This article is under construction and needs to be completed. You can help by expanding it.
Dimension-TI (calc.org) was one of the three major TI calculator sites on the Internet while it was active, and was involved in much of the TI community happenings and drama. Although it borrowed a lot of ideas from ticalc.org and TI-Files, it truly became its own site with its many innovations and enhancements to the TI community and established a reputation for quality content and services. In fact, it was arguably better than both ticalc.org and TI-Files at their respective peaks.
When it came to site content, Dimension-TI was very similar to ticalc.org and TI-Files. Although the program archives were the main feature, it was really just one feature among many. The Dimension-TI site was very large and expansive, boasting regularly updated community news, screenshots and reviews for many programs, columns and articles, several programming tutorials for both TI-Basic and assembly, programs under development (PUDs), a monthly newsletter with an interview with a prominent TI member (such as Jimmy Mardell, Joe Wingbermuehle, or Andreas Ess), a comprehensive links page, and an active IRC channel and message board.
There were several members of Dimension-TI that were involved with other TI sites including TI-Files (Adam Berlinsky-Schine, Shaun McCormick, Ahmed El-Helw, Tim Redmond, Matt Senator, George Limpert, Aaron Chernosky), ticalc.org (Eric Sun, Ahmed El-Helw, Jonah Cohen, Corey Taylor), TI-News (Nate Buda, George Limpert), CalcGames (George Limpert), PlanetCalc (George Limpert), PsychoCorp (Max Seckel), TI-8X Haven (Shaun McCormick), TI-Planet (Jeff Holland), and Techno-Plaza (John David Ratliff).
Similarly, there were several members that were involved with TI programming groups including TCPA (Jason Kovacs, Scott Dial, Ahmed El-Helw, Fred Coughlin, Brandon Sterner, Andrew Magness, Matthew Landry, Chris Hiszpanski), Detached Solutions (Jason Kovacs, Scott Dial, Brandon Sterner, Andrew Magness), ACZ (Dave Scheltema, James Rubingh, Corey Taylor), Destination Software (Kodi Mosley, Aaron Chernosky), SiCoDe (Max Seckel), ZAPO (Danny Rogers), Z80AC (Will Dempster), CCIA (David Martin), MaxCoderz (Patrick Sidney), BASM (Matt Hernandez), Hays Games Company (Noah Medling), and Cahal Technologies (Nate Buda).
Dimension-TI was responsible for introducing a whole assortment of new features and services, and really took the TI community to its zenith — even higher than ticalc.org and TI-Files. One of their most notable services was site hosting, in which they offered to host any TI-related site that had its own content or niche within the community. The hosting was actually quite good, as the sites were ad-free and free of charge and allowed access to web services. Several prominent programmers and groups took advantage including Badja, Patrick Davidson, Joe Wingbermuehle, TCPA, Void Productions, and Macross Software.
They heavily integrated Perl/CGI scripting and cookies into their site, which powered the free user accounts available to anyone in the community. This made for a very dynamic and functional site, as the pages and content shown were customizable based on user preferences. For example, if you only wanted to see assembly-specific content for the TI-83+, you would just have to check the appropriate boxes on your preferences page, and the site would take care of the rest. It also increased user involvement on the site, and really helped to facilitate the program reviews, rating system, and top ten program list for the month.
Everything about Dimension-TI was centered around the community, as they gave users the power to be involved in much of the decision-making on the site. For example, they had a user-submitted news system with user-rated comments, where the community would vote on whether something was newsworthy and could vote on the quality of comments written. They also had regular Slashdot-style interviews with prominent TI community members, with the community deciding who it would be and the questions that would be submitted to the person for answering, as well as programming challenges where you could compete against other community members to win actual prizes.
They helped to really unite the TI community and bring it closer together, in terms of both sites and members. For instance, a headline grabber on the homepage pulled news from other sites, so you could know what was going on around the community even if you didn't frequent those particular sites. They had a TI community directory listing that was connected with the free user accounts, where members could post their biographies with information about themselves, such as name, username, email, calculators owned, and languages they programmed. They also helped to facilitate the development of programs by allowing users to offer their services to others needing assistance, such as bug reporting, creating graphics, or beta testing.
The program page format that TI-Files had created was also greatly improved, and provided much more information about the program. In particular, they provided a link to the author's community page, a list of other programs by that author, the size of the program, the creation and last update dates, a user-voted rating, its rank in the top ten list for that month, the number of times the program had been downloaded, tracking of bugs for that program, email notification when the program was updated, and even allowing the community to comment on the program. Simply put, it was what a program page should be like.
