Posts categorized “newton history”.

20 Years Later, the Newton Lives

August 6th, 2013

Head over to Wired.com for a lovely write-up on the 20-year-old Newton Community from Cade Metz:

After its debut in early August 1993 — twenty years ago — the Newton was widely derided as a flawed machine that no one wanted. The Simpsons made fun of its handwriting-recognition software, as did Gary Trudeau with a Doonesbury gag. In Trudeau’s cartoon world, the Newton recognized “Catching on?” as “Egg Freckles?” — and the die was cast.

The piece features some regulars in the Newton family, like Grant Hutchinson and Steve Capps.

You get a sense of the Newton’s continued usefulness from the story, like Ron Parker using his MessagePad on the hiking trails around Lake Tahoe.

(Also, check out how handsome all those Newton guys are.)

[Via @splorp]

Newton reviewed 20 years later

June 7th, 2012

Don’t know how I missed Harry McCracken’s Newton MessagePad review over at Time.com.

All in all, it’s fun experiment: take a tech journalist who has no direct experience with the Newton, and have him use it. Even better, McCracken’s MessagePad was practically new out of the box.

This section on battery life caught my eye:

20/20 hindsight may make the MessagePad’s screen look worse than it seemed in 1993; its battery life, however, benefits from a couple of decades of diminished expectations. Back in the 1990s, people squawked that the MessagePad H1000 drained its four AAA batteries too quickly. I found, however, that I could go for a couple of weeks on a set. In an age of smartphones that conk out after less than one day, that was more than enough to keep me happy.

Isn’t it something how our expectations have changed?

[via MacBreak Weekly]

‘The Alternatives are a Real Step Backwards’

October 28th, 2011

Paul Potts, in a write-up over at Folklore.org:

The Newton programming application, although flawed, gave us a taste of what software development could be – faster, more efficient, allowing us to focus more on ideas and design and less on mechanics…I think the end result is that we will continue to pursue handheld applications, but not with the gusto, and certainly not with the enjoyment, that we once did.

Perhaps not until iOS, that is.

Thanks to my podcasting partner David for pointing out another great post over at Folklore.org. The site has a few Newton-based essays, and they’re pretty great.

Newton makes ‘top of the flops’

June 20th, 2011

Oh look: another “top 10 crappy tech products” list from Mashable:

Although expensive and a little buggy, the touchscreen MessagePad PDAs enjoyed popularity among many Apple fans, and have since reached cult status.

Too niche and costly at the time to be sustained by Apple, the Newton platform and related hardware was axed by Steve Jobs. He instead streamlined the Apple product portfolio soon after his return to the company in 1997.

Thanks, Mashable, for that original blog idea.

‘Newton never dies’

March 3rd, 2011

Good for Riccardo Mori at System Folder:

As you can see in this recent photo, a detail of my setup, the Newton MessagePad is still an essential part of my workflow. So, despite its (untimely) cancellation, the Newton is still very useful to me, and to all the Newton users out there, and to those who are curious enough to purchase a used one and give it a try, my message is:

Isn’t that great?

Here, the thirteenth anniversary of the Newton’s cancellation, Mori (and many, many others) keep the faith.

Quote of the week: still around

January 18th, 2011

“I was there until Steve came back and it was clear he was going to kill the project. In some ways I am sad he did, but I can see why he needed to. Apple had to focus or there would be no Apple today. As it is, some of the technologies are around today (as are the engineers that created them). You can see it in the recognition of addresses and events, and in many other places.”

- Maurice Sharp, ex Newton DTS Engineer and Manager, via the Newtontalk list.

Newton Phoenix adds links

January 11th, 2011

More and more of the Newton-related web is disappearing, but Forrest Buffenmyer at Newton Phoenix is trying to keep some of it alive and well in the minds of MessagePad fans.

Buffenmyer added a links page to his Newton Phoenix site, sporting everything from software sites, the Newtontalk list, and even a pair of Newton bloggers (ahem). He’s attempting to post updates from his Newton, which he says is a work in progress.

Meanwhile, I invited Buffenmyer to scour my own Newton Links page for anything he could use.

“I drew the line (arbitrarily) at 2006 as a cutoff year,” Buffenmyer told us in the Newtontalk mailing list.

It’s important to save all these sites, as UNNA, Tony Kan, myself, and several others have attempted to do. There are still folks out there who want to tinker with the Newton. Let’s help them find all the good information they can find.

Quote of the week: connections to the past

January 4th, 2011

“Maybe the most comfortable and ultimately successful technological advances are the ones that have an umbilical cord back to what came before.”

- Dave Pell at Tweetage Wasteland. What’s so great about the Newton is that it both mimics and advances the notebook metaphor.

Quote of the week: Doonesbury’s curse

December 13th, 2010

Steve Jobs on the original iPhone:

“We all had that Garry Trudeau cartoon that poked fun at the Newton in the back of our minds,” he said, citing Doonesbury comic strips that mocked an Apple handwriting-recognition system in 1993. “This thing had to work.”

[Via New York Times.]

Newton as a memory service

November 15th, 2010

Evernote CEO Phil Libin, over at ReadWriteWeb:

So the original idea really started in the Newton days. Back then it was just a device, but it grew to be more of a service that would let you keep all of your memories. [It would] just remember everything.

…They started [Evernote] with this idea of giving everyone a better brain, giving everyone a perfect memory.

This interview has made the rounds, but this idea of the Newton as a ubiquitous capture device always stuck with me – because that’s exactly how I used mine.

I think of the time I’m in a big book store and I need to remember a certain book to check up on later. Whip out the Newton, scribble a note to myself, file it for later, and then never have to Spotlight-search my brain to remember what it was. The MessagePad’s usefulness was immediately apparent to a absent-minded professor like me.

Some people swear by a simple notepad and pen, or by a stack of index cards in their back pocket. For tech geeks, the Newton let you simulate that paper-and-pen experience but with electrons.

If you’re like me, you need something to capture all that random input throughout the day. Lately, that something has been Simplenote, along with my iPhone’s camera. The nice thing about these electronic methods of capture is that their capture-ability is close enough to infinite to be infinite. With pens and paper, you run out of ink and notepads, or you collect and waste actual material resources. I used to use little scraps of paper at work to collect thoughts and notes, and it quickly got out of hand. By storing it electronically, in flash memory somewhere, it just collects and collects without taking up real, physical space.

Newtons and iPhones can lose their charge, of course, or get their brains wiped out (which is catastrophic, but a good you-need-a-backup-strategy example). Still, using Simplenote feels like I’m using an infinite, curved alternate dimension to store reminders and notes.

The Newton did the job fantastically, too, because it felt like you were storing an infinite amount of scrap pieces of paper (that went in the trash when you deleted them!). So it’s no surprise that an idea as great as Evernote sprang from the Newton concept.

[Via Forkbomber.]