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Time to Fight for Net Neutrality, Again.

вт, 23/05/2017 - 06:39

On May 18th, 2017 the FCC voted to kill Title II regulations under the Communications Act of 1934 for ISPs. More widely known as Net Neutrality. (But don't worry, there's time to save it!) Back in June 2015, the FCC classified ISPs as Title II Utilities and even successfully defended the classification in court several times. Wait. What?

The FCC Classified then Unclassified ISPs as Title II?

Yes. In December 2016, then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced he'll step down on January 20th. According to the article, it's normal for the FCC Chairman to step down when a new President is elected. This left President Trump another spot to fill just days into his presidency. Three days later, on January 23rd, Trump put Ajit Pay in charge. Where did he come from? Ajit was already on the board at the FCC and was critical of Net Neutrality during the planning stages. Since he was promoted to the top spot, he made it his goal - and thus the FCC's - to undue these protections.

What is "Title II"?

On bottom of Page 35 of the "Communications Act of 1934" PDF is this text:

What does that mean?

This means services cannot prioritize traffic above others. In other words, all traffic is equal. The traffic from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Vudu and, any other video/audio streaming site is treated equally. Not just streaming sites, but e-commerce, social networks, etc. If you have a 40mbps download then you can retrieve any and all internet data up to 40mbps. The ISP can't prioritize any service over another.

Now that Net Neutrality has been struck down by the FCC ISPs can prioritize traffic. This doesn't mean they'll throttle existing connections as there's no telling what they will do. Instead, the common theory is they'll likely use it to promote specific services. If ISP A wants to compete with Netflix all ISP A has to do is prioritize themselves. Instead of watching 4K HDR content at 40Mbps on a 1TB monthly data cap, you can steam ISP A's VOD service at 400Mbps and those videos won't count towards your data cap. That 1TB isn't pulled out of my rear, Comcast has a 1TB cap for all it's customers now. That number is very real.

"Now, Alex..." you're thinking, "who watches 4K HDR content?" Well, I don't know. I do, but I certainly do not stream it. Those are huge files and I don't trust that the quality over the bandwidth of my internet. On average, 1080p video eats through about 5GB of data an hour, while 4K content can eat through as much as 20GB, remember that 4K content is twice the width and twice the height as 1080p thus the amount of pixels are quadrupled. The source goes on to say that the estimate is for a video streamed with the x264 codec. On x265 (or HEVC) the size could be 7GB an hour for 4K but HEVC is an incredibly resource intensive codec and may not be implemented across all shows on a service or even every streaming service.

So, if you're binge watching one of Marvels' Netflix shows on your brand new 4K TV, just imagine it's 20GB an episode. And 13 episodes a season makes for about 260GB of data. So four seasons. Luke Cage, Iron Fist and, the two seasons of Daredevil puts you over that 1TB data cap. That's completely ignoring other services such as: YouTube, your video game downloads, streaming music, OS and app updates, etc.

ISPs can devastate streaming video with inferior experiences. We all already hate our ISPs and we have to put up with their awful customer service to boot. They have awful customer service because, honestly, who else are we going to switch to? I'm lucky where I live in a market with 2 ISP companies but unfortunately both their customer service departments suck. Imagine this mentality with their ideas of VOD. I hate the DVR experience on my cable box, and it's the same company that gives me my internet. Knowing how cheap these companies can be, they'll likely just repurpose the DVR interface into a VOD service. It'll be slow, it'll be confusing and, any web and streaming box would be severely behind or non existent. But, at least you can stream media faster than Netflix AND it doesn't count towards your data cap for the month.

Now. Netflix and services could theoretically pay for access to this fast lane. We have no idea what it would cost but those services would have to increase their monthly subscription to cover that cost. And just like internet rates, I'm sure ISPs would demand more money year over year from these companies thus forcing those companies to increase their prices. Eventually, those services can't keep subscribers as more people move to the ISPs' service because it's faster and cheaper.

This doesn't affect big companies. If big companies like Netflix can pay, that puts smaller companies at a disadvantage. Perhaps it's a startup trying to compete with Netflix. Netflix can afford to pay for a fast lane, this smaller company can't. There's no innovation to be had if companies can pay their way to your door faster that other companies. Like I said, ISP A may have an inferior VOD service but they'll simply include their service as a "fast lane" in the bundle of their services. If Netflix doesn't play ball they'll start to lose subscribers. This affects everyone.

