Posts categorized “eMate”.

eMate a glimpse into what could’ve been

August 24th, 2009

CNet’s David Morgenstern looks at Apple’s past, kinda-funny present, and future prospects for some sort of netbook, starting with John Sculley’s Knowledge Navigator device and ending with our good friend the eMate:

The Web is awash with visions of a forthcoming Mac netbooks, or an iPhone with a keyboard, or simply a mobile Mac that’s less expensive than the current product line. All of these imaginings are as likely as one made by an Apple thinktank some 20 years ago and another by the Onion.

The Onion piece is the great MacBook Wheel, and the 20-year-old project is Sculley’s dream of a truly personal digital assistant.

Morgenstern took a similar look back when the One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptop was released a few years back:

One big difference between the eMate and the XO are their screens. The eMate had a small backlit LCD that offered 16 shades of gray and a 480×320-pixel resolution. The XO provides a full-color 7.5-inch LCD with 1,200×900 resolution. Remember that the XO supports a web browser and the eMate didn’t.

He goes on to say that the price different between a new eMate and a new XO are significant.

Seems the eMate is Apple’s evidence for thinking small, rugged, and affordable for whatever the situation – netbooks or third-world rescue efforts – calls for.

Installing Y2010 Patch 73J186 on an eMate

August 10th, 2009

Classilla start page

With Eckhart Köppen’s Newtpocalypse patch for the eMate complete, I thought I’d install it and see how it performs on my own Newton eMate.

First, though, I downloaded the new Classilla browser for OS 9. This variation of the old Mozilla browser is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so. Development on iCab has ceased, and many of the Classic Mac browsers do a poor job of rendering modern web sites.

As a test, I used Classilla to navigate Köppen’s 40Mhz.org site, where he posts his Newton projects, and download the patch from Sourceforge.

It’s easy to install Köppen’s patch. In fact, it’s nothing more than a simple package installation with an automatic reset added at the end. You can either use the Classic Mac installation methods, using Newton Connection Utilities, or the modern NCX or various other OS X-based Newton apps.

I’m using Newton Connection Utilities on an iMac G3 running OS 9, and connecting with a serial-to-USB dongle.

2010 patch folder

First, download your specific patch file from Köppen’s 40Mhz.org site. As you see above, you’ll have a few options on which patch to download. In my case, I need the 73J186 version.

eMate software version

Above you see that my eMate is running Newton OS 2.1, version 737041. This is the part that’s going to change.

patchpickfile

To install Köppen’s Patch 73J186, head to Newton Connection Utilities (on OS 9, or another package installer on OS X) and pick your patch version (above).

patchinstall

Your package installer will upload the patch to your Newton.

After the patch is done installing, your Newton will reset on its own.

Patch 73J186 installed

After the restart, my eMate shows the Newton OS 2.1, version 73J186 (the same as the patch version) is installed and up to date.

That’s it. And so far, after running my eMate through a battery of high-powered tests (like turning it on and scribbling some notes), everything is hunky-dorey. Bring on 2010.

How did your patching process turn out?

Russians heart Newtons, too

August 3rd, 2009

Original MessagePad

Morgan Aldridge at Makkintosshu points to МУЗЕЙ APPLE NEWTON, a Russian site devoted to the MessagePad. There’s a page for each of the Newton models, OMP through the eMate, with technical descriptions for each, as well as a video, photos, and original Newton documentation.

It’s a good idea to run the site through Google Translate (Russian > English) so you could read the text.

“A beautifully designed museum site for Apple Newtons in Russian,” Aldridge says. “Especially excellent device photography as well.”

He’s right: some of the close up eMate shots are spectacular.

Newton support articles still hosted on Apple.com

July 8th, 2009

Browsing through eMate battery and recharging articles, I came across Apple’s Power On Procedure After Extended Storage support post. It goes on to describe how to reset your eMate 300 if the battery fails to show a correct charge, and quotes from the eMate 300 User’s Manual.

It’s amazing to me that Apple still hosts these how-tos from, what, 12 years ago? I’ve found a few Newton-related articles this way, and all of them have been helpful.

None of the articles are updated by Apple anymore, of course. But the fact that Apple still hosts them is a benefit to the Newton community – especially new MessagePad and eMate users who are trying to get the basics down.

Maybe a full linked list, with all the support posts, would be helpful.

Get handy Newton info with NewtTest

June 1st, 2009

newttestinfo

After installing a new battery pack in my Newton eMate 300, I wondered about the pack’s abilities: how long did it take to charge? How could I find its exact charge capacity? How long would it take to discharge?

Thankfully, I found a super-useful application (thanks to Tony Kan) to find all this out: Frank Gruendel’s NewtTest.

