Posts tagged “kindle”.

Newton quote of the week: cult classics

September 8th, 2009

“The Commodore Amiga was visionary; so was the Apple Newton. Both devices now share exalted status in the ranks of cult classic also rans, whirligigs which were ahead of their time or better than competitors’ products but which ultimately still lost their battles for market supremacy. Being first out the gate doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the winning horse in the Derby.”

- Brian from Unqualified.org, on eBook ecosystems.

More Newton eBooks available

June 3rd, 2009

Tony Kan from My Apple Newton shared his page of free Newton eBooks available for download.

Kan converted many books (“an eclectic mix of spy and war thrillers, science fiction, fantasy and classics”) to the Newton’s easy-to-use eBook format:

Some of them are in the public domain and others are books that I own hardcopies of but they have been scanned so that I can read them conveniently on my Newton…However, be mindful that you should only download and keep the books that are still under copyright if you have already purchased a hardcopy in the past.

Newton quote of the week – “It’s my Xanadu”

April 8th, 2009

“I think what I want is an instant-on Newton-like device in the Kindle form-factor but with a stylus and it only runs OneNote (but better than OneNote) and is also my iPhone. Or something like that. Yeah. That sounds about right…I imagine nobody has done it yet because the market demographic consists entirely of people who are legally insane.”

- Steven Frank, from his blog stevenf, on a dream machine/wiki that holds everything he knows.

Possible Newton replacements

March 19th, 2009

htcadvantage

Tony Kan over at My Apple Newton discusses three possible Newton MessagePad replacements – the HTC Advantage, the HTC Shift, and eBook readers like the new Kindle from Amazon.

Tony considers what features make the Newton so worthwhile – form factor, OS, battery life, third-party software, etc. – and then seeks a comparable product available today.

For me, the PIM applications, reading and generating new MS Office documents, must also be added in for consideration. Of course Value for Money must also be included. But this is a final but not insignificant evaluation which can only be carried out after having applied all the other tests.

He notes that the HTC products are stuck with the Windows Mobile platform, but features like superior wi-fi connectivity and handwriting recognition make them worthy competitors.

I often wonder if any Newton “replacement” will hold water with the Newton community. The platform has such a unique personality and does what it does so well, it’s hard to imagine a product that will ever be accepted with such vigor and passion as the MessagePad. Perhaps we’ll see if Apple’s rumored netbook/tablet can serve as a sequel – though if it lacks handwriting recognition, I doubt it.

Retro Kindle: eBooks on Newton

June 26th, 2008

Newton was the original eBook reader

Depending on who you ask, Amazon.com’s Kindle is a either a hit or a waste of electronics. The free web and book browsing, where you can find it, is a good thing. The outrageously-priced electronic books, however, are not good. And some think the Kindle won’t actually make people read more books, but simply attract those already-book-readers that have been dying to clear some shelf space. At most, the Kindle is a handy “information device.”

For those who aren’t willing to shell out $399 for a eBook reader, you can rely on your Newton to do the same darned thing – for free.

You see, before there was e-ink or Wikipedia, there was the Newton eBook. Every Newton released has the ability to read an eBook: a Unicode-based, read-only electronic document that supports tables of contents, some images, and internal links.

Downloading Newton eBooks is as easy as downloading a “.pkg” file from a site that provides eBooks, like Newton’s Library or StillNewt.org. Matt Howe recently offered the Newtontalk list a free copy of Robert’s Rules of Order for anyone who asked. Even the venerable UNNA.org has a list of available books.

Applications like Newton Press allow you to make eBooks and package them as “.pkg” files for download (here’s a handy tip site).

Now you don’t even need a Newton MessagePad to read your eBooks. Newton’s Library has provided a Firefox extension that allows you to read them on your browser. The effect is pretty cool:

Newton\'s Library Firefox eBook reader

The Firefox extension lets you read Newton eBooks in a little window, and converts the “.pkg” files to readable text.

The Kindle has the ability to seek and find free eBooks as well, as Merlin Mann over at 43folders.com points out (after he did so on the terrific podcast, MacBreak Weekly). Plus Project Gutenberg is a worthy project that is putting its library of 100,000 eBooks (HTML or plain text) into the hands of readers. All they ask is for a donation.

So if you’re looking to dive into the world of eBooks, you have options. Yes, you can opt for the Kindle – a modern, capable book reader that has a steep up-front cost but freebie options available. But this is Newton Poetry, and for more of a “project” or unique feel to your eBook reading experience that’s sure to turn heads, opt for the MessagePad version.

