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Why are graphing calculators still expensive?

13

Posts

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    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.

    Again, some of these things can be simulated by the more powerful devices...but how well? Sure, you could probably emulate an entire TI-83 or TI-89 on a Palm or similar...but without the 50 buttons that go with it, will it be as easy (or as fast) to use?

    I own a Leatherman. It's a great tool. But I didn't look at the thing and go, "hey, why the fuck do people even buy screwdrivers or can openers anymore?" A TI-89 is more functional and easy to use that any "emulated" solution on a cellphone, DS, or even Palm is likely to be..."underpowered" processor and all. Carrying around ten devices is not a bad idea when you have ten things that you need to be done well. I've found more often than not when things try to squeeze in other functionality they end up doing it poorly...many cellphone MP3 players I've seen aren't nearly as good as an iPod (or other dedicated player). I'm not a fan of the PDA's that double as cellphones. My cellphone makes a pretty crappy calculator. N-Gage...just N-Gage. And so on.

  • jackaljackal Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »

    *snip*

    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.

    Higher contrast screens would be nice though.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Wait, so you're saying the only problem is user interface? Well, shit, we're only in the first two decades of people having cellphones. These problems get worked out eventually.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Wait, so you're saying the only problem is user interface? Well, shit, we're only in the first two decades of people having cellphones. These problems get worked out eventually.

    Not always. It's entirely possible that the form function of, say, a cellphone is more or less incompatible with the optimal user interface of a portable computer algebra system. Different primary functions can lead to different optimal design decisions that are mutually exclusive.

    Hell, even the TI-89 is suboptimal compared to a PC-based CAS, due to lack of a full-sized keyboard (yet even the mini-keyboard on the TI-92 series leads to a somewhat larger form factor than I like in something I take with me on the go). So the idea of boiling down the interface into something that would fit onto a DS or a cellphone seems a bit far-fetched, when even in its current form it can be a bit of a pain in the ass to use when compared to a PC.

    Really, unless human hands and fingers suddenly undergo drastic changes, I don't think these are the kinds of issues that "time" will overcome.

    Now, processing power and screen quality, maybe.

    @jackal: Really, the contrast isn't too horrible to me...I could really go for a higher resolution, though.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Eh. For the DS, I think I'll have a tab-based interface, where you have several "pages" of buttons instead of the maddening and ubiquitous "2nd" or "Shift" key where you have to squint at the long-faded yellow letters, or the TI-84's stupid menus that you need to go through to get to advanced functions. The stylus should provide enough precision for a lot of buttons but the main "basic calculator" page would have buttons large enough to poke at with your fingers if you want.

    Shit, the touch screen would make this better, because then the buttons could actually change labels and such instead of needing three different colored words on each to differentiate between various shift keys.

    The top screen would show the current expression, as well as the last few previous expressions and answers, like the TI's screen, and pressing a button, say, L/R, or maybe Select so it's not pressed accidentally, would switch it to graph mode.

    Hey, this is sounding better and better. Too bad I probably won't get a chance to start it until Thanksgiving break.

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  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Free software? There's always R. I'm just starting to learn it, so I'm not sure how much it can do in terms of symbolic calculation, but for what I'm doing it's pretty fucking awesome so far. Of course, there's also a bit of difference between lugging around a laptop versus a calculator.

    http://www.r-project.org/

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    jackal wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »

    *snip*

    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.

    Higher contrast screens would be nice though.

    If you own an HP hold down the ON button and the + key and you will increase the contrast.

    Really the Tool vs Toy is the best reason. I've had a 38G since 1999 (got it replaced in 2000) And I use it dozens of times a day. The abillity to recall previous functions that are store in my history is brilliant.

    The solve function is handy as well when I'm too lazy to reverse engineer forumlas from the code.

    Though I haven't used it in yonks the statistics solver is also a masive time save back when I did it (though now days I use excel).

