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Topics - critor

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News / Orion TI-84 Plus Silver Edition invented !
« on: September 22, 2013, 07:05:39 pm »
In many previous news, we did present you the new Orion TI-84 Plus talking graphing calculator.

Some of you asked us about the possibilities to connect the voice module other models. Curiosity is not a bad thing on Omnimaga, so let's answer this. ;)

With the special 2.55/ORk OS installed, you could expect the module to work on the TI-84 and chinese TI-84 Plus Pocket SE. Unfortunately, the mini-jack and mini-USB aren't far enough from each other and the module doesn't fit. However, it should still be possible to use the voice module if we can find the appropriate extensions:
  • mini-Jack 2.5 female 2.5 <-> mini-Jack 2.5 male cable
  • mini-USB A female <-> mini-USB A male cable

So let's just focus on models with cases similar to the TI-84 Plus cases.

The latest TI-73 Explorer for example have the right case, but you can't connect the module because of the missing mini-USB port.

Let's now check the new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition color calculator. It should be ok, shouldn't it? But it just doesn't fit...
We notice that the connectors from the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition (left calculator) aren't at the same height that the ones from the TI-84 Plus which are closer to the screen. Indeed, we can notice the difference by placing a small item (a jumper for example) on the motherboards. So we need extensions here too, but even with that we would still need an appropriate OS (if possible) to interact with the module.

I don't have a TI-89 Titanium, but a TI-89 Titanium ViewScreen on which the module doesn't fit because of the ViewScreen connector. But it should fit on a TI-89 Titanium. Of course, an appropriate OS would be needed here too.

We're finally lucky with the TI-84 Plus Silver Edition and TI-83 USB, on which the module does fit and work once the 2.55/ORk OS is installed. We just invented a new model: the Orion TI-84 Plus Silver Edition! :bj:
The module also fits on TI-84 Plus Silver Edition ViewScreen, where the different ViewScreen connector isn't a problem but can't be used anymore once the module is connected.

Let's now sum up the whole thing:
Modelcompatible casecompatible OS
TI-73 Explorernono
TI-83 USByesyes
TI-84 Plusyesyes
TI-84 Plus Silver Editionyesyes
TI-84 Plus Silver Edition ViewScreenyesyes
TI-Nspire 84 Plus keypadnono
TI-84 Plus C Silver Editionnono
TI-84 Pocket.frnoyes
TI-84 Plus Pocket SEnoyes
TI-89 Titaniumyesno
TI-89 Titanium ViewScreennono


News / Orion TI-84 Plus music - now up to 999 notes
« on: September 19, 2013, 04:39:42 pm »
In a previous news, Adriweb did invent an easy way to play music on TI-84 Plus, using the Orion voice module.  ;D

Indeed, system 2.55/ORk plays a sound based on the vertical position whenever the cursor on the graph screen is moved.
A first approach was therefore to use the function 'Trace' mode to obtain a sequence of sounds. In this mode, the cursor follows the plot of the function and shows you the coordinates of a point for each column of the screen. As Adriweb noted, in this context we were limited by the hardware: the width of the screen (96x64 pixels). We couldn't play without interruption a music of more than 96 notes in theory (95 in practice, the first note tending to be skipped upon 'Trace' mode activation).

Beyond 95 notes, you need a several seconds pause to switch the plot or chande the window before going on.  :(

I am pleased to announce today that I have literally exploded this hardware limitation!  ;D
Instead of the function 'Trace' mode, let's use the statistics 'Trace' mode which works completely differently.
Instead of giving the coordinates of points for each column of the screen, it gives them to each value of the X-axis list. With more than 95 elements, points are going to appear in the same screen column. But this time they can all be selected and therefore they are all playable!  ;D

We are now limited by the software, as the maximum number of items for lists on TI-83+/84 is 999 - but it's enough to play musics more than 10 times longer than last time and to organize concerts! ;)

Here is for exemple a 125 notes music, proving that the 95 notes limit was crossed successfuly! ;)

Tinkerers philosophy:
The real question is not "what does it do" but "what can I make it do!" ;)


News / Orion TI-84 Plus Hands-on review
« on: September 08, 2013, 04:31:20 pm »

Hi everyone,

We've received our new TI-84 Plus Orion talking calculator. It's coming with OS 2.55/ORk, and one of the first things we tried was to install it on other TI-84 Plus. It works perfectly, even on TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, revealing us a correctly displayed new model name, "Orion TI-84 Plus Silver Edition" instead of "Orion TI-84 Plus", an hypothetic future upgrade.

But of course without the talking module the OS brings nothing more than 2.55MP, and so that's why we're going to test it on a real TI-84 Plus Orion for you.

Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Unpacking
  • Design
  • Features
  • Connectivity
  • Compatibility with peripherals
  • Misc
We've already talked about the Orion TI-84+ in several previous news when it's been seen at the 2013 T3 conference and when it got released, but here's an overview :
The TI-84 Plus Orion is actually a standard TI-84 Plus, installed with a modified OS 2.55 MP: In addition to standard functions, it communicates with the module that is physically attached (screwed) to the top of the calculator.
The Orion 84+ is destined to be used by blind or visually impaired people as it opens the doors to graphing calculators: speech synthesis for each key pressed, the ability to "read" what is displayed on the screen, "hearing" the graphs (see below for details), to vibrate in some cases (haptic feedback) ...
We had the chance to get a unit (thank you TI !), and here are some more info now :-)

The calculator comes in its package alongside many accessories / additional content (or at least the one we received, we're not sure if it's a prototype ?) :
  • high quality stereo headphones for private use
  • AC adapter / charger
  • guidebook
  • leaflet showing other enhanced TI products for blind/visually impaired people (notably the Orion TI-36X, which we find very well done)
  • (x*sin(x)) graphic, printed and embossed in Braille

The Orion TI-84 Plus calculator consists of a TI-84 Plus on top of which resides the actual Orion module. A dedicated, longer than usual slidecase (with APH / Orbit Research logos) protects both the calculator and its module, quite useful against unwanted keypresses when moving etc.


The 84 Plus Orion weighs of course a bit heavier than a standard 84
Dimensions : 9.3"x3.5"x1", or 23.62x8.9x2.54 cm.

Here are the main features we've explored so far ::

First, the module annouces (rate/voice changeable), in English of course, the keys you press. But in context, it is not necessarily a simple reading of the current key, it can detect that you are writing a number and will thus read the number itself and not the last digit typed (it also applies to the results of a calculation). If you are in the list editor or the table of a graph, it reads the values ??according to the coordinates of the current point, etc.. It is also able to read the words that are written or returned by a program. Iit is actually a real text-to-speech ("sonograph technology") that does the job :-)
And the reading speed, or rather we should say the ability to quickly speak the keys pressed is impressive, there is no delay (it would have been annoying...).

We can't forget to talk about graphs ;-) :
When the calculator is in the process of graphing something like a function, the user knows it thanks to the audio feedback based on the ends of the curve (or at least, it's a easily reconizable noise that happens to fit what we was pltting at that time), and when the tracing is completed, the module describes the graph with a sound whose pitch fluctuates according to the variations of the curve (and a particular sound is produced when the x-axis is crossed). It's very well done !
You can see/hear it in the video below.

Let’s also note that the module reminds the user that the calculator will turn off soon (APD - automatic power down annoucement)

We almost forgot : the module does also make the whole calculator vibrate, under certain conditions.

