Very OT--What is a TI N-Spire?



#2

Hello all.

My starting thoughts are that the TI N-Spire is:

1--A TI-89/92 focused as a Calculus learning system

2--A high-school mathematics curriculum-centered teaching & learning aid.

Does the N-SPIRE compare to an HP-39, 40, 49 or 50G?

Edited: 1 June 2012, 4:03 p.m.


#3

Hi Matt,

do you want an emulator for this TI-Nspire?

I could make a package of a fully working TI-NspireCX CAS emulator (with a real calculator image as GUI) if you or anyone else is interested ...

Franz


#4

Hello there.

Thanks for your enthusiasm and offer to develop an emulator. My inquiry is more informational as I'd just like to get a familiarity and acquaintance to this line of TI calcs to complement my extensive familiarity & knowledge of HP's heritage.


#5

Quote:
Thanks for your enthusiasm and offer to develop an emulator.

Develop? No, you misunderstood me! ;-)

There's no need for me to develop such an emulator, because it already exists.

I was quite busy in the last few days in the Omnimaga-forum to improve a GUI for the nspire_emu, and the version that has been released today is in fact almost perfect.

So I just thought that maybe anyone here would have interest in this Nspire emulator.

Franz


#6

Well then, I should try it. Where can it be gotten?


#7

Quote:
Well then, I should try it. Where can it be gotten?

In case you've missed it: it's 2 posts down in my answer to Namir.
#8

Franz,

Yes I am interested in an emulator for the TI-Nspire CAS CX. If you can deliver one, I will set a asied a room in my house as a shrine in your honor. There will be prayers around the clock said by priests of all (programming language) denominations (BASIC, FORTRAN, Pascal, Modul-a2, C, C++, C#, Prolog, Lisp, Scheme, Python, Perl, PHP, and so on) in your honor.

Le tme know when and where to find the emulator.

Namir


#9

Quote:
I will set a asied a room in my house as a shrine in your honor.
Ok Namir, you can start setting up this room! ;-)

But it would be too much honour for me, I neither wrote the emulator nor the GUI, I've just put everything together to make it simple run. (ok, I was involved a bit in improving and bugfixing the GUI, but that's not worth to mention).

Unfortunately the Nspire ROM-image file is a bit too large (23MB) for me to upload with my slow internet connection, so you have to download 2 files: my file with the GUI+emulator and this ROM file.

Here are the detailed instructions what you have to do:

1) download and unpack the emulator package 'NspireCX.zip':

http://www.spaadyshare.net/65t1os8as96b/NspireCX.zip

2) download the Nspire ROM images:

http://webgel.net/bb/files/nspire_emu_easy.zip

3) from this nspire_emu_easy.zip unpack the 2 files 'boot1_cx.img' and 'flash_cx.bin' from the subfolder 'bin' and copy them into your just created folder NspireCX

4) run the file 'Install.bat' (only needed the very first time)

5) now you can run either 'CX_horizontal.bat' (horizontal layout e.g. for Netbooks) or 'CX_vertical.bat' (original layout) - the second one has a small glitch: after the Nspire-ROM has been loaded you must first click with the mouse anywhere on the desktop and then click again in the emulator window, only then its keyboard is working.

--------

I prefer the CX_horiziontal version, because this one is newer and has more features (better key assigments, cursor on the touchpad works in all 8 directions, ...) and because of its horizontal layout it can also be used on netbooks (with 1024x600 screen), but of course you can try both.

For the CX_vertical don't forget the remark in point 5) above (clicking at the desktop first).

Now have fun with this emulator - but be prepared to get some headaches, because the TI-Nspire is indeed not really easy to use.

(I definitely love my TI-92+ much more!)

Franz

PS: Here's a small introduction with the basic steps for using the TI-Nspire CAS:

http://covenantchristian.org/bird/TTT/TI-NspireCASprimer.pdf

And of course you can download the full NspireCX-CAS manuals from the TI-website.

Edited: 1 June 2012, 7:25 p.m.


#10

Many thanks Franz!!

#11

fhub, could you verify these steps? I tried to follow them but I ended up confused because some of the downloaded filenames differed from your descriptions. Anyway, I'd like to try it but need a little more hand-holding I guess.

Thanks,

LHH


#12

I think I found my mistake. In my haste last night I downloaded the free ZIP extraction tool (I pressed the wrong download button). I paid a little more attention today and think I have the correct files now. That should help a lot!

LHH


#13

Quote:
I think I found my mistake.

Good to hear that, because I was already wondering where these other filesnames could come from. ;-)

Should you still have any problems in installing or running it, just ask again ...

Franz


#14

All is well. Once I had the correct files everything went just as you described. Sorry for causing trouble, all my fault.

But now that it's here on my desktop it looks like the REAL headaches will begin. Thanks for the tutorial info, looks like I'm going to need it!