    Really as an engineer I don't know where I'd be without my HP.

  • TreelootTreeloot Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Eh. For the DS, I think I'll have a tab-based interface, where you have several "pages" of buttons instead of the maddening and ubiquitous "2nd" or "Shift" key where you have to squint at the long-faded yellow letters, or the TI-84's stupid menus that you need to go through to get to advanced functions. The stylus should provide enough precision for a lot of buttons but the main "basic calculator" page would have buttons large enough to poke at with your fingers if you want.

    Shit, the touch screen would make this better, because then the buttons could actually change labels and such instead of needing three different colored words on each to differentiate between various shift keys.

    The top screen would show the current expression, as well as the last few previous expressions and answers, like the TI's screen, and pressing a button, say, L/R, or maybe Select so it's not pressed accidentally, would switch it to graph mode.

    Hey, this is sounding better and better. Too bad I probably won't get a chance to start it until Thanksgiving break.
    Go ahead an type the number 95734238 into your DS, and then type it on a calculator. It'll be a hell of a lot faster on the calculator. You're out of your mind if you think it's easier to use a stylus. Do you realize all the things a TI-83 can do? It has random number generators, it can output tons of statistical information from lists, you can even hook it up to another machine to get it to take, save, and graph a pH or temperature every second.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

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  • JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    ...and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?
    Well, that certainly isn't true.

    bunny.gif Gamertag: JHunz. R.I.P. Mygamercard.net bunny.gif
  • khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

    I'm curious how your going to implement equation solving among other things.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    khain wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

    I'm curious how your going to implement equation solving among other things.

    Equation solving (including multiple equations), differentiation and integration (including indefinite), simplification of expressions as well as expansion of expressions...yes, I'd say it will be interesting to see.

  • TreelootTreeloot Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

    A z-score and a random number are just two examples of statistics and probability related things the TI-83 can do. I don't have my calculator handy at the moment, but I'd guess there are about 50 more statistics and probability features.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Treeloot wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

    A z-score and a random number are just two examples of statistics and probability related things the TI-83 can do. I don't have my calculator handy at the moment, but I'd guess there are about 50 more statistics and probability features.

    Most of which I imagine he could program...and most of which he's probably not going to. That's the point; sure, he could probably crank out a program for the DS that will do everything he wants it to do...but people are willing to shell out $100 (or $150, for a TI-89) for one that can do just about anything that anybody would want it to do. Because whatever calculator he's likely to create would probably be next to useless for me...hell, that's why I had to trade up to an 89.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Treeloot wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    Oh noes, random number generators? Figuring out the standard deviation from a list of values? Clearly these things must require special hardware that's impossible for me to do; I mean it would be absurd if there were clearly-defined and easily implementable formulas for me to use for statistical information (which I'm currently most of the way through a course on) and a very nice random number generator right in the C standard library, right?

    A z-score and a random number are just two examples of statistics and probability related things the TI-83 can do. I don't have my calculator handy at the moment, but I'd guess there are about 50 more statistics and probability features.

    Most of which I imagine he could program...and most of which he's probably not going to. That's the point; sure, he could probably crank out a program for the DS that will do everything he wants it to do...but people are willing to shell out $100 (or $150, for a TI-89) for one that can do just about anything that anybody would want it to do. Because whatever calculator he's likely to create would probably be next to useless for me...hell, that's why I had to trade up to an 89.

    Sure, probably, but I'd release the source code if you wanted to give it a shot. :D

    Also, making this thing will help me learn more about the various functions that I'm programming into it. I think I'll start this weekend, although the first alpha will probably be little more than a UI proof-of-concept.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Daedalus wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Most of which I imagine he could program...and most of which he's probably not going to. That's the point; sure, he could probably crank out a program for the DS that will do everything he wants it to do...but people are willing to shell out $100 (or $150, for a TI-89) for one that can do just about anything that anybody would want it to do. Because whatever calculator he's likely to create would probably be next to useless for me...hell, that's why I had to trade up to an 89.