We still couldn’t explore all the Orion features, but it’s currently a very powerful and versatile module :)

The module itself has several keys (sound level, preferences , repeat, "Manual" screen reading, etc.), which make it even more useful.

The mini-USB port on the voice module allows recharging, as well as updating its firmware when connected to a computer. It is apparently not possible to exchange data with other calculators or a computer using this port, suggesting that the module is presenting itself to the calculator as an USB device and does not include an USB hub. To exchange data, you will therefore need to use the 2.5mm mini-jack cable (not provided), or remove the voice module (although this is not supposed to be done), so in both cases, it isn't very convenient...

The micro-USB port on the voice module, not mentioned in the documentation is still a mystery. The computer doesn’t detect the module when this port is used. However, the website states it's in order to connect other devices, but with no further details (or maybe it’s to connect the Braille printer that's talked about ? ). Anyway, no micro-USB adapter or cable is included.

And as mentioned above, the 3.5mm jack port is used to connect stereo headphones or speakers.


Compatibility with peripherals
We now propose you to test the compatibility of the TI-84 Plus Orion equipped with its module with some devices or accessories. As implied above, unless you remove the voice module (operation not originally planned as the module is screwed), you can exclude a priori all devices requiring the USB. But we still have some choice .

Let's start for example with the TI-Kickstand :

As you can see, this is a special cover/slidecase designed for the TI-84 Plus case types (which therefore also includes the TI-89 Titanium and TI-83 USB Black 2013), putting them in an inclined position, which is very comfortable. Normally two inclinations are possible thanks to a flap which is housed in one of two parallel slots in the back of the calc. Here, the voice module completely blocks the access to the top slot (because it's used to receive the screws attaching the module), but not the bottom slot, which allows to use the TI-kickstand, but only in its maximum angle position.

As a device which doesn’t require the USB and uses the mini-Jack, we’ve got the TI-Keyboard. Are such key presses going to be handled the same way by the system and announced by the voice module like the calculator keys? Discover it in the video ;)

In summary : the keyboard itself works very well through the 2.5mm jack port on the module, which is a good thing, but the module reactions are strange and depend upon what we are doing. The main (maybe unintended) advantage is that the keyboard typed keys aren’t annonced, which would have made a great commotion if that was the case. But some texts tend to be read twice (two times in a row) by the module. We’re going to report the bug and hope for an update

- The calculator is on sale for just $599 from its official website:
Too bad it's so expensive : ( But hey, for the visually impaired , we guess it's a good investment :-)

- For the ones interested, it's possible to follow the evolution of the module versions :

- Full online documentation :

- A small downside that we noticed during my few experiments: it happens, probably very rarely in standard use, though : the module gets "out of sync" and thus the connection with the calculator is lost. It does not crash the calculator nor module, but it will no longer work with the calculator as expected. We simply have to reset it, then (keystroke calculator + restart) to make them function again :) we think some ASM programs can cause this more easily / often than during standard use.
But after all, these programs are not "made ??for" Orion and the frequency of use of such programs for a typical Orion user is probably zero.

- The calculator has a modified 2.55MP operating system (the changes adding the code dealing with the voice module), dubbed 2.55/ORk as already mentionned in a previous news. We also discover that it’s including the old Boot Code 1.02. But nothing unusual a priori , since it's obviously an old hardware revision, P, while 1.03 Boot Code was introduced with hardware revision Q.

Co-writen by Adriweb and Critor


News / New TI-Nspire CX hardware revision K
« on: September 03, 2013, 12:30:25 pm »
In a previous news, we announced you the arrival for back to school 2013 of a new TI-Nspire CX hardware revision. TI-Nspire CX equipped with this new hardware could not properly run system and Boot2 versions 3.1, and thus there was no way to use Ndless or Nlaunch on them.

Next we did teach you, at least for France, how to spot old Ndless/Nlaunch compatible calcultors directly in stores without having to unseal the bundle. ;D

Finally, we made you discover this new hardware.

HW-J calculators reported to us so far had the "P-0313J" or "P-0413J" datestamps on the back at the right of the serial. This meant that they were manufactured in China in March and April 2013.

The Ndless/Nlaunch community hasn't even been able yet to understand exactly which change in the new hardware was responsible for the 3.1 incompatibility, that Texas Instruments has already released a new hardware version, hardware revision K which was reported today on the TI-Planet chat. The "P-0613K" on the back shows us it was manufactured in june 2013.

We don't know yet if HW-K is a minor HW-J revision, or if new protections were added. In their sudden race for the closure and the safety of the TI-Nspire CX it's very likely that Texas Instruments did add some another additional protection again, just to be sure that Ndless and Nlaunch will never come back.


News / New TI-84 Plus Orion videos: unboxing & keys features
« on: September 03, 2013, 10:19:57 am »
In a previous news, we were finally announcing you the availability of the first talking graphic calculator in the world, the TI-84 Plus Orion, and were presenting it you in the images and video.

If we add the new TI-84 USB and color TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, it's a great back to school of the family of TI graphing calculators using a z80 processors this year. ;)

Today, Chase Crispin lets you rediscover the TI-84 Plus Orion with all its accessories as you're going to get it if you order it, by unboxing it before you:

The mystery of the two mini-USB and micro-USB higher ports is still unclear to us at the moment. Chase confirms that charging the voice module requires the mini-USB ports. As we doubt that sharing data with the computer or other calculators is going to require the micro-USB port for which appropriate cables aren't included, the utility of the latter remains to this day enigmatic. Maybe this is a specific port for the voice module which doesn't communicate with the calculator at all, and could for example be used to update the module firmware from a computer.

Here is a second video by Chase Crispin where you can discover the voic module keys features, and the new features of the calculator keys:


News / New TI-Nspire CX anti-Ndless hardware J
« on: August 31, 2013, 08:13:43 am »
In a previous news, we announced you the arrival for back to school 2013 of a new TI-Nspire CX anti-Ndless and anti-Nlaunch.

Indeed, Nlaunch and Ndless require respectively 3.1 versions of the Boot2 and system. These new calculators come with the latest version 3.2.4 of Boot2 and system, and feature a new hardware revision 'J' as engraved on the back (11th version) on which Boot2 3.1 is doesn't run properly. It is therefore impossible to install Nlaunch there, which prevents to put system 3.1 and then consequently forbirds to use Ndless. :(

Strangely on the old TI-Nspire CX hardware revision A to I, even after upgrading to the latest 3.2.4 version it is possible (painfully) to reinstall the 3.1 Boot2. So new TI-Nspire CX hardware J must include something new we are going to discover together:

You don't see anything special? The board looks like previous boards? Wait a minute, we will compare to compare them thoroughly for the TI-Nspire CX CAS:
Hardware revisionMotherboardASICBoot1NANDKeyboardDockboardPhoto
AFirebird Color MB 6422ET-NS2010B- K511F12ACA-B075Firebird Color KB EVT 4421Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412
BFirebird Color MB 6422ET-NS2010B- K511F12ACA-B075Firebird Color KB EVT 4421Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412
CFirebird Color MB 6422ET-NS2010B- K511F12ACA-B075Firebird Color KB EVT 4421Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412
DFirebird Color MB 6422ET-NS2010B- K511F12ACA-B075Firebird Color KB EVT 4421Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412
FFirebird Color MB 6430
ET-NS2010B- K511F12ACA-B075Firebird Color KB EVT 4421Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412
ET-NS2010B- FM60D1G12A
Firebird cas Color KB DVT 4424
Firebird Color BTB EVT1.2 2412

Despite the similar architecture, the new HW-J does actually provides many new features.

