Posts categorized “eMate”.

Off-The-Grid Productivity With an eMate

August 8th, 2013

Apple Newton eMate 300

Matt Gemmell on “Working in the Shed“:

We live in an age of ubiquitous information and communication, so distractions have never been more pervasive. We have too many choices of what to look at or focus attention on. The internet is a glittering carnival of diversions, and that’s wonderful – until you need to get some work done.

So what does he do to help? Work on an eMate, of course.

A great read on distraction-free productivity using classic hardware.

[via Minimal Mac, photo courtesy Matt Gemmell on Flickr]

Instagram: eMate in the morning

January 13th, 2011

Naturally, my first post to Instagram had to be Newton-based.

Success: docking the eMate with the PowerMac G3

October 18th, 2010

Now that the iMac G3′s hard drive was installed into the PowerMac G3, it was time to see if my Newtons would get along with the new setup. My hope was that, since the OS 9 drive and OS 8 drive seemed to share a common Desktop, maybe the OS 9 drive would share some of its Entrega serial-to-USB adapter driver love. But no such luck:

USB not recognized!

As before, the PowerMac wouldn’t recognize it or the Keyspan adapter I plugged in. The Keyspan adapter drive I downloaded (USA-28XG) didn’t even recognize the adapter I plugged in. But then I remembered: back when Keyspan was gobbled up, I saved a backup copy of the USA-28X adapter installer. Maybe the one I saved would work.

After transferring the file over to the PowerMac, the installation process went smoothly. In the Control Panels, there sat both Keyspan 28-X controls:

Keyspan control panels

The 28-XG hadn’t worked. Would the 28-X?

Keyspan found

Sure enough it did. It recognized the Keyspan adapter and allowed me to mess with the advanced settings:

Keypan prefs

I had no idea what half of this stuff meant. The real question was, would it work with the eMate? And it did. Finally – although not before I had to remember to set up Newton Connection Utility to recognize the port:

NCU prefs

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Before, in the run-up to the System 7 experiment, the lack of a Newton driver was all that was keeping me from going through with the plunge into obsolescence.

With the ability to sync the Newton, I can work more on the whole Claris Organizer project, and keep backup files of all the eMate’s packages on the PowerMac’s HD. If I need it, I can use the iMac’s HD as a backup system. It’s beautiful.

This whole deal taught me two lessons: how easily I forget, and how important it is to keep backups of files. Especially ones you can’t get on the Internet any more.

The main reason I couldn’t go through with my Seven Day of System 7 experiment was because I couldn’t get the eMate (or the MP110) to connect with the PowerMac. Shuffling between the iMac and the PowerMac seemed like a hassle in an already full-of-hassle experiment. Now I only lose the bulk of the iMac, not the brains.

Really, I was waiting to find that stupid Entrega driver CD. Since it never surfaced (notice I’m blaming the disc), the experiment never happened.

But now? Man, it’s on. I have everything I need: my iMac’s games, files, and configurations; the ability to connect and sync my Newtons; a faster, more expandable machine in the PowerMac.

My plans still include buying a flat-screen monitor to save space – probably some refurbished Dell el-cheapo LCD. In the meantime, the Studio Display will be an workable stand in.

You know what I really like? The hum of the PowerMac. More delicate and softer than the PowerMac G4′s fans, the Blue and White provides a nice, steady white noise that I find relaxing. It’s something you never hear on modern Macs; the noisiest thing on my desk now is a pair of external hard drives. You can hear and feel those things kick on, especially during Time Machine backups.

A room full of PowerMacs might be a bit much, but the one I’m keeping produces a soothing whir that’s not obnoxious or distracting.

So by transplanting my iMac’s brain and finding a Keyspan adapter driver, I’ve turned the PowerMac G3 into an all-I-need Macintosh – the best of all worlds in one complete package.

Two G3s in one: iMac brain transfer

October 11th, 2010

Since I made the decision to retire some of my classic Macs, I had some thinking to do: what parts, if any, would I keep? And would I miss any functionality?

