Author Topic: Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!  (Read 9854 times)

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Offline alberthrocks

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Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!
« on: February 12, 2011, 01:18:55 pm »
As time goes by, it seems anything could change. And it has - tons of development has occurred! :)
From Axe Parser to particle simulation games to calculator networking, possibilities seem endless!

However, a previous project that has not taken off yet is now in hiatus. That project would be C2I.

C2I, as you may have guessed, stands for Calculator 2 Internet, and is a project to obvious connect a calculator to the Internet.

Since CN2.2's creation, C2I's role in creating the link from calculator to internet has gradually been diminishing. gCn v1.0's release truly made C2I feel irrelevant, since there's already a framework to build on. Quite a few nice games have been created with CN/gCn. With KermM's development to make gCn (and CN) available via USB, C2I's future is unknown... which is why I've posted this topic.

gCn and C2I are fundamentally different - gCn links the calculator to a virtual server hub via a client emulating a hub (with internet, of course), in which people can engage in multiplayer gaming or chat/IRC from there. (I'm not too sure how hub selection works, or if you can connect to a specific calc on the internet.)

C2I, on the other hand, had plans to be a bit more direct - basically, the client itself can do local connections, i.e. directly connect to IRC, the web, etc. However, it's not too far from what gCn aims to accomplish, and the methods of doing it. The only significant difference is that you can grab HTTP URLs in the calc, as well as manage sockets. (You're a bit more "direct" with connecting, so to speak.)

C2I was more or less envisioned to be kind and user friendly to the average user - it would have an app store, Facebook/Twitter access, a browser, etc. But with a browser planned and more for gCn, it seems to be very redundant in making it.

I have absolutely no idea where to go with this project. On one side, I see the missing bits of gCn and the design, and want to fill in the gaps with C2I. On the other hand, it's likely that gCn will progress (both calc and client side) to fill in the holes, which will make C2I eventually deprecated. Also, it's unknown whether people want to even use C2I at all in their projects, and if gCn could already do what was planned for C2I.

This is the original feature/implementation list of C2I:
Spoiler For C2I Features/Implementation List:
Framework/Implementation
Core:
= C2I works with any cable that connects the calc to the computer
= 2nd or 3rd level connection (calc s/r raw data <-> client s/r raw data <-> Internet; OR calc s/r action calls <-> client s/r calls <-> client or its plugin parse/s/r/ raw data <-> Internet)
= 3 parts: calculator, client, network/internet
= LAN connection and interaction via client
= Internal social core, with friend lists and groups, as well as "calc rooms"
= Distributed as an application - is executable with settings, social core, etc., and acts as a library too for programs
= Also can be bundled in as a program via source/binary inclusion
Calculator:
= Graphical, user friendly center with access to settings, social core, etc.
= Request connections to server, send/recv. data, invites, etc.
= Internal settings for server selection, username change, etc.
= Integrated connection manager - dialog shows if connection is lost to the internet
= Application or program distribution
= Can either indirectly indirectly or indirectly handle data (see above connection text diagram for reference)
= Sync settings with client
Client:
= At its heart, CLI only, but due to the needed user input sometimes, robust GUI will be included
= Manages the connections to the server, data x-fer between calc and internet, etc.
= Handles sockets, HTTP requests, etc. as needed by the calc program
= Plugin support - plugins for handling "special" data (and sending them too) - basically pre-processing data if the calc can't handle it, and sending new data back into the calc.
= Handles any LAN connections and can manage a mini server
= Calc settings are changable - syncs settings with calc
Server:
= Manages connections and users
= PHP based for easy handling and access (some places only allow outbound port 80), but faster, direct IRC like handling is also available via a different port
= Data storage via MySQL and data files
= Storage of files as necessary (if program needs them)
= Maintains any online worlds or battle comm.
= Plugins can be written to accommodate "special" cases, such as distribution of an online world, handling battles, etc. (this is not necessary to have an online world - again, "special" cases)
= Online repository (optional), any language works as long as it implements the spec!