Some things didn't change like the Boot1 (still version or the ASIC chip (still en ET-NS2010B-1).

But besides that we have many new things:
  • NAND chip which had always been a Samsung K511F12ACA-B075 has suddenly been replaced with an ESMT FM60D1G12A
  • keyboard which had always been a Firebird_Color_KB_EVT_4421 has suddenly been replace with a Firebird_cas_Color_KB_DVT_4424
  • like with hardware F we get a new motherboard, but this time with a completely different reference NSC_CR_MB_4440 :o
  • internal J04 connector has been removed
  • keyboard testpoints were remove too
The internal J04 connector did offer access to the RS232 serial console like the lower J01/Dock connector. It was therefore particularly useful on the TI- Nspire CM calculators which don't have the Dock connector. But its presence on the TI-Nspire CX is not an absurdity, as it is supposed to give access to the JTAG protocol. It can be particularly useful during the manufacturing process in order to perform the initial programming of chips, but also for reprogramming the chips of a TI-Nspire which no longer boots. To my knowledge, it has never been used by the community and so we are surprised by this removal. But apparently TI prefers to remove some way of repairing the TI-Nspire in order to secure it, and might just scrap and replace new TI-Nspire CX if they're ever returned for repair instead of reinitializing.

So there is a new NAND chip by ESMT which replaces the Samsung chip which was thete since the beginning. It is certainly possible that this chip is responsible for the Boot2 3.1 error, but normally it's a 128MB NAND chip like the old one.

But the most surprising thing is the new motherboard with a completely new reference. After Firebird_Color_MB_6422 and Firebird_Color_MB_6430 we get a NSC_CR_MB_4440, a hint of big changes
Precisely, we think we had already discovered an previous version of this new motherboard in a previous news on a chinese TI-Nspire CX sample which had a sticker on the back suggesting the use of 4 layers:

Although it was supposed to be a hardware revision C the motherboard was different than the above revision C. Even if the NAND chip remained the Samsung one, the J04 connector was missing and the reference was already similar to the hardware revision J one: NSC_CR_MB_4420 instead of NSC_CR_MB_4440.

In the end, I think I've brought more questions than answers and we still need to pull the puzzle pieces together. But such hardware security enforcement may be followed by a software security enforcement in the next 3.6 system.


For years, the TI-Nspire community has been working for the openness of the TI-Nspire, in order for its users to operate their calculators to their fullest potential.

And so was born Ndless, a framework for running assembly programs taking full control of the hardware in particular of the processor.
Some examples of Ndless compatible programs:

  • the nDoom 3D FPS game, a port of the Doom/Doom2 and compatible computer games
  • the Nintendo NES emulator
  • the Nintendo Game Boy Color emulator
  • the Nintendo Game Boy Advance emulator
  • the mViewer image reader

Ndless has existed in several versions, each one specific to a single or a small set of TI-Nspire systems:

Ndless versionTI-Nspire system version
1.1 prototype1.1 (non-CAS prototypes)
1.2 prototype1.2 (CAS prototypes)
2.01.7, 2.0.1, 2.1.0

The lack of an Ndless cross version is due to the fact that Ndless is not an officially supported program, and Texas Instruments has actively fought it since system 2.1.
Indeed, Ndless installation exploits some flaws in the TI-Nspire system. But any vulnerability exploited then quickly fixed or blocked by Texas Instruments in the next version of the system, forcing Ndless to always use new vulnerabilities.

Do you think you just don't have to update?
Except that Texas Instruments forces the update through various automated popups.
And eventually, all new TI-Nspire will come preloaded with the latest system - it is therefore not a solution for new users.

You'll tell me you just have to reinstall an earlier version of the system?
This was indeed possible until July 2010. At that date, the last 2.1 system has activated a protection which was there but disabled since the beginning, something we called the "system anti-downgrade protection".
System 2.1 and all subsequent systems are updating a minimal installable version number in a memory area not accessible to users and non clearable by any official menu.
Any previous version of the system is then rejected.

As a solution to those problems, the community did release another little tool, Nlaunch.
The TI-Nspire starts by running three pieces of software:

  • Boot Code 1
  • Boot Code 2
  • operating system
So in order to get to the operating system, there are two safety barriers to be overcome.

Where Ndless did only exploit flaws od the system, Nlaunch goes further as directly addressing the Boot Code 2 and overcoming one of both security barriers.
But as Ndless, Nlaunch is also specific to certain versions of the Boot2:

Nlaunch versionTI-Nspire Boot2 version
Nlaunch CX3.1 (TI-Nspire CX)

Nlaunch is able to install and run operating systems completely ignoring the minimum version of the system, and even to make a recent system to coexist with an old Ndless compatible system.

Like with operating systems, Texas Instruments quickly responded by including a TI-Nspire CX Boot2 update in its latest 3.2.4 operating system.

The TI-Nspire community wasn't worried about that:

  • current TI-Nspire users should simply be careful not to update their Boot2 when updating their system, thanks to the small TNOC tool
  • in case of omission of this manipulation, it was still possible to reprogram the older Boot2 version using an inexpensive TTL/USB interface (RS232)
  • and owners of new TI-Nspire CX could also apply this last solution

This was without counting on the wickedness of the Texas Instruments development team...

We could confirm that when updating a current TI-Nspire CX to the new 3.2.4 Boot2, it was still possible to reinstall the old Nlaunch compatible 3.1 Boot2.

But we hadn't tested this on new TI-Nspire CX coming preloaded with versions 3.2.4 of the system and the Boot2 ...
And although Boot2 3.1 is flashed successfuly through RS232 on these units, it is simply unable to run properly!  >:(

The boot2 fails on a non-recoverable error (System Error) and the RS232 console tells us a little more with the "BOOT2 Error: posix_file_init() error".

It's an error that has to do with the file system. But it's obviously still intact, as when flashing back the original 3.2.4 Boot2 the TI-Nspire CX boots successfuly.

So, Texas Instruments did probably change something on the new TI-Nspire CX, something that is managed properly by the new 3.2.4 Boot2 but not the old 3.1 Boot2.
Up to date, we do not know exactly what it is

So basically, Texas Instruments just invented us a new antidowngrade protection, "Boot2 antidowngrade protection". But managing to make its own older version of the code crash instead of giving you a clear and related error message is not very clean from my point of view - it just looks like a dirty hack - we were used to much cleaner protections so far...

In conclusion, the new TI-Nspire CX sold from now on are completely closed, with no known way to install Ndless or Nlaunch up to date.  >:(

If you want to use Ndless or Nlaunch, we'd advise you to give up on purchasing a brand new TI-Nspire CX and to look for it on the second-hand market.

In fact on the back of the TI-Nspire CX, on the right of the serial number, is what is called the datestamp, a 7-character code.

The new TI-Nspire CX crashing Boot2 3.1 which have been reported to us up to date have the datestamp 'P-0313J'.
This means that they were manufactured in the TI factory code P (China) in March 2013, and that they include the hardware revision J (11th version) of the motherboard.

On the second hand market you'll be able to ask the seller the datestamp of the calculator, and to buy only TI-Nspire CX whose datestamp ends with a letter from A to I.

