Scribble scribble.

Newton MessagePad sings ‘Still Alive’

March 2nd, 2012

Jonathan Coulton makes geeky music for geeks. That’s why this video from YouTube user KonogoRaiana, featuring Coulton’s “Still Alive,” the ending theme from Portal, makes so much sense.

The text file to get this to work, using MacInTalk text to speech code, is gibberish — but the Newton understands it just fine.

[via Tony Kan at My Apple Newton.]

Matt’s Macintosh: 1984

February 27th, 2012

Matt over at Matt’s Macintosh has a lovely office setup.

[via Stephen Hackett.]

State Shirt: making music on an Apple IIc

February 24th, 2012

Get this.

Musician Ethan Tufts of State Shirt created a song on an Apple IIc — part chiptune, part drum-and-guitar pop song — and recorded the whole process in the video above.

Tufts offers State Shirt songs as “open source” — so feel free to download the tracks, but try to support his good work (and nerdery) if you can.

iPad handwriting recognition apps found lacking

February 23rd, 2012

Brian Mikol at Atomic Firefly:

While there’s clearly a range of active third-party development going on to bring handwriting recognition to the iPad, unfortunately in my tests they’re far from the quality and accuracy offered by the last version of the Newton OS.

Mikol reviews several stylus options and a few iPad apps, looking for a potential replacement for his Newton in the iPad. His advice: try the free apps first, then spend money.

[via Newtontalk]

Newton Poetry First-Ever Software Giveaway™: OneThingToday

December 7th, 2011

OneThingToday screenshot

Last fall I heard about a to-do app, OneThingToday, with a simple premise: get just one thing accomplished each day. Simple, straightforward — and something I thought any worthwhile text file junkie could do on his or her own.

OneThingToday’s developer, Mike Sykes, looked through his referral logs and found my post from last year. He dropped me a note to say he appreciated the mention, even if I showed how to do the whole thing yourself.

“You are absolutely correct when you say it’s nothing that can’t be done via many other methods, but I like to think there’s a little less friction with a dedicated app,” Sykes said. “Also for me iCal is for reminders, not tasks – that’s just how my mind works.”

He’s absolutely right, of course, especially if you work under David Allen’s GTD system. The calendar, so it goes, is sacred — and reserved for time-sensitive appointments or obligations. Sykes system takes your to-dos off the calendar and into a seamless system where the goal is modest (but appropriate): just do something today.

Sykes was nice enough to offer a few promo codes for people to try out OneThingToday, both for OS X and iOS, for free.

To get one of these promo codes, simply drop me an e-mail at newtonpoetry [at] gmail.com with the subject line, “OneThingToday Giveaway,” and tell me if you want the OS X or iOS version of OneThingToday. And while you’re at it, tell me a bit about yourself: how long you’ve been reading, if you still use your Newton, what else you’re interested in, etc. I’ll give a few promo codes out to the first couple of e-mails.

Thanks again to Mike Sykes for the chance to try out his software. He has a few other titles you can try out, too, at his Line Thirteen site.

iTunes Match: for me, a solution in need of a problem

December 6th, 2011

Thomas Brand at Egg Freckles:

For normal people iTunes Match will solve the problem of getting the music they have on one computer to all of their computers and Apple devices without networking, filesystems, or sync cables. For me iTunes Match is a frivolous expense…The only advantage iTunes Match provides me is the flexibility of streaming or downloading songs on the go when I am away from my computer.

I’ve talked about this a few times on The hello Show, but this new way of doing your music that Brand explains is, to me, much like MobileMe was in terms of syncing: it doesn’t solve a problem for me. Brand mentions he already knows how to sync his iTunes libraries across multiple machines. My sticking point is that I have the one true iTunes library, and everything runs from that without problems.

My process for syncing is tied with the way my routine goes. Before I head to bed, I plug my iPhone into my Mac for recharging and syncing. Any changes made on the iPhone (appointments, contact updates, etc.) get synced to the iMac, and any new updates on the iMac (podcasts, songs, calendar additions) get synced down to the iPhone. Then, the next morning, I unplug the iPhone and head off to work.

Most of the music I want to listen to on my iPhone gets synced through iTunes. If I notice something is missing, during the next sync I add that artist or playlist. There are no kinks in my system.

Yes, the higher-quality music files from iTunes Match are attractive. The tradeoff is I have to dip into a system I’m not entirely comfortable with yet.