NewtTest is an all-in-one information source for any Newton ever created, from the OMP to the MessagePad 2100. As Frank says:

NewtTest will only show tests that make sense on the particular machine it is running on (you won’t, for example, find the backlight test on an OMP). Hence it will look different on different Newton models.

Once you install NewtTest on your Newton, you have access to tons of great tidbits of data. From the most detailed, like the above screenshot under “System Info,” to a “Backlight” feature that simply lets you turn your backlight-capable Newton on or off.

newttestbattery

For my own use, the “Battery” section showed my eMate’s capacity, temperature, and voltage. It also recognized the type of battery pack I installed as an Apple NiMH rechargeable pack. Gruendel’s attention to detail here is impressive, and much-appreciated.

newttestdate

Another benefit is the “Clock” feature. If you’ve ever had to reset your Newton’s clock (on OS 1.x models) or calendar date (on any Newton), you know how frustrating it is.

NewtTest makes it simple by letting you pick the year first (above) and then worry about the date. Since my eMate was constantly running out of juice, I spent a lot of wasted time resetting the date by scrolling through the months and years (usually starting with 1997). NewtTest’s “Clock” feature becomes a big time saver.

Other “Test Types” in NewtTest, like testing the sounds on your Newton (cuckoo!) and calibrating the digitizer, are so helpful I wonder how I’ve lived without them.

For instance, my eMate’s screen shows a few faded or missing pixels on the right-hand side of the screen. With NewtTest’s “LCD Display” test, I can show a fully black screen, or a series of horizontal lines. It turns out that my eMate has a vertical line of faded pixels running the entire length of the screen. That’s not good news, but it’s worth knowing.

Gruendel has developed a few other applications for the Newton, but NewtTest is so practical that no MessagePad or eMate user should be without it.

Newton 2010 bug fixed; users rejoice

May 28th, 2009

Thanks Eckhart

Eckhart Köppen has come through once again for the Newton community with a patch for the 2010 bug.

Köppen released Patch 71J059, a patch for the bug that had Newton users dreading New Year’s Eve (this year and next). This incredible piece of DIY engineering helps extend the life of our MessagePads. And the download-and-install procedure is very simple and straightforward.

While the patch is for MP2100s only, Köppen says, “German and eMate versions are still in the making.”

Earlier this year, many Newton users were affected when a previous 2010 solution went haywire. Since then, Köppen has been working on a solution to both the 2010Fix problem and the 2010 Newton bug.

The 2010 bug only affected Newton OS 2.1 devices, meaning MP100-120 users are safe.

Newton users sang the praises of Köppen’s Patch 71J059 after making the announcement. Köppen is careful to point out, however, that installing the patch is not a risk-free project:

NOTE: THIS PATCH IS PROVIDED WITHOUT WARRANTY. DUE TO THE COMPLEX NATURE OF SYSTEM PATCHES, FAILURE TO INSTALL PROPERLY MAY RENDER THE NEWTON UNUSABLE, RECOVERY REQUIRES A TEMPORARY ROM BOARD SWAP, AND WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF ALL DATA ON THE NEWTON!

But this means that the year 2010 can come and go, and Newton users can still carry their MessagePads with pride (and without resorting to a clumsy solution, like setting the Newton’s date and time to some year in the past).

The project speaks to the resilience of the Newton community (err, cult). With no help from Apple, but tons of help from Newton users, Köppen and others have shown what a dedicated group of hard-core enthusiasts can do.

Getting your Newton eMate wireless

May 11th, 2009

ematewireless

Mark Hoekstra describes how to get a Newton eMate 300 connected to a wireless network over at Geek Technique.

Why? “Well, impress your friends!” he says.

Hoekstra uses a WaveLAN Orinoco Silver network card, Newton Connection Utilities, a custom-made serial cable, a few package files, and a driver to get his eMate running on a wifi network. He takes plenty of pictures and goes into detail through the whole process.

Almost as cool? Using his Mac SE as a media center monitor. Hoekstra loses points for throwing Windows on that beautiful machine, however.

One of these days I’ll attempt the wireless eMate project. But for now, Hoekstra’s breakdown should give you a good head-start.

On colored eMates and the ‘bMate’

April 15th, 2009

coloredemate

Couple of interesting things I found concerning the Newton eMate 300.

The first: a colored-eMate? From the picture above, it seems Apple (that’s former Apple CEO Gil Amelio and Frank Casanova there) had iMac-like color options slated for this particular Newton model.

Grant Hutchinson did some investigating on the multi-colored eMates, including asking Casanova where the prototypes came from, and turned up quite a few nuggets of good information.