I thought about all the hard drives, with their drivers and software, that were going bye-bye, when it hit me that I could install a hard drive or two into the PowerMac G3 I was saving. And since the iMac G3 was the only Mac that would work with my serial-to-USB adapters, maybe a brain transplant was in order. So that’s what I did – took out the iMac’s hard drive and installed it into the Blue and White, just to see if it would work.

This meant opening the iMac and getting to the hard drive. I’ve covered how to get into an iMac G3, but getting to the hard drive was a bit trickier since it sits snugly below the motherboard tray in some infernal metal sleeve.

iMac hard drive tray

There were screws to unscrew – quite a few of them. The CD-ROM drive also sat on top of the hard drive:

iMac CD-ROM tray

To top it all off, there are power and connection cables snaking around both drives, squeezed into that metal tray pretty tightly. So I had to figure which cable went to which drive and yank them out:

Yoink!

After I unplugged the cables and got the CD-ROM drive out of the way, I had to remove a few more screws in the side of the drive and get rid of the little metal prong that held the drive in place. A little bit of wiggling and the hard drive was out.

iMac HD in the PowerMac G3

From there I placed the iMac’s hard drive in the second bay of the PowerMac (above), set the screws in the side to hold it in place, and plugged in the connection and power cables. After the installation was complete, I got the question mark Mac folder on startup, meaning either one drive or both were conflicting. The iMac’s drive was set to be a master drive, which is a no-no in the ATA world. So I set the original PowerMac drive to master and the installed iMac drive to slave, and the issue went away.

iMac HD on desktop

When the PowerMac did start up, it booted into its usual OS 8.6 drive, and what do you know – there was the iMac’s hard drive on the desktop.

Something weird that I never expected: the PowerMac and iMac desktops were combined. Looking at the desktop above, the Entrega file, Doom.jpg, and Grackle file were both on the PowerMac’s desktop, not the iMac’s. But each time I reset the system with a different startup disk, both environments seemed to share the desktop files. Pretty neat.

One weird issue that hasn’t gone away, however, is my iMac’s tendency to not shut down or restart. Heading to Special > Shut Down or Restart made the iMac’s screen flash, the icons blink out for a second, but then no restart or shut down would happen. To turn the thing off, I had to put it asleep and then unplug it.

Maybe installing the hard drive in the PowerMac would help, I thought. But no dice. After setting the iMac HD as the startup drive, the restart/shutdown problem was still there.

One suggestion had me dumping the OS preferences and emptying the trash. Trashing the Mac OS and Finder prefs didn’t help. Others suggested a complete reinstall of OS 9, which is a method that sounds more like a Windows thing than a Mac thing.

I tried a series of boot-up key combinations to no avail. The only thing that worked reliably was setting the iMac HD as the startup drive, and boot with extensions turned off (holding Shift on bootup). That let me turn off and reset the iMac HD.

The other weird issue: I set up Multiple Users on the iMac, thanks to OS 9′s then-new feature, but a while back the iMac started booting into the Owner account automatically – there was no login required and no Multiple User welcome screen. Heading to the Multiple User extension manager, I found the strangest thing: there wasn’t one. Well, the extension was there, but it wasn’t working. It showed up in the Applications menu as an option, but offered no interface for managing the actual extension.

It’s hard these days to find reliable troubleshooting information for OS 8 and 9, and a lot of my searches have come up empty. But really, I have the iMac’s hard drive in the PowerMac – saving both space and time. And I can still accomplish most of what I need without the physical iMac being present. So mission accomplished.

Next up: connecting my Newtons to this new setup.

Apple portable roundup

September 7th, 2010

Mike Grimm, darn near a neighbor to me over in Fowlerville, Mich., shared a collection of his own Apple portables – including an Newton eMate 300, several varieties of iBooks, and a PowerBook 190 (“Ready for PowerPac Upgrade“).

“Eventually there may be some of the vintage desktops, and maybe a couple of PDA shots,” Mike said over e-mail.

