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Why are graphing calculators still expensive?

24

Posts

  • ToyDToyD Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    DigDug2000 wrote: »
    Shit, even when we do have to do some basic calculation now, we usually round things so that we have 8 x 10^15 instead of 8124874392487387.

    That said, I've seen a lot of engineers who can't seem to live without the latest and greatest from HP. So I think maybe that's just a science/math phenomenon.

    Now that I think of this. Probably true. I remember my physics/math classes and just doing basics on my calculator. But my engr classes, hell I had to write answers out to 5 decimal places. Everything was approximated and you HAD to have answers.

    It was hard at first because I was used to math/physics where if the answer wasn't a whole number, you immediately knew it was wrong.

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  • SilvoculousSilvoculous Registered User
    edited November 2007
    EWom wrote: »
    Sadly I am not a math person. Numbers make my brain melt. I can seem to handle learning just about anything else, but put some numbers in the mix, especially numbers with letters, and I just fucking can not do it :( I can add/subtract. I can't multiply in my head, the only reason I can is because I know the answers to the problems. I don't know that 6x6=36, I've memorized that that is the correct answer. So if it's anything other than the standard table then I break it down so I can add up all the broken down answers. I'm so bad at math it makes me sad.

    You're not alone. While I like my 83+ and find it really convenient, most of its features I'll never even use. I had a more basic TI scientific calc before it (a TI 30x IIs) that I found in 7th grade (I don't pay for anything if I can help it, ahaha). I used it from 7th to 11th grade before finding my 83+ and passing the old calc on to my sister. If you suck at math like me, and won't hope to do anything more advanced than, say, Geometry, I can't see the point in buying a graphing calculator. In high school, they had their own stash of graphing calcs/laptops that they would let you use for a class period anyway.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    This thread is funny, because I was in Best Buy I think last month and thought the same exact thing when I saw the 83+ for $90. "I paid that like 9 years ago!"

    With computers getting as cheap as they are, there must be some "software" reason that graphing calculators do not drop in price. I'm almost certain that the components could be gotten for super-cheap these days.

    I still have my 83+ somewhere in my house. I haven't touched it in over 3 years (packed it to move) and haven't used it in almost 6 since after my college calc class (they didn't accept my HS calc for some reason) I never needed it again.

    Oh, and I was the kid in HS who distributed all the games to the other students using the link cable included in the package. :D Some friends and I even created a "choose your own adventure RPG" using it, as well as a program to calculate Pokemon stats back when we were trying to train the best team possible. We were such nerds.. LOL

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  • lordswinglordswing Registered User
    edited November 2007
    My Calc teacher in HS lent my class a bunch of TI-92s that the school had lying around. That thing was a fucking monster, and I always joked that I was playing Halo on it.

    800px-TI-92.jpg

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Maybe it's because I haven't taken taken many theory classes, but for almost all of science and engineering classes, yes we solved symbolically without a calculator first, but then you have to put values in to find the real answer, and it's heck of a lot easier to do that with some sort of a computational tool (matlab or calculator). Because of RPN, it's significantly easier to find the answers to problems on HPs, but for matrix stuff or repeating the same equations while varying the values it might be worth it to dig up matlab. Hate all the TIs except for the 89 cause they're too expensive and feature light (and don't have RPN). The top of the line HPs cost only a little more than an 83, and are just as powerful as an 89 (and have RPN). Oh, and did I mention that RPN is amazing?

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Because Texas Instruments has essentially a monopoly on graphing calculators in education for some reason.

    Largely the same reason Microsoft does, I think. It takes a lot of time to learn how to really use one of these things (for more than graphing simple equations and adding 2+2), so you benefit from everybody having the same shit.
    Boutros wrote: »
    Graphing calculators are, in my experience, a high school only phenomenon. In college in my engineering, physics, and math classes either you have access to excel/mathmatica/matlab or you don't need anything more than a scientific calculator. I saw more TI 8Xs and HP 48s in high school (god I miss my old 48GX, I hope the son of a bitch that stole it is rotting in hell) than I do in college, lots of people just use an HP 33s or a 10 dollar cheapo calculator.

    In engineering? I don't know a single engineering student (at least past freshman year) without a TI-8X or the HP equivalent, and most ended up replacing their TI-83's (or, for old fuckers like me, TI-82) from high school with the fucking 89's.