Who is already classified as a Title II?

Utility companies who transport goods, also known as Common Carriers. Such as the water company and the natural gas companies. Most importantly, Telecommunications carriers are classified as Title II; telecommunications is transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems. This means AT&T/Verizon cell towers are under Title II but AT&T/Verizon ISP lines are not. The key argument by the FCC back in June 2016 was that ISPs are telecommunication carriers and thus common carriers. They won.

What can I do to ensure the continuation of Net Neutrality?

Contact your state rep! We cannot let the FCC take this back. We have until August 16th before the final verdict. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, remember Ajit was once a commissioner, said that Net Neutrality is doomed if we're silent, just two days before the FCC voted to dismantle Net Neutrality today and after weeks of public comments.

Click the images to go to the true source, the links below the images provide context, also where I got the images from.



https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/2cskdc/number_of_comments_the_fcc_has_received_daily/



https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/6akxrh/john_olivers_impact_on_fcc_net_neutrality_filings/

I'm taking these links directly from a Reddit post on /r/Technology:

Quote:
If you want to help protect NN you can support groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU and Free Press who are fighting to keep Net Neutrality.


Major tech companies are for Net Neutrality (open in incognito mode to skip wall), And Senate Democrats are for Net Neutrality.

Seriously, if you shop on Amazon for anything. Please consider using http://smile.amazon.com It doesn't work on the App but you can put items in your cart then jump onto a PC to finish the transaction from http://smile.amazon.com If it's your first time on http://smile.amazon.com you'll need to set up a charity to donate to. It's only 0.5% of your transaction total but it's 0.5% more than a charity would get if you didn't use http://smile.amazon.com

We defeated everything the old politicians have created, crafted and, reworded in their attempts to make the internet profitable. Let's win this battle too. We've defeated:

  • SOPA
  • PIPA
  • CISPA
  • ACTA
  • TPP
  • ITU
  • CISPA again
  • TAFTA

Let's be strong and be heard.

Gameboy Emulators for the Casio Prizm and TI-84+ CE

пн, 15/05/2017 - 08:26
Hello! It's been a while since this news editor has written anything, and it's time to change that! Without further ado, let's jump right in to it!

First up, for the Casio Prizm, we'll be discussing Prizoop, a Gameboy/Gameboy color emulator. Developed by Cemetech newcomer tswilliamson, it claims to run approximately 95% of Gameboy games at 60 frames per second, with "safe" software overclocking enabled. Sound support, ROM compression, and auto frameskip are new additions in the latest update. The project is open source and the code is available on GitHub for anyone who wants to contribute or just view the code. Planned features include savestates, as well as performance and file footprint improvements.

Second, the long awaited CE port of the ever popular TI-83+ series gameboy emulator, TI-Boy, has been announced, although no downloads or source code are available at this time. TI-Boy CE, by long time community member calc84maniac, appears to be coming along nicely, with a 60 fps video showing off a working version of the program. Planned features include automatic colorization of supported Gameboy games, real time clock emulation, and a configuation saving feature.

As always on Cemetech, we do not recommend nor condone the usage of pirated ROMs. That said, if anyone has any Gameboy or Gameboy Color homebrew that they have written or would like to share, feel free to link it below, so long as the site hosting the homebrew does not host any sort of pirated material.

If you wrote some homebrew for the Gameboy or Gameboy Color, feel free to message me a screenshot or gif of it running on one of the featured emulators, or any emulator running on a calculator. You might be featured on a follow up article!

Thanks for reading! See you in the next article!

More Information / Downloads
Download Prizoop
More information regarding Prizoop
Prizoop on GitHub

More information regarding TI-Boy CE


TI-Boy CE (left) and Prizoop (right)

Projects of the Year: 2016

чт, 11/05/2017 - 23:56
Although we are quite behind schedule, we haven't forgot about last year's master poll for the ultimate Project of the Year. 2016 brought many lows and highs, there were many opportunities to celebrate and to mourn. But we believe the net result was, for all of us, a great deal of progress, and of course many cool software and hardware projects. In the past months, you have finalized the decisions for the Projects of the Months and now it is up to you, again, to find the best of the best!

  • Project of the Month January: CE C SDK and Libraries
    Mateo has released a packaged system to allow users to more easily write C programs for your CE line of graphing calculators. This seems to be quite the popular step in our calculator community, with all the excitement and hype that has been going on about programming C on the CE calcs. Check out the topic for the links to the packages and updates that have been done since the release!