An orange, red, or purple eMate would be a lot of fun to work with (much like my favorite Apple laptop, the clamshell iBook), but I’d love to get my hands on a clear-cased model.

The second concerns the rumored “bMate” – a business-model eMate for on-the-go writing pros. Says Pen Computing Magazine:

Journalists began snapping up eMates as the perfect portable writing tool. Even Steve Jobs liked the eMate. Apple reportedly began developing a “bMate” version for business people, featuring a better screen and a StrongARM processor. Anticipation was high for these new keyboard-equipped Newtons.

In hindsight, we can now see how the eMate’s design and ideal led to the creation of the original iBook. Salon.com quoted Apple as saying just that:

It’s also possible that Apple will release a version of the eMate based on the Macintosh operating system; the press release announcing the eMate’s demise promises that Apple “will be serving this market with Mac OS-based products beginning in 1999.”

And what do you know, the multi-colored “iMac to go” iBook G3 was released in 1999.

How to: Install a new Newton eMate battery pack

April 13th, 2009

Newton eMate 300 - materials

The Newton eMate 300 is a great machine. Small, portable, rugged – a sort of proto-netbook that lets you type on the go. And the battery life is great if you have a working, rechargeable battery with plenty of juice.

When my eMate came, I found out right away that the battery pack was probably the original. It held a charge for about three minutes. So while it’s handy to pop a few fresh AA batteries into a MessagePad and be back up and running, the eMate relies on its single battery pack. If it goes, you’re stuck with replacing it, building a new one from scratch, or keeping your eMate plugged in at all times.

I opted for the simplest solution: buy a new battery pack on eBay and installing it myself.

To start, I grabbed a new eMate battery pack from PowerBook Guy, a Torx wrench (I actually took my eMate into the hardware store to get the perfect-sized wrench), my eMate, and some starting instructions from Frank.

Newton eMate 300 - take this off

The first step is to flip your eMate over. See that half-circle hatch near the handle (above)? That’s what you’re taking off.

Newton eMate 300 - unscrew

There are just two screws to remove on the cover, and they’re both at the top.

Newton eMate 300 - take off the cover

I left the screws in their slots as I lifted the cover off so I wouldn’t lose them. Now you see the good stuff: a few memory slots and the battery.

Newton eMate 300 - battery resting spot

The battery pack isn’t bolted to the eMate; it simply rests in a little trench, with a wire attached to the circuit board.

Newton eMate 300 - disconnect

This is the most delicate of the steps: pulling the battery connection cable away from the circuit board. Be careful, and use something (I used my fingernail) to wedge the connector away from the plug-in.

Newton eMate 300 - put in the battery pack

From here, pull the battery pack out of the eMate. The actually battery pack fits snugly inside the holster, but slides right out.

Newton eMate 300 - battery pack tray

Here’s what the empty battery tray looks like inside the eMate. The soft pads keep the battery pack case from sliding around inside the Newton.

Newton eMate 300 - battery pack inside casing

Slide your new battery back inside the protective casing, with the connection wire sticking out of the right-hand side.

Newton eMate 300 - plug in

Now carefully slide the connection wire into the circuit board until it snaps tight. A little push on the white part will be plenty.

Place the battery case inside the eMate, replace the cover, and tighten your screws. That’s all.

I plugged my eMate in and let it charge a whole day, and now it’s like I have a whole new eMate. A fully-charged battery pack should last you for days, even with heavy usage.

The battery pack cost me about $20 (plus shipping) on eBay. There are some DIY die-hards who are all about making their own battery pack, but the soldering made me nervous. Maybe someday I’ll give it a try. This solution, however, worked fine for me.

Now my eMate is truly portable because I don’t have to worry about keeping it plugged in at all times. Replacing the battery pack was a cinch, too, and took all of about five minutes.

Keeping productive with vintage Macs

March 30th, 2009

Riccardo Mori over at System Folder:

When your main system is capable of keeping multiple applications open, it’s easy to be distracted by incoming emails and updated RSS feeds. Not to mention the temptation to search the Web by following the spur of the moment — when that happens, the best case scenario is that I find myself two hours later digesting a lot of information I found following link after link, yet without doing anything really productive.

His solution? Write on a Mac Color Classic, or a Newton eMate 300 when away from home, to cut down on distractions.

“No browsers, no emails, no distractions: just me, my ideas, and the word processor,” Mori says.

It’s a brilliant (and, in a recession, cost-effective) solution to a problem a lot of us face every day. Why be productive when there’s another blog post to read? I’m working on my own, similar setup with my eMate 300.

Nice to see that Mori is getting something done on perfectly capable hardware.