Posts tagged “blogging”.

Getting to know you

March 10th, 2009

Trent over at The Simple Dollar got me thinking: who, exactly, reads Newton Poetry on a regular or semi-regular basis?

Since I switched away from WordPress.com and onto my own server, I have access to accurate numbers regarding visitors and page views. Even subtracting “robot” views from search engines, I learned that Newton Poetry has many more readers than I assumed. Many of you read via RSS feeds in Google Reader or some other subscription-based app.

Over time, I’ve heard from many readers on a regular basis. Quite a few of you are regular commentors, but that means even more of you are content to sit back and consume content. Which is cool.

But here’s your chance to be known. Use today’s post as a way to introduce yourself. Don’t feel obligated – I’d just like to know a bit more about Newton Poetry readers.

In the comments section, let me know:

  • Which MessagePad or Newton-based PDA you use regularly
  • Why you’re a regular reader
  • What Mac or PC you use as your main machine
  • What was the first Newton Poetry post you read
  • Location, age, career – any trivia-type stuff you’d like to share
  • Any ideas you have for future posts

Feel free to do all, some, or none of those, but at least think about it. If you don’t feel comfortable using the comments forum, drop me an e-mail at newtonpoetry at gmail dot com. I love hearing from readers.

Thanks, everyone, for visiting. This thing started as a joke of sorts, running random poems through my MessagePad 110 and posting the “Newton Poetry” that came out the other end. Eventually, it grew into a how-to guide, a Newton news outlet, and a look inside the quirky community that surrounds the Newton platform.

But I couldn’t do it without you.

What’s on the menu?

January 14th, 2009

From Thomas Brand:

Consistency is the recipe for good blogging. Interesting thought provoking topics are the ingredients. A unique writing style develops the flavor, a diversified niche determines the cuisine.

Blogging is about giving your readers a lot of what they expect, and a little of what they don’t. They return for more because your content is familiar, but also because it is unique. They know what kind of posts will be on your daily menu just as any diner knows what kind of entrees to expect from an Italian restaurant.

Welcome to the new Newton Poetry

January 12th, 2009

Well, what do you think?

On Friday, after playing around with my WordPress.org download and messing with the theme, I figured, “shit, why not?” I bought hosting space, uploaded my files, and began a weekend-long project to bring the new Newton Poetry live.

Was it easy? In a word: heck no.

Finding my way around FTP (I’m using Fetch), uploading WordPress files, and having to do a reinstall of everything I worked on – including a lengthy XML file upload – all came to a head at about 6 p.m. today, when newtonpoetry.com switched from WordPress.com to a self-hosted site.

I miss some things from WordPress.com already. Most of all, I miss the handy Blog Stats page, with its graph and referrer list. All the YouTube videos I posted had to be re-posted with the embed code. And, you know, free hosting was nice.

But the original Newton Poetry never looked like I wanted it to look. For one, there was too much blue. Two, I dig simplicity. I took notes from the other blogs I visit and built my theme, based on the Infimum theme, around what I like.

Let me know what you think. I know there are a few dedicated readers out there, and I appreciate your thoughtful feedback and support. Is something missing? Is there something you’d like to see me cover (I know, I know – the wifi stuff is on the list)? Drop me a comment and let me know.

A side note: the focus of Newton Poetry will broaden a little bit to include some other Mac- and tech-based stuff I find interesting and want to share. But fear not. The Newton MessagePad will always be the mainstay.

Thanks again, everyone, for all your support. Make yourself at home.

The shape of things to come.

December 16th, 2008

Finally getting a chance to grasp what a fun and delicate beast WordPress.org-based blogs can be.

Here’s a little hint at what Newton Poetry might become, someday:

newtonpotest1

You can click for a larger image.

I’m finding that little things, like inserting Newton graphics next to the sidebar headers, is more difficult than I thought. Already I’ve noticed how different it is compared with my original concept. Part of it is the theme I chose to mess around with, but it also highlights my general noobishness when it comes to CSS. PHP? Don’t get me started.

Mark your calendar: 2009 is when it will happen. I’m close enough to my 500-a-day goal that I can justify making the switch to a full-on, self-hosted blog.

So – what do you think so far?

Newton still good for posting blog entries.

November 20th, 2008

Turns out you can do some blogging with your Newton and a keyboard, even these days.

Holden Scott over at This Old Mac writes:

Writing articles… well, this is a joy to do. With the Newton keyboard, it is easy to write in Newton Works’ word processor. I simply import to my computer and copy and paste the text into WordPress. It even has a spell checker. In fact, I almost prefer working in Newton Word over Apple Pages.