  • Project of the Month February: Spaze Invaders CE
    JamesV has ported up his CSE project Spaze Invaders CSE to the CE! Check out the topic for some more techincal information on what JamesV did for this project, along with some impressive looking screenshots!

  • Project of the Month March: FloodIt CE
    Michael2_3B has been working on his CE port of FloodIt!, and the screenshot presented looks great. You can also find the download link in the link to the post.

  • Project of the Month April: Minesweeper CE
    Merthsoft has released the final version of Minesweeper for the CE, for those of you needing this game in their lives. It looks well polished and a lot of fun, so get over there and give it a try!

  • Project of the Month May: FlappyBird CE
    Another TI-84 Plus CE game in C ported by Rico. If you're on the internet, it's impossible that you don't know what Flappy Bird is, and Rico's game is a faithful recreation. Check out the topic for a screenshot and download link.

  • Project of the Month June: ICE Compiler
    PT_ has been working on his compiler project, releasing a version 1.0 with some limited functionality. He's added a number of things after that release, so check out the thread to get more information and check out those screenshots showing off his progress.

  • Project of the Month July: Don't Touch the Spikes CE
    Unicorn has been working on his port of the Don't touch the spikes mobile game over to the CE, and has posted up some nice looking screenshots showing off progress. Check it out if you need a good time waster between your upcoming classes!

  • Project of the Month August: Atomas 84+CE
    This game is a puzzle type where you are given atoms and you combine them to create new elements for the goal of getting an element of the highest atomic number. It's an accurate port of a very popular smartphone game, and just as addictive as the original. Check out the thread for some impressive screenshots, a download link, and a whole lot more information!

  • Project of the Month September: Chess CE
    MateoConLechuga has posted up some updates regarding his Chess game for the CE, stating he has upgraded the engine to something smaller, updated the graphics, and numerous other things. Check out the link for a download and screenshot!

  • Project of the Month October: StringToList CE
    A little utility program by MateoConLechuga that converts string data into a list of tokens. Check out the thread for a screenshot and more information.

  • Unfortunately, no project was finished in November, so this position remains vacant.

  • Project of the Month December: Reuben Quest: Lost Between Times
    Sorunome released the long awaited grayscale RPG for TI-83+ monochrome calculators! The thread features some amazing screenshots and download links for an equally amazing game!

Thanks for an amazing year with you people, I really enjoyed it. And, looking back, there is really a lot of cool stuff to enjoy! I hope this year will turn out as good as, if not better than, last year and that we will have a big pool to choose the next Project of the Year from!

ICE Support Added to SourceCoder 3

пт, 21/04/2017 - 02:27
We are more than happy to announce that the online TI-BASIC editor and IDE SourceCoder 3 gets an upgrade again. You have now the possibility to compile ICE programs online, rather than doing it on-calc! The syntax is basically the same as TI-BASIC, but you don't need a "Then" for indentation. While the highlighting is exactly the same, except the commands of course, we are still working on a nice styling system for ICE, to make it even easier to write programs! But, you say, why can't we use the TI-BASIC section of SourceCoder 3? That is very simple: ICE has a lot of graphic commands, imported from the C libraries, and replaced them with det(XX..). From now on, you don't need to remember this anymore, you can just directly type "FillScreen(255)" for example!

In the sidebar you can see some groups, which are the same groups as listed in commands file of ICE Compiler, to make it even easier! Also, you can easily add comments as well, in order to explain variables or routines to yourself. You can do this by placing [i] (the imaginary i) in front of the line, the same as in ICE.

As far as we know, there are 2 bugs we need to overcome:
  • There is a graphic command "End", but BASIC itself also has an "End". Therefore, I removed the graphic command "End", so typing in "End", gives you the token End, not det(1).
  • Since the token for comments is the same as the token for the output program, you can't add the output name, because that will be commented as well ;).

Anyway, we hope that this makes development of ICE programs much easier, and we are happy to receive feedback and or questions/comments about this!

Launch Tool:
SourceCoder 3 Online TI-BASIC, ASM, and C Editor and IDE



Many thanks to KermMartian for helping me in this process, correcting me when needed, and moving it to the real website!