This is a sad day for the community. For the third time, Ndless and all its compatible programs have been beaten to death, and even stronger than the previous times. Will they be able to survive this time? ... :'(


News / HP-Prime firmware and softwares leaked to the Internet
« on: August 21, 2013, 07:40:20 am »
In a previous news, an alpha version of the HP-Prime software leaked on the Internet from China.

Since, Hewlett Packard has authorized its partners to publicly host a newer version of this software. The message in question must have been misunderstood by some, as Klaas Kuperus has posted on HP-Museum not the HP-Prime software, but the login and password of the private FTP folder to recover it:

The problem being that on the 8th of August, this folder did contain other files which are still confidential:
  • A '' archive
  • the HP-Prime version of the "HP-Conectivity Kit" linking software
  • the calculator guidebooks in 7 languages (french, english, german, spanish...)
The '' archive did contain:
  • the SDK0.26 Operating System
  • the V11 Boot Code
  • an USB tool to install the above versions (having an interface letting you read/write images from/to any memory address - which is clearly not the final interface)
So some of those files may be very interesting for hackers/tinkerers and may eventually reappear on the Internet if the HP-Museum topic readers did get them in time.

Indeed, the day after the leak, HP took some actions with that folder:
  • removal of the HP-Prime guidebooks which only reappeared on the 15th of auguts
  • removal of the "HP-Connectivity Kit"
  • overwrite of the '' file with a new version including the new Operating System SDK0.30 and the new Boot Code V13, but whose extraction is this time protected by a password
Maybe they had set up some scripts which had been searching for the password for several hours/days, but the website has finally published this morning a decrypted version of the above file. A great starting point to discover more about the HP-Prime. ;)

Beware, the usbtool tool which allows you to write or read any image to any memory address of the calculator seems dangerous. The operating system consists indeed of several ROM images, each one having to be programmed at a very specific memory address:
  • armfir.elf
So HP-Prime calculators might be bricked permanently in case of misuse of that tool.

Crossposted from:

ftp://primesw:[email protected]


News / TI-Planet summer 2013 contest: the treasure of Knossos
« on: August 16, 2013, 12:25:25 pm »
According to Greek mythology, under the ruins of the Knossos city in Crete, there's a huge labyrinth, known as the Minotaur's labyrinth.
Besides the huge monster, the labyrinth contains many deadly traps, but also a fantastic treasure...

This myth of a labyrinth containing a treasure guarded by a monster was transposed to video games early in the history of video games. Gregory Yob released "Hunt for Wumpus", a BASIC game, as early as 1972.
We over the first graphical version of such a game to Texas Instruments, under the form of a ROM cartridge for the TI-99/4A family-oriented computer, several years later, in 1980.

However, the labyrinth chosen by TI had several constraints, such as having exactly 4 (no more, no less) neighbour rooms for any given room. This enabled intuitive moves across rooms through keyboard direction keys, and an easy planar representation, under the form of a grid.

The Knossos labyrinth is much more complex than that, with levels on multiple floors. Let's therefore represent it on the Nspire platform through a graph, a form which should sound familiar to some French students:
The labygraph shown here has n=10 rooms, numbered from 1 to 10.
Room #1 is the labyrinth's entrance, it communicates directly with rooms #2, #3 and #7.
The treasure is here in room #4, the monster is in room #9.
There's a trap in room #2.

There can be zero, one or multiple traps, but a single treasure and a single monster. The monster does not move.

The room connectivity density is set to d=20%.
The probability (theoretical frequency) of traps is set to p=10%.

Expected production and rules:
Exploring the labyrinth of Knossos being too dangerous, we decided to send a robot with some touch sensors and an artificial intelligence program you're going to develop on TI-Nspire in the language of your choice.

Everything has been done to facilitate you the task, and you can download below the TI-Nspire file allowing you to automatically generate labygraphs and run and view your AI step by step.

All generated labygraphs necessarily have a solution, because obeying the following rules:
  • there is always a safe way to rally the treasure from the entrance
  • the Wumpus is never found in the treasure room
  • the treasur room is never trapped
The file comes with an artificial intelligence that does not think and simply stupidly goes randomly into a neighboor room.
As you can see here on a labygraph with parameters n=10, d=10% and p=10%, the AI ​​gets out alive of the maze with the treasure in about 30% of cases, with 10.3 steps in average.

Your goal is enhance this stupid AI so that it will get out of the maze with the treasure in the fewest moves possible.

To do this, you have at the beginning of the Lua script 3 called functions you are free to complete.
You have the right to call external TI-Basic functions and even Ndless functions if you manage to.
You can create other Lua functions or variables if necessary.
The only forbidden thing is to use / modify other functions or variables preincluded in the script.

init(n): must (re)initialize the AI memory in order to work on a labygraph of n rooms entered by room #1. It's called at the beginning of each new game.

For each visited room, the AI perceives sensations, must think and make a decision.
Possible sensations are:
  • "it stinks" -> the Wumpus is in a neighboor room...
  • "it's freezing" -> there is at least one trap in the neighboor rooms ...
  • "it's shining" -> the treasure is in a neighboor room...
The function think(n,ip,lv,lc) is given, for this purpose :
  • n, number of rooms in the labygraphe
  • ip, the room number where the wumus currently is
  • lv, the list of room numbers that are next to the current room
  • lc, a list of 4 feelings that equal 1 when felt and 0 otherwised :
  • "it stinks"
  • "it's freezing"
  • "it's shining"
  • "I'm holding the treasure"
The function will have to integrate the appropriate feelings to the A.I.'s memory, and from that, to be able to infer the positions of : the Wumpus, the traps, and the treasure.

Once this is done, a decision has to be made. The A.I. can either :
  • go to an adjacent room
  • shoot an arrow to an adjacent room to kill the Wumpus(1 arrow only by game)
Note that killing the Wumpus isn't necessary. It however counts as an additional turn. The Wumpus stops strking once it's dead.

All this is done with the function action(n,ip,lv). Its arguments (given) are :
  • n, number of rooms in the labygraphe
  • ip, the room number where the wumus currently is
  • lv, the list of room numbers that are next to the current room
The function shall return a number meaning what the AI will do :
  • (positive number) the room number to go to.
  • (negative number) the negative room number into which the AI shoots an arrow
Terms of grading:
Your AI will be graded from statistics acquired from a large number of tries in big labygraphes (mazes), with :
  • The success percentage
  • The average number of tries
Terms of participation:
You'll have to send an email to [email protected] before November 3rd, 2013 at 23h59 (CEST), with:
  • Your first and last name, as well as your postal address
  • The modified TI-Nspire file with your AI.
  • An explanation on how your AI works
Prizes to win:
  • 1se prize: 1 TI-Nspire CX CAS with its software and licence + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 2nd prize: 1 TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition (new color calculator for back to school 2013) with its USB charger + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 3rd prize: 1 TI-83 USB (equivalent to a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition) + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 4th prize: 1 TI-82 + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 5th prize: 1 Texas Instruments calculator poster (model of your choice, if available) + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 6th prize: 1 Texas Instruments USB pen + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 7th prize: 1 Texas Instruments notebook + 2 TI-Planet stickers
  • 8th prize: 4 TI-Planet stickers

The TI-Nspire file to modify for the contest:
LabyGraph - Wumpus
Note:The file can be improved / fixes during the contest period especially for the interface, but this won't interfere in any way with the operation of your IA if it follows the above rules.

