Posts tagged “messagepad”.

Newton Phoenix adds links

January 11th, 2011

More and more of the Newton-related web is disappearing, but Forrest Buffenmyer at Newton Phoenix is trying to keep some of it alive and well in the minds of MessagePad fans.

Buffenmyer added a links page to his Newton Phoenix site, sporting everything from software sites, the Newtontalk list, and even a pair of Newton bloggers (ahem). He’s attempting to post updates from his Newton, which he says is a work in progress.

Meanwhile, I invited Buffenmyer to scour my own Newton Links page for anything he could use.

“I drew the line (arbitrarily) at 2006 as a cutoff year,” Buffenmyer told us in the Newtontalk mailing list.

It’s important to save all these sites, as UNNA, Tony Kan, myself, and several others have attempted to do. There are still folks out there who want to tinker with the Newton. Let’s help them find all the good information they can find.

Quote of the week: connections to the past

January 4th, 2011

“Maybe the most comfortable and ultimately successful technological advances are the ones that have an umbilical cord back to what came before.”

- Dave Pell at Tweetage Wasteland. What’s so great about the Newton is that it both mimics and advances the notebook metaphor.

Newton as a memory service

November 15th, 2010

Evernote CEO Phil Libin, over at ReadWriteWeb:

So the original idea really started in the Newton days. Back then it was just a device, but it grew to be more of a service that would let you keep all of your memories. [It would] just remember everything.

…They started [Evernote] with this idea of giving everyone a better brain, giving everyone a perfect memory.

This interview has made the rounds, but this idea of the Newton as a ubiquitous capture device always stuck with me – because that’s exactly how I used mine.

I think of the time I’m in a big book store and I need to remember a certain book to check up on later. Whip out the Newton, scribble a note to myself, file it for later, and then never have to Spotlight-search my brain to remember what it was. The MessagePad’s usefulness was immediately apparent to a absent-minded professor like me.

Some people swear by a simple notepad and pen, or by a stack of index cards in their back pocket. For tech geeks, the Newton let you simulate that paper-and-pen experience but with electrons.

If you’re like me, you need something to capture all that random input throughout the day. Lately, that something has been Simplenote, along with my iPhone’s camera. The nice thing about these electronic methods of capture is that their capture-ability is close enough to infinite to be infinite. With pens and paper, you run out of ink and notepads, or you collect and waste actual material resources. I used to use little scraps of paper at work to collect thoughts and notes, and it quickly got out of hand. By storing it electronically, in flash memory somewhere, it just collects and collects without taking up real, physical space.

Newtons and iPhones can lose their charge, of course, or get their brains wiped out (which is catastrophic, but a good you-need-a-backup-strategy example). Still, using Simplenote feels like I’m using an infinite, curved alternate dimension to store reminders and notes.

The Newton did the job fantastically, too, because it felt like you were storing an infinite amount of scrap pieces of paper (that went in the trash when you deleted them!). So it’s no surprise that an idea as great as Evernote sprang from the Newton concept.

[Via Forkbomber.]

Apple’s tablet history

November 11th, 2010

Ryan Vetter at Liquidpubs:

Since the Macintosh division, as well as many others at Apple, saw the Newton as something that could very well make desktop computers extinct, they decided to develop a Newton-like Mac. Something that could act like a portable, slate-like device. But, unlike the Newton, these devices would run Mac software, with a full Mac operating system, and work with a keyboard and mouse. It was a bridge between the original Macintosh and the new, mobile powerhouse: the Newton.

What proceeds this is a fascinating tour of Apple’s history designing tablet computers – and not just the Newton, but tablet-style Apple IIs and Macs as well.

Reading through this, you get the impression that the folks at Apple have been obsessed with portables for a very long time. All these years later, it’s what the company is best know for.

[Via Minimal Mac.]

Quote of the week: even the Newton

November 8th, 2010

“How many Apple products? Wow, I don’t know if I can account for them all. Practically one of everything. And I’m not exaggerating. Yes, even a Newton.

I can tell you how many PC’s I’ve owned: Zero.”

- Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, in an interview at Cult of Mac.

Wake up challenge: MessagePad vs. new MacBook Air

October 25th, 2010

The Newton MessagePad is known for a few things: fast boot time, and long battery life.

Mac|Life challenged one of those features with the new 11″ MacBook Air, whose SSD allows for faster wake time. The results, as you can see above, were pretty stellar: both devices woke up lightning quick.

For years now, with the iPod, iPad, and the newer MacBooks, Apple has engineered ways to keep batteries lasting longer. Now that they’ve got that pretty well down, maybe they’ll concentrate on faster boot and wake times.

Pop in a few AAs into a Newton and it could last for weeks. Combine that kind of battery life with a faster boot time, and you’ve got one heckuva device.

