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Pt 2112

TI, what the heck is going on? You are better than this, you are not SONY… via /.

Texas Instruments has struck back against Nspire gamers and hackers with even stronger anti-downgrade protection in OS 3.0.2, after the TI calculator hacking community broke the anti-downgrade protection found in OS 2.1 last summer and the new one in OS 3.0.1 a month ago. In addition to that, in OS 3.0.1 the hacker community found Lua programming support and created games and software using it. Immediately, TI retaliated by adding an encryption check to make sure those third-party generated programs won’t run on OS 3.0.2.

Even MAKE was sent a legal nasty-gram for just LINKING to something TI didn’t like.

Re: Illegal Offering of Material to Circumvent TI Copyright Protections

It has come to our attention that the web site http://blog.makezine.com contains material and/or links to material that violate the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”). This letter is to notify you, in accordance with the provisions of the DMCA, of these unlawful activities. Pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, we request that you remove any whole or partial reproductions of and/or disable links to the following:

The discussion entitled “ Fun Number Theory Facts ” located at the following URL http://www.unitedti.org/index.php?showtopic=8888 and the link to the personal website of “brandonw” at http://brandonw.net/.

Texas Instruments Incorporated (“TI”) owns the copyright in the TI-83 Plus operating system software. The TI-83 Plus operating system uses encryption to effectively control access to the operating system code and to protect its rights as a copyright owner in that code. Any unauthorized use of these files is strictly prohibited.

http://blog.makezine.com is distributing or providing links to information

(http://www.unitedti.org/index.php?showtopic=8888 and http://brandonw.net/ found at http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/08/ti-83_plus_os_signing_key_cracked.html) that bypasses TI’s anti-circumvention technology. By providing copies of or offering links to such information, http://blog.makezine.com has violated the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA at 17 U.S.C. §§ 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b)(1).

Please confirm to the undersigned in writing no later than noon on **/**/**** that you have complied with these demands. You may reach the undersigned by telephone at ***-***-**** or by email at **********@ti.com. TI reserves all further rights and remedies with respect to this matter.

Dale’s response was “Our post is a news report of facts of interest to our community and as such we do not view it as illegal in any respect.” – TI didn’t follow up after that.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


Related

Comments

  1. Alfredo Jara says:

    Great, another great letter to be ignored. When will they ever learn that hacking into something that belongs to you (you bought it, got as a gift, etc.) is a premise for makers? Keep on breaking the anti-downgrade upgrades…

    1. fuzzy says:

      trying to remove information that is out in the open is pointless, but I can also see this from TI’s point of view, they are trying to protect/save their calculator business. I f they cannot convince schools that their calculators cannot be modified they will not be allowed in exams and TI won’t sell any calculators

      1. But these calculators are already programmable, aren’t they? No reason you couldn’t already program in a list of notes.

        1. fuzzy says:

          but for an exams where it matters you will probably have to show that you reset it so the memory is empty. if it is hacked you could just simulate that

      2. Addidis says:

        So what your saying is TI needs to develop a teachers device to verify the calculator is in vanilla form, or they will not sell calculators.  When I was in 6th grade my friends and I modded our calculators to include a wireless link. We could chat on our calculators. So the problem here isnt kids modding their calculators its TI not providing the teachers with the proper tool to verify a calculator is vanilla.

        1. fuzzy says:

          exactly, but until they have something better than a locked down OS and a reset button they gotta try to protect it. I’m sure TI isn’t against modding their calculators but it is potentially ruining they business of selling calculators if it means schools will ban them

        2. Hugo Estrada says:

          If this is the problem, why not have a set of testing calculators, vanilla calculators that you use just for testing. Oh, right, we don’t believe in funding schools anymore…

          1. Douglas Stuart says:

            See, THAT would be a legit technology spend. Not new iPads for admins. 

      3. Shane Harvey says:

        Perhaps we should teach our kids math rather than giving them calculators.