In order to edit the Lua script and complete it with your functions :
TI-Nspire 3.2 teacher software (for PC - 90 days trial)
TI-Nspire 3.2 teacher software (for Mac - 90 days trial)
TI-Nspire 3.2 student software (for PC - 30 days trial)
TI-Nspire 3.2 student software (for Mac - 30 days trial)
Note: installing the student version after having gone over the 90 days trial of the teacher version or vice versa, will get you 120 more trial days which should be enough for the contest ;)

Legal notices:
The full rules are available here: or on UPECS
Personal data collection is declared to the CNIL and is protected under the law of January 6, 1978. You have at any time the right to access, modify or delete your personal data.

TI-Planet contest topic:

News / Nover 3: boost your Nspire with the automatic overclocker
« on: August 12, 2013, 08:57:22 pm »
Do you think that your Nspire is too slow? It was possible to boost it through an overclock with our Nover 2 tool.

Overclocking means increasing the chips frequency.
It has been used by Texas Instruments on TI-Nspire Clickpad/TouchPad, as the initial processor frequency was 90MHz and has been increased to 120MHz since OS version 2.1, giving a performance boost of 33,3%.

Nover was allowing you:
  • to increase the processor frequency of your TI-Nspire ClickPad/TouchPad even more at 150MHz! ;D
  • to increase the processor frequency of your TI-Nspire CX/CM from 132 to 220-240MHz, giving a 66-82% performance boost! ;D

On TI-Nspire ClickPad/TouchPad, it was really easy: you just had to put all frequencies to the maximum and it worked directly! ;D

On TI-Nspire CX/CM, it was something else since the maximum processor frequency of 378MHz is unstable, and according to reviews and tests on different calculators, the maximum stable frequency is between 220 and 240MHz. You had thus to follow a tutorial in order to determine the highest stable frequency.

The new Nover 3 version tonight thus has great improvements - as you don't even need to follow the tutorial anymore, nor to know anything about overclocking. :)
And thus, Nover 3 seeks the best stable overclocking for your calculator by itself! ;D
You just have to put it in the Ndless startup folder, reboot your calculator and after a few minutes the best overclock configuration is detected and saved ! :D

The automated search follows the tutorial steps, using the safest seeking-way. Your calculator may reboot or freeze while doing the automated search, and it's normal since the program tests if the current configuration is stable. Those (two at least) crashes on TI-Nspire CX/CM happen in a non-critical code zone. When freezing, you only have to reboot the calculator and the process will go on.

Here you can see a TI-Nspire CM Chinese Edition EVT1 prototype, with Nover 3 boosting the frequency from 132 to 234MHz, meaning a 77.2% performance boost! ;D
The installation process made only two freezes, thus needing 3 reboots before opting for the 234MHz.

Here are some statistics with the frequencies automatically set by Nover 3 installation on some TI-Nspire CX/CM I've gathered for you:
  • 1st, 234MHz: TI-Nspire CM Chinese Edition EVT1 prototype + TI-Nspire CX TA3 prototype + TI-Nspire CX CAS hardware revision F (july 2012)
  • 2nd, 228MHz: TI-Nspire CX CAS hardware revision D (september 2011)
  • 3rd, 222MHz: TI-Nspire CX CAS hardware revision D (september 2011) + TI-Nspire CX CAS hardware revision C (july 2011)
  • 4th, 210MHz: TI-Nspire CM-C CAS non-revised hardware (april 2012)
Feel free to complete those statistics by answering in the topic.

Nover 3


News / Exciting graphic objects on the HP-Prime
« on: August 12, 2013, 08:03:03 pm »
Most graphic calculators have rectangular graphic items usable on their own interpreted programming language.

Those items are called Picture on TI-z80. The new TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition color calculator for back to school 2013 even adds a second specific graphic item, the Background type.

However those items often have some limitations with the official programming language:
  • their numbers is limited
  • they are bound by the screen size
  • they can not be created on-calc and thus need an ASM program or a specific software on a computer
  • if they can be created on-calc, the only way is to store the content of the screen (screenshot)
  • they can not be modified but only overwritten through the creation of a new object
  • it is not possible to show a part of those items
  • those items can only be displaying by starting at the top left of the screen
Of course, there are ASM programs going through these limitations. However, they often use for this purpose their own grapahic item format which is thus incompatible.

The official programming language of the HP-Prime supplies us with a lot of surprises about this, as it is possible to create graphic items with the content and dimensions you want, to display them wherever you want, and even to modify them like you want! ;D

Thus here we see two DJ_O and Gilles59's programs using the official programming language to test the scaling and scrolling of a graphic item:

It shows exceptional performances for an interpreted language, which are currently impossible to achieve on other calculator models without ASM.

Even if those performances may not be enough for games which massively redraw the whole screen (for instance, action games with scrolling, or even 3D FPS games), it remains a honorable performance. ;D

Source of the programs:

Crossposted from:

News / HP-Prime prototype performance test: color graphic programs
« on: August 08, 2013, 04:26:20 pm »
Several websites have begun comparing the TI-Nspire CX, Casio Classpad II fx-400CP and HP-Prime performances by using the softwares now available online.

It is a mistake because beyond the performance of the host computer, those software are often not emulators but simulators. They're running a system which has been rebuilt for the computer.

The calculation performances are often in direct link with the processor speed, and therefore we can expect the HP-Prime calculating faster than all its competitors.

Where we sometimes do have some surprises, is with programs dealing with lots of outputs/displays, mostly games. In fact, there is no dedicated graphic processor on our calculators. Thus output instructions "plunders" processor time, which consequently has less time to process calculations of the program itself. The more pixels and colors the screen can display, the more calculations required are required and it is a problem particularly for the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition.

Therefore lets's check this evening if the HP-Prime's processor has the same problem. We will use our HP-Prime DVT prototype, and the new color tunnel game made by DJ_O for the HP-Prime software:

Now lets get a look of the game directly on the calculator itself:

It rocks... it's so fast that it becomes unplayable! ;D

On the HP-Prime we don't have access to assembly programs, and we wouldn't dare imagining what it would have done... The power of assembly is usually used by other calculator models for games. It seems it might be possible on the HP-Prime to develop huge games without a single line of assembly! You might even need to slow down your games with some loops! :P
But of course, the speed is not the only advantage of the assembly language, it also allows you to perform many usually achievable things... ;)


Program source:

Cross-posted from:

News / HP-Prime DVT prototype test and pictures
« on: August 07, 2013, 06:58:40 pm »

    Hello everyone,

    After our pre-release HP Prime test thanks to its software, then our hands-on Classpad II fx-CP400 test article, the potential competitor of the Nspire CX CAS from Casio
    HP gave us the green light to publish articles about the HP Prime in advance :)
    We would like to give thank HP for giving us the calculator, and we would also note that this test was made on a prototype calculator hardware (and software), and thus we can safely say that production versions can only be the same or better - trivial bugs found on beta OS updates being quickly fixed in the next updates. A first final OS is to be announced by the end of August. ;-)

    This test is aimed to show you our general thoughts about the calculator and doesn’t go
    in depth about applications, which was dealt with a little bit in a previous news (the first link above) - we recommend you to read it if haven't already, those two news - this one and the last one - are complementary, and details will be the topic of an another article soon : the comparison between TI-Nspire applications, HP Prime, and Casio fx-CP400.