    Sure, probably, but I'd release the source code if you wanted to give it a shot. :D

    See, and not to pick on you but this goes back to the original question: why are people willing to pay $100-$150 for these things? Because my time has value. Honestly, programming a computer algebra system for my DS (or even my PC) is not something I really feel like doing with my leisure time...I'd rather go hiking, read a book, or shoot some people in the face in TF2.

    Honestly, if I had to put a dollar value on my leisure time, it'd probably be upwards of like $20 per hour. So unless I can crank out code that will perform these functions as well as if not better than my calculator in less than 5-7 hours (unlikely, considering my coding experience) then there's no reason for me not to drop a bill or two on one of these items.

    And yeah, there are other options (supposedly there are a couple decent freeware apps for Palm, for instance, and I happen to have an old Palm). But again, even assuming they have the same featureset as my TI-89 (which I doubt) they probably won't be as fast to use (given the form factor/user interface of my calculator) so over time again we're talking about time lost...time that has value.

    So again we're talking about a very specific tool for a very specific job...the same way that my Gerber hasn't replaced my screwdriver (nor has my butterknife replaced my flat-head screwdriver, although it often can perform the same function).

    Same way I'm more than willing to drop $100 on a student edition of MATLAB...because although there may be free options, this is what I'm expected to know for classes, and in fact what I'm expected use for some projects. And some of those free options likely lack at least some of the functionality I need from MATLAB. So by dropping $100 on it so I can install it at home, I can same myself hours upon hours either in the computer lab or going back and forth.

    Well worth the money.

    And again, about the last thing I think about in regards to my calculator is how fast the processor is (I honestly couldn't have told you until this thread, though I knew it was pretty slow)...I only care what it can do.

    So, why are graphing calculators still expensive? Because they can be. Because to anybody that actually needs one, they're well worth it. EDIT: Also, for broken record effect, software.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Fair enough. I actually want to spend my free time writing stuff like this: I was looking for ideas of what to do with my flashcard anyway, and now I have a good one.

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  • BoutrosBoutros Registered User
    edited November 2007
    This thread has made me want to get an HP 48GX to replace mine that got stolen years ago. I doubt I truly *need* it, but that thing was so awesome. I was so good at columns, my high score was way better than anyone else with an HP in high school. And Babal was pretty much the best game ever. Also I sometimes used it to do math, when I wasn't playing songs my friend programed using the variable frequency beep function.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Wait, it's been touched on in the thread already by why aren't these graphing calculators using lithium-ion batteries now? Why are we still fooling around with four AA?

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Wait, it's been touched on in the thread already by why aren't these graphing calculators using lithium-ion batteries now? Why are we still fooling around with four AA?

    Because for some applications li-ion batteries (or other "fixed" rechargeables) suck? Plus they add to price (keeping in mind that now you have to include not only Li-ion batteries but also a charger)?

    Four AAA's last for at least a semester, if not an entire school year, in my TI-89...and cost a dollar or two. Battery life simply isn't much of an issue in these things. You go lithium-ion, and now you've got a battery pack that will cost at least $10-$20 (if not more), and will still need to be replaced every couple years (because they degrade with time, regardless of use). Plus now I have to own two (at $10+ a pop), a backup charged in case I forget to charge my calculator before a big exam. Whereas with AAA's I drop $1 on a set of cheap AAA's to keep in my backpack that can be swapped in anytime if my batteries die during an exam, and forget about it.

    Plus again li-ion's degrade over time. The odds that I'll still own the same iPod six or ten years from now are slim...the odds that I'll still own my TI-89 in a decade? Not as much. So the question is will TI still be making my model in 2017 (remembering that even "form-factor" revisions might break battery-pack compatibility)? If not, will they still make the li-ion battery pack for it in 2017? How much will it cost, now that it's a low-volume item? Will I have to get it from a third-party, at $50 a pop?

