Posts tagged “list”.

Newton makes ‘top of the flops’

June 20th, 2011

Oh look: another “top 10 crappy tech products” list from Mashable:

Although expensive and a little buggy, the touchscreen MessagePad PDAs enjoyed popularity among many Apple fans, and have since reached cult status.

Too niche and costly at the time to be sustained by Apple, the Newton platform and related hardware was axed by Steve Jobs. He instead streamlined the Apple product portfolio soon after his return to the company in 1997.

Thanks, Mashable, for that original blog idea.

Stop with the ‘worst of’ Apple lists

October 8th, 2009

top10hellspawn

Yes, we know – everyone hated the iMac puck mouse/Newton/Mac TV/Pippin. There’s no more need to include it in a “Top # Apple Mistakes” list anymore.

For the past few years, for as long as I’ve been writing Newton Poetry, these “worst of” lists have cropped up from time to time. Most of them mention a similar combination of the above Apple “mistake” products. Chances are, each list will feature the same disliked Apple products as every other what-were-they-thinking list.

It’s a sham, and it’s annoying.

First, the whole “top 10″ list is simply an easy way to be Dugg and Stumbled Upon. I should know – I’m guilty of it myself. The difference is that I didn’t have to browse through other sites, copy their content, and paste it into the site. Every blog and site these days has to have their own iteration of the “worst of” list. Sure, each post probably generates a bit of traffic and tons of comments. The result, however, is that the site ends up looking desperate and silly.

Second, these posts are unoriginal in the extreme. In fact, it’s easy to predict what products will be featured in any given list. Here’s a quick rundown of Apple products you should have never purchased, just off the top of my head:

  1. Apple iMac hockey puck mouse
  2. Some Apple Newton MessagePad or eMate
  3. Apple/Bandai Pippin
  4. Mac TV
  5. Mac Portable
  6. PowerMac G4 Cube
  7. Apple III
  8. Apple Lisa
  9. Some random Performa or LC model
  10. 20th Anniversary Mac

Funny that no one mentions the Apple Hi Fi or, as of yet, the Apple TV. Perhaps in a few years those products will be included, too.

Here’s the point: it’s as if, when tech blogs are pressed for fresh content, they generate some unoriginal, macabre list of Apple failures and run it as a “top 10″ post. Voila – instant page views.

Us Apple fans, and especially us Newton fans, deserve better in-depth analysis than what we all ready know to be true. I hope that Apple fans see past such drivel, and skip the link on Macsurfer.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” our collective wisdom should tell these sites. “Get a goddamn life.”

No, Apple’s not perfect, and yes, we remember the devil-spawned puck mouse. Can we move on?

There for a while, I was reporting on every damned list that included the Newton. My knee-jerk reaction was outrage, of course, but after a while that outrage turned into a passive frustration. Now, it’s just annoying.

Because it keeps happening. Like clockwork.

Sure, we can argue all day about whether the Newton platform was a failure. And we could have some yucks over how clunky (yet beautiful) the Cube really was.

But we only need to have those conversations once or twice. Not every week.

Shame on the blogs that run these “worst of” posts, and shame, especially, to those high-traffic sites that have the resources and talent to generate perfectly good and suitably worthwhile content.

Don’t resort to everyone’s-doing-it posts like these. You ought to know better.

Newton quote of the week – 2.17.09

February 17th, 2009

“One way to think about the NewtonOS is as a particular way of working with words, ideas, and so forth–kind of a particular way of imagining the world. If there’s no way to interact with a Newton after the coming year, this way of imagining / interacting with the world is more or less lost to us, and that’s a very sad (cultural / ideational) loss.”

- Jonathan Dueck, on the Newtontalk list, regarding the fight to get the 2010 bug resolved.

Newton eMate gets the (positive) recognition it deserves

November 25th, 2008

best_laptop_block_300

We seem to be in a constant state of list mania in the Newton world, and Mac|Life adds to it with a list of the top five best and worst Apple laptops. For once, a Newton product – the eMate 300 – makes it to a “best-of” list instead of the usual what-were-they-thinking roundup.