Print your own Newton battery tray

November 7th, 2011

Davis Remmel shows that hard-driving spirit that Newton owners are known for, especially after discovering the price of battery trays for his Newton MessagePad 2000:

The two clips on the front AA battery tray, the ones that hold two of the batteries in, were very damaged. One was missing entirely (!), while the other was broken on one side and about to fall off. Yada yada yada, I went online to buy a new one, and the only place that had them priced them at “ONLY $95!

THAT is absolutely ridiculous, so I loaded up trusty ‘ol Inventor and started modeling a new one to be 3D printed.

Amazing what today’s 3D printing technology is capable of doing, but be sure and heed Remmel’s advice and actually try the thing.

[Via Ron Parker on Twitter]

‘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.

Return of the Mac

October 19th, 2011

Golly. I’ve really done it now.

This little project started last fall, after the “Back to the Mac” Apple event. I collected a few Apple product videos, scoured YouTube for the highest quality PowerPC-era Mac commercials I could find – even asked Twitter where to find good, high-res files.

But I made do. And so here it is: a goofy, super geeky take on “Return of the Mack” – dropping the “k” of course.

What I like is that Apple videos make their machines fly – lots of swooping and dramatic angles and shadows. Tons of product rotations. All (except for the PowerMac G5 vid) against a brilliant white background.

For variety, I threw in some random stuff like the chip manufacturing shots. And some Apple reps doing some bad lip syncing.

Anyway. Glad to be done with it. It’s nothing like a pro job: there are still little hints of YouTubeness and window frames in there. But it’s just a fun little music video for us Macintosh geeks.

All In

October 6th, 2011

I learned to type on a Macintosh. A Color Classic, I believe, because of what I remember from the size, shape, and color-ness of it. That was seventh grade.

From there, I didn’t touch a Macintosh until college, where our newspaper office held a room full of PowerMac G4s. We did our design on Quark, and then on Indesign. I remember coming into that dark office, with all those sleep lights pulsating, and feeling the power of those machines.

Apple was always just on the periphery of my attention back then. I remember being a resident assistant in one of the dorms, walking into a student’s room and seeing a candy-colored iMac G3 sitting on her desk. “What a cool computer,” I thought – me being a computer guy. When the iMac G4 was released, I thought that was even cooler. Back in our newspaper office, I remember Jeremy talking about buying his iBook G3, and how he was wary of buying the “new operating system” and opting for OS 9 instead.

It wasn’t until after college, in 2005, when I thought about buying my very own computer, my first, and I considered the iBook G4. After a lot of research, and a few conversations with friends, I bought into the Apple way of life with that iBook.

And I’ve never looked back.

I went all-in on the Apple lifestyle. The iBook arrived in November, and that January I bought my iPod. It’s still working, and is still my main iPod, five years later. From there I picked up the beginnings of my classic Mac collection, my Newton, and then my iPhone. Each experience was exciting, exploratory, and a lot of damn fun.

Now, six years later, Apple is a part of my everyday life. Not just my working or productive life, with the Mac and the iPhone and all my iPods, but in my mental space as well. I check Macsurfer religiously, every day, at 10 a.m. I read Daring Fireball and listen to MacBreak Weekly. David and I do a podcast where we talk about this stuff. Apple is my hobby. I’ve never been sorry about that.

I still have that iBook G4. It serves as my living room jukebox. It still runs OS X 10.4 like a dream. And every time I start fiddling with it, I remember what it was like, back in those first few months of using the Mac, to have my life changed by a computer. To have so much fun on a computer. To enjoy – really enjoy – using a computer.

Like most Apple fans, I’m extremely biased when it comes to computers. When people ask me what computer to buy, they know what I’m going to say. When they ask which phone to get, well – they should know better than to ask. And as far as spreading the Apple virus, I’m pretty contagious. I have several friends who have gone all-in for Apple, too, thanks to my suggestions.

It’s like that with this stuff. It grabs hold of you and makes you wonder why you ever used anything else.

And not just that, but there’s this rich story behind Apple: couple of guys build a computer, then build one of the best-selling computers of all time, then the company goes on to make computers as we know them with the Macintosh. Founder leaves. Company flounders. Founder returns with a rocket to the moon, invents several more industries, and dies as his company becomes the largest on Earth.

If the products weren’t enough, it’s the story that gets me every time. These are the guys we’re supposed to root for.

So today my thoughts are with all those who lived and worked with Steve Jobs. I feel for his family. I feel for everyone who walks down a hallway at One Infinite Loop. And I feel for Apple, because now I really wonder what happens when the guy you paid $1 a year to say “no” a bunch of times goes away.

Thanks Steve.