Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear TI

Dear TI,

If you are not too busy, perhaps you could develop a new calculator for professional engineers, one that is not limited based on the demands of the College Board and the SAT.

Perhaps you find someone at TI that could develop a calculator with a modern display, or even one that could compete with MATLAB.

TI please understand that some of us use our calculators to do work instead of just take tests. Hassling hobbyists, who are actually innovating, just reminds us how little effort you have put into improving your calculator products for engineers.

How about wireless support, an SD card slot, data logging or if you don't have any hardware people around maybe you could provide some updates to ME*Pro and EE*Pro. You don't even have to do the programming, you can just upload the code somewhere with an open source license and we will take care of it.

If you are not interested in improving on the TI-89 Titanium, let us know so we can get started with an OSHW calculator design.

Thanks,

I<3R

12 comments:

beambot said...

Seriously... I'd rather just have a kill iOS / Android "graphing calculator." Don't get me wrong, I loved my TI89, but I don't really want to spend $200 on a dedicated device these days. Heck, just drop Mathematica or Maple on a tablet and you're good to go.

I Heart Robotics said...

I suppose it's inevitable that the calculator and cellphone/tablet will converge, but personally I prefer having a separate device.

Also, I find the interface for entering calculations into Mathematic/Maple/Octave slow.

The units support in the TI-89 is invaluable for ensuring correct calculations, I'm not sure how Mathmatica or something would compare.

1024/_s * 40_km / _c

tensorpudding said...

To make software like Octave and Matlab worth using on a calculator, said calculator's UI would have to be reimagined, and its specs significantly boosted. The button UI would presumably be replaced with the kind of touch technology currently available on smartphones, so why not just use a smartphone? There isn't enough of a market for this kind of machine, especially since a huge chunk of TI's market is students taking standardized tests, for which the calculator would surely be ineligible.

Software available for a calculator will always be inferior to that on a computer, and now that mobile computers are becoming more widespread it surely seems like the niche for calculators is dying.

I Heart Robotics said...

I don't know of any phone/tablet based calculator that understands calculus or has a symbolic solver.

Maybe I'm becoming a Luddite but this button technology is pretty nice, it has good feedback and there are keys for commonly used functions.

Regardless, the point here is that not only has TI been unwilling to innovate, it is now also using DRM to prevent other people from innovating.

Z said...

Have you tried WolframAlpha.com? I load this up on my Droid and it's the best thing ever!! can do calculus, matrixes, electrical, you name it! (even chemistry!)

Anonymous said...

People that don't know what they are talking about will always say "WOLFRAMAPAPAPAHAHASLLAAA"

For engineering, the HP-50G is wonderful, but the screen is garbage and god help you if you don't know in advance what the sequence of certain commands are and you can't reach the manual.

Being an old person, I like these "buttons" as opposed to tapping on glass.

Anonymous said...

Use a hp48gx and move on. TI is for kids.

Anonymous said...

I'm an engineering consultant and my hp48gx sits at my right hand throughout the day. While I'm all for single devices that can perform multiple tasks, I think there's definitely a diminishing return on how many functions a device like ipad/iphone can do before it becomes inefficient in the work place... I've seen this at my company where people have reverted back to carrying digital voice recorders again because they are a lot faster to access and download content.

Anonymous said...

http://p.p0.com/YesConnect/ShareThis?a=gClM7-skG0Rx84GmHjAeDe

"The new full-color TI-Nspire™ CX handheld (new operating system 3.0) is now
available for purchase from your Instructional Products Dealer and at retailers."

Looks like TI listened =P

I Heart Robotics said...

As far as I can tell all of the previous Nspire models that I have seen are a downgrade from the TI-89 Titanium. I'll look into it more, but I have a feeling the CX is crippled in some way.

bbot said...

You want a real calculator, use HP. SD card, usb, serial, LISP-based programming language...

Now, it's still a crappy, crippled computing environment. But it's about as good as graphing calculators get.

Anonymous said...

Tablets with dedicated aps are likely more feasible than restructuring the dusty corporate mind set to accommodate a niche demand such as you're describing. Case in point is my now-ancient Palm T|x that has aps for those things that you describe. Dated, yes, but a good demonstration of what could be possible.

Wireless communication would be a death wish to the major market (students) since most of us don't allow students to use calculators with any communication ability during exams.