Says Mac|Life:

Better known as the PDA That Never Stood a Chance, the eMate was a stripped-down, retooled Newton built exclusively for students and teachers. With a near-30-hour battery; 480×320 resolution, backlit, touch-screen display; serial and IrDA ports; full-sized keyboard; and Newton OS 2.1, all housed in a tough, translucent-blue clamshell case with an $800 price tag, the eMate was a revelation that came at precisely the wrong time — about four months before Steve Jobs regained his position as Supreme Ruler.

Lists like this are conversation-starters, and I’ll take the bait, because I disagree with listing the iBook G3 clamshell as one of the worsts. The magazine pokes fun at the design of the iBook (“equal parts toilet seat, suitcase and clam”), which is purely subjective, while it ignores the clamshell’s functionary details. The same features Apple pioneered with the original iBook – the handle, the ruggedness – were never seen again after the IceBook replaced the clamshell model G3, which perhaps says something.

Some Apple laptops, like the PowerBook 5300 series (hilariously called the “HindenBook” for its ability to spontaneously combust) and the Mac Portable, seem to end up in the scrap heap in every list. Macs like the Twentieth Century Macintosh and the Titanium PowerBook go either way.

Still, it’s nice to see the eMate get some positive recognition for once.

Newton makes another list.

May 26th, 2008

Like it hasn’t happened before, right?

This time, our green friend made Wired.com’s “Lamest Fetish Items” list. Gear lust gone bad? Says Wired: “Most misunderstood gadget ever? Or biggest flop? Both.”

Flop this. Newton seems to appear on every list ever made by a technology-based site, for good or ill.

Enough’s enough already, folks. We know the MessagePad was both cool for the time and a big commercial flop. We get it.

Happy Memorial Day.

Forbes.com puts Newton on list. More lists needed.

April 14th, 2008

Sculley and the Knowledge Navigator

Forbes.com has a list of the best Apple innovations ever. The Newton is where you land in the photo gallery, which then takes you to the obvious iPod and iPhone. The Forbes lists the MessagePad because:

What It Does: A commercial failure, this software put a computer with an elegant touch-screen interface in a user’s pocket.
Why It’s Great: Apple’s pocket computer failed first, setting Apple up for success with the iPhone.

Isn’t it funny how so many web sites are doing Apple-related lists? And most of them include Newton, for good or ill? And how much of life can really be put into “top ten such-and-such” lists before it loses some of its magic?

Soon, I’ll bet.

It’s like reading those magazine covers that brag “10 best ways to please your hubby” or “Five easy ways to flatter abs.” Are we so dumbed-down we need it broken up into list-sized chunks?

Speaking of which, I’ll have a “10 best things to do with your Newton” post coming up soon.

Two weeks with my Newton.

February 18th, 2008

Using a Newton everyday.

Two weeks ago, I decided to dedicate all my GTD, notetaking, scheduling, and day-to-day tasks using nothing but my Newton MessagePad 110.

I originally bought my MessagePad on eBay just to play around with, and see what all the fuss is about.  As I’ve worked on this Newton Poetry blog, however, I’ve developed quite an affection for the green machine.  Maybe it’s contagious, I don’t know.  But I figured if I really wanted to get to know my Newton, I had to use it everyday – not just for translating poetry.

The project began on Monday, Feb. 4, though not with a bang.  That first Monday, I mainly got acquainted with setting up calendar dates and making appropriate folders to store my notes.  Nothing special; just the basics. More… »

The sticky on-button method.

January 3rd, 2008

The Newton with the on button taped.

I went to the Newtonlist mailing group and got some direction on how to fix my MessagePad 110.

Member Sonny, I presume of Flickr fame, sent me this:

Have you tried having the MP110 without any AA batteries then holding the power switch for about 60 seconds then holding the reset for about another 60 seconds? Leave the MP110 as is for about a day or two then try powering up with a Newton Adapter or a fresh set of Duracell AA batteries…

Sonny also pointed me in this direction, which gives a similar set of instructions. But those definitely didn’t work.

This weekend I’ll pick up a fresh set of batteries. I also have to grab a recharger, but I want to get something quality, like the MAHA I’ve heard so many good things about.

I think that’ll be the lasts straw. If I can’t get the Newton running after Sonny’s advice and the new batteries, I’ll cash it in and spring for a 2×00 series model.