LHH

#15

This is an update to my posting above about the Nspire emulator GUI:

There's now a newer version of the GUI available:
http://www.filedropper.com/spirohv18

It has one additional feature which is quite comfortable: now you can access the 'ctrl'-function of all Nspire keys by simply making a right-click with the mouse on the key - no need to click on 'ctrl' anymore.

And left/right-click on the LCD screen executes ENTER/ESC.

And better diagonal cursor movements.

And different colors for the pressed/clicked keys.

And ... ;-)

Franz

Edit: Changed the link to the last version which is still better! :-)


Edited: 6 June 2012, 5:19 a.m.


#16

And again a new version of the Nspire emulator, probably the last one. ;-)

Yesterday I've made a new (and really pretty) skin for this emulator with a bigger picture of the Nspire calculator.

Today the author of the emulator has made a new version with my skin included, so I've made a new package:

http://www.spaadyshare.net/65tzw1f5w1h5/NspireCX_new.zip

Just unzip it into the current NspireCX folder and run the new version with the batchfile 'NspireCX.bat'.

I'm sure you'll like the new look & feel ... :-)

Franz

Edited: 7 June 2012, 8:53 a.m.

#17

My son (one of the engineers building the new Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona) says these new TI machines are the way to go. I think there are a few different flavors of them (or ways to modify their behavior) so you can make them less "SAT" oriented. Of course he doesn't have the emotional attachment I do toward HP calculators, having carried that cardboard mockup of the HP-35 in my pocket for a month or so waiting for "IT" to arrive! In addition I have always appreciated the quality factors/buttons/layout/etc. too and I do like RPN.

The new TI machines look pretty snazzy but I'm waiting for the nextgen HP machine(s) which I know must be in the works. The changeups at HP do have me a little concerned though and I do wonder which departments are suffering the worst losses.

LHH


#18

Quote:
I'm waiting for the nextgen HP machine(s) which I know must be in the works.

You don't have to wait long. It's the HP 39gII.


#19

I've just gone to hp.com. I'm not seeing the 39gII there. Is it not available in the States yet?


#20

No, it is not available here yet.

TW

Edited: 2 June 2012, 2:30 a.m.


#21

Still "beta-testing" in China.


#22

Quote:
Still "beta-testing" in China.

And I'm "beta-testing" the emulator here in Austria! :-)

It's indeed a very nice calculator - the only thing I'm missing is a built-in CAS (yes, I'm a fan of CAS! ;-))

Franz

#23

Nope. As has been reported in other places (http://www.thecalculatorstore.com/epages/eb9376.sf/en_US/?ObjectPath=/Shops/eb9376/Products/NW249AA%23ABA - among others), it will be available in Europe in a bit.

TW

#24

Quote:
My son (one of the engineers building the new Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona)

Who's your son? I may have met him - I am an adjunct astronomer at Lowell Observatory. We are all looking forward to the "First Light" party in July.

For the group: the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) is a 4-ish meter optical telescope being built by Lowell Observatory here in Flagstaff, with significant funding from the Discovery Channel television folks, who are making documentaries on the construction (and eventually, operation) of the DCT.


#25

Ben, and perhaps you have met him. I did use the term "engineer" somewhat loosely as he is still working his way toward his degree in Mechanical Engineering at NAU. Still the recent article in 'Sky and Telescope' referred to him as "one of the engineers" in a photo so I glommed on being a proud dad and all. I really am thrilled at how well he has handled a lot of big responsibilities related to the project and become so intimately involved in all the design and construction aspects of it. Quite an adventure for this sharp young fellow!

I actually spoke with Ben today and he said "first light" has been achieved but there are a few problems that still need to be sorted out before serious work can begin. Documentaries may begin appearing as soon as this month. We're all excited since Ben is our family's first "movie star"!

LHH

#26

The nspire is an interesting beast. It is definitely the most powerful calculator ever made (hardware wise and to some extents software wise), but that is not always a good thing. While there are better capabilities in certain areas in older HPs, the sheer magnitude of the things it will do surprises.

1. It is essentially a computer desktop application packaged onto a handheld. This works ok for some things, but doesn't work so well for many others. A cursor doesn't really belong on a handheld.

2. It is more difficult to learn how to use and there are some things that are inherent issues with the system. For example, the geometry and graphing are combined together. While this sounds good at first look, it creates some pedagogical issues that cause issues for students and hurt the mathematical fidelity.

3. It forces linking between objects. While this is generally a good thing, it can also be a very problematic thing for learning in certain situations or students and makes things more complex. Everything is designed to really be run through a spreadsheet...

4. The overall system complexity is just too high. The "father" of the Nspire works at HP now after leaving TI due to them completely ignoring him for 2 years when he tried to tell them "you are going the wrong way! Less complex! Not more!"