Top 12 uses for your Newton in the iPhone age

April 21st, 2008

Paper iPhone and my Newton

I wonder what the heck I’ll do with my MessagePad when I finally purchase my iPhone, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to wonder. Some still use their Newtons everyday even after Apple has given up on it. But what are some modern, practical applications for the MessagePad? Let’s take a look.

  1. Get GTD with it. Pardon the ghetto talk, but the first thing I used my Newton for was a getting-things-done gadget. I use my calendar, my to-do list (although I still haven’t quite got the hang of it), and the Notepad to keep tons and tons of lists and reminders. There are Newton applications out there to help you get started, too, no matter what Newton version you use. I refer to my MessagePad 110 as my “memory box” because it really helps to keep my brain organized.
  2. Take control of your finances. Apps like Pocket Quicken and ProCalc can take your financial information on the go. Spend, save, and track all with your Newton. Since it’s always with you, your MessagePad may help you finally slay the balanced checkbook dragon. If you don’t yet have a financial system in place, here’s your chance.
  3. Read a book. Who needs a Kindle? Reading is possible with an eBook on the Newton using solutions like PaperBack or Newton Press. War and Peace, anyone?
  4. Take inventory. In March, I got started on a big, nasty home inventory project – logging all my possessions for insurance purposes. Put your Newton to work by jotting down book ISBNs, music collection titles, or even comic books. Take a backlit MessagePad into the attic and finally get those dust-collecting collectibles under control, and use a program like QuickFigure Pro to organize all the data.
  5. Keep a travel log. I’ve been thinking about this since I’ve started planning my big New England trip. What better use for a Newton than to store directions, sites-to-see, and helpful reminders as you travel on some adventure. With its faxing capabilities, I’ve even thought of using my Newton to keep co-workers up-to-date on where I’m at and what I’m doing.
  6. Play a game (or two). Retro gaming is all the rage now – why not fire up your Newton to play some Newtendo or the tried-and-true games like chess. MessagePads are like a GameBoy, without the buttons!
  7. Dig out your OS 7+ Mac. I’m a low-end Mac geek, and I look for any excuse to play around on my Mac SEs or Bondi iMac. There are tons of Macs in the world collecting dust; why not break yours out and hook up the MessagePad’s serial cable and relive days of yore? Gather the kids around and show them how good they have it now. Show them the MessagePad’s recharging station, and let them know how the iPod dock idea came to be.
  8. Impress your co-workers. I’ve seen this one in action first hand. If you’re having trouble talking to a co-worker, start scribbling on your Newton. Questions are bound to come up.
  9. Write your own Newton Poem. Break out that English Lit 101 textbook, or Perrine’s Sound and Sense, and see how your favorite poem looks all garbled and mistranslated.
  10. Rescue yourself during emergencies. Just imagine: boxes of something fall on top of you. You’re stranded in your office or garage, and you can’t reach your phone. But you have your Newton on you, and a fax, and access to a phone line. Fax for help! Use your Names database to fax off a SOS, and relax knowing those fire trucks will be arriving any minute now.
  11. Hold keyboard vs. handwriting recognition Olympics. If you can’t make it to Beijing to watch this summer’s games, hold your own competitions with keyboard fans. This thread in Newtontalk inspired an idea: set up a keyboard and a Newton, and race to see who can write a certain amount of words – say, a Shakespearian sonnet – the fastest. Then see which one has the most errors. Cut out tin foil medals for the winner.
  12. Study! Someone recently asked the Newtontalk list about flash card-style apps for the Newton. A, B, or C?

The possibilities are almost endless. The point is that the Newton is a viable monochrome platform in today’s millions-of-colors world. Think of something I forgot? Let me know in the comments!

Newton wanna-be, via Amazon.com

November 19th, 2007

Turns out the playa-hatas over at Amazon have launched an e-book reader, named “Kindle.”

Only $399 (the price of an iPhone), high-res (“just like real paper!”), no syncing required, cheaper prices for books ($9.99), no service plans to worry about – the thing seems like a mixed blessing.

The no-syncing part is really interesting, since you don’t need to be at home with your computer to buy a book – kind of like what Apple is doing with the iPod Touch. That’s cool. So is the fact that you don’t have to carry around a shit-ton of books to read them – just this…thing.

So, again, the Newton delivers first. PDAs, portable computers, and now eBooks.

Fake Steve Jobs has an interesting take:

I know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t it be just kick-ass super duper if, say, Apple came along and finally delivered the ultimate product in this category? Because you just know if we did it the thing would look gorgeous and have a beautiful feature set and would just kick everyone’s ass.

And there’s already a comparison with the iPhone.

But seriously, lots of luck Amazon. You don’t have a beautiful machine, but any way to promote reading is a good thing.