I don’t see the neon eMate styluses very often, but Mike shares a bright orange one in his eMate shots.

G’day, eMate

July 23rd, 2010

For a long time, my Newton MessagePad 110 was the only Newton I owned. Having a Newton OS 1.x device limited my software and tinkering options, however, so I shopped eBay and picked out a nice eMate 300 to try out the Newton OS 2.x software.

As a writer, I dig the built-in keyboard and convenient carrying handle. For frugle reasons, I enjoy the low cost of entry. It’s not the fastest or most up-to-date Newton, but for my modest needs (i.e., I don’t use it everyday), it’s perfect.

The eMate makes a great writing machine. Using something simple like NewtonWorks, or even the Notes app, lets you type up a storm and then export the file as an RTF or plain text file for your Mac or PC.

There have only been a few instances where I have noticed the eMate slowing down, and it has all the stock options that an MP2000 or MP2100 comes with. And at $30 to $40 a unit on eBay, an eMate costs about half as much as a nice MP2x00. If you’re just looking to get started with the Newton, an eMate is your most affordable option.

Keep in mind that an eMate is not the most powerful Newton. Clocking in a 25 MHz, with 3 MB of RAM, the eMate is only a step above the MessagePad 130. MP2x00 models weigh in at 162 MHz (with a StrongARM processor) with up to 8 MB of RAM. If you want speed, you’re going to want a upgraded MessagePad 2000 or MP2100.

The other caution I have is with batteries and charging. My own unit has a flaky relationship with its rechargable battery pack, and you have to get DIY to install your own AA battery tray. With an MP2x00, you can pop in regular AA rechargable batteries and hit the road. It’s a bit more complicated with the eMate.

There’s also the hinge problem.

But man, the eMate 300 makes for an easy, accessible way to get started with the Newton. Even if it’s just to own a piece of Apple history, or try out some old-school NewtonOS software, plunk down $30 on eBay for an eMate (with AC adapter and stylus!) and you’re good to go.

Syncing Claris Organizer with Newtons – denied!

July 7th, 2010

Through my dragged out Seven Days of System 7 experiment, a few obstacles have blocked a full immersion in mid-90s Mac’ing. First, there was my lost Entrega USB adapter disc. Now I find that Claris Organizer and Newton Connection Utilities (or perhaps my eMate) can only hold hands. They never get past first base.

Dad's contact info

Throwing PIM data into Organizer is a snap. The whole thing is setup just like an Outlook/Entourage/Address Book + iCal system. Even the search works like a charm, and it’s a wonder why Apple didn’t keep Claris Organizer, instead of selling it to Palm, and making a unified PIM system. Maybe it’s the Outlook pro in me, but I prefer it that way.

I built a test account in Organizer, adding a few dates and contacts just to see if it would sync with my Newton. Organizer is a little different in that, once you get your information logged in, you have to save the whole thing as a profile file (in this case, the “davelawrence8″). Everything – contacts, calendars, to-dos – lives in that file. And at first, everything seemed easy and promising.

Organizer / NCU sync settings

Through Newton Connection Utilities, you set the Newton’s sync file to whatever Organizer file you saved as your main profile. To sync, you manually connect each Newton data pool to the appropriate file. In this case, I want everything – my to-dos, my contacts, etc. – to sync with the Newton.

Sync prefs

And for this first time, I set NCU to let the Mac’s information override anything already on my Newton. After the initial sync, I would let it go the other way around, where anything changed on the Newton would be dominant.

No sync for you!

Clicking “Synchronize,” NCU looks like it’s going to sync everything with the Organizer data. And then bonk. There’s a connection error.

Import names

Since I tried to fit the whole PIM bundle the first time, I wondered if it was too much. Instead, I tried syncing the PIM info bucket by bucket. For the first test, I tried just syncing the contacts in Organizer.

Everything goes fine. NCU takes a few seconds to pull down Organizer’s data and push it through the serial connection with my eMate. No problems.