    They're a necessity. As somebody else said, we get numbers. We do a lot of symbolic math as well, but often we're asked for actual values out to three (or more) decimal places. And while I can do complex triple integration by hand, especially given a table of integrals (which we often are) my buddy TI-89 does it a lot faster. He also does everything from simplification to partial fraction expansions to Laplace transforms faster than I generally can. And solving a system of 6 equations and 6 unknowns? He's a madman.* And don't get me started on transcendentals.

    Though yes, calculators were largely forbidden on math exams, and graphing calculators were forbidden on exams in a couple of my physics courses (scientifics were allowed).
    MechMantis wrote: »
    Because TI knows that people will pay just about any price to get something that's required for a class.


    If they weren't required by most high school math classes, their price would most likely drop.

    See: college textbooks. Captive markets lead to higher prices. Also, most people are only ever going to buy one, maybe two, in a lifetime. It's not like your cellphone or PDA where you'll be replacing it in two years. That makes people a lot less sensitive to the price. And again, back to the beginning of this post, TI has a virtual monopoly with their only real competition being more expensive.


    * - Though I've found that generally anything over 3/3 is better solved by hand...since with 6/6 you're greatly increasing your chances of a typo, which will be a pain in the ass to find. And of course 3/3 or 2/2 are pretty easy to do by hand, and I still do quite often...but often they're faster to do by calculator.

    EDIT: And fuck RPN.

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I dont get why high schools require these, but ban things like personal electronics for liability reasons. If you make a 100$ calculator mandatory for the math class, when someone steals a kids and sells it to someone else for cheaper then the stores, you have a really good racket going and creating your own demand.

    I got rid of mine after college I think, for after school math class I had to take, I convinced the professor to let me bring in a laptop with a ti-83..... program on it.

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    RPN dramatically reduces the number of keypresses in almost every single case. for example (1+2)*3 is ( + 1 + plus + 2 + ) + * + 3 +enter = 8 button presses normally, but with RPN is 1 + space + 2 + plus +space+3 +*= 6 button presses. When you have multiple groupings that are being operated upon, the time savings is even better. Not to mention, HP has better keys than Ti.

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  • jlrxjlrx Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    FreddyD wrote: »
    I bet my cell phone could do the same calculations as a graphing calculator can without any problems. But schools are already banning them so that will never get off the ground.

    I bet your cell phone cant

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I had to rent one during high school, and there have been a few times in college where one would be useful but I never actually got around to getting one.

    The things are absurdly overpriced for the hardware they contain, though. In fact, shit, I've got my DS with me pretty much all the time, and I know for a fact that it's more powerful than a TI-84 or whatever. Maybe I should write some graphing calculator software for it? I've been meaning to do something useful with my EZFlash.

    edit: Okay, comparison time! The TI-89 has a Motorola 68k processor (the same chip as the Sega Genesis (or Megadrive for you limey bastards)) running at a whopping 10 megahertz. The TI-8n where n < 9 all use a Zilog Z80 at 6MHz (the same chip as the original Game Boy). They all have RAM ranging from 7KiB to 256 KiB.

    The Nintendo DS has two CPUs, a 66MHZ ARM946E and a 33MHZ ARM7TDMI. It has 4 MiB of main memory and a whole bunch of smaller banks of VRAM. Oh, and two full-color backlit screens but that's just icing on the cake. The DS doesn't have a dedicated floating point unit but the CPUs are sufficiently fast enough to fake it, and come to think of it I don't think the Zilog Z80 has an FPU either.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    jlrx wrote: »
    FreddyD wrote: »
    I bet my cell phone could do the same calculations as a graphing calculator can without any problems. But schools are already banning them so that will never get off the ground.

    I bet your cell phone cant

    I'd put $100 bucks on this right now. Let's see your cellphone do a triple integral (indefinite and definite) or a Laplace transform.

    In theory a cellphone has the processing power and memory to do most of the same calculations. But it doesn't have the software, has a smaller screen, and has less buttons...so could never replace a graphing calculator effectively without sacrificing the features necessary in a cellphone (particularly form factor).

    EDIT: And has anybody considered that direct hardware comparisons aren't necessarily useful, since you're also likely paying for the software on them? I mean, last I checked neither MATLAB or Maple are free, so while less powerful than those I wouldn't expect the software included on something like a TI-89 to come "free" either.

  • TreelootTreeloot Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    TI calculators are expensive, but they're well made and very useful. I've dropped my TI-83+ countless times, I've hauled it around in my backpack without the protective case for months without scratching the screen, and it has gotten me through some tough classes.

