August 15, 2007

Simple things

     So I dug out my ti-89 today, and checked some information quickly (it has to do with my continuing disbelief that things measured in meters per second are as slow as they sound... 19 mps is 42 mph), and I decided to go online and look up some games for it. After looking around a while, I realized there wasn't a whole lot out there for it, and what was there wasn't really supported on the ti-89 titanium. So I thought about what I normally do, which is sit around and make crappy imitation games myself in basic. But as I thought about it, I realized a few things:
1) Basic on the 89 is damn near impossible, because it's more difficult to type quickly because there are so many more features that you have to browse lots of menus or memorize lots of hotkeys to get what you want.
2) A lot of the speed that the better processor gives me (as compared to an 83+) is lost due to precision. Basically, I'm doing work that probably needs two places at best to be accurate, and it's going to give me a hundred. So it's not a whole lot better than the ti-83+ (well... okay, it is, but it requires a really different kind of coding that's kind of non-sensicle).
3) Drawing isn't nearly as unlimited as it was on the 83+ You have to do some weird stuff to draw on the graph screen, and even then, it takes forever to plot due to the higher resolution!
4) Without a paper manual, I'm rather lost at how to explore for new functionality. The catalog no longer contains ALL the functions, so I can look and wonder about certain functions, and check them online, but it's normally not what I want, and I don't really want to read online to find what I'm looking for.

     After thinking about it for a while, I kind of realized that I like the boundaries imposed on me by a slower processor. In general, the simplicity of an environment with limited instructions performing awesome feats is a lot more impressive (from a programming standpoint) and it also normally means you have less chance of doing what I so often do. When you have an environment in which there are lots of commands that do increasingly specific things, you have a tendency to use them, even when there are "simpler" things you can do. Without getting into details (and thus explaining a lot of programming theory), basically, it let's you be lazy. With excess processing power come the ability to have excessive code. You don't really have to optimize because the faster processor allows for sloppy mistakes. Now, this really doesn't apply all that much on the Ti-89 (the thing still needs quite a bit of optimization to run smooth), but it's incredible number of specific functions is what put me off.
     Anyway, I guess I'll start looking into assembly and C for the TI-89, but really, I need to work on my planning. Bigger projects on nice architectures have crept into my life, and I guess I'll need some college and myself to work it out.

Posted by Kickmyassman at August 15, 2007 02:44 AM
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