      4. Why are calculators supposedly essential in exams? For crying aloud, the only calculators available in my day were slide rules, and we managed. I’ve tutored high school kids who were incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers – or even dividing by ten – without a calculator. This is not rocket science. You do not need a calculator for simple math. If you think you do, you have not learned your math.

      5. Why are calculators supposedly essential in exams? For crying aloud, the only calculators available in my day were slide rules, and we managed. I’ve tutored high school kids who were incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers – or even dividing by ten – without a calculator. This is not rocket science. You do not need a calculator for simple math. If you think you do, you have not learned your math.

      6. Why are calculators supposedly essential in exams? For crying aloud, the only calculators available in my day were slide rules, and we managed. I’ve tutored high school kids who were incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers – or even dividing by ten – without a calculator. This is not rocket science. You do not need a calculator for simple math. If you think you do, you have not learned your math.

      7. Why are calculators supposedly essential in exams? For crying aloud, the only calculators available in my day were slide rules, and we managed. I’ve tutored high school kids who were incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers – or even dividing by ten – without a calculator. This is not rocket science. You do not need a calculator for simple math. If you think you do, you have not learned your math.

      8. Why are calculators supposedly essential in exams? For crying aloud, the only calculators available in my day were slide rules, and we managed. I’ve tutored high school kids who were incapable of multiplying two single digit numbers – or even dividing by ten – without a calculator. This is not rocket science. You do not need a calculator for simple math. If you think you do, you have not learned your math.

    2. fuzzy says:

      trying to remove information that is out in the open is pointless, but I can also see this from TI’s point of view, they are trying to protect/save their calculator business. I f they cannot convince schools that their calculators cannot be modified they will not be allowed in exams and TI won’t sell any calculators

    3. fuzzy says:

      trying to remove information that is out in the open is pointless, but I can also see this from TI’s point of view, they are trying to protect/save their calculator business. I f they cannot convince schools that their calculators cannot be modified they will not be allowed in exams and TI won’t sell any calculators

  2. Alfredo Jara says:

    Great, another great letter to be ignored. When will they ever learn that hacking into something that belongs to you (you bought it, got as a gift, etc.) is a premise for makers? Keep on breaking the anti-downgrade upgrades…

  3. johngineer says:

    Now that they’ve bought National, TI is in the process of DRM’ing their op-amps. All devices are clamped at unity gain unless you sign an NDA.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @johngineer:disqus this is the best comment, ever

      1. Anonymous says:

        That gave me a good laugh.

  4. johngineer says:

    Now that they’ve bought National, TI is in the process of DRM’ing their op-amps. All devices are clamped at unity gain unless you sign an NDA.

  5. *facepalm* I don’t get it. What do they think they’re protecting here?

    1. Chris Roach says:

      They think they’re protecting their school market. If they can honestly tell schools that their calculators are unhackable, then they’re clear to be used in exams. If schools start thinking that kids are running all sorts of programs on them, then they’re not going to be allowed in tests and their sales might suffer.

      There’s lots of better ways to go about that, though, and there’s also a question of whether graphing calculators should be necessary for any but the most specific sort of exams.

      1. Anonymous says:

        At the tech level needed to circumvent their security successfully, the kid concerned would deserve a top pass anyway! Their real answer is not to sell such feature-heavy kit as to need it: we didn’t have calculators in my day and yet the world hasn’t fallen apart – vide Asimov’s various predicitions regarding the loss of basic manual numeracy

  6. *facepalm* I don’t get it. What do they think they’re protecting here?

  7. Addidis says:

     TI just lost allot of respect from me.  They have made strides to try to embrace the DIY community handing out kits and making the msp430 and then they completely negate any progress they make with their over paid lawyers.   One step forward , 3 steps back.

    1. johngineer says:

      Hmmm. I never looked at BeagleBoard or the Launchpad as trying to “embrace” hobbyists so much as trying to market to (or at) them. Maybe that’s just me, though.

      1. Addidis says:

        To me they are very close to the same, one is genuine, one is not.   If they are suing people for hacking their products clearly it /is/ marketing in the light that you see it and not embracing the community.