New TI Contest: The Search for STEMnauts

чт, 20/04/2017 - 02:28
Texas Instruments has held plenty of contests in the past, from the #TISelfieContest to Math for the Win. Rarely have they held contests of skill that resemble our occasional programming contests, and never (to my knowledge) have they had a programming-related contest of their own. TI's new The Search for STEMnauts "virtual scavenger hunt" aims to change this. A collaboration between NASA and TI, the scavenger hunt challenges teams of up to 5 students in 6th through 12th grades, overseen by an adult mentor, to solve NASA-related programming and problem-solving puzzles.

Throughout this contest, you need to solve a series of activities to earn points. The topics of the activities range from the International Space Station, Earth, and Mars to deep space, aeronautics, and pure technology. The activities themselves involve running programs on your calculator, deciphering codes, and presumably also writing your own programs. So far, only the International Space Station activities have been released. You can enter any time before the scavenger hunt ends on May 31st, and you get points for the activities you correctly complete. The winning team gets TI-84 Plus CEs, a $500 Amazon gift card, and other prizes, and five other teams will be randomly selected to receive TI-84 Plus CEs as well. If you and your friends are in 6th through 12th grade, and you like programming, STEM, or space, you should give this a try! We ask that you please not post the answers on the Cemetech forum, although we encourage you to try to brainstorm approaches and find team members here.

Interestingly enough, the video announcing more details also mentions a new Galaxy Gray color for the TI-84 Plus CE that we haven't seen before. Hmmm...

More Information
The Search for STEMnauts informational website
The Search for STEMnauts introductory video

Projects of the Month: January 2017

вс, 02/04/2017 - 22:10
With the Christmas holidays over, many members resumed their projects, causing our list to grow. Let's have a look at how this year began!

  • Aspirin CE: Unicorn continued working on his Aspirin port to the CE calculator. He fixed some bugs, almost finished the mechanics and added a menu. You should visit the thread and see yourself!

  • ASCII and xLib RPGs: Cemetech member Switchblade shared beautiful screenshots of and a download of an ASCII RPG and screenshots of two xLib RPGs he was working on. The graphics are very clean and definitely worth a look, and best of all, those are in TI-Basic!

  • Axe Arcade Game Remakes: In another post, Switchblade showed off some pretty remakes of popular arcade games in Axe, for the monochrome calculators. So go ahead and give him some feedback!

  • Kerbal Space Program CE: TheLastMillennial made lots of progress on his CE port of the popular rocketry sandbox game. He released some code and worked hard on the physics engine.

  • linevolution: _iPhoenix_ created an evolution simulator which evolves lines on the CE. In his own words, the code was written for readability, not speed, but it is easy to edit. You should definitely try it out!

  • Don't touch the white tile: _iPhoenix_ created another program, a "quick and small" arcade game for the color calculators. The code was well optimized by several Cemetechians and is now ready to play!

  • Short Circuit: JWinslow23, as a new member of the programming group Tilda^3, created an electronics puzzle game in pure TI-Basic for the monochrome calculator series! In it, you may place different kinds of wires and logic gates, and must get the current to reach a destination. There are some nice screenshots and a demo which you should see!

  • Spirograph CE: CalcMeister made a Spirograph program for the CE calculator packed with lots of features, and, to my knowledge, he was the first to make one. If you're into graphics or geometry, you should check it out!

  • SuperOP: Cemetechian Battlesquid made lots of progress on a monochrome port of the popular mobile game Clash Royale, and that in TI-Basic! There are some cool screenshots, so visit that thread and have a look!

  • The Oregon Trail: OldNewTimer decided to try and make a TI-84 Plus CE recreation of the video game Oregon Trail. The thread features beautiful screenshots of the backgrounds and menus and the project, while in an early stage, looks very promising.

  • Sorcery of Uvutu: And, to round this list off, 123outerme finally released the long awaited RPG for the TI-84 Plus CE. The thread has tons of screenshots and information, and you don't want to miss the game!

We hope you had a good start into the new year, and can't wait to see all the projects it will bring!

We Hope You Guys Enjoyed April Fools!

вс, 02/04/2017 - 11:41
April fools has come and gone for 2017. In the myriad of announcements for new products and services, we hope you guys didn't miss ours. If you guys managed to see our prank, let us know what you thought via the poll above as not to spoil it for anyone else. We've rescinded our prank already but we wish to keep it a secret in case we do it again next year, that way it's still a secret! ;D

Meanwhile, what pranks did you enjoy most yesterday? Any that legitimately had you fooled, even for a moment? Share them below!