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Cemetech at World Maker Faire 2017 Recap

Cemetech News - вт, 17/10/2017 - 09:00
Three weeks ago, we showcased our work as Cemetech for the sixth consecutive year at World Maker Faire. This annual event in New York City brings together Makers from all walks of life and specialties, from machines to electronics to crafts and beyond. Since 2012, we have been going to the Faire to display hardware and software projects, talk to kids, their parents, teachers, and the general public, and generally just to enjoy a weekend outside. We brought our usual set of displays showing off the value of learning programming and electronics with graphing calculators, enriched with one brand-new display. Shortly before World Maker Faire, we announced that we'd be at the Faire for a sixth year, after much less planning than last year. Like the last two years, we heavily focused our message on the fact that graphing calculators are the perfect way to get started with vital STEM skills like programming, math, science, and electronics.

Graphing calculators are an ideal platform on which to learn programming, because most high school students in the US already have them, carry them around in school and commuting, and can whip them out to work on their latest projects. You don't need to download, install, or configure anything; just hit [PRGM] on most graphing calculators, and you can instantly start writing TI-BASIC (or a similar language) directly on the device. You don't have to worry about breaking the calculator: make a mistake, and it'll probably help you find where you made a mistake, and what you did wrong. Calculator programming adds an element of competition, and has done so before the term "social media" had even been coined: you can send your programs to your friends' calculators, get the prestige of having created a cool program or game from scratch, and look at how things other people made work. Finally, as you get more advanced, you can advance to a more complex language like C or ASM that lets you go even deeper into concepts like computer science and computer architecture, or even electrical engineering.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from this year:


This year, we ended up showing off a variety of projects to make these points; from left to right along our table:
  • Learn to Program demo: A giant calculator emulator, with key entry from a real TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition calculator. Aims to teach visitors to write a simple guessing game in 60 seconds.
  • Floppy Drive Music: My floppy drive music with a TI-83 Plus project.
  • Calculator Music: A TI-84 Plus Silver Edition with mobileTunes and songs by Alec "qazz42" Szigeti and Thomas "elfprince13" Dickerson.
  • GPS Demo: A version of the GPS for graphing calculators project, allowing a calculator to communicate with a GPS module to get its latitude, longitude, altitude, the current time, and more.
  • SimpleI/O Demo: First displayed this year at T^3 2016, the SimpleI/O demo illustrates how easy it is to connect an Arduino to a graphing calculator. It shows how a calculator can read the state of pins on an Arduino to see if you're pressing a button or toggling a switch, and how the calculator can in turn control LEDs, motors, and more.
  • Whack-a-Mole: Built with a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, a TI MSP432 Launchpad, and lots of RGB LEDs and light sensors, the Whack-a-Mole project was a hit at World Maker Faire 2015 and T^3 2016.
  • TI-DCC: Controlling an N-scale electric locomotive with a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and the TI-DCC library, new this year.
  • "Using the TI-84 Plus" and "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus": As has become traditional, we brought copies of my books as examples of written reference material that new learners could explore outside of Cemetech. "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus" teaches programming concepts to beginners via TI graphing calculators, giving them a toolbox of programming knowledge they can bring to any programming language. "Using the TI-84 Plus" is the missing manual: a gentle guide to the vast array of math and science features available on TI graphing calculators, grounded in plenty of examples just like the ones students might see in class or on the SATs.
  • Interactive calculators for games: a TI-84 Plus CE, TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, and if any of them are still working, a Casio Prizm, with games and other programs loaded.
  • CALCnet Networking Demo: Four TI-83 Plus calculators connected via CALCnet, running the Flourish demo, showing how you can build and test a complex communication protocol with just the hardware your calculators provide, plus a few wires.
Many thanks to the volunteers old and new who helped man the Cemetech table. Tim "geekboy1011" Keller made it possible for our booth to happen at all this year, and Alec "Qazz42" Szigeti has the honorable distinction of having helped all six years we attended. Cemetech members Pieman7373 and mr womp womp attended for their first time, having carefully planned their trip together, and were incredibly helpful in making our booth run smoothly (especially after we trimmed Pieman7373's mullet). Everyone pitched in wholeheartedly, whether talking to the thousands of visitors who stopped by our tables to explain Cemetech's mission and why we were at the Faire, keeping our demos running, or protecting the interactive calculators from the destructive hands of small children. We combined exhausting 10am-6pm days at the Faire (more like 8am to 8pm with travel, setup, and teardown) with our annual traditions of socialization, dinners, and enjoying each other's in-person company. As always, most of us also stopped by Maker Faire on Friday night to start setting up, get paella, beverages, and tasty desserts, and start setting up our booth.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make our sixth World Maker Faire appearance a resounding success. We also salute elfprince13 and Eeems, our loyal members who couldn't make it this year. By the end of the weekend, we had given away nearly all of our Cemetech bookmarks, worn out our voices, and explained graphing calculators to visitors young and old. Most importantly, we left satisfied that we had opened many more eyes about the value of exploring programming and electronics with calculators, and excited to see some of our more enthusiastic visitors again here on Cemetech. The encouragement of everyone here on Cemetech was a big help as well, and several of you stepped up and offered to share the burden of preparing for the Faire. I hope that we'll see as many of you as possible as attendees at the Faire next fall, and if you're interested in helping staff the table, please speak up!