5. General operation and usage is slow. There are a lot of reviews around the net that basically say things like "works good for teaching and learning stuff, but I wouldn't want to take a test with it." Lots of clicking and menu diving is required for anything.


My general opinion is that the product was hurt by the desire to push a "grand unified solution" for both hardware and desktop use. That was the guiding principal behind the thing and it just caused the overall product to suffer. The fact that TI hasn't replaced the 83/84 completely with this (like they expected) speaks volumes. Even they can't convince people to switch!

TW


#27

TW, can you say the name of the "father" of the Nspire?


#28

Quote:
TW, can you say the name of the "father" of the Nspire?

Well, I can tell you the name of the "grandfather": ;-)

It's David Stoutemyer who wrote muMath/muSimp and Derive, which then turned into the CAS of TI-92/Voyage200, and this was used as base for the Nspire CAS.

Franz

#29

Charlie P. maybe?

#30

Would that be an ex-HP employee???

#31

That would be GT Springer.

Maybe "father" is a bit strong as it implies he was solely responsible for it (or at least 1/2...). It was more like he was the one who started pushing for it, had the vision, explained the vision, and then everything turned into design by committee and he has since disowned the child. :-)

TW

Edited: 2 June 2012, 2:29 a.m.


#32

Tim, this and your previous post remind me of some discussions about expert commands on the WP 34S ;-)

Edited: 2 June 2012, 2:47 a.m.

#33

Quote:
The fact that TI hasn't replaced the 83/84 completely with this (like they expected) speaks volumes. Even they can't convince people to switch!

HP's got the same situation with the 12C. As I recall the 17b (then 17bii, then ....) was supposed to be the path away from the 12C, but people like to stick to what they know and trust.

#34

Most of my high school students still have the TI-84+, but a few are coming in with the TI-Nspire. This year's calculator count: 56 TI-83+/84+, 4 TI-89, 2 TI-Nspire, 1 TI-Nspire+CAS, 2 HP-50g. I'm fairly familiar with all of these models and use them regularly with students. (I'm "muli-lingual" when it comes to calculators, but the 50g is my "native language.") I expect the number of students with Nspires to gradually increase, but the 84+'s will be around for a while, especially with some of the features added in the most recent OS upgrades.

The Nspire is an interesting beast. It has some nice features that are useful for teaching, and the CAS does a good job. Some of the first version's quirks have been ironed out a bit: the original funky keyboard has been replaced with a more simplified layout; graphing and geometry have been separated; the requirement to create a new document for everything has been removed with the inclusion of a permanent "scratch-pad" document. You still have to do a LOT of button pushing to navigate its menus. The built-in TI-BASIC isn't bad as far as the language goes, but it has extremely limited I/O functions -- much more limited than the TI-89 BASIC. It has a mouse-like pointer which is useful for dragging things around on a graph. The mouse pointer is rather handy for menus when using the included emulator on a computer. (The included emulator has an unusual license: install ONCE, PERIOD. If you upgrade your computer or reinstall your OS, you're out of luck. You can buy an unrestricted version for about the price of a calculator.)

The Nspire has some nice features, but for doing actual number crunching and for quick & dirty programming, the 50g wins hands down. The 50g's soft menus, custom menu, redefinable keyboard, and RPL make for one exceedingly efficient machine.

-wes


#35

That is a very nice description. I think your last statement sums it up rather well. With a small tweak, we get what I believe could be a perfect motto for it.


NSpire: high on stuff - low on efficiency. :-)

TW


#36

Nevertheless, obviously 97 % use TI and 3 % use HP.

Will this prove satisfactory in the long run?

#37

Quote:
The mouse pointer is rather handy for menus when using the included emulator on a computer. (The included emulator has an unusual license: install ONCE, PERIOD. If you upgrade your computer or reinstall your OS, you're out of luck. You can buy an unrestricted version for about the price of a calculator.)

I've an experience of reinstalling the student software because of an earlier system crash. Of course, I couldn't manage to activate it again. I reported the problem to the TI customer service and I was given a "Single Perpetual" licence. If my understanding is correct, it has been an unrestricted licence. You can check your licence type by running the TI-Nspire CAS Diagnosic Tool.

Edited: 2 June 2012, 3:35 p.m.

#38

Quote:
1--A TI-89/92 focused as a Calculus learning system

2--A high-school mathematics curriculum-centered teaching & learning aid.


Number 2 is correct, although its usefulness extends beyond pure mathematics to the hard sciences.

It came out five years ago and I'm sure TI hoped it would replace all of the 83's and 84's in schools by now, but that hasn't happened except in a relatively small number of school systems.

Some people have done some great things with it, but I suspect the trend in most schools will eventually be to move from 83's and 84's directly to tablets that will also hold the textbooks.

Edited: 2 June 2012, 6:41 a.m.


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