    The only things I dislike about TI calculators is people cheating with them, and people who buy TI calculators they don't need. I knew a lot of people who bought TI-84+ Silver Edition calculators, even though an 83 does virtually everything it does for less money.

  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Like others, I definitely got $100 of use out of my TI-83+. It has many many functions that to this day, after taking Calculus, I could not tell you what they are. On the other hand, I also ran into many of its limitations doing certain things with it (what hell was up with its pathetic amount of RAM anyway?). Now I'm just taking programming classes, where's it's not nearly as useful as GCC, so it's collecting dust, but I always leave it in my backpack for old times' sake. I learned programming on it, after all. I've never even touched an 89, though I heard of one or two nice features I wouldn't mind.

    But seriously, I just went to the store and saw the same damn calculator I've been using for eight years for $100. That is fucking ridiculous given they must cost about $0.10 to manufacture nowadays. I'm thinking there must be an opening there for someone to compete with TI. Design something with similar functionality to a TI-83 that's easy to use, so it's not like fucking Windows where you have to start with it because you'll only be able to get help with it, and then sell it for $25.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    But seriously, I just went to the store and saw the same damn calculator I've been using for eight years for $100. That is fucking ridiculous given they must cost about $0.10 to manufacture nowadays. I'm thinking there must be an opening there for someone to compete with TI. Design something with similar functionality to a TI-83 that's easy to use, so it's not like fucking Windows where you have to start with it because you'll only be able to get help with it, and then sell it for $25.

    I imagine that once you factor in actual cost of parts/manufacture (which, while I love hyperbole too, is probably quite a bit more than ten cents), packaging, logistics (moving the thing from China to your local store), retail markup, I think you might be surprised how small the margin on some of these actually is.

    Plus, again, software. You're not just paying for a Zilog Z80 or a Motorola 68K stuffed into a plastic case with an LCD screen and some buttons. Which doesn't even describe the things anyway...they're generally pretty well designed, and built like fucking tanks. My primary (really, only) complaint about my TI-89 is the screen...higher resolution or better contrast would be quite welcome.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I think the biggest complaint that most people are bringing up is simply founded on the fact: These things were $100 9 years ago when they were originally released. Why do we not have TI-183+ with full color screens like the DS and all the features and memory anyone would need in a math class for the same price by now?

    Developmentally, in our minds, TI should have been moving forward, and yet, they have not and continue to profit from this lack of movement. And it just boggles our minds when we see companies pushing to release a new product each year to stay king of the tech hill.

    On a side note, was I the only person here to program the thing to "boot-up" Hackers style with my own logo and handle animated on the screen every time I turned it on? I loved my TI-83+ and I wish I still had the PC cable for it, but I sold it to some freshman my senior year since I didn't think I'd need it anymore and got almost retail for it.

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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited November 2007
    Can't you still buy the PC Cable? I mean if the tech hasn't changed in 10 years, you should be able to pick up a cable for it somewhere.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    _______moe wrote: »
    Can't you still buy the PC Cable? I mean if the tech hasn't changed in 10 years, you should be able to pick up a cable for it somewhere.

    Yeah, I just don't use the TI-83+ anymore so it's not worth the extra $20 to buy a new PC cable (Best Buy carries them at least). Just a nostalgia thing. Fond memories of programming it while bored.

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  • Cameron_TalleyCameron_Talley Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    dasnoob wrote: »
    One of the teachers here required students to purchase a TI-86 for a college algebra course. A complete waste of money. I always enjoyed taking my dad's HP-48GX to class since it freaked everyone including the teacher out.

    HINT: the HP-48 series of calculators use Reverse Polish Notation the operators follow the operands. So instead of 2 + 2 you would type 2 2 +. Teachers in general are NOT used to seeing this and it freaks them out.

    Seriously, I can't even use a calculator anymore without RPN. I use my HP 48GX (had a 48G before that) at work daily. No, I don't even use 99.99% of the functions it can do, but I love the big screen where you can see the whole stack.

    3DS code: 0404-6826-4588 PM if you add.
  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    When and Why did they start using Reverse Polish Notation? My logical mind cannot make sense of it. Perhaps it's more streamlined, but my orderly brain just cannot wrap itself around punching 2 2 then +.