Holden filed that post with his Newton 2000 and keyboard. I can imagine doing the same thing with an eMate or any other MessagePad with a good keyboard. Scribbling a blog entry with a stylus? That’s a little trickier…

On using ‘we’ vs. ‘me’ when blogging

November 6th, 2008

I like to go back and read famous Mac-oriented bloggers’ first posts. Maybe it’s a glimpse back into how things used to be, before they got all famous on us, but it’s neat to see the earliest thoughts and ideas of people I read everyday.

While reading John Gruber’s early work on Daring Fireball, I noticed his earliest posts referred to “The Daring Fireball” as a blog, as a self-referential moniker, and as a body of people (“we here at Daring Fireball”). I’ve done the same thing.

So which is it? Do you call your blog by the multi-person “we,” even though – in the case of both Daring Fireball and Newton Poetry – only one person is responsible for all the content?

[And that's another thing: Maybe it's my journalism background, and its obsession with style guides, but what is the proper style for mentioning blogs? Do you italicize them, like magazines? Or do you leave them in standard text? Direct links every time you mention them? What say you, reader?]

Since I’m the only one developing copy for Newton Poetry (and yes, I’ve asked for help before), it only makes sense to refer to the blog and myself separately. If I do or discover something, I’ll call it “me.” When something is featured on Newton Poetry, I’ll mention the blog. No more, “We here at Newton Poetry” nonsense. It’s just me. “I found this,” or “A few months ago, Newton Poetry featured…”

Even referring to the blog seems distant and cold – like I’m referencing myself and my work from far away. It’s hard for an abstraction to be paired with a verb (“Newton Poetry did this” is like saying “The number seven ate nine”), especially when it really is me doing all the doing.

John Gruber eventually fell away from “The” and “we,” and now everyone knows it’s his show. That’s what makes it so good: his personality comes across. The “me” is dominant.

Good, one-person blogs are acts of ownership and passion, and I guess I feel there’s no need to step around who’s doing the doing. It isn’t the blog. It’s me. And it’s you, in the comments section.

Together, we make Newton Poetry.

First anniversary: the Newton Poetry manifesto

October 11th, 2008

Today, Newton Poetry celebrates its first anniversary. From its simple beginnings it’s grown and developed and changed into something not too far removed from the original idea.

A year ago, Newton Poetry started as a blog about poetry that I scribbled into my Newton MessagePad 110 and the translation that came out of the Newton’s handwriting recognition technology. Misspellings, garbled text, weird syntax – it was all par for the coarse, and tons of fun to read. I got my inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s famous “Jabberwocky” poem (hence my sub-headline) and the story behind it. But after a while, the act got old. I got bored, and I wanted to explore the history and mechanics of what made a ten-year-dead platform exciting and still relevant. What is a Newton? Why do people still devote free time to this machine? How can it be useful in this iPod Touch and iPhone age? Is Apple working on a new, revised Newton platform? How do you use a MessagePad in today’s OS X environment, a system never designed to handle the Newton’s serial-based connection?

There was something there, and there was a (admittedly small) audience. While the poetry stuff garnered plenty of views, it was mainly from search traffic; searchers were probably looking for meaningful analysis of the poem they were looking for, not some weird, misspelled translation. Whereas posts like getting an original Airport card working in a G3 iBook, or fixing up a PowerMac G4, drew tons of attention and discussion and comments, the poetry just…sat there. No love at all. Despite early experiments, no community formed around the idea of (a) submitting a poem, either famous or amateur and then (b) having some 15-year-old PDA spit out random text based on that poetry. And really, scribbling a poem and waiting for the response is tiring. It’s no fun anymore. Therefore, posts with poetry have dropped off. I just haven’t felt like doing them.

Posts on Newton history? Those I love.

Maybe it’s that I’m interested in poetry, and I’m interested in the Newton, but I’m not interested in the combination. At least not any more. There are no volunteers who are willing to do Newton poetry (that I know of), and I’ve given up on the idea of training apes to do the work.

Result: no more Newton poetry.

Merlin Mann’s post on blog pimping and writing about what you truly love hit a nerve with me. Those poetry posts generated plenty of hits. I didn’t write them because I wanted Google-trafficked attention, but I took a shot on building something out of a goofy idea. If I wanted a money-maker, or an attention whore, I could post a Newton poem a day and sit back as the hits kept coming.

But that’s not what I want to do. What I want to do is explore the Newton platform, and experiment with it, and run fun little projects on classic Macs, and eke out an blog existence that where I appreciate and enjoy spending time messing around. I look back at those Newton poems and…golly…I just don’t get misty eyed reading them, you know?

Newton Poetry might become a self-hosted blog. I have a goal to achieve before that happens, but it’s something I’ve spent more time and research on. Taking a WordPress.org trip into blogland is one of the last great experiments I can pull off with this thing. The idea makes me nervous, but I look at the blogs and sites I love reading, and all of them have benefited from the kind of modifications and customization that make a self-hosted blog worth doing. Graphics and a unique domain and tweakable CSS – I have no idea what I’m doing with any of that. But the question is: how else can I learn? How else can Newton Poetry grow?