There was even an online store where you could buy graphing calculators and related accessories. The prices for their calculators was actually cheaper than what you could find elsewhere, so it was a real deal to the TI community. They were also the first TI site to support other calculators besides the TI series — in particular, the HP calculators — and subsequently changed the name and URL of their site to calc.org.
- Spring 1997 — Predecessor to Dimension-TI, TI-Calculator World, started as Adam Berlinsky-Schine's own personal TI calculator site
- July 1997 — Dimension-TI construction began by Adam Berlinsky-Schine with three other staff members (Anthony Bush, William Deich, and Scott Reinbold)
- September 5, 1997 — Dimension-TI opened to the public at http://www.findcure.com/TI/ with moderate success
- June 1998 — Eric Sun joins Dimension-TI, and helps host the site on his server and acts as co-administrator of the site
- Summer 1998 — Site undergoes an overhaul for its first anniversary, including a new look, new sections of the site, and more programs added to the archives
- September 5, 1998 — First issue of Dimension-TI Monthly newsletter published
- November 5, 1998 — Site undergoes another overhaul as a follow-up of the first with more new sections, such as a message board and a challenges section
- December 1998 — Site moves to http://dim-ti.home.ml.org, with http://calc.ml.org used as alternate site URL
- December 7, 1998 — Dimension-TI opened up a new store section on their site, where TI graphing calculators and other calculator accessories can be purchased for a low price
- December 28, 1998 — Dimension-TI and TCPA agree to a merge, with TCPA becoming the official programming group and first hosted site of Dimension-TI
- January 22, 1999 — Dimension-TI acquired two domain names for its website (http://www.dimension-ti.org and http://www.calc.org)
- January 2000 — Dimension-TI and ticalc.org cooperatively host the Millennium Awards to celebrate the achievements of the TI community
- March 3, 2000 — Dimension-TI re-opens after a three week long downtime due to their switching hosting companies
- August 16, 2000 — Dimension-TI community news headline grabber and My Netscape Channel
- August 16-17, 2000 — Several new hosted sites including CalcWare, Shermco Industries, Psychocorp, Radical Software, and Symbulator
- February 10, 2001 — The site undergoes a redesign and the name and URL are changed to calc.org, with other calculators supported besides the TI series
- February 12, 2001 — New community Slashdot-style interview feature started, with Jason Ho being the first person interviewed
- March 31, 2001 — User Participation Rankings and Authorized Users
- April 13, 2001 — Former calc.org Staff Member Wins $16,000 on "Millionaire"
- April 25, 2001 — User Review News Update And Berry Blue Flavored Comments
- March 31, 2002 — Adam Berlinsky-Schine retires from calc.org and Nate Buda becomes his successor
- July 2002 — Nate Buda leads the first revival attempt to revamp calc.org with a new design and content
- November 16, 2002 — New calc.org staff member - Kevin Surgener
- December 3, 2002 — New Staff Member - Joseph Eichinger
- December 4, 2002 — New Staff Member: Patrick Sidney
- January 15, 2003 — The site starts using ads to help offset some of the costs
- January 28, 2003 — George Limpert Joins calc.org staff
- February 6, 2003 — Jon Garcia Joins calc.org staff
- December 2004 — Steven King leads second revival attempt to revamp calc.org
- January 2006 — Ben Trettel leads third revival attempt of calc.org (see ticalc.org news article)
- November 2006 — Ben Trettel announces his discontinuation of calc.org revival on United-TI, with the archives given to United-TI and the tutorials given to TI-Freakware
- February 2008 — The old calc.org archives are made available again by Ben Trettel
Site Names & URLs
The Dimension-TI site used various names and URLs while it was active. The predecessor to the site was called TI-Calculator World, and it used the URL http://www.findcure.com/adam/ and was created in Spring 1997. The site was Adam Berlinsky-Schine's own TI calculator site with his personal programs and documentation. Adam decided that he wanted to create his own major TI site similar to ticalc.org and TI-Files, and recruited staff from the TI community. Construction on Dimension-TI began in July 1997, and the site opened to the public on September 5, 1997. The URL was switched to http://www.findcure.com/TI/ briefly before changing to http://www.geocities.com/~dimension-ti/ with hosting provided by Geocities.