    Enjoy :)

    • 1) Global presentation
    • 2) Packaging & connectivity
    • 3) Design & Screen
    • 4) Power supply & Boot
    • 5) The most important : Math and Graphs
    • 6) Interaction and user experience
    • 7) Others applications / Programming
    • 8) Misc.
    • 9) Conclusion
    1) Global presentation
    This beast you find in the middle, we would pleasantly take just as yet-another scientific calculator, however it’s NOT ; it's the HP Prime, the brand new 2013 back-to-school buzzed-about calculator, and it is apparently the (most) powerful of the graphing calculators list. And also, this girly-we-would-say is not eye-appealing and can be put with its calculator friends, limiting thief risks ... until we actually see the front side.

    This one done, it shows a unique very clean design and a collapsable cover with 4 anti-slipping pads, set with a “hp” silver-colored embossed logo. The cover removed, the calculator shows two areas : a black one at the top with the screen where you can see the clickpad and some application keys, and a silver-colored bottom area with the numpad, operation and function keys.

    How could we miss it that much ? With only 18,23x8,58cm², it is of course the smallest CAS-capable graphing calculator worldwide !

    Despite this, it places itself on second position on the screen size (behind the Casio fx-CP400), with a screen of 320x240 pixels (like TI-Nspire), but with a bigger surface of of 7x5,4cm². The screen takes the spotlight, leaving thin lateral and superior borders.

    However, with only 1,39cm thinness without cover, and 1,5 to 1,6 with, it gets rid of TI-Nspire CX in the thinness race, and becomes the world’s thinnest CAS-capable calculator ;)

    And finally, by weighting 228g, and even 180g without cover and 140g without the battery, it is also the lightest CAS-equipped graphing calculator ever marketed. A very nice pocket-sized handheld :)

    2) Packaging & Connections
    Here’s the packaging :

    And now its content :

    (also with a CD-ROM not shown here)

    • The HP-Prime calculator
    • Warranty booklet
    • 2 USB cables (micro-USB A <-> micro USB B for  Prime<->Prime and micro-USB B <-> USB A for Prime<->computer)
    • 1 USB wall-plug converter (there for North America)
    • A quick start guide

    As it is more and more the case on ultrathin devices, the HP-Prime calculator has a micro-USB mixed plug (A-type and B-type). Thus it can be used as a computer device (micro-USB B-type) or receive from  its own type(micro-USB A-type). Take note that those cables are not as widespread as mini-USB cables that are not compatible. Made that way, you should take care not to lose them and to have them ready to use.

    3) Design & Screen
    As indicated on the sticker on the back, we have here a DVT prototype:

    Specifications :
    - Size : 18.23 x 8.58 x 1.39 cm (7.13 x 3.38 x .550 in)
    - Weight : 228 g (8.04 oz)

    As said before, the design is very well made. While its weight is quite low, it is still easy to use it.

    The brushed metal reminds us of a calc-concept made by Levak; the TI-Nspire CX Titanium ;)

    Let's note that on this prototype, the color of the calculator’s back is white. On production models, it will be changed to black.

    The screen is a 16-bits color (65536 colors) 3.5" (8.9 cm) multi-touch TFT screen, with a 320x240pixels resolution. Thus giving a 114 ppi resolution (slight lower than the TI-Nspire or the CP400, respectively 125~128)

    4) Power supply & Boot

    The HP-Prime is powered by a Li-ion battery, which doesn’t need any cable. It's very easily put inside the calculator. The battery has a 3.7V voltage like the TI-Nspire, but for a 1500mAh capacity (giving a total of 5,55Wh). Thus it gives a higher capacity than white TI-Nspire batteries shipped with TI-Nspire Touchpad (in 2010), and its spec always lowered since that. You can find what TI makes here to compare..

    But beyond the battery specs, one has to see if the calculators actually consumes less power. According to HP, the battery is fully charged in 4 hours and would give the calc 20 hours of "normal" usage.

    After booting, we have in this order :
    - HP Logo splashscreen
    - Boot animation (circle equation then its graph)
    - Language selection screen (only during the first boot)
    - Main screen (numeric calculus)

    The complete boot (when totally unpowered) takes around 8 seconds. Very fast, then, like the Casio fx-CP400, making the Nspire ridiculous. Maybe security software overlays are different behind those booting times...

    5) The most important : Math and Graphs
    While those essential informations were addressed on our previous news thanks to the emulator, and will be readdressed in depth soon in our application comparaison between Prime, Nspire, and CP400, here are some thoughts and a user feeling feedback of the usage on the real calculator.
    Some points are actually so important that they may also appeared in comparaison news and could be already addressed on the previous article.

    • Calculus :
      . Lets say this again as it is quite important : the numeric mode and the CAS mode are separated. The numeric mode (which actually has an exact engine) is the default mode and is the homescreen as well (“home” icon). To enjoy the CAS engine (based on the French, free Xcas engine), you only have to press the “CAS” key.
      From the user POV (used to the Nspire), we are not convinced that this separation is very useful. In fact, it is perfectly possible from the CAS to ask for an answer with a numeric approximation (approx() function). So... why would we limit ourselves ? And that’s quickly annoying as it makes the user angry when we are not in the right mode, and seeing “Syntax Error” out of nowhere (depending on the case, letters are not automatically variables - you must create them) or unobvious results (most of the times 0, because variables are initially 0).


      Numeric mode (homescreen) and CAS

      . We remind you that if you are a RPN fan, the Prime boasts a native input for this :) However, it is not usable with the CAS, unfortunately...

      . When we are not used to it or new to the platform, some graphics are... cryptic. This one, for instance, shows a matrix being edited. The cursor is effectively on the first cell waiting (flashing), and the 2 symbols “plus or minus” are here to put the cursor so when you input a number, the matrix grows up in the wanted direction and when the number input is done, or when you press del, the column or row where you are deletes itself. Once we understood, however, it looks like “well, why not.”. However, it’s not very intuitive for the user.

    • Graphing :
      . Graphic features are spread accross several applications : Functions, Advanced graphing, parametric, polar, sequences, geometry. We also have “explorators” : quadratic, trigonometric, and affine.
      . Nothing hard to graph everything we would like : depending on the mode, we choose the corresponding application, we put the equations on the available windows by
      . We then press . To have a table with corresponding values, we press . All this looks intuitive, and the graphing is very, very fast.
      However, we can only have 10 graphs. Even if I don’t see any interest to graph 10 graphs simultaneously, I do not neither see the reason to actually limit the software to this amount.

      . Nothing specific to tell you about functions offered on basic applications - not too much, nor not enough.

      . HP really insisted on the graphing capacity of the Prime, which other calculators can't dream of reaching. And by looking at those screenshots, it is probably true :

      It looks very well made but... what’s the point of all this in the curriculum ? (French, at least.. .?)
      Have you ever had or wanted to input a formula like :
    6) Interaction and user experience

    • Touch side :
      . In contrary to the Casio approach with the CP400 shipped with a stylus, HP chose something that everyone has : fingers.
      Indeed, the fingers, because the screen is multi-touch and some gestures are used for instance like in the trigonometric explorator to change amplitude or period, or in the spreadsheet to modify cell sizes. Unfortunately, the multi-touch is not yet developed enough (we would have liked a zoom, obviously, on graphing, as it is probably the first thought you could have of a multi-touch on a graphing calculator...). Frustating !

      . Regarding mono-touch, the OS is very well adapted for its interface. We are surprised however, by the smoothness while scrolling, for instance the applications screen, or on a graphic. You probably also saw it on the video at the top. :)
      However, a more subjective observation than the other ones : there is no “bounce/elastic scrolling” like we could see on other touch devices, which allows us not to have an instant stop before going out of bounds.
      In Settings for instance, we have absolutely no scrolling however, even though a swipe works to go from a page to another.

