Posts categorized “newton”.

Earthquake-proof: Tony Kan’s Newton

September 9th, 2010

Tony Kan from My Apple Newton:

The initial quake carried on for nearly a minute.

But it’s the aftershocks that have caused more stress. Occasionally one bumps through and the “here we go again…” thought comes to mind…

Schools are closed until Wednesday. All water needs to be boiled. Power, communications and water are restored to 90% of the city. Airports open. Railways closed. Reports of pools of quicksand appearing in one part of the city immediately after the earthquake. One woman fell into it and was up to her ears in it before her husband heard her cries for help and dragged her out.

Tony describes the scene from Christchurch, New Zealand’s recent earthquake. But if you know Tony, you know he’s got his Newton MessagePad ready.

Tony’s My Apple Newton is the premier Newton blog out there. Unlike Newton Poetry, which strays into Mac geekdom and random bits of culture, My Apple Newton is all business when it comes to the MessagePad. And here lately, Tony is on a much more prolific posting schedule than I can ever be. If you want to know more about how to use your MessagePad or eMate, and what makes it tick, Tony’s blog is the place to go. He’s the Newton user’s Newton user.

And in the middle of this natural disaster, Tony’s still rocking the Newton in posts like “Surviving the Christchurch Earthquake“:

Guess what was an indispensable tool in the aftermath? My Apple Newton. During the odd quiet moment I could relax by journalling what had happened and then email the updates to friends and family when power and communications were restored.

Even his updates are posted with his Newton, thanks to (I imagine) nBlog.

Pretty remarkable that something as “obsolete” as the Newton can come in handy during a crisis. It’s a tough little beast, and when the right kind of person wields it, the Newton remains a go-to tool.

All the best to Tony and everyone in Christchurch.

[Via Riccardo Mori at System Folder.]

Making an Internet connection with Einstein

August 30th, 2010

Well look at that: the Newton-emulating Einstein connects to the Internet. Matthias Melcher got this little experiment up and running.

[Via @newtsoup on Twitter.]

Updates, uploads coming to UNNA

August 27th, 2010

UNNA updates

The United Network of Newton Archives, or UNNA, is looking at clearing the cobwebs and hosting new Newton-related software after long last.

Morgan Aldridge, UNNA wrangler since 2007, gave the above hint on Twitter – a sneak peek at the Recent Additions page. It shows the latest 25 uploads to UNNA through a moderated database, says Morgan.

“Any new files uploaded and existing files that have new descriptions added get added to a moderation queue,” he said in an e-mail. “If it’s just a description, it’s just a matter of tweaking and approving the description. If it’s also a new upload, the moderation tools support publishing the file to the final destination as well.”

The previous UNNA moderator, Victor Rehorst, stopped taking new UNNA submissions in 2004, and then handed off UNNA’s hosting to Morgan. Finally, he says, he’s getting around to adding new stuff to the archive.

“In the past few years a number of Newton-related sites have disappeared for good and I and others have become increasingly worried about preserving all of this data,” Morgan said. “The least I could do is get UNNA opened back up. So, a couple months ago I started moving forward.”

Between some detective work, trying to figure out how Victor managed all the data, and some version control issues, Morgan plunked away at the project a few hours at a time. Now the Recent Additions page is his way of testing out the uploading and moderating tools. UNNA has preserved Newton sites along the way.

The idea is to keep the Newton software and sites in a downloadable vault to keep it from vanishing. As I’ve found, more and more Newton sites are disappearing. The same can be said for software: companies go out of business, people move (or die), computers crash.

Morgan says he doesn’t get a whole lot of submissions these days, but new entries trickle in every few months. Mostly, he says, Newton users have expressed “discomfort with the state of UNNA.” So he’s going to start fixing that. One of the first new entries: Brian Parker of Sealie Computing is submitting full versions of his NewtChat, NewtGlider, and MathFaster packages, and mirrors of the web pages.

“He’s still looking to see if he has the NewtGlider source code and such, but I’m already happy to have this work preserved,” Morgan said.

UNNA is an indispensable resource for any Newton user. I find packages in the archives that I try out just for fun, and Newton Poetry has only been possible through a lot of that old software. It’s great to hear we’ll be getting some new stuff up and available for download.

[Via UNNA on Twitter. Follow Morgan's own Twitter stream, while you're at it.]

Newton Collection

August 12th, 2010

Magic Link

Mark Johnson shared a new collection of Newton photos, straight from his collection, from his site Newton Collection.

Johnson shares a bunch of photos of other Newton-powered PDAs, as well, such as the Sony Magic Link and Motorola Marco.

“I started collecting Newtons as they are easier to store than Macs,” he told me. “Space is a premium!”

