Posts categorized “howto”.

NewtVid: Wireless Newton demo

June 3rd, 2008

I like how the creator uses the Newton to speak with the audience. Also a cool demo of the wifi capabilities of the MessagePad 2000 – complete with Apple sticker.

I’ll tackle the wifi project when I nab a 2100 sometime this summer, but in the meantime you can learn how to send a fax with your Newton.

Shield your Newton’s screen.

April 30th, 2008

Some MessagePad users worry about scratches and scuffs from their stylus, or from everyday life.

The Newtontalkers threw in a recommendation for Invisible Shield, a screen protection maker from Salt Lake City, Utah. They make shields for everything from iPods to MacBook Airs and iPhones. Their customization option also allow you to create a Newton screen protector for your specific model (Apple gives the 2100 screen dimensions as 4.9 in. by 3.3 in., but that may be just the visual size. Some have measured it as a little bigger).

Their company FAQ answers a lot of questions, like taking the protector off and any guarantees Invisible Shield offers.

Some Newton users swear by other screen protector manufacturers, like WriteRight or NuShield. NuShield gets bonus points for still having a Newton page. Although at $19 for a four-pack, they had better cater to everyone.

Check out a review of all the screen protectors over at Brighthand.

Personally, I can do without the shields. I like the sliding feel of the stylus over my 110′s screen just fine, and I’m not worried about scratches. Maybe when I upgrade to a 2×00 model I’ll start worrying about that sort of thing.

Can you testify to one shield maker over another? Let me know in the comments.

HowTo: Magic Eraser your Mac.

April 28th, 2008

Magic Eraser for my iBook?  You bet.

Owning a two-and-a-half year old iBook is not without its drawbacks. That clean white Apple finish? Totally gross from palm sweat and finger goo.

But I’m here to testify to the power of the Magic Eraser.

It all started when a friend of mine bought a new white MacBook. I brought my iBook G4 over to show her how things have changed. She took one look at my keyboard and said, “Yuck, is that how mine’s going to look?” I said probably, but I was kind of embarrassed. I love Apple’s white, clean look. I didn’t want mine all dirty.

So I bought a sample pack of the Magic Erasers at the dollar store, and gave it a try.

In a word: wow. It’s like a whole new laptop.

I was worried that the Magic Eraser’s intense abrasive action (it works like super-powered, but gentle, sandpaper) might damage the iBook’s finish. But no worries. One swipe and the palm rest looked brand new. And the keys on the keyboard? Gorgeous. A simple application of water, wring the Eraser out completely (don’t want any water sneaking in anywhere), and a paper towel to wipe up the excess. That’s all it takes. It’s like an undo button for your Mac.

Now I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it out (others have met similar results). I also wish I had taken some before and after shots, just to show you how nice my iBook looks now.

Next up are the apartment walls and my iPod, whose scroll wheel is looking a little worse for wear.

[Image courtesy Mr. Clean.]

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!

Newton Connection updated to 2.1

April 8th, 2008

Newton Connection, one of the applications that lets you sync your Newton MessagePad to modern OS X Macs, released a 2.1 update that allows for screenshots.

Newton Poetry covered apps like NCX, and it’s nice to know Newton developers are still working hard on viable connection solutions. NCX does everything the old Newton Connection Utilities did, but runs under OS X.

// Via Cult of Mac

HowTo: Reset your Newton

March 31st, 2008

So your Newton MessagePad is giving your problems. Either software is gumming it up, or its running a bit slow, or maybe the screen is acting funny. Much like a computer, the first thing to try out is a simple reset. But with Newtons, there are several reset options available: the soft reset, the power reset, and the ominous cold boot. Let’s explore each of these to find out which one could be best for you, depending on the severity of your situation. More… »

Connecting your Newton to OS X

March 10th, 2008

Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007.

One of the challenges of owning and using a Newton in the modern computing world is its lack of support for Apple’s OS X.

There’s no easy direct-connect option that offers the stability and goof-proof usability of Newton Connection Kit or Utilities, but there are options (as this Google Answers commentary points out).

The idea is that, using apps like NewTen, Escale or NewtSync, you can sync your iCal and Address Book entries to Newton’s own Calendar and Names databases. It’s a beautiful idea, and a handy route for us Newton die-hards who want a more modern interface than OS 7+ offers. Who needs a Blackberry or Palm when you’ve got Apple’s original PDA?

I will say that I’ve tried a few these solutions, and none have worked for me. I think that it’s a combination of (a) my USB-to-serial adapter isn’t supported by my iBook G4 and (b) these applications require Newton OS 2.0 to run properly. Stuck at OS 1.3, there’s not much I can do but use Newton Connection Kit on my G3 Bondi iMac.

But some Newton users have used both of these programs with varied success rates. There has been plenty of dicussion in the Newtontalk mailing list about both applications, and some support is out there for Newton users having issues.

So let’s dig into these one by one, and see what each have to offer.

More… »

Sunday project: AirPort on a G3 iBook clamshell

March 2nd, 2008

The subject.

[NOTE: I forgot to add this, but I'm running OS X 10.2.8 - just in case the network stuff doesn't look familiar.]

I love my G3 iBook. I bought it right before my Route 66 trip because (a) I was nervous about taking my then-new G4 and (b) the thing is built for road-warriors and students. It’s the toughest laptop I’ve ever seen, and I knew if I took it all the way across the country, it would survive in a pinch.

And it did, both on the Route trip and the Seattle trip. But one drawback was its lack of wireless connectivity. I underestimated the number of hotels – even run-down ones – that have wireless internet these days. One night, in Needles, California, I drove to three different hotels looking for an ethernet connection, never finding one (which is one reason why the Route updates didn’t come as often as I wanted).

Now that’s all over with. I grabbed an AirPort card off eBay for a reasonable price, and took today to actually install the thing. More… »

Add holidays to Newton’s Dates

February 29th, 2008

A big thanks to Matt Howe, who created a holiday package to upload to Newton’s Dates application.

There are 11 different categories of holidays, including Polish, Australian, and Canadian holidays.

Pretty handy if you want your MessagePad to remember when Boxing Day is. “Holidays” is a free download.

HowTo: Fax with a Newton

February 21st, 2008

The lowly, dependable Newton fax modem.

How much fun can faxing yourself be? Try doing it with a Newton!

I tested the Newton’s faxing capabilities last week, to great success. It’s doggone easy. Here’s how.

First, get yourself a Newton external fax. I grabbed mine off eBay for about $1, plus shipping, which was very affordable. With the 100 series Newtons, there’s no fax card or extra software required. Everything you need is right there.

Batteries go here.

The Newton fax takes two AA batteries (in the slot pictured above), or it has an AC input for 7 voltz. I had two spare AAs around, so I used those. Next, I unplugged my phone from the cord and plugged the end into the fax. That’s all you need to do to set up the fax part. More… »