      . However we note a problem around the interface and touch input : some GUI (Graphical User Interface) elements require a touch interaction even if you thought it’s not needed. For instance, a drop-down list : Impossible to expand it out and thus impossible to choose an option if we do not use our finger : no keypad interaction is given for this, weirdly enough. It's quite strange that HP “forces” touch usage when it’s not natural or does not improve the user experience.
      Maybe this software issue will be fixed in future updates if enough people report it ?

    • Keyboard :
      . The keyboard is very pleasant to use. It is however a personal opinion, but the keypresses are not too hard, not too soft ; it is well balanced, and this to be a habit on HP devices :)

      . As you could see on photos and/or the emulator, every (or almost) keys has 3 different functions, which is neither too much or not enough, as most secondary functions are available with Shift of Alpha.

      . Speaking of Alpha... the Prime allows us to write uppercase and lowercase, caps-lock on or off. However, those manipulations are not easily done, as we can see in the manual (see the screenshot)

      What could be made clearly : “To put capital letters, press first ALPHA. For a lowercase letter, press Shift first then Alpha. To enter Lock (capital or not), add an “ALPHA” keypress at the end of the previous combinations. To exit Lock mode : ‘Esc’. “. Special cases (adding a letter of a different caps mode) are available, why not, but you really would have to want it... In fact, it is a situation where a separate keyboard for characters is very useful, as on the Nspire...

      . Something else that would make TI calculator users annoyed : as you could probably note : the Enter key is not at the bottom right like other devices, but in the middle, at the right... How many time I went pressing “+” at the end of expressions, freezing my hands and watching the bottom right of the screen to wait for the result to show up without having a doubt that I didn’t press Enter... However, it is something to get used to, not much of a problem :)

    • Applications/Interface :
      This is... huge. Don't expect to find here a full list of things we could say about those applications, it is the subject of the soon-coming news :) Here, we will talk about user experience and the ergonomy made by HP through the applications and the OS interface in general, etc.

      First of all, HP did not pick up the TI's Nspire "architecture" of having a system based of applications (“widgets”), in a page (tab), taking place in an activity, inside a document (.tns file), which are available like others, in the document explorer. And if it’s needed or is an emergency, there is the “Scratchpad”, a sort of “popup” which has a calculator and a graphing application (the core of graphing calculators).

      Nspire architecture

      In short, the Nspire has an architecture close to the one found on computers. And I think it is something that attracted a lot of Nspire users : intuitive, since we are used to such a behavior, well, obviously when we are not used to an other platform, of course.

      What the Prime gives us is a radically different way and comes close to the way it is done on non-Nspire calculators, i.e... no file system architecture. But not unlike TI-z80 (82,83,84...) : Everything goes through a system of applications. It could be compared to TI-68k (89,92,v200).
      We are on a sort of giant “scratchpad” where all applications are available (but not at the same time...) while you can not save a “session” which could have several applications to create a full activity about a specific theme like on the Nspire. The 2 only “applications” (which are in fact not), are the numeric calculus and the CAS, which have their two respective keys on the keyboard.
      What we have, is a system which can “clone” an application (the calculator comes with 18 apps) by customizing with its own initial parameters/content. It is really weird for me and would leave people who do not master this with doubts and questions... : why should we duplicate an application instead of creating our own “context/document” with these or those applications ? In addition to this, however, is the possibility of Basic programs to “access” system parameters and thus makes easier to customize whatever where you want. It is indeed customized applications and programs which calculator users can transfer, like on other calculators as the TI-z80 or 68k.

      But that’s not all. Every application has its own principal features/settings (via [Symb], [Plot], and [Num]), its own “views”, its own functions, and its own variables. Some functions and variables are usable via other applications.

      On a document by G.T Springer from HP, we can see clearly what's behind the primary application, “Function”, which we must use to graph functions (and yes, I must write it, if we are in an another application, we can only do what it's made for (and access the calc functions, of course).

      Strangely, the 3 left panels are captioned “App Views” whereas the system shows those views of these applications like :
      What we do see in the global picture is more like the 3 principal features screen of the application. However... back luck, the official name is also “view” :
      . This adds a confusing layer for new users.

      As said before, those 3 screens have features which are (respectively) displayable with the keys , et (when the application allows it), which are physical keys and available even if it’s some do nothing... I’m not fond of this to book up even more the software and/or hardware with such things that are not used in some contexts, it is simply waste and take space for no use at all.

      In short, lets go back to the subject : each application has, or not, its own behavior, linked to 3 keys, “Symb” should be for everything “symbolic” (data and primary settings of the applications), “Plot” is for everything graphic, and “Num”... is for everything numeric (like a spreadsheet).

      Some words about those “views” : once again, it is a physical key which is not available all the time (), and list the whole shortcuts and features involved in the application (go figure why on graphic applications, 4 shortcuts out of 6 are for zooming).

      In short, I’m telling myself that it’s only the essential, the Prime forces your thoughts to think by application, and to restrain yourself in its domain, and as long as you do not exit it, you can not do something else if the application is not made for it. For instance, it is impossible to have several graphic windows opened at the same time, several spreadsheet windows, program editors, and so on. Thus no “multitasking” possible if I could say so. But the hardware is well capable of handling this !
      In short : Troubling ... but not necessarily disturbing when we need one thing to be done and only one (at at time). But if we need more, it's just not possible.

      By the way... we are indeed becoming more and more picky but … it is annoying to have some inconsistent UI, from an application to an another one, and I think that it’s not very professional, I would say. Some examples ? :

      * Most of the times on devices, if not always, when we have a status bar, it is there for forever, and is globally for the system (we could think about computers’ OS, but also other calculators). On the Prime... it is sometimes here, sometimes not here... (And if a reason was to get more working space on the screen, look at the next point ;-) )

      * This is also valid for a menu bar. It is always visible, too. But sometimes it has 6 buttons, and some can be empty ; sometimes there are “holes” ; sometimes only one button is visible... It is not that much uniformly made... We could wonder if it's in an effot to make the buttons be fit for their context... but, in this case, why not having provided a more optimal solution for our taste (and it is already implemented on Nspire, for example) : showing the real menu (and not otherwise, by getting space on the screen) a button is pressed (a physical one on the keyboard, obviously...) ? … but this button is not available (I’m saying it doesn’t do “nothing”), it is only here as a bridge -for recalling expressions- between the numeric and the CAS engine, and to access the “messages” system.)

      Here is the different looks that the menu/action bar can take, the most striking issue remaining those empty buttons that emphasize dissymmetry.

      * Others “details” for a detail-looker ?
      The inconsistence again and the unoptimized layout of some screens (here, plot setup) :

      We hope that those modifications will be available on future updates !
    • Exam mode :
      . The Prime features, like the TI-Nspire, a configurable Exam mode (we were speaking about it here), but with a larger choice of banning/allowing features - in fact, we can pretty much get rid of all features.

