Posts tagged “emulator”.

Finally: Newton Einstein project on iPhone

September 15th, 2010

Check that out.

Matthias Melcher has done something I’ve only been able to dream about: put the Newton OS Einstein emulator on an iPhone.

As he says, it’s only proof of concept right now. You can see it lags just a tad. But imagine this thing running full-power and full-speed on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

UPDATE: Steven Frank went ahead and threw Einstein on the iPad. Fan-friggin’-tastic.

[Much abliged to Matthias for keeping me updated in the comments.]

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.]

Poor Man’s Newton: MessagePad emulator on your Classic Mac

February 2nd, 2009


Apple’s HyperCard stack-based programming tool continues to astound me. This time, it’s the Poor Man’s Newton – a HyperCard stack that lets you muck around with Newton-like features on your Classic Mac desktop.

Download a copy off UNNA, open up the stack, and bam – a fun Newton OS emulator that uses HyperCard buttons, input fields, and drawing tools.


While it lacks the handwriting recognition of the real Newton OS, Poor Man’s Newton does let you store contacts and scribbles, and search your PMN database. Says the creator, Joseph Guy Cicinelli:

Poor Man’s Newton is a HyperCard stack that contains address and telephone information and generally behaves like Apple’s new Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), the Newton MessagePad. If you are like me and you can’t afford to buy one of these high tech tools, here is your chance to own a virtual one that can used on your Macintosh.

At the time, cost was a real issue. These days you can find a quality working Newton for $30-$100 on eBay. But Poor Man’s Newton? That’s free.

You don’t get the full MessagePad experience. PMN’s “Dates” functionality only shows a calendar – you can’t save appointments or reminders. If it did, Poor Man’s Newton could serve as a stripped-down version of Claris Organizer (also available at UNNA, for Mac OS 9 and older).


Poor Man’s Newton offers a few other functionality items: unit conversions, a telephone number dialer, and plenty of printing and sorting options to keep a well-organized contacts list.

The HyperCard stack itself dates to a few years after the OMP was release (above), but it holds up remarkably well after all these years. It sweeps away everything else on your Mac desktop, acting as a distraction-free, Einstein-like app for those without a Newton ROM or a bunch of free time.

Super fun to play with if you have access to a Classic environment, Poor Man’s Newton is very small (at 1 MB) and very affordable (free!) – and you don’t need a version of HyperCard to run it.

Einstein emulator on Android: oh the possibilities

September 3rd, 2008

Is Google’s Android mobile platform the Newton fan’s savior at bringing a Newton-clone app to fruition?

When Apple announced the iPhone SDK, I wondered whether someone could use it to develop an Einstein-based Newton app – even just to mess around with – for Apple’s Mobile OS X.

Because of the licensing agreement, a Newton app is probably impossible. But on the open-source Android OS and its new Android Market, the dream of a modern-day Einstein hack might be realized.

Now that Android has its own “app store,” some bootstrapping developer could do something really cool. A touch screen, a stylus, some sort of handwriting recognition, and access to the OS’s dates and contacts and notes, and you might be all set.

I’m positive its nowhere near that simple to develop a Newton emulator for a mobile phone. But one can dream, right?

Handwriting recognition on the iPhone?

May 7th, 2008

Chinese handwriting recognition on the iPhone

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it (Ars Technica has it too), but it seems the beta of the new iPhone firmware offers some sort of handwriting recognition, at least for Chinese characters.

iPodHacks says many “consider Rosetta / Inkwell to be the most advanced handwriting recognition technology yet developed.” And I’ve heard that elsewhere too, since it’s – in part – derived from Newton’s own HWR engine.

I just bought a spare copy of OS X 10.2 Jaguar, and it reminded me that OS X ships with Inkwell. Could my suggestion of a Newton emulator on the iPhone be any easier now? Maybe it’s already done. But how would writing with your pinkie turn out?

Update: Einstein emulator on the iPhone

April 9th, 2008

After the iPhone SDK was release, I wondered whether it would make sense to throw a Newton emulator in the mix. Shucks, I wondered whether it would even be possible.

Leave it to Newton programmers to actually do the digging.