Developer/User Access and Features
Developers/API:
= Send/Recv, either when wanted or via interrupt
= Choose different servers to connect to if the default isn't used
= Can ask C2I to present an interface to connect to internet, choose person to play against, choose group, etc.
= Store/get user data either on the computer or online (in the user data)
= Store/get regular data on computer or online
= Create invites/requests to send to other people to battle, chat, etc.
= Perform HTTP GET/POST requests
= Some preliminary, basic socket handling
= Others???
== Some applications of API:
=== Online virtual world - fetching tiles from online asynchronously or not
=== Social integration - leaderboards, chat, FB/Twitter posts, etc.
=== Individual and group "battles", with invitation sending
=== CalcSVN - storage (and backup) of code online (programs, appvars, etc.)
Users:
= Browse the web
= Access and update your Facebook or Twitter
= Chat on IRC
= Game "achievements" - with online leaderboard, and posting to Facebook/Twitter
= App Store (name subject to change) - easy to use place to get other apps and programs. Not restricted like Apple's, and supports dependency linking (??), updates, and multiple repositories (the main ticalc.org repo, Cemetech repo, Omnimaga repo, etc.)
= Online and multiplayer gaming

You can tell that it looks more fun on the user side of things, eh? :P
With a fun developer gone (or is he? ;)), I will need significant help on the calc (and partial client dev help) to complete this project... if there's even a reason to continue.

The question to you guys is this: should I continue on to develop the API, etc. of C2I? Or is C2I just redundant? Would you guys ever use it? If so, what for and why? Are there other things you would look for in either gCn or C2I?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 11:01:59 pm by alberthrocks »
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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 10:33:45 am »


C21 as C21 textures? Yeah, the future, simple and pretty!

C21 as in Calculator to Internet, I don't know... It can be done, I'm sure but is it that important? Most normal calculator users wouldn't use it, since it doesn't have many obvious advantages.

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 02:54:22 pm »
Hmm I have mixed feeling about this. If by user-friendlier you mean for example that on the TI-84+ you wouldn't need any extra hardware such as an arduino and just connect through USB, then it might be nice to see this come to fruition, but on the other hand, Kerm is still actively working on gCn, so maybe in the future he will have implemented that. Also, gCn and CALCnet projects have been in the works for years now (despite a hiatus around 2008-2009), so not only it would be kinda odd to some people to see a project by a Cemetech staff compete directly against another Cemetech staff's, but the fact Kerm has thought about gCn and worked on it every now and then since years ago tells me that this was a really ambitious project, and that you'll effectively need a lot of experience in calc programming and networking to get internet on your calculator.

On the other hand, I guess maybe you could join gCn development to help with new ideas and features. Regardless, if you decide to take on a gCn-like project, I wish you good luck.

That said, I wonder if this is in any way related to your calc server project a few months ago? I think Graphmastur was working on it with you, right? http://ourl.ca/6452/104579
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 02:57:28 pm by DJ_O »

Offline alberthrocks

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 04:26:22 pm »
C21 as C21 textures? Yeah, the future, simple and pretty!

C21 as in Calculator to Internet, I don't know... It can be done, I'm sure but is it that important? Most normal calculator users wouldn't use it, since it doesn't have many obvious advantages.
Paired with CalcBox, it is :) Plus the ability to get apps directly to your calc, socialize, and others. But it's your opinion - what are the disadvantages?

Hmm I have mixed feeling about this. If by user-friendlier you mean for example that on the TI-84+ you wouldn't need any extra hardware such as an arduino and just connect through USB, then it might be nice to see this come to fruition, but on the other hand, Kerm is still actively working on gCn, so maybe in the future he will have implemented that. Also, gCn and CALCnet projects have been in the works for years now (despite a hiatus around 2008-2009), so not only it would be kinda odd to some people to see a project by a Cemetech staff compete directly against another Cemetech staff's, but the fact Kerm has thought about gCn and worked on it every now and then since years ago tells me that this was a really ambitious project, and that you'll effectively need a lot of experience in calc programming and networking to get internet on your calculator.

On the other hand, I guess maybe you could join gCn development to help with new ideas and features. Regardless, if you decide to take on a gCn-like project, I wish you good luck.

That said, I wonder if this is in any way related to your calc server project a few months ago? I think Graphmastur was working on it with you, right? http://ourl.ca/6452/104579
Nope - I mean user friendly as in easy to use, with social networking built in and such. Plus that too, but as I've said, he's actively working on the USB port gCn.

As for the staff thing.... I guess you could say I'm part of the staff, even though I rarely moderate the forum, since there's hardly any nasty disputes in there. I doubt though that they would see me as a staff there, since I don't usually exercise my moderator powers.

The only way I will continue this project (or rather, start it) is if people are interested and are willing to use it. Otherwise, it would be a waste of my time.