      Here is an image of the general configuration menu, the features choices to block, and an example of blocked CAS (through the menu allowing quick access to functions from the home screen -numeric calculus-)

      The Exam mode can be turned off after a fixed time or if the user enters the password used while configuring the Exam mode.
      The Exam mode verification is possible by supervisors when they walk through the rows thanks to a banner going from blue to red, facing supervisors with 3 blue/green/red superior LED visibles from the back if the case of the calculator is not too much leaned.
    7) Other applications / Programming
    - Programming on the calculator is possible, in HP Basic, known for its lightning-fast speed. This language is compatible with HP-39GII.
    You can see some benchmarks and comparisons with many calculators on

    In short, we have, for the same program (only syntax differs according to the maker) of the N-Queen algorithm :
    1min30 on the Casio CP300+ (!), 2.1 sec on TI-Nspire, and 0.4s on the HP Prime.

    Thus, the HP Prime has, according to those tests, the fastest non-compiled language (interpreted ; if it’s one), behind Lua on Nspire (0.045 sec.), a remarkable performance for a Basic language ! What would Lua give if HP allowed it... ?

    Speaking about “non allowed” (at least, not implemented), we can note that only Basic is possible (and no SysRPL unlike other HP calculator models). As far as we know, no SDK is planned - and thus no native Programming in C or ASM, and not even a mid-range language like Lua. That's too bad...
    However, it is not impossible that if the platform is getting developers interested in it enough, we might see security exploits found and used to allow native calculator language, like on the TI-Nspire through the Ndless jailbreak.

    8) Misc :
    Some points we found while using the calculator, that we’ve missed (or were not here) on our news on the emulator :

    • Weirdly... no option to change brightness ! It is missing and it’s something important that should have been made (makes very hard to take photos when the contrast is not high enough, i.e. bright rooms for instance...) We hope it gets implemented on production versions.

    EDIT : It's actually there, just not documented : [ON] +
    • /[-]
    • It is possible to change the cell size on spreadsheets (with split view with a graph for instance) in multi-touch (it wasn’t written on the manual, no ? :D), thus it’s a general independant font setting, which the Nspire doesn’t provide (only one global setting).
    • The Reset button, on the back of the calculator, is hardly usable or even impossible to press without a very thin spike. Forget pencil leads or thin stylus which works on Nspire and many other calculators. We hope that this means that the OS is butter stable … ? ;-) Otherwise, I don’t think people will not try to increase the hole size, so a pencil lead can access the button (on the motherboard, the button is way much bigger, so no problem on this side).

    Edit : [On]+[Symb] seems to do the trick too :)

    • Copy/paste exists, but more shortcuts could be used, as available on Nspire, like Ctrl-A (select all), Ctrl-Z (cancel), Ctrl-Y (redo), which are not implemented (only through a menu in Notes/Info).
    • Currently... it is not possible to select something else than a “block” or some other mathematical expressions, for instance ! I saw on Internet that this wasn’t intended, otherwise I wouldn’t address this to you by thinking it would get fixed in later releases... but no. To restart from a previous complex calculation, you have to select all of it and remove all the unwanted parts one by one...
    • (While we’re here, another one even if not linked to the calculator itself : On the software, the multi-touch is implemented by pressing both left and right keys on the mouse at the same time - followed by a motion.)
    • Currently, we do not have the transfer software (“connectivity kit”), but it will soon come.
    • We couldn’t have yet test the calculator with its extensions, such as StreamSmart sensors, or the wireless module. We imagine clearly that this would be a bonus :)
    Without any particular order, here’s a table which summarizes the good parts and those that may need some improvements :
    Main positive points :
    Main negative points : :
    • Design / Comfort
    • Specifications
    • Overall speed (calcaultions, graphs, programs)
    • Basic compatibility with the HP-39Gii
    • Good color screen usage
    • Good CAS engine (even if some points have to be improved)
    • Price (relative to its competitors ; 155€)
    • ...
    • Multi-touch not enough developed
    • No 3D graphing
    • No other programming languages than HP Basic
    • No "documents" (but thatt’s a choice.)
    • GUI could be improved in some areas

    - For a first OS version (and yet, we only have a pre-release version, which could only get improved before it’s official announcement !) on this new device, HP strikes hard to counter Casio and obviously TI.
    The negative points we mentioned clearly shows all the efforts HP must make in the future on the software side (which is something good : a hardware modification is way much more annoying...), so we are looking forward in the future to some updates addressing those "issues" ;)

    - Something we could say without being wrong I guess, is that this calculator is a good choice for those who are already working or need a portable and powerful device, but also for teachers and students who do not have an educative system looking for educational activities with calculators (in France, or even Europe, then, the Prime should do a fierce competition against TI, but probably less in the USA). Indeed, as said before, the Nspire shows a good potential, mainly for having a document/file system saving applications on a precise state, and organized by its own user. This approach is not the one taken by HP, whose style is more “one application only”. It doesn’t mean that no educational activity files will be made for Prime platform - there will be obviously and would be adapted to the presentation of the calculator. The future will tell us that !

    See you later for our big news of application comparison on the TI-Nspire, HP Prime, and Casio fx-CP400 :-)


    Credits :
    Content by Adriweb & Critor
    English translation by Adriweb & Laurae

    Download :
    HP Prime Software (Latest version, the one that ships with the calculator - no trial, this is the full and only version!)
    Gallery with all the images

    Source :

    News / OS 3.3 available for the TI-Nspire CX CAS
    « on: August 04, 2013, 07:14:19 pm »
    In a previous news, we announced the release in Saudi Arabia of the 3.3 version of TI-Nspire system. This version added a 16th supported language, Arabic. But note that this addition was undoubtedly much more complicated than the Chinese one in 3.0 versions, since to respect the Arab writing from right to left, all the TI-Nspire interface was reversed horizontally:

    However, we never could get our hands on this OS up to now. Indeed, it hasn't been released through TI's servers, but only through its school distributor network in Saudi Arabia.

    However this evening, a TI-Planet member did finally send it to us for the TI-Nspire CX CAS! ;)

    The complete version number is

    Unlike OS 3.2.4, this OS still have the Boot2 and so doesn't prevent Nlaunch installation if you still haven't installed OS 3.2.4 with its Boot2! ;D

    However OS installation raises the minimum version of installable OS on the calculator to Officially, following its installation, it becomes impossible to return to the OS 3.1 and use Ndless. But in practice, you just have to use Nlaunch which just ignores the minimal version. If needed, Ndless utility nsNandMgr then allows you to reset the minimal version and to put back your calculator in the same state it was in before installing this 3.3 OS. :)

    (menu 5 "Boot Data" puis options 4 ou 5)

    Source & Download:

    News / Customize your Casio off-screen logo with a BitMaP image
    « on: August 03, 2013, 08:46:33 pm »
    When powering off your fx-7400Gii, fx-9750Gii, fx-9860G or fx-9860Gii, you are shown a nice Casio logo.
    This logo is in fact a BMP image included in the OS - and from now on, a new tool is going to let you overwrite that image! ;)

    You can now fully customize your Casio calculator - why not putting an image with your nick in order to prevent theft? ;)

    The BMP image has to be in 128 x 64 pixels, with 1-bit color depth.
    This format is refered as "monochrome Bitmap" in some softwares, and in other softwares you just get it by setting an indexed image with a 2-colors palette.
    For exemple, GIMP is able to read this format although it won't accept to write it as far as I know - but the simple Microsoft Paint everyone has with Microsoft Windows is able to do it! ;D

    And for those who won't believe in a single image, here's the video: ;)

    It might be possible to perform the same thing in color with Casio Prizm fx-CG10/20 and Casio CladdPad II fx-CP400, but I haven't investigated yet if a 3rd party OS flasher like fxRemote is available for those models.

    Source & Download

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