    Or, alternately, will I be able to drive down to Wal-Mart and pay $1 on a set of AAA's twice or at most thrice a year? Because I'll bet money that they'll still be making AAA's in 2017.

  • emnmnmeemnmnme Heard about this on conservative radio:Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'll show you! I'll build my own graphing calculator that uses a lith-ion battery and it will be glorious! And it's going to cost $15. And it'll have blackjack. And hookers.

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  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well, I'll buy the software argument, though the whole affair still seems strange to me. If I have any complaint about my TI-83+, it's that the screen resolution and contrast is pathetic for the money, and that the Mac version of the link software always sucked (not that I could afford my own USB cable or even find where to buy one on TI's terrible web site in high school). Also, the user manual was a thick white book of nothing. Didn't even tell you the syntax of a for loop in TI-83 basic. Sometimes the only way I could figure out where I needed parentheses when entering a certain kind of expression was to experiment, because the manual seriously was just a half-assed feature list that didn't tell you how to do much.

  • SmasherSmasher Starting to get dizzy Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Well, I'll buy the software argument, though the whole affair still seems strange to me. If I have any complaint about my TI-83+, it's that the screen resolution and contrast is pathetic for the money, and that the Mac version of the link software always sucked (not that I could afford my own USB cable or even find where to buy one on TI's terrible web site in high school). Also, the user manual was a thick white book of nothing. Didn't even tell you the syntax of a for loop in TI-83 basic. Sometimes the only way I could figure out where I needed parentheses when entering a certain kind of expression was to experiment, because the manual seriously was just a half-assed feature list that didn't tell you how to do much.

    The appendix includes a syntax list for (I think) every function. Perhaps not as useful as a detailed explanation of all the programming features, but I taught myself to program with it so it can't be that bad.

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    emnmnme wrote: »
    Wait, it's been touched on in the thread already by why aren't these graphing calculators using lithium-ion batteries now? Why are we still fooling around with four AA?

    Because for some applications li-ion batteries (or other "fixed" rechargeables) suck? Plus they add to price (keeping in mind that now you have to include not only Li-ion batteries but also a charger)?

    Four AAA's last for at least a semester, if not an entire school year, in my TI-89...and cost a dollar or two.

    With my HP which uses 3 AAA (go figure.....) I'll go through about three sets a year with heavy use.

    It's really such a small amount compared to the amount of work it does for me it isn't a worry.

  • MisterJackPieMisterJackPie Registered User
    edited May 2009
    What I'm wondering is why more people haven't mentioned the fact that, even on a TI-89 Titanium, there is barely more than 350kB of usable storage space. Yeah, yeah, "that's plenty MisterJackPie, you douche, those programs are efficient and small"--blah blah fucking blah. Regardless, it's bullsh*t. I can go to Wal-Mart right now and find a 2GB USB flash drive for $10 or less but my SUPER DUPER CAS GRAPHING CALCULATOR has ~350kB of REAL storage? Fuck that right in the ass.

    Hey TI, how about charging us what your calculators should really cost (low profit margin my ass) and then maybe tack on a few extra dollars to have essentially unlimited space for programs and whatnot? Assholes.

    Processing "power" can be improved without using more electrical power people; these things didn't start out at 100% efficiency nor are they now.

    There are obviously 2 reasons (or more) why these calculators are still as much as they are--and with decade-old features mind you:

    1. Most schools (every school I've been to) require TI-83+'s or better; try bringing a Casio or HP to most junior high classes in the U.S--you will get laughed at and the teacher won't be able to help you. Basically, if you are a math student you almost don't have a choice. TI cornered this market early on. Smart move...

    2. Related to above; TI has a virtual monopoly and can charge whatever they wish. There is absolutely no reason for them to improve their products in any way except for in a superficial manner, in order to make it at least seem like they are doing something.

