June 8th, 2010
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.
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.]
February 4th, 2010
“I am sure that, with proper care and feeding, I will be able to take out my current Mac, an almost 3 year old Macbook, from the basement 10 years from now and reminisce in the same way. I am sure it’s utility may be no less – despite the fact the world may have changed around it. It will likely be enough for me for a long time to come.”
- Minimal Mac. Right on, and the same is true of Newtons. I read about users turning one on after years on a shelf and all their data is still there, intact.
March 14th, 2008
Pretty cool post over at the DadHacker.com blog everyone seems to be excited about these days (and for good reason – his Donkey Kong story is a trip). Seems the author was one of the original developers on the MessagePad:
There was a lot of great technology hidden away in the guts of Newton. I worked on some other pieces that were neat, but this is what I’m most happy about having shipped. It was a lot of fun to work on. Newton was one of those projects I always felt it was a privilege to be part of.
He tells a great story about the early days of flash memory, and how Newton’s system blew everyone away. Shucks, he says, if “the Newt had had a dock, decent docking support, and a few other things, it would have just killed Palm.” Amen, brother.
Lots of other good posts, too, including a link to a Newton video I’ll be posting soon.
February 21st, 2008
With my talk yesterday of the refurbished iPod Shuffle’s price, folks over at Macenstein wondered whether or not the lowly Shuffle even counted as a true “iPod.” Is it, but in name only?
Dr. Macenstein says:
Granted, at $49, the shuffle might be the most affordable “iPod” Apple makes, but it delivers a fraction of the features and costs nearly 3 times less than the closest “real” iPod Apple makes – the iPod nano. The shuffle is not the iPod students put on their Christmas lists, the kind of iPod you see commercials for, the kind of iPod that accessory manufacturers cater to, or the kind muggers kill over.
He then goes on to list the many differences between “screened,” full multimedia iPods and the clip-on version. “Sit 10 random people down ask them to draw an iPod,” the Doctor says, “and I would wager not one would draw a shuffle.”
True enough. But it is a classy, snazzy-looking little flash player, isn’t it? And it sure delivers enough music-playing power to its audience – namely, on-the-goers and runners and such.
Good breakdown, and a heckuv an argument.
December 30th, 2007
A new Apple “Newton 2″ rumor has popped up, this time with “evidence” from a SeekingAlpha.com author, David Sieger.
This new Apple device, which could be an Ultra Mobile Computer, has not been sighted out and about the Apple campus or even in the area normally designated for testing new Apple products, suggesting that it’s still in the software and hardware design period. Once it’s physically spotted outside Apple’s secretive labs, we may see an actual product release of 6-8 months, closely following other new Apple product introductions.
Sieger’s evidence is based on Apple buying up 5.2″ touchscreens, tons of flash memory, and lack of QWERTY keyboard.
Sieger, however, leaves out room for chance, or Apple’s ability to surprise people with something totally new and unexpected.
He says it can’t be a new Newton, because of the lack of PDA demand from the American public, “although various PDA functionalities may in fact be included in the final version of the device.”
It’s all shot-in-the-dark stuff, and the evidence he sites is flimsy at best. This could all belong to that nebulous cloud of Applet tablet rumors we’ve heard so much about.
[Read previous "RumorPad Watch" entry]