Posts categorized “GTD”.

How do you use your Newton?

August 26th, 2008

Over at the NewtonTalk e-mail list there’s a great thread running about how people use their MessagePads. The whole thing was started by a 13-year-old Slovenian student who bought a Newton on eBay on a whim, got hooked, and started this project to compile all the messages into a Newton eBook for later reading.

The response has been huge, and there are some really great examples of how people use their Newton every single day to organize their life. Ryan from Vancouver says his upgraded MP2000 has replaced paper in his work flow:

Essentially, I am using it as a personal office assistant/tablet. It sits next to my MacBook Pro on my desk, and you won’t find any paper around here. I take notes on it, use it for To Dos and reminders, write articles on it for my blog, and am starting to use it more like a tablet PC. That is, reading eBooks and using it for analyzing spreadsheets.

Everything from reading the Bible to reading eBooks on the morning commute is mentioned. If you need practical ideas on how to use your MessagePad, this is a great forum to start with.

What about you? How do you use your Newton?

pNewton: the Hipster PDA MessagePad

July 7th, 2008

pNewton - lighter than the original

When Merlin Mann, GTD guru and author of the 43 Folders blog, invented the Hipster PDA, he probably knew the adaptability of a plain index card idea holder would be infinite.

Us Newton MessagePad users, however, might scoff at the idea. Index cards? Color coding? Binder clips? It all seems so…Office Max.

But maybe Mann is on to something. Why can’t we Newton fans adapt the idea of the Hipster PDA into something more, I don’t know, Apple?

pNewton - customizable

That’s why I’m introducing the pNewton, a Hipster-style MessagePad that takes the best ideas of the Hipster PDA and makes them even better.

More… »

Clarke’s third law and the Newton

April 22nd, 2008

The magic of Newton

Arthur C. Clarke’s third “prediction law” states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

In that case, I have a magic Newton, because after showing it to my grandma the other night, she’s convinced that what it does is beyond this world.

Grandma usually has a list of “to do” items every time I visit her – take some books out of the attic, say, or troubleshoot her iMac – so I decided to take my Newton to her place to take note of these items.

“What’s that you’re using there?” she asked me.

“I call it my ‘memory box,'” I told her. “It’s called an Apple Newton.”

I explained to her how it keeps track of my calendar items, and to-do lists, and simple notes, how to recognizes my handwriting – all the stuff the MessagePad is great at.

But it was when I showed her how to erase something, and the “poof” graphic that appears when you do, that her eyes lit up.

And the little trash can that appears when you throw a note away? That was magic, too.

I even let her try the handwriting software, but her super-fancy letters bested the Newton’s attempts at translation.

“I need one of those,” she told me, for the same reason I kept it around: tons of little notes were taking over her living space.

Grandma couldn’t believe that the 110 was made in the early 1990s, and she asked why Apple would ever stop making them.

Good questions, but I explained to her that we’ve since “progressed” to the iPod and iPhone for Newton-like tasks.

“Yes, but I don’t need a phone,” she said. “I want one of those.” She was sold. And who can blame her?

Advanced technology? Maybe not, but my Newton had enough magic in it to win over one more convert.

Top 12 uses for your Newton in the iPhone age

April 21st, 2008

Paper iPhone and my Newton

I wonder what the heck I’ll do with my MessagePad when I finally purchase my iPhone, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder. Some still use their Newtons everyday even after Apple has given up on it. But what are some modern, practical applications for the MessagePad? Let’s take a look.