And regarding the old topic, it is a deviation from it, but the concept is the same :) graphmastur has said that he is a bit busy with other things, and that he's uncertain about C2I's future in regards to competition, usability, and such, which is why I've posted this topic.

Does anyone have any other opinions about C2I? I'd really appreciate it! :)

EDIT: modified post to remove Scout's massive image :P
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 06:36:43 pm by alberthrocks »
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C2I: 0% done (planning, checking the demand for it, and dreaming :P)

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 05:31:12 pm »
I think you should seriously consider continuing it for 2 reasons, the first being as you said, it is fundamentally different than gCn, in that is more an Internet connection deal, while gCn is more just a way to extend Cn to more than just a LAN, with indirect consequences leading to being able to be able to access internet resources if the server endpoint is configured correctly. The other one is the fact that you plan on having some sort of app, but also an includable version for developers, which, in my opinion outweighs having to have the weight DCS if you really are only using for that one program which might not need DCS otherwise.  I could be wrong though, if that all sounds uninformed and stupid, please disregard :)
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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2011, 07:45:21 am »
Quote
Paired with CalcBox, it is  Plus the ability to get apps directly to your calc, socialize, and others. But it's your opinion - what are the disadvantages?

WOAH That seems interesting, but not sure if normal users would use it (my friends went 'WTF?, Why would you need that? You're such a nerd!'). So yeah maybe.

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2011, 09:52:02 am »
normal users... what are normal users... :P i am not a normal user and i will use it for sure!
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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2011, 10:22:29 am »
I think that people would use a Calc-to-Internet for two reasons:
  • Because they don't have ready access to a computer (e.g. they are in a classroom)
  • Because it's freakin cool!

To make this really useful, you would probably want a Bluetooth or WiFi adapter to connect to the link port so that you could access the Internet wherever, such as in an airport. However, this could have possible reprecussions, like graphing calculators becoming banned from the SAT. :(
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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 02:02:18 pm »
normal users... what are normal users... :P i am not a normal user and i will use it for sure!

Yup, normal users wouldn't, especially if it required extra pieces :S

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 02:57:33 am »
One issue that sometimes arises is people under 18 who have parents that disallow them to buy stuff online, but have no access to the required equipment in local stores or have access to it but the store sells it for $100 higher. It also needs to be simple to setup, otherwise only people experienced with electronic (or willing to learn that stuff and mess with wires) can use it.

Offline alberthrocks

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Re: C2I - the future?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2011, 12:37:43 pm »
Sorry for a late reply - I've been busy the past few days, with occasional time (5-10 min) on Facebook and the likes. :P

Thanks for all of your feedback! I really appreciate it! :D (This doesn't mean that you should stop - I need more feedback! :))
I'm interesting in hearing the developer side of things - will you use it? Does C2I have everything you want? Is there anything missing? Any suggestions?

Here goes my replies:
I think you should seriously consider continuing it for 2 reasons, the first being as you said, it is fundamentally different than gCn, in that is more an Internet connection deal, while gCn is more just a way to extend Cn to more than just a LAN, with indirect consequences leading to being able to be able to access internet resources if the server endpoint is configured correctly. The other one is the fact that you plan on having some sort of app, but also an includable version for developers, which, in my opinion outweighs having to have the weight DCS if you really are only using for that one program which might not need DCS otherwise.  I could be wrong though, if that all sounds uninformed and stupid, please disregard :)
You're pretty much right - probably the only thing I will add is that it's not just a server endpoint - the client part can let the calculator access any server/website directly. (It's not just calc to another calc on the internet!)

Quote
Paired with CalcBox, it is  Plus the ability to get apps directly to your calc, socialize, and others. But it's your opinion - what are the disadvantages?

WOAH That seems interesting, but not sure if normal users would use it (my friends went 'WTF?, Why would you need that? You're such a nerd!'). So yeah maybe.
Ehh... not really. My friends tend to be very interested in having Facebook on their calc. :)
Explain that part to them, and then they might change their minds. ;)

(Oh, and being on this site constitutes you as a nerd. No ifs, ands, or buts! :P)

normal users... what are normal users... :P i am not a normal user and i will use it for sure!
Thanks! :D I hope you'll enjoy it as I do.... if this gets developed, that is. :P

I think that people would use a Calc-to-Internet for two reasons:
  • Because they don't have ready access to a computer (e.g. they are in a classroom)
  • Because it's freakin cool!