TI-Innovator Hub LED Matrix Display Driver

Cemetech News - вт, 17/10/2017 - 04:45
At Cemetech we strive to encompass more than just calculator programming, and one part of that is featuring electronics-related projects. Recently, long-time Cemetech member amihart, took her TI-Innovator Hub and connected it to the MAX7219 chip, used to control an 8x8 LED display. A nice part of this project is that you can now control the display with TI-BASIC! This high-level language is easy to learn, and easy to code, so it should not be too hard for others to replicate and expand upon this project. With BASIC, you can start/boot up the display, shut it down, change its brightness, and display emoticons at the display. You can even control the chip's internal registers for more advanced manipulation of its functionality. So what are you waiting for? Check out this project, grab your TI-Innovator Hub, buy the MAX7219 (which is rather cheap), and start coding!

More information »

Projects of the Month: March 2017

Cemetech News - вс, 01/10/2017 - 18:07
After winning all forum contests and achieving a position in the Guinness World Records for the longest delay of Projects of the Month articles, we wish to detain you no longer.

On a more serious note, we are sorry for neglecting this duty for such a long time. Cemetech founder KermMartian has now written a small utility which should greatly simplify the writing process, and we hope to deliver the articles in time from now on.

So let's go on the ride and try to catch up with you insanely fast guys creating new projects!


  • Boxman C: Botboy3000 has finally submitted his Boxman port for the TI-84+ CE to the Cemetech File Archives. It was finished for some time, but eventually fogotten and never uploaded. While he was not technically working on the project, it is still mentioned here to participiate in the poll for the best project of the month. Besides, it is an awesome game, so please check it out if you haven't already!

  • Jumpman: Another project which has been around for forever was completed in March: Ranman's TI-89 port of the game Jumpan. He was working on many levels for the fun platformer, and posted screenshots of all but the last one. If you're one of the (unfortunately) few TI-89 owners and as curious as I am about this, you should definitely have a look at it!

  • Kerbal Space Program USB Control Panel: Once again, Botboy3000 has shown himself to be one of the most active hardware hackers at Cemetech. By scrapping some old parts, including an old USB keyboard, he created a hardware control panel for the rocketry sandbox game Kerbal Space Program. He posted a cool image and some details about the project. Take a look at the topic, you won't regret it!

  • StopwatchCE: Just in time to be featured in this March article, a relatively new member of our community, kotu, shared a very clean-looking, and, more importantly, accurate stopwatch program for the TI-84+ CE. If you occasionally have to measure some time and a proper stopwatch is not on hand, you will be glad to have this program!

  • Subtransit: Black Phoenix and his team continued the work on their unbelievably detailed train simulator for PC platorms. Visit the thread to see some amazing teasers, or, if that is what you like more, technical implementation details!

  • SuperOP: Battlesquid made progress with his port his port of Clash Royale for the monochrome TI calculator series. There is a whole checklist of "Done's" and "To-do's" in the topic. If you can pitch in with some help, feel free to do so! Other than that, with some patience you will soon see the final result!