    Let me see if I understand this correctly, say I want to add the numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Using standard calculator, I would punch each number followed by a + then after 9 press =. (1+3+5+7+9=)
    Using RPN I can just put all the numbers in, then hit plus and it would give me the total? (1 3 5 7 9 +)

    What I don't understand is if you have to put a space in between the numbers anyway, why not just put a plus like regular calculators do?

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  • ToyDToyD Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    It does actually reduce the amount of thinking the calculator has to do by shovelling it onto you to type it in right.

    Edit: I'll elaborate further since I'm a little bored.

    Regular math notation example of (1+2)*3 should equal 9 right? But how does the calculator know it has to do the 1+2 first in order to get 9 instead of doing it last and getting 7? It has to figure out the parenthesis first.

    RPN prevents this by having you type 1 2 + 3 * I believe (I hate RPN) and the calculator knows EXACTLY how to figure it without extra work.

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    When and Why did they start using Reverse Polish Notation? My logical mind cannot make sense of it. Perhaps it's more streamlined, but my orderly brain just cannot wrap itself around punching 2 2 then +.

    Let me see if I understand this correctly, say I want to add the numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Using standard calculator, I would punch each number followed by a + then after 9 press =. (1+3+5+7+9=)
    Using RPN I can just put all the numbers in, then hit plus and it would give me the total? (1 3 5 7 9 +)

    What I don't understand is if you have to put a space in between the numbers anyway, why not just put a plus like regular calculators do?

    No, you press the command each time, so it'd be 1 3 5 7 9 + + + +, or more efficiently 1 3+5+7+9+. the usefulness isn't described very well using just addition and stuff, it's more useful for having a bunch of nested things that you have to do stuff for. Say you have like cos((4+2(5+6)-pi/4)*sqrt(3+5)^(9-4), you don't have to type in all the (), and it doesn't matter if they don't match up propperly since you aren't using them (find the error in the equation)

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Man, I loved my 83+ to death. I used to "program" animated "screensavers" with it. Basically just a bunch of whatever the display command was with symbols and stuff spaced to make it look interesting while scrolling and looping. I programmed a lot of the formulas we used in my pre-calc class in to save time, and the teacher let me use them, figuring that if I knew them well enough to put em in, it didn't matter. Heck, she asked me to copy them over to hers so she could use them.

    In physics I used to spend the class period in the drawing program painstakingly drawing labyrinth type stuff. Then one day after school some guy got mad at me and threw my backpack. 20ish pounds of textbook landing on top of the calculator damaged the screen. The last 2 columns wouldn't display right. So for at least a whole year, I managed to use it by having it do trailing zeroes after the decimal, or occasionally multiplying by 100 to see what I needed. I even managed to play Tetris like that. I just had to keep track of what was supposed to be in those spots.

    Fun story. One of the guys who designed the main chip in the 81 (which was later delayed and put in the 82 instead, I believe) went to my church and was instrumental in my nerdly upbringing.

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  • Cameron_TalleyCameron_Talley Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    When and Why did they start using Reverse Polish Notation? My logical mind cannot make sense of it. Perhaps it's more streamlined, but my orderly brain just cannot wrap itself around punching 2 2 then +.

    Let me see if I understand this correctly, say I want to add the numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Using standard calculator, I would punch each number followed by a + then after 9 press =. (1+3+5+7+9=)
    Using RPN I can just put all the numbers in, then hit plus and it would give me the total? (1 3 5 7 9 +)

    What I don't understand is if you have to put a space in between the numbers anyway, why not just put a plus like regular calculators do?

    See Wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation

    What I like about it in HP's implementation is the stack. Let's say I have a group of 45 numbers to add together. Using a normal calculator, I would have to type in a number, then hit plus...every time, until I added them all together. Whereas with the stack, I just enter a number and press "enter", and repeat for all the numbers. When I've finished entering I can go back through the stack to double check them, and then just hit + a ton of times...It really is easier and saves a ton of work.

    As a bonus, whenever someone wants to borrow my calculator they quickly get confused and give it back to me... :)

    3DS code: 0404-6826-4588 PM if you add.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    I think the biggest complaint that most people are bringing up is simply founded on the fact: These things were $100 9 years ago when they were originally released. Why do we not have TI-183+ with full color screens like the DS and all the features and memory anyone would need in a math class for the same price by now?.

    Personally I like being able to shove 4 AAAs into my TI-89 at the beginning of the semester, and still have those same batteries in it at the end of the semester. Hell, I think I had a set make it most of the way through the year once.