To make this really useful, you would probably want a Bluetooth or WiFi adapter to connect to the link port so that you could access the Internet wherever, such as in an airport. However, this could have possible reprecussions, like graphing calculators becoming banned from the SAT. :(
Ehh... that depends. You would need CalcBox; otherwise, the other way is via computer (USB cable).
The way CalcBox works is that it handles all the wifi stuff (the calc would die trying to! :P). Then a stripped down (no GUI, text display interfacing, some slight modifications, etc.) C2I and gCn is included, and you can launch either of them to enable internet via calc. ;)

And no worries about the testing stuff - unless you stuff the CalcBox inside the calculator, there's no way for it to be banned. The other way (tethered to a computer) is obviously impossible to do. :P

normal users... what are normal users... :P i am not a normal user and i will use it for sure!

Yup, normal users wouldn't, especially if it required extra pieces :S
Not really - if it meant accessing Facebook, plenty of users may shell out some cash. ;)
My hope is that it won't be expensive - my imaginary thoughts say $1, but my guess would be < $10.

One issue that sometimes arises is people under 18 who have parents that disallow them to buy stuff online, but have no access to the required equipment in local stores or have access to it but the store sells it for $100 higher. It also needs to be simple to setup, otherwise only people experienced with electronic (or willing to learn that stuff and mess with wires) can use it.
I don't think I'll sell this in stores (it would be kinda awkward and I might run into legal trouble). I know what you mean by the high prices - countries other than the U.S. tend to have higher prices due to importing costs and such. :( If I ever sell this in stores, I'll keep that in mind.
As for selling it, I plan to do a "peer to peer" sale type of thing - a person that can buy things online can sell it to others with cash. As I've said above, it should be pretty cheap. :)

Finally, it's a finished product. There's no "setup", unless you include turning it on, pressing a few buttons, and connecting your calc. ;)
The other way of connecting (which I should really emphasize) is via a regular USB cable. (Graphlink, Directlink, etc.) In the future, I will probably support serial/parallel port cables. (It's not too hard once I establish a set protocol.)

(If people are interested in building it, which I find tricky to do, I don't mind and will in fact release HW specs for others to build. Otherwise, for the majority, they'll buy CalcBox, a complete product ready to use! :))
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 12:39:06 pm by alberthrocks »
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Offline alberthrocks

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Re: Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 11:05:12 pm »
Is C2I really that bad? O_O I really need the feedback! :(

(Bumped post and changed post title to let people know what C2I really means, and hopefully attract developers and users alike.)
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Re: Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2011, 11:27:20 pm »
Nah about stores I meant how gCn requires an arduino or other extra hardware. Some people won't live near a store that sells those and they can't get a credit card. Kerm is planning to try adding USB support, though, so that shouldn't be as much of a problem for younger people.

Unfortunately I don't have any other ideas yet, though :(

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Re: Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2011, 10:57:14 pm »
Nah about stores I meant how gCn requires an arduino or other extra hardware. Some people won't live near a store that sells those and they can't get a credit card. Kerm is planning to try adding USB support, though, so that shouldn't be as much of a problem for younger people.

Unfortunately I don't have any other ideas yet, though :(
Ahh I see. The big selling point for C2I used to be that it would not require a Arduino (e.g., just using a DirectLink, GraphLink, etc.), but as you and I know, KermM is adding USB support after me and other people's begging. ;)

I even shudder at the prospect of that support - it's not the fact that my project competes with his (and his is winning), it's the fact that his work with USB will open calculator internet to everyone, causing quite a tremble in the calculator community. O_O Quite possibly, he might disable his gCn bot's noisiness due to the sudden, MASSIVE influx of users... :P

But yeah, it's one of those things that makes me wonder if I should even continue this. I have ideas, and I want to make them real. (A recent fake news post, calculator servers, could be real with C2I due to socket implementation... O_O) But if no one is going to use it (and develop things with it), what's the point?  :(

That decision will come around the end of the school year, in which I can do some serious work on it (or not).

========================
Again (hopefully with response? :)), is this project interesting? What would appeal to you in it? Is there anything you'd want to add? :D (Both users and developers!)
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Re: Calc 2 Internet (C2I) - Help decide the future!
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2011, 05:27:57 am »
This sounds like a really cool idea, and I would love to see it come to fruition.


Spoiler For Projects:

My projects haven't been worked on in a while, so they're all on hiatus for the time being. I do hope to eventually return to them in some form or another...

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Prequel to Nostalgia. On hold, especially while the story is re-worked.