  • Project Builder: Adriweb kept us up to date on the progress of the amazing programming tool hosted by TI-Planet. Click on that topic link for screenshots and changelogs!

  • Zombies: This first person shooter by calcnerd_CEP_D has been continued throughout March. There were problems found and solved, and overall a whole bunch of things finished. We can't wait to see this project finished!

  • Sorcery of Uvutu: At this point, 123outerme's RPG for the monochrome TI calculators with a very long and rich history, was neraly completed. 123outerme asked for help porting some levels and would be glad if you could lend a hand. And even if not, this is a very cool project and we are eager to try it out!

  • Pirate Space Kitties: No matter how silly this project is named, the coding and work behind it is very serious! This platformer, somewhat reminiscent of Oiram, was initially developed for a contest, but eventually became a standalone project for the TI-84 CSE calculators. There are some very nice screenshots which you do not want to miss!


Thanks for another awesome month with all of you, Cemetechians! March was very busy and we had a hard time picking the projects for this article, for the competition was very serious. So please forgive us if your project was not featured here - it will be in April's article for sure!

Cemetech Going to World Maker Faire 2017 for Sixth Year

Cemetech News - сб, 23/09/2017 - 19:14
This weekend, Cemetech is back at World Maker Faire in New York City, introducing people to learning coding and electronics with graphing calculators. This is our sixth annual presence at World Maker Faire, ever since our first visit five years ago with rudimentary displays. In the interim, we have gone through many iterations of our demos and displays, I've been joined by dedicated Cemetechians Alec "qazz42" Szigeti, Tim "geekboy1011" Keller, Thomas "elfprince13" Dickerson, and Nathaniel "Eeems" van Diepen, who have volunteered their time, effort, and money to help make our Maker Faire booth a success. We have garnered some modest press coverage, we have collected a few new Cemetech members and reconnected with old ones, but most importantly, we have introduced thousands of Faire visitors to the fact that they can learn programming, electronics, and other STEM subjects with their graphing calculators. We're excited to continue that mission this weekend.

This year, we're bringing back all of our proven displays, plus one new one that we (specifically, geekboy1011 and Iambian) created. Here's what we're displaying:
  • TI-DCC (Calculator-Controlled Model Trains): This evolution of a few-years-old project to control model trains with graphing calculators no longer requires an Arduino. Thanks to hard work by geekboy1011 and Iambian, TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition calculators can directly bitbang the DCC (Direct Cab Control) protocol, allowing the calculator to control a train through a simple H-bridge motor driver.
  • Whack-a-Mole: Built with a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, a TI MSP432 Launchpad, and lots of RGB LEDs and light sensors, the Whack-a-Mole project was a hit at World Maker Faire 2015 and T^3 2016.
  • CALCnet Networking Demo: Four TI-83 Plus calculators connected via CALCnet, running the Flourish demo, showing how you can build and test a complex communication protocol with just the hardware your calculators provide, plus a few wires.
  • GPS Demo: A version of the GPS for graphing calculators project, allowing a calculator to communicate with a GPS module to get its latitude, longitude, altitude, the current time, and more.
  • SimpleI/O Demo: First displayed this year at T^3 2016, the SimpleI/O demo illustrates how easy it is to connect an Arduino to a graphing calculator. It shows how a calculator can read the state of pins on an Arduino to see if you're pressing a button or toggling a switch, and how the calculator can in turn control LEDs, motors, and more.
  • Sound Demo: A TI-84 Plus Silver Edition with mobileTunes and songs by Alec "qazz42" Szigeti and Thomas "elfprince13" Dickerson, plus my floppy drive music with a TI-83 Plus project.
  • Interactive calculators for games: a TI-84 Plus CE, TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, and if any of them are still working, a Casio Prizm, with games and other programs loaded.
  • "Using the TI-84 Plus" and "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus": As has become traditional, we brought copies of my books as examples of written reference material that new learners could explore outside of Cemetech. "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus" teaches programming concepts to beginners via TI graphing calculators, giving them a toolbox of programming knowledge they can bring to any programming language. "Using the TI-84 Plus" is the missing manual: a gentle guide to the vast array of math and science features available on TI graphing calculators, grounded in plenty of examples just like the ones students might see in class or on the SATs.
  • Learn to Program demo: A giant calculator emulator, with key entry from a real TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition calculator. Aims to teach visitors to write a simple guessing game in 60 seconds.