    This is why monopolies are supposed to be illegal (remember, I said this was a virtual monopoly). They cause slowed progress and stagnation of innovation.

    You guys know that some company could, right now, develop a calculator that has a much higher resolution screen (possibly color), is about three times "faster", has plenty of RAM and EEPROM (flash), and draws the same current/voltage as a TI-89 and place it on the market at the same price, if not cheaper, as a TI-89 and still be able to make money off of it. But why can't they? Because TI has the market dominated and everyone knows it. Why risk innovation (yes, it is risky) when you don't have to? Why try to make better and cheaper stuff when there's no motivation and good financial reasons to do the opposite?

    There you go. It's not often that a company finds a niche like this and dominates the market for such an amount of time, but it happens, it has happened before, and it will continue to happen. However, like someone said above, something has to give. Something will give; it's just a question of when.

  • CmdPromptCmdPrompt Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    A couple of things you should probably note:
    a) We don't care if you say bad words. We will not ask you to clean your mouth out with soap.
    b) This thread is a year and a half old.

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  • Lucky CynicLucky Cynic Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    CmdPrompt wrote: »
    b) This thread is a year and a half old.

    Yet still relevant.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    CmdPrompt wrote: »
    b) This thread is a year and a half old.

    Yet still relevant.

    True.
    You guys know that some company could, right now, develop a calculator that has a much higher resolution screen (possibly color), is about three times "faster", has plenty of RAM and EEPROM (flash), and draws the same current/voltage as a TI-89 and place it on the market at the same price, if not cheaper, as a TI-89 and still be able to make money off of it. But why can't they? Because TI has the market dominated and everyone knows it. Why risk innovation (yes, it is risky) when you don't have to? Why try to make better and cheaper stuff when there's no motivation and good financial reasons to do the opposite?

    I'm with you right up until the voltage/current, which I think may still be a challenge. But yeah, aside from that you're basically describing my Palm, which cost me $50 more (and that was a couple years ago) and is better than my TI-89 in every way except battery life (and obviously lacks the software).

    I can even understand keeping the screen low-res, non-backlit*, and non-color for battery life purposes, but at this point there's really no reason it shouldn't have megabytes upon megabytes of storage space. Shit's dirt cheap. They don't do it because, as you said, they don't have to. Yes, there are many professional engineers I know (and a few students) who swear by their HP's, but overall it's a TI world out there.

    * - Actually, there's no reason you couldn't have a backlight that can be turned off. But it's kind of a non-issue, because really how often are you doing calculations in the damned dark?


    EDIT: You can stretch the "you're paying for the software, not the hardware" excuse pretty far...I'm pretty sure I dropped it earlier in this thread, though that was like three years ago so I don't remember...but there comes a point where a significant hardware redesign (or price drop) is warranted. The TI-89 Titanium has passed that point.

  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The TI-89 Titanium was goddamn amazing.

    In 2005.

    Steam & GT
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    The TI-89 Titanium was goddamn amazing.

    In 2005.

    Not really, though. I mean yeah, if you're comparing it to other TI calculators (or graphing calculators). But hardware-wise? My Palm m125 kicked its ass, and that was released back in like 2000. Again, the only thing special about graphing calculators is the software; hardware-wise, they are and have long been absolute shit.

    Yeah, that particular Palm may have run more like $200-$250. In 2001. And it had about the same resolution (160x160) greyscale), backlighting, a faster processor, more RAM/ROM, an SD card port, and a fucking touch screen.

    Again, I'm sure TI's software makes up a significant portion of the cost. But that doesn't change the fact that it's running on like $12 worth of hardware. For the most part I can chalk it up to supply and demand, and the fact that it matters more what people will pay and utility and blah blah blah. But on the storage/memory front, you're talking about something that is actually quite limiting to the user, and people routinely complain about.

    The only reason I can come up with why this hasn't been fixed by now is lack of real competition.

