Is DarkSide getting Nuts??


TI is recalling calc for fix disabled keys?? What's that? Is the dark side getting nuts or it's a new way of calc marketing that doesn't allow the students use "all" the functions?

"Texas Instruments has announced that is recalling approximiately 160,000 TI-30 calculators that were customized for Virginia middle school students. The calculators were TI-30 Xa SEs with the decimal-to-fraction key disabled. A few months ago, a 12-year old middle school student discovered an alternative way to convert decimals to fractions by pressing "two other keys." This prompted the recall and a subsequent award by school officials, culminating in the boy receiving a free TI graphing calculator."

Read in <www*ticalc*org>



Apparently the calcs were issued to Virginia students for use on standardized tests, and were customized to meet specific state requirements. The tests include decimal-fraction conversions. The students are supposed to do these conversions by hand during the tests, and so the state requested that this feature be disabled on the calcs. But it wasn't disabled effectively, and an observant kid discovered an undocumented way to make it work. So TI was forced to recall the calcs.

See the older thread in the HP Forum, which began on June 7, entitled "Kid hacks TI-30; TI recalls 100,000+ calcs"

I like the following quote about the kid: "His fellow students were so proud of him and congratulatory. They thought it was really, really cool. They didn't call him a nerd or anything." There you have it: it is cool to look for undocumented features in calculators. If junior high school students say so, who am I to disagree?

Edited: 10 June 2005, 7:18 p.m.


It was a refreshing change from the usual bureaucratic response of "shoot the messenger" that has become common in many American schools.


After this, the label "invent" may fit better on DarkSide than on HP.



Isn't an "undocumented feature" another expression for "bug"?? :-)



At least he didn't found a hidden chronograph (in HP45 guise). But he may have had some insight on matrix keyboard decoding...


Actually, reading up on the story, it seems that TI just removed the F<->D label on the keyboard. So, all he had to do was take out a $10 TI-30xa and compare keyboards. If I remember correctly, all you do is press 2nd Equals.

I think that falls in the laziness category on TI's part. I mean they just used the old ROM almost entirely... (sounds familiar, doesn't it)

Anyone up to finding the extra program labels on the 33?


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