Provided their program support, the graphing calculators of Texas Instruments have a status as hobbyist instruments, but they have lost some of their claims. For the TI-84 Plus CE and its French counterpart, the TI-83 Premium CE, Cemetech learned that Texas Instruments is pulling support for C-based programs and assembly. Install a new firmware on both (OS 5.6 and OS 5.5 respectively) and not only do you lose access to those applications, but you also won’t be able to go back to them.
They explained the move as a way to “make learning a priority and reduce any security risks”. It’s about reducing the fraud, putting it in another way. EdTech president Peter Balyta hoped in a chat with Cemetech that the community would turn its priority to promoting the creation of Python and recommend ideas that would meet the needs of schools, students and developers.
While this might please teachers worried that students will use apps during examinations to cheat, enthusiasts are unsurprisingly crazy. It reduces the number of programmers who have control of their calculator apps. That may not have the intended effect, as it stands. Others have already found ways to bypass the Exam Mode of the calculators — the updates can block ‘casual’ cheaters but not serious ones. For now, fans will either have to cling to older TI software or accept that their calculators are not as flexible as they are.