As the site was often informally referred to as just Dim-TI by people in the TI community, the site moved to http://dim-ti.home.ml.org in December 1998, which is the same host that many other TI sites in the community used. They also started using the simpler http://calc.ml.org as their alternate site URL, similar to what TI-Files did with its mirror sites. Two domain names were purchased in January 1999 — http://www.dimension-ti.org and http://www.calc.org — and the primary site URL became http://www.dimension-ti.org. The site name and URL were then changed on February 10, 2001 to the simpler and more inclusive calc.org, as the site scope was expanded to support other graphing calculators besides the TI series (namely, the HP calculators). That name and URL was used until the eventual collapse of the site in November 2006.
Note: Adam Berlinsky-Schine still owns the calc.org domain name today.
Site Logos & Screenshots
One of the most notable services that Dimension-TI (calc.org) introduced to the TI community was site hosting. The goal was to get more people involved in the community, as having to pay for hosting or using a free hosting service that put ads on your site (such as Geocities or Angelfire) discouraged lots of people from getting involved. They generally only hosted sites that were frequently updated, strictly devoted to calculators, and provided a unique niche or content to the community that wasn't already found on their site.
The hosting was actually quite good, as each site was completely ad-free and free of charge. In addition, each site was allowed 30MB of webspace (a lot at that time), a third-level domain name (i.e., http://yoursite.calc.org), calc.org email addresses, access to web services (CGI, Perl, SSH, PHP, and MySQL), as well as optional updates in the sidebar on calc.org's homepage containing news headlines from your site. The response from the community was quite strong, and they were only able to accept some of the applications that they received.
The first site that took advantage of their hosting service was the TI Calculator Programming Alliance (TCPA) programming group. The TCPA and Dimension-TI agreed to merge on December 28, 1998, with the TCPA becoming the official programming group of Dimension-TI. Several other prominent programmers and programming groups also took advantage of the hosting including Badja, Patrick Davidson, Joe Wingbermuehle, Don Barnes, Void Productions, Macross Software, Destination Software, to name a few.
Here is a complete list of sites that were hosted by calc.org for various periods of time:
The impetus for Dimension-TI began with the first site created by Adam Berlinsky-Schine in Spring 1997. The site was called TI-Calculator World, and it was his own TI site with his personal collection of programs and documentation. The site used the URL http://www.findcure.com/adam/, with findcure.com being the online website that supplemented the Find Cures book written by Adam's parents. Unfortunately, the site was pretty basic and was just like most other TI sites on the Internet.
Adam was inspired after seeing the popularity and success of ticalc.org and TI-Files, and decided that he wanted to create his own major TI community site. He recruited people from the TI community to be staff for the site by putting up a message asking people if they wanted to help build the largest TI site of all time. Anthony Bush, William Deich, and Scott Reinbold responded and expressed interest in the site, with Mark Finzel following soon after.
Construction of Dimension-TI was started in July 1997, and the site opened to the public on September 5th later that same year at the URL http://www.findcure.com/TI/. Although it was an adequate site, it did not really live up to the splendor of ticalc.org and TI-Files, as there were infrequent updates, the archives were rather small, there was not much uniqueness in terms of features, and the overall appearance of the site was rather bland. Still, the site was fairly successful for a new site.
Unfortunately, the other staff members all became inactive and stopped contributing within a month after the site's opening. Adam was not deterred, however, and kept working on the site and doing the best he could by himself. Aaron Chernosky joined Dimension-TI in early 1998, and the site was subsequently moved to http://www.geocities.com/~dimension-ti/. Adam and Aaron worked together to make the site better, and the site was updated more frequently.
Aaron contributed his expertise in graphics and design, and changed the page appearance and format to make it look nicer. He also revived some of the weaker sections on the site, such as the archives, and made them grow. John McCord joined the team a few months later around early May 1998, and took control of the links section on the site. In the middle of June 1998, Eric Sun joined the team. Eric acted as co-administrator for the site with Adam, and provided hosting for the site on his server, which allowed for more space, better quality, and easier updates. He also worked with Aaron on the archives, as well as coming up with many interesting ideas to make the site stand out.
The staff decided that there needed to be some changes in Summer 1998, and overhauled the site for its first anniversary. Ahmed El-Helw and James Rubingh joined the staff to help with the overhaul. The whole site was redone with a new design and color scheme, a few new sections were added (in particular, hardware, newsletter, and programming tutorials and columns), and, most importantly, the archives were expanded considerably. In addition to thousands of new programs, the program page format was changed to include much more information about each program, including a screenshot, a detailed description, and other pertinent information (such as author, program size, and release date).