There lies the rub, friends. What’s next? Where do we go from here?

Projects like the upcoming links page and the how-tos have helped develop Newton Poetry into a beast all its own. Newton fans and users have to have a home base in this day and age. Luckily, they have several. But as time goes on, more and more of those “page not found” messages will creep up. Newton-focused web sites are disappearing, and it’s up to a few of us die-hards to keep the tradition alive.

I don’t know how to program with NewtonScript, and I don’t know how to make a Bluetooth card work with a MessagePad 2100, and I sure don’t have the length of years behind me to remember when John Sculley first released the Newton MessagePad onto the thirsting masses. But boy I have fun with my Newton. And I know you do, too. Most of you give two shits about what happens with Apple, too, and many of you have iPhones to play with, and you wonder about the connection between today’s iCal and the MessagePad’s Calendar. You hit “send” on the the e-mail you just scrawled with a stylus or tapped out with the on-screen keyboard, and you understand how a non-physical input method can be a boon in today’s crazy world. You waste time playing Newtris on your Newton and the new Tetris on your iPhone, and you check out great sites like Blake and Arn’s TouchArcade and you remember when some of those simple games (chess, blackjack) first appeared on your monochrome Newton screen. And God Almighty, you curse the day Steve Jobs hit the big Reset button on the whole Newton ideal.

If any of that sounds like it might apply to you, then I hope you’ll find that Newton Poetry serves some purpose in your hectic life.

This whole thing was a shot in the dark a year ago. Everyday I watch that “today’s views” number creep up as some geek who just bought an eMate off eBay finds out how to connect his or her new toy to their iMac and a whole new world opens up right before his or her eyes. That’s what this site should be about. That’s my audience. That’s where I see this site going in the future. Because while I haven’t yet purchased a 2×00 MessagePad model and connected to the web via Wifi, I will, and I’ll explain how the heck I did it. Maybe that’ll help someone. Maybe it’ll just confuse others. Whatever. It’ll be damn fun to try.

It’s a new day, Dear Reader, with a more focused direction. File this in the “What Does It All Mean” folder, and read on. We have plenty more to talk about.

This weekend, ‘Newton Poetry’ 2.1 released

September 18th, 2008

A couple of updates before we head into the weekend, mostly regarding Newton Poetry news.

First, I’ve decided to take the plunge and nab an affordable eMate off eBay. From the auctions I’ve seen, I can get a decent model for about $20. This way, I can finally play around with a Newton OS 2.x MessagePad – and do it on the cheap.

Second, I’m switching my domain name to “newtonpoetry.com.” Newton Poetry will still be hosted on WordPress.com (at least for the time being), but I figured if I ever want to make the big move to a self-published blog, I might as well have Google and blog links directing traffic to a unique domain. So be sure to update your bookmarks and del.icio.us tags.

Just out of curiosity – does anyone have any experience doing this? Has your WordPress.com-hosted site done better, worse, or the same since you switched domain names? And has anyone taken a WordPress.com blog and switched it to a third-party host? I’d love some pointers before I get all this started.

Also, I’d love to have some guest bloggers on Newton Poetry. If reaching an audience of MessagePad enthusiasts has some appeal, and if you have any experience fiddling with your Newt, drop me a line at newtonpoetry [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know what you’d like to write about. The Newton community is one of the most closely-knit ones I’ve ever encountered, and there are tons of people out there with more knowledge about all things Newton than me (though I hope to change that here real soon). Shucks, imagine how useful someone with Newton and Windows experience would be around here.

And hey, your posts don’t have to be just about the Newton. Newton Poetry is a blog for DIYers, hackers, Mac modders, and appreciators of classic Apple machines – plus iPhone and iPod users. We’re not finicky. If you’ve done a fun and useful Mac project, I’d love to feature it.

Part of me is wondering where to take this blog in the next month or so as it approaches the first anniversary. I think a little new blood, and some new ideas, would do wonders. The sad fact is, I don’t have the time to experiment with my Newton like I would like to, and some weeks it’s hard to come up with post ideas.

Finally, a few interesting links that I’ve found going through the web lately:

Thanks for reading!

The best of Newton Poetry

July 24th, 2008

How-to:

Interviews:

Newton Poems:

Newton misc.:

iPocalypse:

Wikipedia: hitting the big time

June 30th, 2008

Newton Poetry makes Wikipedia

Many thanks and kudos to the Wikipedia editor who added Newton Poetry to the list of external links (above) regarding the online encyclopedia’s Newton MessagePad listing.

First we made MacSurfer a few times, and now this. For those of us who practically live on the internet, it’s a pretty big deal.