    Start making brighter screens, and full-color screens, and faster processors, and more memory and this will no longer be the case. You'll probably have either a rechargeable internal battery (yay proprietary wall chargers that cost $20!) or have to use NiMH's in order to not have to recharge them every other day (and, due to the nature of NiMH's, you'll still be charging them every other week).

    Fuck that noise.

    You want all that shit? Buy a PDA. Then get some software to replicate (more or less) the features of the TI calculator you need. Personally I'll take less powerful hardware that still does everything I need it to do but will run for eternity on a set of batteries. Also, note that while it's about $50 more than your $100 number, the TI-89 does indeed have all the features and memory that pretty much anyone would need in a math class.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Spoit wrote: »
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    When and Why did they start using Reverse Polish Notation? My logical mind cannot make sense of it. Perhaps it's more streamlined, but my orderly brain just cannot wrap itself around punching 2 2 then +.

    Let me see if I understand this correctly, say I want to add the numbers, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. Using standard calculator, I would punch each number followed by a + then after 9 press =. (1+3+5+7+9=)
    Using RPN I can just put all the numbers in, then hit plus and it would give me the total? (1 3 5 7 9 +)

    What I don't understand is if you have to put a space in between the numbers anyway, why not just put a plus like regular calculators do?

    No, you press the command each time, so it'd be 1 3 5 7 9 + + + +, or more efficiently 1 3+5+7+9+. the usefulness isn't described very well using just addition and stuff, it's more useful for having a bunch of nested things that you have to do stuff for. Say you have like cos((4+2(5+6)-pi/4)*sqrt(3+5)^(9-4), you don't have to type in all the (), and it doesn't matter if they don't match up propperly since you aren't using them (find the error in the equation)

    cos((4+2(5+6)-pi/4)*sqrt(3+5)^(9-4))

    Just to see if I'm getting this right, RPN would be: (and be gentle, it's been years since I've done complex math)
    4 2 5 6 + * + pi - 4 / 3 5 + 9 4 - ^ sqrt * cos?

    It's interesting, but wow that can blow your mind when you've gone through HS and college doing it the other way.
    So HP does it this way in all of their calculators, or is it an option?

    Thanks for the wiki Cameron, it was an interesting read. Since I don't really use any sort of complex math daily I still cannot really see the merit in it, but I'm sure that for those that use it daily it is well appreciated.

    mcdermott wrote: »
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    I think the biggest complaint that most people are bringing up is simply founded on the fact: These things were $100 9 years ago when they were originally released. Why do we not have TI-183+ with full color screens like the DS and all the features and memory anyone would need in a math class for the same price by now?.

    Personally I like being able to shove 4 AAAs into my TI-89 at the beginning of the semester, and still have those same batteries in it at the end of the semester. Hell, I think I had a set make it most of the way through the year once.

    Start making brighter screens, and full-color screens, and faster processors, and more memory and this will no longer be the case. You'll probably have either a rechargeable internal battery (yay proprietary wall chargers that cost $20!) or have to use NiMH's in order to not have to recharge them every other day (and, due to the nature of NiMH's, you'll still be charging them every other week).

    Fuck that noise.

    You want all that shit? Buy a PDA. Then get some software to replicate (more or less) the features of the TI calculator you need. Personally I'll take less powerful hardware that still does everything I need it to do but will run for eternity on a set of batteries. Also, note that while it's about $50 more than your $100 number, the TI-89 does indeed have all the features and memory that pretty much anyone would need in a math class.

    True, wasn't thinking about battery life. I think I changed my batteries in my TI-83+ once in 3 years? :D Maybe twice, it's been a while now.

    I'm just saying that to those of us who watch new tech come out daily (advances in video cards, video games, etc) it's funny to see a piece of tech sit at the same point for 9 years and maintain the same price as well. Where we would have expected it, if it followed other tech, to have progressed similar to a Game Boy with more and more stuff packed in.

    I think TI gives you TI-83+ software (I could be remembering this completely wrong) with the data cable and it's a GUI of the calc on your computer screen for $20 (the price of the cable/transfer software). So if you can use a laptop in class you can just use that.

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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I think he was complaining more about how it's same price for the same item that he paid a decade ago, more than that it's $100. Most other electronics have new products come out once in a while, which drives the prices down, not counting the re-releases with more RAM, the latest real change in TI's product range was the 92?