Next, I try the calendar data. And here again, NCU looks likes it’s going to work, and then bam. Another connection error.

Sync repeating appointments

“Maybe it’s my repeating meeting appointment,” I think to myself. So I set my recycling meeting to occur only once instead of a repeating appointment.

PHFFFT. Nothing.

That’s where things stand now. I’ve been defeated. The only thing left to try is to-dos, and maybe do a reverse sync – to see if an appointment added to the eMate manually gets synced with Organizer.

All this is part of the fun of setting up a system for the Seven Days experiment. I haven’t even got a good start on the thing when, POW, some roadblock stands in my way of full integration.

A side benefit: I did come up with a simple Automator Services script (above) that takes PICT files from OS 8/9 and adds the .pct extension to the files in batches. Since I do this quite a bit, making the mundane task a Service was pretty handy.

No Preview for you!

However, as you can see, Preview gives me sass on how to open up these files for viewing. So I said to hell with it and used Photoshop for any editing. But the “add .pct” Service is still a hit.

Glowing green with an eMate

April 12th, 2010

Forever Green, May Your Newton Glow

Forever Green, May Your Newton Glow,” by TahoeSunsets

Newton ’round the web

March 29th, 2010

The 2010 Bug: Part XXIII: Avi’s solution works for NOS 2.0 (My Apple Newton)
“However extraordinary Eckhart’s feat was in developing his patch for the Newton, it only works for NOS 2.1 machines, leaving NOS 2.0 users seemingly without a solution. Ron Parker confirms that Avi’s solution does fix NOS 2.0 machines (some MP120s and all MP130s) from the 2010 bug. It can be downloaded from here and here. However it won’t fix the bug on NOS 2.1 units.”

Apple renews Newton trademark (Patently Apple)
“When discovering Apple’s latest trademark filings for iBook and iBook Store in the Canadian Intellectual Property Office this week, I also stumbled upon Apple’s filing pertaining to their Newton logo design trademark that appears to have been renewed or has been automatically set to renew on October 13, 2010.”

eMate still a crowd pleaser (Vintage Mac Museum)
“The eMate was not a big commercial success, but may not have been on the market long enough to generate sustainable momentum. In my collection the eMate is a perennial crowd favorite, particularly among kids under 10. Children (and many adults) visiting the Museum always gravitate to this system, intuitively understand how to use it, and comment that it’s a cool little computer. Not bad for a nearly 15 year old device!”

Newton: Best PDA ever (maisonbisson.com)
“Just as I’m about to retire my old Newton, just as I’m exporting the contacts and calendar entries, I rediscovered why the Newton was — and still is — the best PDA ever.”

Apple iPad: We’ve reached Star Trek-nology (ZDNet)
“Since the failure of the Newton, the Tablet or PADD form-factor has always come under intense scrutiny, as no manufacturer or company has been able to make the concept stick.”

Programming for the Newton (McComber Development)
“I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an app for the Newton [...] Of course I’ll want to come up with something that hasn’t been done on the Newton before.”

Behind the iPad: 4 Decades of Clever Technology (Tech News Daily)
“Apple has always stubbornly sought to ‘think different,’ but it decided to think small when it launched its first hand-held device, the Newton Message Pad, in 1993. The Newton created a new category of device — the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).”

Newton stands with you (Egg Freckles)
“The difference between the Newton and any other modern computer is that the Newton stands with you, the others force you to catch up.”

Behold: The icy eMate prototype

March 22nd, 2010

Newton eMate Prototype by splorp

Grant Hutchinson (aka, splorp) posted a nice shot of the prototype, clear-plastic Newton eMate 300. He’s been on a roll lately, sharing photos of his Batman and Cadillac prototypes.

Sonny Hung has a bunch of clear-case Newton pics up on his Flickr, too. And then there’s the mythic orange eMate – with extra Vitamin C.

Check out our interview with Grant from a few weeks back at The hello Show.

[Photo used via Creative Commons, via Grant Hutchinson.]