  1. Get GTD with it. Pardon the ghetto talk, but the first thing I used my Newton for was a getting-things-done gadget. I use my calendar, my to-do list (although I still haven’t quite got the hang of it), and the Notepad to keep tons and tons of lists and reminders. There are Newton applications out there to help you get started, too, no matter what Newton version you use. I refer to my MessagePad 110 as my “memory box” because it really helps to keep my brain organized.
  2. Take control of your finances. Apps like Pocket Quicken and ProCalc can take your financial information on the go. Spend, save, and track all with your Newton. Since it’s always with you, your MessagePad may help you finally slay the balanced checkbook dragon. If you don’t yet have a financial system in place, here’s your chance.
  3. Read a book. Who needs a Kindle? Reading is possible with an eBook on the Newton using solutions like PaperBack or Newton Press. War and Peace, anyone?
  4. Take inventory. In March, I got started on a big, nasty home inventory project – logging all my possessions for insurance purposes. Put your Newton to work by jotting down book ISBNs, music collection titles, or even comic books. Take a backlit MessagePad into the attic and finally get those dust-collecting collectibles under control, and use a program like QuickFigure Pro to organize all the data.
  5. Keep a travel log. I’ve been thinking about this since I’ve started planning my big New England trip. What better use for a Newton than to store directions, sites-to-see, and helpful reminders as you travel on some adventure. With its faxing capabilities, I’ve even thought of using my Newton to keep co-workers up-to-date on where I’m at and what I’m doing.
  6. Play a game (or two). Retro gaming is all the rage now – why not fire up your Newton to play some Newtendo or the tried-and-true games like chess. MessagePads are like a GameBoy, without the buttons!
  7. Dig out your OS 7+ Mac. I’m a low-end Mac geek, and I look for any excuse to play around on my Mac SEs or Bondi iMac. There are tons of Macs in the world collecting dust; why not break yours out and hook up the MessagePad’s serial cable and relive days of yore? Gather the kids around and show them how good they have it now. Show them the MessagePad’s recharging station, and let them know how the iPod dock idea came to be.
  8. Impress your co-workers. I’ve seen this one in action first hand. If you’re having trouble talking to a co-worker, start scribbling on your Newton. Questions are bound to come up.
  9. Write your own Newton Poem. Break out that English Lit 101 textbook, or Perrine’s Sound and Sense, and see how your favorite poem looks all garbled and mistranslated.
  10. Rescue yourself during emergencies. Just imagine: boxes of something fall on top of you. You’re stranded in your office or garage, and you can’t reach your phone. But you have your Newton on you, and a fax, and access to a phone line. Fax for help! Use your Names database to fax off a SOS, and relax knowing those fire trucks will be arriving any minute now.
  11. Hold keyboard vs. handwriting recognition Olympics. If you can’t make it to Beijing to watch this summer’s games, hold your own competitions with keyboard fans. This thread in Newtontalk inspired an idea: set up a keyboard and a Newton, and race to see who can write a certain amount of words – say, a Shakespearian sonnet – the fastest. Then see which one has the most errors. Cut out tin foil medals for the winner.
  12. Study! Someone recently asked the Newtontalk list about flash card-style apps for the Newton. A, B, or C?

The possibilities are almost endless. The point is that the Newton is a viable monochrome platform in today’s millions-of-colors world. Think of something I forgot? Let me know in the comments!

When the iPhone comes, what about Newton?

March 18th, 2008


Now that I’ve been using my Newton for everyday tasks like meetings, dates, and jotting down notes, a jarring thought occured to me: what will I do when I (eventually) buy an iPhone?

Does it makes sense to keep lugging my Newton around everywhere? Will its nimble features be replaced by the Jesus Phone?

First of all, I haven’t decided on a date to purchase an iPhone just yet. Part of me wants to wait until June, when the SDK stuff officially comes out. And the other part of me wants the 3G iPhone so bad I can taste it. Sometimes, I want to drive to Ann Arbor and grab the darn thing. Why not?

Because my MessagePad 110 is so darned big, carrying an iPhone would be a blessing. It can fit into my pocket, it weighs far less (4.8 ounces verses well over a pound), and it can take the place of my current phone and the Newton.

With the SDK applications, I’ll surely be able to jot notes and organize my GTD life. There’s already a calendar and contacts feature. Plus there’s the fun of controlling the thing with my fingertips; no stylus to lose with an iPhone.

Even if I decide to abandon the Newt, I can still experiment with it and play around with its applications for the purpose of this blog. I would still like to buy a 2×00 model to mess with. And there’s always that spare eMate out there that could help with these here blog posts.

Newton Poetry is first and foremost a blog about Newton MessagePads, their culture, and the crazy “poetry” the come up with. But it’s also about Apple and its portable products, and so an iPhone would fit right in.

We’ll see what actually happens when I do buy the iPhone. Until then, my MessagePad will remain my trusted companion and “memory box.”

Two weeks with my Newton.

February 18th, 2008

Using a Newton everyday.

Two weeks ago, I decided to dedicate all my GTD, notetaking, scheduling, and day-to-day tasks using nothing but my Newton MessagePad 110.

I originally bought my MessagePad on eBay just to play around with, and see what all the fuss is about.  As I’ve worked on this Newton Poetry blog, however, I’ve developed quite an affection for the green machine.  Maybe it’s contagious, I don’t know.  But I figured if I really wanted to get to know my Newton, I had to use it everyday – not just for translating poetry.

The project began on Monday, Feb. 4, though not with a bang.  That first Monday, I mainly got acquainted with setting up calendar dates and making appropriate folders to store my notes.  Nothing special; just the basics. More… »