Today is a sad day – my TI-82 graphing calculator has begun a slow death…the display is not functioning correctly, misaligning the cursor and output and sometimes going completely dark.
This is the very same graphing calculator I have been using since high school, purchased some time around 2001. My TI-82 replaced the TI-83 I received as a gift from my parents in 1996 for 7th grade algebra class, which was stolen out of my gym locker ☹️. I couldn’t afford the $100 price tag for a new TI-83, so I had to settle for a used TI-82 I found on eBay for less than half of that price. Interestingly, I believe this may also be my first-ever eBay purchase. That TI-82 would be used almost daily for the next 20 years as my general purpose calculator – all the way through college, and it would eventually sit at my desk for every job I’ve had since graduating.
Texas Instruments graphing calculators have a special sentimental significance for me because TI-BASIC was what first ignited my love of programming. I spent hours reading through the TI-82 and TI-83 user manuals, learning all about the features of this very simple language. I also visited ticalc.org frequently, studying the patterns and best practices used with TI-BASIC and manually entering code others had shared on the site. I made homework cheat programs and games, and I shared them with friends at school. These calculators laid the foundation for my software engineering career. Every time I use it, I am reminded of where my passion for programming came from. I think I’ll be shopping eBay for another used TI-82..it looks like I can get one for less than 10 bucks!