Newton stands with you

July 29th, 2010

Thomas Brand at Egg Freckles:

Despite its technological advances the iPad can never replace the Newton. No modern computer can. Today’s operating systems are modal, tasks are divided between applications. To begin a task you must first select an application. You must stop what you are doing, stop what you are thinking, and take the time to tell the computer the proper mode from which to proceed. On the Newton there are no modes. You turn it on, and you start writing, drawing, or recording. On the Newton your productivity comes first.

The Newton remembers the last place you were in a document. When you turn it on the last thing you created is the first thing you see. On the iPad and other modern computers the first thing you see is a vast selection of choices on how to proceed. Colorful icons try to show you the way. Signposts, advertising arduous pathways you must follow only to return to where you previously stood.

The difference between the Newton and any other modern computer is that the Newton stands with you, the others force you to catch up.

It’s a fun thought experiment, wondering what if the Newton’s standards for doing things – drawing a line to start a new note, its method of copy and paste – had become the new standards. The difference was the Newton’s operations were all stylus-based. Now we have touched-based standards.

Still, Brand is right: modeless data entry is great, and the always-on saving behavior can’t be beat.

Quote of the week: magic, indeed

July 27th, 2010

“What? No ‘Magic Stylus’ for my Newton? Lame.”

- Grant Hutchinson, from Twitter, on the new Magic Trackpad. I’m excited about this, just because the trackpad on MacBook Pros are outstanding. The Magic Trackpad takes the Magic Mouse idea and flattens it, and that leaves all kinds of openings for new input methods on the Mac. We can’t touch our iMac screens yet, but this comes darn close.

No bumper needed: Newton Y2008 bug fixed

July 19th, 2010

The Newton community received good news this weekend from wunderkind Eckhart Köppen:

No duct tape of bumper case required here: Paul Guyot has come up with a way to prevent the reset to January 1st, 2008 with patch 71J059 after rebooting or power loss. I merged his changes into the next version of the Y2010 patch, version 711000.

This “Y2008″ bug hit back in January, soon after Newtpocalypse was averted. This issue hasn’t made Newtons unusable, but it put the brakes on the overall Y2010 fix.

Köppen credits Grant Hutchinson, Tony Kan, and Don Zahniser for helping with testing. Paul Guyot, who developed the patch that prevents the reset to 2008, is responsible for all the fun Kallisys software, including Escale and the Einstein project.

Köppen says German Newtons and all eMates will be fixed soon. This patch only fixes U.S.-based 2×00 Newtons.

As Newton users, we’re lucky to have such hard-working minds. They continue to develop fixes for all these issues, allowing us to keep using our MessagePads and eMates here in 2010 and beyond. The wait for this latest patch has been worth it.

Now I’ll sit tight until my eMate patch comes along.

UPDATE: Morgan Aldridge is doing some digging on the Adam Tow’s Alarms issue.

[Via NewtonTalk.]

Newton Launch Day

June 24th, 2010

Happy Newton Launch Day, from Thomas Brand.

Apple’s HTML5 showcase on the Newton

June 8th, 2010

HTML5 Showcase: VR by Splorp

Maybe there’s some chicanery surrounding Apple’s HTML5 showcase being “Safari only,” but Grant Hutchinson has proved one thing – the thing is still usable with the Newton MessagePad 2100′s ancient browsers.

His Flickr set, HTML5 vs. Newton, shows that the HTML5 examples render even on the Newton’s modest Courier and Newt’s Cape browsers.

Says Splorp:

Keep in mind that both browsers were developed prior to the existence of HTML5. While neither piece of software supports the advanced interaction or layout effects afforded by JavaScript and CSS3, the clean HTML5 markup is completely accessible.

That’s called gracefully degraded content.

There are no actual VR demos or typography playgrounds, of course, since the Newton is stuck in mostly a text-only, sliders-free environment. But still. The page they sit on looks just fine, with standard links and formatting.

As Darcy Norman says, web standards ensure a smooth transition from old to new:

Standards, especially ones that support graceful degradation of presentation by devices at runtime, ensure we have access to our content long after it’s built, on devices we didn’t have in mind when we built it.

If Grant were to try to view any of the content I built years ago using Director/Shockwave, or any of 47 terabytes of content built in Flash, the poor little Newton would have barfed violently.

And we don’t want to see any barfing Newtons now, do we?

The day may come when HTML is no longer supported by anything. But then there will always be the classic hobbyists, who ensure that everything gets backed up to something and that there’s a spare Mac around to read those old files.

[Photo courtesy of Splorp at Flickr under the Creative Common License, and link help via Newtontalk on Twitter.]

Quote of the week: Newton poetry, indeed

April 14th, 2010

“I thought the handwriting recognition ‘bugs’ were a PLUS– great way to write surreal stories and poetry, write out your ideas and they got translated to weird madlib gibberish.”

- Boing Boing reader ill ich. I like to remember the early days of this blog, when that’s all I did: poetry translated by a Newton MessagePad 110. Since then, I – how should I put it? – moved on.

[Via NewtonTalk on Twitter.]