    EDIT: close, 4 2 5 6 + * + pi 4 / - 3 5 + 9 4 - ^ sqrt * cos

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Spoit wrote: »
    I think he was complaining more about how it's same price for the same item that he paid a decade ago, more than that it's $100. Most other electronics have new products come out once in a while, which drives the prices down, not counting the re-releases with more RAM, the latest real change in TI's product range was the 92?

    This is true, but aside from a higher resolution screen, I'm not sure what else I'd want them to change. And if that meant significantly shorter battery life, I'm not sure I'd even be down with that.

    I guess graphing calculators, due to a few factors, just don't follow the usual rules of consumer electronics. Partly because they're closer to "tools" than "toys," partly because of the captive audience factor, and probably for some other reasons as well.

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Spoit wrote: »
    I think he was complaining more about how it's same price for the same item that he paid a decade ago, more than that it's $100. Most other electronics have new products come out once in a while, which drives the prices down, not counting the re-releases with more RAM, the latest real change in TI's product range was the 92?

    This is true, but aside from a higher resolution screen, I'm not sure what else I'd want them to change. And if that meant significantly shorter battery life, I'm not sure I'd even be down with that.

    I guess graphing calculators, due to a few factors, just don't follow the usual rules of consumer electronics. Partly because they're closer to "tools" than "toys," partly because of the captive audience factor, and probably for some other reasons as well.

    I would probably say that one of the reasons would be people who go into areas where they use math daily would want to keep the same calculator around for a while as they know where all the functions are which lets them do what they need to that much faster once they learn their way around the calculator. If they were to need to upgrade every year or so, then they would have to relearn it all.

    This way, if you learned on a TI-83, you can still buy one today (if it should actually die?) to replace it. I'm sure their main users appreciate that.

    My dad had a TI from college that still worked. Came in a leather zip case with cotton inside to protect it. They are built to last. That thing had to be 30+ years old?

    EDIT: I'll just have you know that this thread is making me want to break out my TI-83+ when I get home.. LOL.
    Fortunately for my sanity and my wife's I don't really know where it or my calculus book are. Why would I want to do schoolwork? :D
    I will say that I probably would have gone into something relating to math if I didn't go into IT.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    I would probably say that one of the reasons would be people who go into areas where they use math daily would want to keep the same calculator around for a while as they know where all the functions are which lets them do what they need to that much faster once they learn their way around the calculator. If they were to need to upgrade every year or so, then they would have to relearn it all.

    This way, if you learned on a TI-83, you can still buy one today (if it should actually die?) to replace it. I'm sure their main users appreciate that.

    Yeah, this is what I was trying to get at with the whole "tool" not "toy" thing. Really, as it is the higher-end models (like the 89 and 92) do pretty much anything you could want them to do (especially if you add a few programs) and as such wouldn't benefit much from a constantly changing featureset...at least not enough to justify the constantly changing learning curve.

    At which point the only real improvements you'd be likely to see are in the "cosmetic" and "performance" areas, like faster processors or high-res color screens. Which, again, means that dumping four AAA batteries into them isn't going to cut it anymore.

    So yeah, this is probably one of those markets where they're not looking to fix what isn't broken. As for price, I guess one might assume it would come down over time...but in some respects they do. Most of the models on the shelf today have modestly improved specs, slightly expanded featuresets, and mildly expanded/improved software over those from ten years ago. For about the same price.

    Not exactly wow-worthy to people who are constantly dealing with things like computer components and videogame consoles, but for people who just want a tool that does math that's all that matters.

    Again, "tool" not "toy."

    EDIT: Well shit. Speaking of TI-89's, why do I have one on my desk and another in my backpack? That can't be good. Hope my homework partner didn't need that anytime today.

  • SmasherSmasher Starting to get dizzy Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'm a senior in college and my 83+ has been either in my backpack or on my desk pretty much since 9th grade. It's also what got me into programming, and since I'm a CS major that's a pretty big deal for me.

  • wunderbarwunderbar Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    for everyone saying "they should release one with more features blah blah blah"

    while a lot of schools require these for use, there are restrictions on a what a graphing calculator can do. I know when I was in school, before every test my teacher would clear all the memory on the calculator.

    They restrict the features on them for a reason.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    wunderbar wrote: »
    for everyone saying "they should release one with more features blah blah blah"

    while a lot of schools require these for use, there are restrictions on a what a graphing calculator can do. I know when I was in school, before every test my teacher would clear all the memory on the calculator.