If you're in New York City, we encourage you to hop on the 7 train to 111th Street in Queens and come visit World Maker at the New York Hall of Science. We'll be there 10am to 6pm this Saturday and Sunday, September 23rd and 24th; our table is in the Maker Annex section of the Faire, in Zone 3. See you there!

Cemetech's contingent last year: Eeems, geekboy1011, Kerm Martian, and qazz42

Popular Games for the TI-84+CE on Cemetech

Cemetech News - ср, 06/09/2017 - 07:44
The most popular calculator this year was the Texas Instruments 84 Plus Color Edition, or the TI-84+CE for short. To celebrate this, we've compiled a list of the popular games. School just started, you got a few weeks to get settled in to your classes. Hopefully by now you know just how much you aught to pay attention to pass the class ;) For those of you that started this last week, may the odds be forever in your favor. Here is a list of 7 popular games for the TI-84+CE calculator that were released - not updated - this year and I've excluded the entries for the contests we've had, since those may have seen inflated numbers from the publicity. They are still wonderful programs, so check out the topics for the three contests we have wrapped up this year: Contest 18, Contest 19, and the recently finished Contest 20. We are looking forward to more contests this year and in the coming years, spanning calculators and computers, so enjoy these games and hopefully you'll be inspired to start making your own and consequently motivated to participate in future contests! Without further ado, here's our lists and check out the full forum topic to read more about them!

Here's a straight list of the Top 7.


[list=1]
  • Oiram
  • Geometry Dash
  • Color Switch CE
  • Donkey Kong CE
  • Boxman CE[/list:o]Honorable Mentions


    There are dozens of other programs that were released this year and there will be more by the end of the year. So keep checking the archives! Graphing calculators is a wonderful way to be introduced into programming, it's always on you and is capable of running programs written on the calculator itself, written in a variant of the BASIC language. You can then go further and branch into ASM or C which will get you ready for programming on computers or mobile devices such as Android or iOS. We've got a wonderful community that will help you with questions about programming your own games or programs on a bunch of platforms. Hopefully we'll see you programs on the next list we do! Now, that you've seen the top 7 programs from this year here are the top 10 programs that were released since the TI-84+CE was released.

    [list=1]
  • Pac-Man
  • FlappyBird
  • Tetric A (Tetris)
  • 2048
  • Portal Returns CE
  • Calcuzap 1042
  • CMonster 1202
  • Spaze Invaders
  • Ultimate Pong
  • ADVENTUR - A Game About Choice[/list:o]

    - -

    Calcuzapp 2042 | Oiram | Sqrxz CE

    Continue Reading
  • NEW: Z80 family computers: Raduga

    Soviet Digital Electronics Museum - вт, 05/09/2017 - 01:00
    NEW: Z80 family computers: Raduga

    PT_ Promoted to Administrator

    Cemetech News - пн, 04/09/2017 - 05:31
    Nine months ago in December of 2016, long-time Cemetechian Peter "PT_" Tillema was promoted to Global Moderator. PT_ had long been a particularly enthusiastic Cemetech member, both in his projects and in his work to promote and manage the community. He was already a moderator of three subfora, and had shown the leadership potential beyond his technical prowess for which we look in our moderation team. Since then, PT_ has continued his hard work, writing news articles, creating the ICE language, working on PHP and HTML backend work for Cemetech, and actively participating in behind-the-scenes work to keep Cemetech active and lively. The administration team has unanimously decided to promote PT_ to the rank of full Administrator. PT_ is also the first of our administrators to be based in Europe; we anticipate this will help ensure that Cemetech stays as relevant as possible to our European members and visitors. We look forward to continuing to work with PT_, and if you have any questions, concerns, bug reports, or ideas for Cemetech, don't hesitate to give him a shout!

    UPDATED: Others: RIN-609

    Soviet Digital Electronics Museum - пн, 28/08/2017 - 01:00
    UPDATED: Others: RIN-609