        1. johngineer says:

          I agree they can appear very similar.

          I’ve always believed that you could judge the sincerity of a party in a transaction by the number of times they mention the price.

          On the MSP430 Launchpad website, the figure “$4.30″ is mentioned FOUR times on the front page.

          http://e2e.ti.com/group/msp430launchpad/w/default.aspx

          It feels like you’re buying a used car.

          1. Addidis says:

            I 100% agree. Another way to judge is to see the way they advertise sales. For instance the touch shield was advertised on sale for over a month after it was released , the only thing is the sale was like 48 hours. They have since removed the ‘false’ sale price but the point is still valid.

    2. Hugo Estrada says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the corporate group that is pushing the msp430 just happens to clash with their calculator division. Which points to the problem that they must figure out a consistent DIY strategy.

    3. Hugo Estrada says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the corporate group that is pushing the msp430 just happens to clash with their calculator division. Which points to the problem that they must figure out a consistent DIY strategy.

    4. Hugo Estrada says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the corporate group that is pushing the msp430 just happens to clash with their calculator division. Which points to the problem that they must figure out a consistent DIY strategy.

    5. Hugo Estrada says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the corporate group that is pushing the msp430 just happens to clash with their calculator division. Which points to the problem that they must figure out a consistent DIY strategy.

    6. Hugo Estrada says:

      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that the corporate group that is pushing the msp430 just happens to clash with their calculator division. Which points to the problem that they must figure out a consistent DIY strategy.

  8. Is that leak of information going to do any financial damage? I don’t think so. Their operating system updates and apps are free, and people are still buying their calculators.

    1. fuzzy says:

      if they can’t convince schools that they can trust the calculators to only do what TI say they do, schools might not allow them for exams and TI uses all their customers

  9. Perk says:

    In-house counsel trying to justify their highly paid job.

  10. Perk says:

    In-house counsel trying to justify their highly paid job.

  11. Perk says:

    In-house counsel trying to justify their highly paid job.

  12. Perk says:

    In-house counsel trying to justify their highly paid job.

  13. Perk says:

    In-house counsel trying to justify their highly paid job.

  14. mpechner says:

    Dale, you da man! Thanks for not caving.

    1. Anonymous says:

      dale fights FOR THE MAKERS!

      1. Addidis says:

        And if the need ever arises, we fight for him.

      2. Addidis says:

        And if the need ever arises, we fight for him.

        1. Seth Meyers says:

          Quadcopter UAV drones — LAUNCH!!!  GPS Coordinates of TI Counsel locked. Fermented Stinky Tofu extract delivery spigots green for go go go…

      3. Addidis says:

        And if the need ever arises, we fight for him.

      4. Addidis says:

        And if the need ever arises, we fight for him.

      5. Addidis says:

        And if the need ever arises, we fight for him.

  15. Who do they think they are, Apple? Seriously.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What in the heck is going on these days? TI is cracking down on calculator hackers, and HP is actively HELPING calculator hackers? The world’s turned upside down!

    1. I still use my HP calculators.  HP48, HP42, HP15  Yeah RPN!  Oh, and the HP200LX still rocks…

      1. Anonymous says:

        Likewise! The HP-48GX, despite being almost 20 years old, is still my “go-to” desktop calculator. I have a new HP-35s as my new carry-around calculator.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the company that made the TI-86? That company not only included TI-BASIC, but also supported, and encouraged you to write programs in Z80 assembly. You could even write machine code directly on the calculator itself, if you really wanted to. Ok that feature wasn’t particularly useful for anything other than locking up your calculator in interesting ways, but it was one of the advertised features. I wrote my first real program for that calculator, and it’s the reason I am still doing it today. Yay for the death of the TI I knew.

  18. Machinebot says:

    Wondering when TI will experience the same bad fortune that SONY has so recently been a victim to….

  19. Anonymous says:

    This does not surprise me at all.  I used to work as an engineer at TI until they tossed me and about 499 others out the door when the stock price hiccupped.  Business as usual.