    They restrict the features on them for a reason.

    Bah. That shit goes away when you stop using them for high school and start using them for real life. Or even college.

    You know what, I'm really going to do it. Next time there's a gap between the assloads of homework I've been getting I'm going to start writing some calculator software for the DS. I need something better than DSOrganize's half-assed one.

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  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    My school never really bothered too much with calculator control. The fact of the matter is, even if you can get the intercepts for some graph, you have to show your work, so it's not really useful for much cheating except in maybe chemistry, where you often need a calculator and there's also a lot of things to memorize.

    But in my classes, memorization of formulas was going the wayside. It doesn't count for much if you can't use them anyway.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Bah. That shit goes away when you stop using them for high school and start using them for real life. Or even college.

    This is true. In college generally you can either use graphing calculators or you can't. If you can, you're free to go wild (though many classes will require you to show work, limiting what you can "do" with it...but you can still use it to check).
    My school never really bothered too much with calculator control. The fact of the matter is, even if you can get the intercepts for some graph, you have to show your work, so it's not really useful for much cheating except in maybe chemistry, where you often need a calculator and there's also a lot of things to memorize.

    But in my classes, memorization of formulas was going the wayside. It doesn't count for much if you can't use them anyway.

    See, and maybe I'm a genius or something but if you give me the formula I can almost always use it...even if I don't understand it. I mean, I've got x, y, and z and need p...well shit, look for a formula that has x, y, z, and p in it and solve for p. Who can't do this?

    The only time it gets hard is when you have a formula in terms of h, and p...and then another in terms of x, y, z, and h. Then you have to use two formulas. Wow.

    I don't know, though, apparently the average class scores for my Physics II class in college would suggest that many people actually have trouble with this...because he gave us a sheet with every formula imaginable to use on his tests.


    But yeah, with the possible exception of the TI-83/84 I don't think "what schools will allow" is or should be a consideration for the manufacturer.


    I'll say it again: software. I know that there are some freeware options out there, of varying levels of quality and support...but for "commercial" options what does something like that cost? I did a little poking around, and it seems to be in the $50-$60 range. Maybe higher to do everything the TI-89 does.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'll say it again: software. I know that there are some freeware options out there, of varying levels of quality and support...but for "commercial" options what does something like that cost? I did a little poking around, and it seems to be in the $50-$60 range. Maybe higher to do everything the TI-89 does.

    And if they would release the software as a cellphone download or DS card, that'd be great, but if the software is tied to a redundant, bulky, underpowered piece of electronics while the average person carries a cellphone all the time anyway (and the average person here carries both a cellphone and a video game system) then it's more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be.

    So I for one am going to start writing some DS software to that effect. It's not going to do everything the TI-89 does because I don't need everything the TI-89 does. It will do everything I need it to do, and it will be open source so others can add their own stuff if they really give a shit (I somehow doubt it, the project seems a bit niche).

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  • JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'll say it again: software. I know that there are some freeware options out there, of varying levels of quality and support...but for "commercial" options what does something like that cost? I did a little poking around, and it seems to be in the $50-$60 range. Maybe higher to do everything the TI-89 does.

    And if they would release the software as a cellphone download or DS card, that'd be great, but if the software is tied to a redundant, bulky, underpowered piece of electronics while the average person carries a cellphone all the time anyway (and the average person here carries both a cellphone and a video game system) then it's more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be.
    No teacher or professor I've ever had would have ever let you use a cellphone during a test for any reason. If you want graphing calculator software for a device you carry around every day and you actually want to be able to use it for tests which allow them, it needs to be a device that you cannot use to communicate to other people. This rules out a cellphone, a DS, and pretty much all of the consumer electronics that "everyone" has (I don't have a cellphone, nor particularly want one).

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  • SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit My food is teasing me. WVRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I have a major hard on for my 89T. Easily the best $150 I have ever spent in my life.

    Rectangular <==> Polar is such a fucking breeze. That alone has saved me hours of my life on homework and tests.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    JHunz wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'll say it again: software. I know that there are some freeware options out there, of varying levels of quality and support...but for "commercial" options what does something like that cost? I did a little poking around, and it seems to be in the $50-$60 range. Maybe higher to do everything the TI-89 does.