  • Erich ZahnErich Zahn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    gleep-glop wrote: »
    You think that 24KB of RAM grows on trees?

    No, it grows in a jar of tapwater.

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  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    halfway through colllege when I hit one math course, instead of a ti93 or 89 they required just that one more step up in complication that would cost 150$ for the final exam (88?)

    I brought a laptop in and... "did the math" on it once I showed my teacher it was the same thing and he okayed it. There was no wireless and he walked around every so often to see that I wasnt cheating. 150$ requirement within the last 3 days of a class with no warning is fucktarded. People worked out a scam from a couple places to buy and return theirs

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  • DeicistDeicist Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Of course, the flip side to this whole argument is that if TI did bring out a new, significantly better model every year with new features and whatnot there'd be complaints about technology moving too fast and forcing people into upgrading. Then you'd have backwards compatibility to worry about....

  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Yeah the static pricing on these things is retarded. My parent's bought me a TI-83 Plus when I started high school. I used it throughout HS math, then throughout College. Now I'm done with school for now and my girlfriend is using it in her math class. Really got my parent's $100 worth out of the thing over 8+ years.

    Then I go check on newegg and they are still $100. Same exact model with what is probably the same specs. How does a tech company get away with this?

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
  • ShadowrunnerShadowrunner Registered User
    edited May 2009
    I still have my 10+ year old HP-48GX in my bag. I can't remember how to do all the fancy matrix manipulation and linear equation stuff, but it still works great.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Smurph wrote: »
    Yeah the static pricing on these things is retarded. My parent's bought me a TI-83 Plus when I started high school. I used it throughout HS math, then throughout College. Now I'm done with school for now and my girlfriend is using it in her math class. Really got my parent's $100 worth out of the thing over 8+ years.

    Then I go check on newegg and they are still $100. Same exact model with what is probably the same specs. How does a tech company get away with this?

    Of course, the flipside to that is that they hold value; when I had to upgrade to a TI-89, I managed to resell my TI-83 Silver for...I think $80? Might have been more.

    But yeah, it's pretty absurd. And they get away with it through lack of competition...most high-school (and below) classes straight up require a specific TI model, and by the time you get to college you stick with TI because that's what everybody else is using so you know that's the model people will be able to help you out on.
    tallus wrote: »
    Of course, the flip side to this whole argument is that if TI did bring out a new, significantly better model every year with new features and whatnot there'd be complaints about technology moving too fast and forcing people into upgrading. Then you'd have backwards compatibility to worry about....

    This really only applies to the screen, and even then you could probably figure out a way to make it backwards compatible (double the resolution, then simply upscale for "legacy" programs). But there's no reason you couldn't put a faster processor in, and there's certainly no reason you couldn't up the storage space. That's not going to break compatibility.

  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited May 2009
    Hot diggity, I'm gonna sell my calculator! It's like, three cases of beer!

  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I still have my TI-83plus in the basement from high school/college. I think I spent $80ish on it when I needed it (it always goes on sale around back to school time) back in 1998. Now, 11 years later, I could probably sell it for close to that if I found someone locally who needed to buy one. eBay seems to drop them in price significantly (there probably is a huge surplus of unneeded calculators of people graduating school) to about $30-40. Still crazy for a calculator of its capability.

    I remember though having so much fun with it though programming text adventures and downloading games onto it. :D I even worked out a Pokemon experience and stat calculator program on it back when red/blue came out. oi.

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  • cramcram Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Heh, I remember programming on my calculator in high school. I made a version of snake, but it ran really slowly. I didn't have a computer cable, so I had to type everything into the macro editor.

    But really, has the software really evolved any in the past 5-10 years? I remember having one of the big brick calculators for an advanced math course, and that a smaller version (TI 89?) came out. I can imagine that programming a symbolic equation solver on those tiny chips must be hard, but software development costs would surely be small over the lifetime of those things.

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