From Jason on the Newtontalk list:

Well, I started out by ensuring that Einstein would build on the new
SDK. Then tried changing targets to see what would happen. I did this for KLibs as well as Einstein. K Libs seems to build fine as a static library using the new target which was sort of surprising to me but since the BSD subsystem can be installed on the iPhone I thought perhaps it would work. When building Einstein for the new target I run into complications. There are two at the moment that I am facing. One is with missing X11 header files and the other with the K Libs dependency. Not sure why the compiler isn’t finding the X include files since I am certain the X11 SDK is installed and Einstein did build cleanly before. I am sure it’s just a configuration problem in the project that I’ve caused. So far I haven’t had any luck trying to resolve the dependency with K Libs that Einstein has by creating a new target, one that depends upon a new K Libs target for the new target device.

And a reply, from Matthias:

Do not build the target based on X11. X11 is not part of the iPhone
and so it is not part of the iPhone header files (they are different
headers than the system header files). Einstein for iPhone must be built using the special iPhone version of Cocoa, which is quite similar, yet not the same. You have to use UIKit to generate the basic UI and emulator surface.

I don’t know about you, but there’s hope to be found. Newton developers are working on the iNewton as I type this – and that’s a neat feeling. Give them all the support you can!

Why a Newton emulator would be fun on iPhone

March 20th, 2008

An iPhone on the Newton?

I took my suggestion from the iPhone SDK announcement and posed an offer to the Newtontalk mailing list:

So who wants to take up a collection for the $99 developer’s fee, grab a bit of Cocoa, and make a Newton Touch app? I’ve got $5 toward the effort!

One reader, Simon, correctly pointed out that the software developer’s kit was actually free; it’s the right to upload software to, and therefore receive the blessing from, Apple’s App Store that costs $99.

The point is still there. With reports of 100,000 downloads of the iPhone software kit, there has to be someone out there that is thinking, “You know what would be fun? A Newton emulator!”

Is this even possible? Plenty have reported on the limitations imposed on software developers – no app can remain open in the background, no scripting, etc. – so that Apple can keep the platform secure.

Mattias of says the limitations could cripple the entire thing:

The iPhone SDK has severe limitations in its license that would make an Einstein emulator useless. Apart form having to disable the ability to install packages in order to conform, we would also not be able to run in the background, so no alarm or calender events (it may be
possible to solve the first issue by wrapping Newton packages and have them installed through iTunes which would give the per-application control back to Apple). There is also the lack of pen input and a very high resolution, yet small screen, which makes HWR impossible and hitting a Newton button extremely hard.

But there has to be a way to, say, scribble something on your Newton Notepad app and have it show up in iPhone’s Notes. Or scribble in a contact into Newton’s Names and have it sync to Address Book. Same with Calendar and iCal.

This would solve one of the main dilemmas today’s Newton user faces: the difficulty connecting a MessagePad’s information with OS X. If an iPhone could run a Newton app, syncing would be a breeze.

On their own, the iPhone and iPod Touch are becoming what the Newton always dreamed of: a platform to organize your computing life on the go. So there really is no need for a Newton app other than to just play around with and show to your geeky friends. They’re based on two totally different input philosophies (though there is a stylus available for the iPhone now, as we’ve seen), and I can see why switching from one to the other would be pointless.

Someone on the Newtontalk list brough up Apple’s possible resistance to a Newton app being made available in the first place. All applications have to be certified by Apple before users can download them from the App Store, and Apple probably has no interest in seeing its ten-year-dead OS making any sort of reappearance. There are still jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touches out there, though, that provide a handy bypass system.

The idea of the Newton lives on in the iPhone: novel input mechanism, calendar and contact syncing, e-mail, web surfing, dock-loading applications, etc. And when developer start churning out to-do apps and financial apps and gaming apps, all that will be left untouched will be the Newton’s handwriting recognition. The iPhone will be what the Newton wanted to be when it grew up, in full color.

But when developers program videos like babes washing your iPhone’s screen, or apps that mimic the Nintendo Entertainment System (as Newton developers did with Newtendo), a fun Newton emulator doesn’t seem like such a worthless project.