    And if they would release the software as a cellphone download or DS card, that'd be great, but if the software is tied to a redundant, bulky, underpowered piece of electronics while the average person carries a cellphone all the time anyway (and the average person here carries both a cellphone and a video game system) then it's more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be.
    No teacher or professor I've ever had would have ever let you use a cellphone during a test for any reason. If you want graphing calculator software for a device you carry around every day and you actually want to be able to use it for tests which allow them, it needs to be a device that you cannot use to communicate to other people. This rules out a cellphone, a DS, and pretty much all of the consumer electronics that "everyone" has (I don't have a cellphone, nor particularly want one).

    Man, my statistics professor let people use laptops with Minitab if they wanted; he'd just keep an eye out to see if you were using the internet on it.

    Regardless, it's the 21st century, technology marches on, and people are eventually going to realize that they're carrying around ten devices, all of which can be simulated by the most powerful one of them. Maybe some kind of little device that a teacher could plug in that spammed up the 2.4Ghz band when a switch was flipped? Something's gotta give eventually, at any rate.

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  • NarianNarian Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I swiped myself a TI-83 Plus off a desk at school a few years ago, when, after two days, it was clear that someone had lost it.

    I turned in a TI-83+ also and no one claimed it so I got it.

    It really helped me in High School.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I'll say it again: software. I know that there are some freeware options out there, of varying levels of quality and support...but for "commercial" options what does something like that cost? I did a little poking around, and it seems to be in the $50-$60 range. Maybe higher to do everything the TI-89 does.

    And if they would release the software as a cellphone download or DS card, that'd be great, but if the software is tied to a redundant, bulky, underpowered piece of electronics while the average person carries a cellphone all the time anyway (and the average person here carries both a cellphone and a video game system) then it's more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be.

    Again, my TI-89 has 50 keys, and a larger display than my cellphone...which has only like 30 keys (and that's counting all of them, like volume control and power and what not). Also, I've beaten the shit out of my TI-89 (and the TI-82 before that)...the kind of thing that would have destroyed my cellphone (I know, because I've killed a couple). No issues.

    To some extent, these things are bulky for a reason. And again, I like not having to worry if my calculator is "charged." I put 4 AAAs in at the beginning of the semester, and throw 4 more in my backpack "just in case."

    Besides which, it's not like I carry my TI-89 with me everywhere...generally anywhere that I'm carrying it I'll also be wearing a backpack. So who gives a fuck if it's a little bulkier. It's still small compared to any of my textbooks, my breadboard, or my multimeter.
    So I for one am going to start writing some DS software to that effect. It's not going to do everything the TI-89 does because I don't need everything the TI-89 does. It will do everything I need it to do, and it will be open source so others can add their own stuff if they really give a shit (I somehow doubt it, the project seems a bit niche).

    Yay open source, I guess. I, on the other hand, do not have time to add whatever functionality that I need that you do not (which I imagine is quite a bit, based on your posts). So to me, it's worth it to pay $150 to have a fairly robust CAS in my backpack that I didn't have to program myself.

    It's very special that you want to write a program that provides whatever minimal functionality you want on your DS or cellphone. However, I'll bet dollars to pesos that it won't do anywhere near what I need it to do, or what many other students in science or engineering need it to do. There is a market for these calculators, because like I said a lot of us are willing to drop a bill or two on something that we know will do what we need it to, is (relatively) easy to use, is sturdy, and runs on standard batteries.

    I'd argue that this market is actually larger than the market for a quasi-functional graphing/calculator program for the DS or a cellphone. Which is why TI and HP have no problem selling these things (especially the TI-89, which isn't exactly aimed at high-school kids).


    Also, I find amusing the constant description of these things as "underpowered." For one, low "power" processorwise isn't always a bad thing when you're running on batteries (because it often suggests low power consumption). Two, unless I'm solving a transcendental by brute force or possibly if I'm doing a particularly nasty definite integral (that doesn't solve analytically) generally my TI-89 spits out answers pretty damn quickly. I haven't done a lot of 3-d graphing, but I will say that it seems a bit slow on that front...however, in general speed isn't really a huge issue with this thing. It does what I need to do for schoolwork faster than I could ever hope to by hand, and that's more than enough...if I need raw power for complex 3d graphing, I've got MATLAB and a laptop.

    Again, "tools" not "toys." Specs aren't really a huge issue here, and power consumption is actually a much bigger concern. As well as ease of use, which will probably go out the window as soon as you try to use a cellphone or DS compared to a device with 50 keys that is designed to be used as a calculator.

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