These Hobbyists Add to Calculators, Multiplying Their Fun

Benjamin Moody got hooked on calculators the moment his father bought him one to help with his math homework when he was 15. He squirreled away with it and devoured the 19-chapter owners’ manual.

Before long, he had written onto his Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) graphing calculator a program for his version of a Whac-A-Mole game. A few months later, he created one that mapped out star positions on its 1½-inch-by-2½-inch screen. He once made his calculator into a sort of e-book reader, although he could only read a couple lines at a time.

“Pushing the limits of what the hardware can do, that’s where a lot of the fun is,” said Mr. Moody, 23, a computer programmer who lives in Newton, Mass.

Calculator hackers are a small band of enthusiasts who revel in making their clunky devices perform sometimes oddball tasks.

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