bullet time
    /\         /\

    Act Two:

    |---Nice shot.

    B  <----- N
    /\         |
               |---"Whoa. Nice Latex"

    Act Three:

      |---- "Whoa.  Nice punch"

    Could've done it in 3 lines of RPN, incidentally.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wrote a program years ago that would convert videos to a TI calculator assembly program. That didn't end up on Slashdot, but if you want to check it out (with screenshots):

    http://www.ticalc.org/archives/files/fileinfo/150/ 15079.html [ticalc.org]

    Remove the space from the URL I guess.

    Of course, USB is nice and all, but the video-on-calc thing has been done before. By me :)
  • Does it come with 5.1 Dolby Surround? :)
  • TI Calculators break the rules of tech - they don't really get much more powerful, and definetly don't get cheaper with time. I bought my i-89 about 5 years ago, for 140 dollars. I just checked and it's 136 dollars (for titanium - it has some more memory and usb) on Amazon. As far as i know, no TI calculator has come out that is the same size and more powerful, and prices have not come down at all. Does TI really have that much of a monopoly on the high-end calculator market? I thought back then that TI gra
    • They do. On emulators installed on PDAs :)
    • They seem to have a lock on the secondary school market in the USA, and have a very strong position in American colleges and universities. Hewlett-Packard has repeatedly shot themselves in the foot since they closed the Corvallis calculator operation, which designed the HP-48GX.
    • Many schools and colleges have an official standard on the type of calculator allowed into an exam room. And this will be the same calculator recommended for classrooms.

      Although I am puzzled why an exam board would allow any device with 180K of storage memory into an exam room.
      • 'cause you still need to write the programs for it.
        I had exams like that. Deadly time limit, deadly difficulty of the tasks when it comes to "manual solution", the only way to pass is to have the programs ready on your calcualtor/pocketPC/palmtop/whatever, enter the data, write down the answer. Definitely no time for manual solving. If you had the programs, it was a milk run, just typing data, writing down answers (rather hurriedly though). If you didn't have a program for a given task, hard luck. With 15 t
        • From the functions of the calculator I guess this would be advanced engineering/mathematics using differential equations, root finding and maybe topology?

          • No. It was Numerical Methods. Most of used functions would be primitives - loops, addition, multiplication, conditionals. You rarely used matrices or lists, but more often as simple storage than as some kind of data structure exploiting the calculator's capablities.
    • By contrast, you can now buy a Dell PC for $299.
  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @06:51PM (#13368334) Homepage Journal
    I had a TI59 in high school, to which I had added a joystick as well as an interface to control my room. With the joystick, it was possible to play games like moonlanding where the printer would be the screen. The calculuator was programmed to turn on and off the lights in my room. A screenshot of the two peripherals [harvard.edu]. Of course, there was some surgergy [harvard.edu] necessary, but the TI59 had survived all.
    • ...as well as an interface to control my room. With the joystick, it was possible to play games like moonlanding where the printer would be the screen.

      Ok, so how hard is it to land your room on the Moon? And didn't it get damaged if you crashed?
  • For those who enjoyed that bit of lo-fi, be sure to check out the Dot Matrix Symphony [sat.qc.ca]... It's a bunch of dot matrix printers all making music (though some call it noise).
  • It is evident that TI have now won the calculator war against HP. In the 80's, HP were clearly winning at the top end with the 41C and 48SX. What happened?

    Here are a few suggestions:
    1) HP were winning at the top end, but paid insufficient attention to the bottom end. TI got the cheap school market, and once graphing calculators became a cheap commodity, the top end evaporated, and TI held the bottom.
    2) RPN was loved by many geeks, but presented too much of an entry barrier to neophytes. HP tried to counter
    • Cheap my ass! The calculators are highly overpriced for the hardware they contain. A fraction of the power of a cell phone at 3x the cost.
      • Once again the redneck "bad value because it costs more than the sum of its parts" attitude is displayed by yet another ignoramus.

        Part of the cost of the calculator is employing the wizards that actually craft the software that run on these calculators. They do absolutely amazing things with the power they have.
  • hp 33s scientific calculator [hp.com] with RPN, bitches.
  • Comments and Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2005 @07:22PM (#13368503)
    Hi all, thanks for the comments. I'll make a few myself:
    * First: Thanks Google. usb8x is a Summer of Code project. Google's support meant I didn't have to find a real job.

    * A greyscale movie would definitely have been better than a B&W one. But the point of Michael's demo was proof of concept for a mass-storage device driver. That's pretty darn impressive as it is, in Z80 assembly with no OS support. I'm sure someone will come along and write a pretty version soon.

    * Some more details about the hardware platform: The TI84 Plus has a 15 MHZ Z80 CPU and a 96X64 monochrome display. You can fake greyscale pretty well by swaping planes. It has a 2-bit serial port, and a full-speed On-The-Go USB port. Unfortunately the OS doesn't provide any support for USB device drivers.

    * OK, so I'll admit: this was mainly done for the "it's cool" factor. But there are useful applications. As silly as it may sound to you, students these days do plug in keyboards to their calculators to take notes on. Or at least TI would certainly like them to, and now they don't have to buy the ridiculously expensive TI branded keyboard to do so. And TI calculators are actually quite useful if you're in the field collecting data with a Vernier probe. Now you can carry along a USB thumb drive and not worry about running out of space for your data.

    * Besides, it's cool :)

    -Dan Englender
  • Seriously I never wanted to the see the day when Slashdot would be home to WMV files. An Open Source sponsored website is posting propietary file formats that play like crap on Linux and Macs. I for one will not support this.
  • Yawn... (Score:3, Funny)

    by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Sunday August 21, 2005 @08:12PM (#13368718) Homepage
    Who cares? It's playing at ~1/3 full framerate and is barely recognizable.

    This was almost interesting, but then I noticed that there was a strange pattern in the wood in my desk and I got distracted.

    What were we talking about again?
  • That Matrix movie is just a bunch of green and black pixels anyway!
  • So in essence, they've turned the latest TI calculator into a palm pilot?

    What's wrong with making a program for palm pilots that make them into TI calculators?
  • I don't quite see the point beyond the proverbial "because we can" axiom.

    I'd put this in the Minix on a toster category.

    (It's still a pretty cool geek trick though)

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.