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Is the Prime truly ready for prime time?
03-17-2014, 07:55 AM (This post was last modified: 03-17-2014 07:59 AM by debrouxl.)
Post: #10
RE: Is the Prime truly ready for prime time?
I guess I stand corrected about BASIC on Nspire OS 1.1 - but then, which basic feature was missing from that version and only added several months later ?

Quote:Frankly, I can't validate why TI made both a CAS and Non-CAS version separately.
Compliance with stupid standardized tests.
Quote:What would have been better is for TI to make just the CAS model with a preference flag in the settings so that teachers can disable the CAS functionality on their students' calcs during tests.
Yeah, but standardized testing regulation authorities do not seem to let such simple schemes fly (nor should they if they really cared about tampering - the proper solutions are more costly, such as reflashing calculators right in the exam testing room, or lending calculators to students). But they only fantasize about tampering and do nothing serious about it: they let the "hardware secure" and other nonsense (proven false by the community after an umpteenth attack by TI against its users) about the Nspire's unbelievably weak PTT mode fly.

Quote:It just seems to me that symbolic manipulation on a calc of the N-Spire's magnitude should be a standard feature.
Right, and it is... but only if one knows of the Nspire / Nspire CAS artificial difference beforehand. Sadly, you're far from being the first deceived and disappointed buyer showing up on a community message board...

Quote:Plus, when I called TI, they informed me that there was no software or firmware code I could install to update the N-Spire to add CAS functionality.
There is no official way to do that, indeed, so "TI-doesn't-care" won't hint you about it Smile

However, third parties have been doing it for years (at first with harmless but potentially annoying side effects, reliably for more than a year with contemporary calculators of that time frame):
* the proverbial, unreleased RunOS was showcased in 2010, several months after the initial availability of arbitrary native code execution on the Nspire;
* in April 2011, I made and released OSLauncher for Ndless 1.7/2.0, after an April Fools Prank faking CAS execution on the non-CAS Nspire. It just uncompressed an image (RunOS used raw images) and hot-launched it. It was very unreliable on my calculator (10-30 attempts at launching the CAS OS for it to stick) though other calculators were more lucky for some reason; some strings were messed up due to string ID differences between the non-CAS and the CAS version; a simple reboot made its effect go away. IOW, it was harmless, but being released in April, i.e. close enough to exam testing sessions, I know that it still thoroughly freaked out the standardized testing regulation authorities of a country whose business is vitally important to TI.
* other people ported OSLauncher to newer versions of the OS / Ndless, but they had similar reliability problems.
* on January 1st, 2013, unknown people released nLaunch, which made it possible to "permanently" install (until the maintenance menu was used to remove OS / erase+reformat the filesystem on NAND Flash memory) arbitrary OS on the older Clickpad and Touchpad Nspires, through exploiting an older version of the second-stage bootloader ("boot2"). The reliability of nLaunch is excellent, and as nLaunch let the boot2 go through the full OS installation procedure (only patching the boot2 in RAM to prevent any unwanted protection from derailing the process), the strings were alright even on mismatched calculator / OS type pairs;
* on April 1st, 2013, unknown people (same or different, nobody knows) released nLaunch CX, which provided the same functionality on the CX Nspires, through exploiting the same vulnerability in the then-latest version of the CX boot2. The reliability of nLaunch CX is, again, excellent.

On March 2013, the first CX calculators (hardware revision J) which refuse to run the boot2 version exploited by nLaunch CX were manufactured, and hit the market several months later. According to critor's latest tests and news item last night on TI-Planet, it seems that these hardware revisions had been planned before the first nLaunch was released, which would make HW-J more of an attack on Ndless than we originally thought, not just a retaliation for nLaunch. Both behaviours being equally inappropriate for a manufacturer wrt. its users, of course.
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RE: Is the Prime truly ready for prime time? - debrouxl - 03-17-2014 07:55 AM

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