Two months later, on November 5, 1998, another overhaul was released as a follow-up of the first. More sections were added, including a message board and programming challenges. As the site was often informally referred to as Dim-TI by people in the TI community, the site moved to http://dim-ti.home.ml.org in December 1998, which is the same host that many other TI sites in the community used. They also started using the simpler http://calc.ml.org as their alternate site URL, similar to what TI-Files did with its mirror sites.
Two domain names were purchased in January 1999 — http://www.dimension-ti.org and http://www.calc.org — and the primary site URL became http://www.dimension-ti.org. Around April 1999, Adam decided that it was necessary to use CGI/Perl to automate the archives. Soon other sections were improved using CGI/Perl as well, and the site became more interactive and easier to maintain. The site was redesigned using cookies in June 1999, which allowed users to choose their own preferences for how they wanted to view the site.
The next version of the site was created on May 15, 2000, shortly after moving to a new server, and included more content and features as well as being even more customizable for users. The site name and URL were then changed on February 10, 2001 to the simpler and more inclusive calc.org, as the site scope was expanded to support other graphing calculators besides the TI series (namely, the HP calculators).
When Adam Berlinsky-Schine retired from calc.org on March 31, 2002, there began the longstanding problem of lack of TI community support. There have been various attempts to try to revamp the site with a new design and content — Nate Buda tried in July 2002, Steven King tried in December 2004, and Ben Trettel tried in January 2006. Unfortunately, none of the revival attempts proved effective, and the site eventually collapsed in November 2006. The old calc.org archives were restored by Ben Trettel in February 2008, however, and made available again to the public for downloading.
Adam Berlinsky-Schine became a staff member on TI-Files in November 1997, and helped with various sections of the site, including organizing the newsletters. He eventually grew disenchanted with TI-Files, however, believing that the site left a lot to be desired, and resigned in September 1998. He decided to focus on developing his Dimension-TI site into the site that he envisioned TI-Files could become, and he recruited fellow TI-Files members Matt Senator and Tim Redmond to join him.
The desire to be the top TI site fueled a lot of the competition and rivalry between Dimension-TI and the other two major TI sites, which ironically actually kept all three sites constantly trying to provide a better experience and more services for their users — a win for everybody in the TI community — but also resulted in some very public and private heated arguments and some rather despicable actions by members on each site.
One notable event involved Adam Berlinsky-Schine and Tim Redmond. When they resigned from TI-Files, they gave their FTP passwords to Bryan Rabeler of the ticalc.org staff. He subsequently deleted everything on the TI-Files server. Fortunately, TI-Files made backups every week, so the site was fully restored in relatively quick fashion and no real harm was done. Bryan Rabeler later made a public apology in a ticalc.org news article, stating that it was just supposed to be a practical joke and that he was sorry for his actions and the trouble he caused.
For April Fool's Day in 2001 (URL: http://www.calc.org/apr1/), calc.org redid their site homepage borrowing the ticalc.org layout and design. They not only gave the files interesting names — for instance, Colour Pong was changed to 8 Colour Pong (Black, Really Black, Extra Black, Black Deluxe, White, Pure White, Off White, and Whitey White) — but they changed all of the links to point to calc.org and they made all of the recent additions to the archives Phoenix.
When Ben Trettel accidentally had the calc.org domain redirect to his personal Super Soaker site in 2006, Michael Vincent posted a fake news article on ticalc.org in November saying that calc.org had redesigned their website to be more relevant to the TI calculator community. The article was written with a mocking tone, and was intended to poke fun at the misfortune of calc.org. On April Fools Day 2008, Omnimaga (which was no longer online either at the time) jokingly redirected its domain name to Super Soaker Central for a day in reference to calc.org's incident.
The November 8, 1998 survey at ticalc.org was about the competition between the major TI sites (primarily ticalc.org and TI-Files, with Dimension-TI also mentioned), and was actually given the heading Site Wars. The survey asked various questions about the respective sites, including which site people preferred, what they liked most about each site, did they think competition is good for the community or should ticalc.org and TI-Files cooperate, and if they would be a staff member on each respective site if the opportunity presented itself. Given the site hosting the survey, the response from the community was quite favorable to ticalc.org.
(See the site wars article for more information.)
Just like with TI-Files, Dimension-TI (calc.org) was routinely plagued by server downtime and hosting issues. In September 2002, Ed Fry of Fryed Software wrote an article on TI-News predicting the eventual death of calc.org.
Adam Berlinsky-Schine provided some insights for others about creating a TI community site based on his experience with Dimension-TI in the ticalc.org May 1999 newsletter.