Shiny, iPod-like Newton: iNewt

October 5th, 2010

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It’s about time: Charles Mangin has plans to modify a Newton MessagePad into an iPhone case. But before that, he’s modded a MessagePad to look like a slick modern-Apple machine called the iNewt.

Very shiny, very geeky. Very nice, Charles.

[Via Slash Gear.]

Earthquake-proof: Tony Kan’s Newton

September 9th, 2010

Tony Kan from My Apple Newton:

The initial quake carried on for nearly a minute.

But it’s the aftershocks that have caused more stress. Occasionally one bumps through and the “here we go again…” thought comes to mind…

Schools are closed until Wednesday. All water needs to be boiled. Power, communications and water are restored to 90% of the city. Airports open. Railways closed. Reports of pools of quicksand appearing in one part of the city immediately after the earthquake. One woman fell into it and was up to her ears in it before her husband heard her cries for help and dragged her out.

Tony describes the scene from Christchurch, New Zealand’s recent earthquake. But if you know Tony, you know he’s got his Newton MessagePad ready.

Tony’s My Apple Newton is the premier Newton blog out there. Unlike Newton Poetry, which strays into Mac geekdom and random bits of culture, My Apple Newton is all business when it comes to the MessagePad. And here lately, Tony is on a much more prolific posting schedule than I can ever be. If you want to know more about how to use your MessagePad or eMate, and what makes it tick, Tony’s blog is the place to go. He’s the Newton user’s Newton user.

And in the middle of this natural disaster, Tony’s still rocking the Newton in posts like “Surviving the Christchurch Earthquake“:

Guess what was an indispensable tool in the aftermath? My Apple Newton. During the odd quiet moment I could relax by journalling what had happened and then email the updates to friends and family when power and communications were restored.

Even his updates are posted with his Newton, thanks to (I imagine) nBlog.

Pretty remarkable that something as “obsolete” as the Newton can come in handy during a crisis. It’s a tough little beast, and when the right kind of person wields it, the Newton remains a go-to tool.

All the best to Tony and everyone in Christchurch.

[Via Riccardo Mori at System Folder.]

Updates, uploads coming to UNNA

August 27th, 2010

UNNA updates

The United Network of Newton Archives, or UNNA, is looking at clearing the cobwebs and hosting new Newton-related software after long last.

Morgan Aldridge, UNNA wrangler since 2007, gave the above hint on Twitter – a sneak peek at the Recent Additions page. It shows the latest 25 uploads to UNNA through a moderated database, says Morgan.

“Any new files uploaded and existing files that have new descriptions added get added to a moderation queue,” he said in an e-mail. “If it’s just a description, it’s just a matter of tweaking and approving the description. If it’s also a new upload, the moderation tools support publishing the file to the final destination as well.”

The previous UNNA moderator, Victor Rehorst, stopped taking new UNNA submissions in 2004, and then handed off UNNA’s hosting to Morgan. Finally, he says, he’s getting around to adding new stuff to the archive.

“In the past few years a number of Newton-related sites have disappeared for good and I and others have become increasingly worried about preserving all of this data,” Morgan said. “The least I could do is get UNNA opened back up. So, a couple months ago I started moving forward.”

Between some detective work, trying to figure out how Victor managed all the data, and some version control issues, Morgan plunked away at the project a few hours at a time. Now the Recent Additions page is his way of testing out the uploading and moderating tools. UNNA has preserved Newton sites along the way.

The idea is to keep the Newton software and sites in a downloadable vault to keep it from vanishing. As I’ve found, more and more Newton sites are disappearing. The same can be said for software: companies go out of business, people move (or die), computers crash.

Morgan says he doesn’t get a whole lot of submissions these days, but new entries trickle in every few months. Mostly, he says, Newton users have expressed “discomfort with the state of UNNA.” So he’s going to start fixing that. One of the first new entries: Brian Parker of Sealie Computing is submitting full versions of his NewtChat, NewtGlider, and MathFaster packages, and mirrors of the web pages.

“He’s still looking to see if he has the NewtGlider source code and such, but I’m already happy to have this work preserved,” Morgan said.

UNNA is an indispensable resource for any Newton user. I find packages in the archives that I try out just for fun, and Newton Poetry has only been possible through a lot of that old software. It’s great to hear we’ll be getting some new stuff up and available for download.

[Via UNNA on Twitter. Follow Morgan's own Twitter stream, while you're at it.]

NYT: original Newton MessagePad review

August 24th, 2010

From the New York Times’s original review of the Newton MessagePad:

The bottom line on the Newton Message Pad is that Apple promised too much and failed to deliver a useful device for everyday executive chores. On the other hand, the Message Pad practically hums with untapped potential, and six months (or moths) to a year from now it is likely to be a popular executive tool.

…When it was first described publicly more than a year ago by Apple’s chairman, John Sculley, the Newton was said to be a combination pen-based computer, personal organizer, fax and data communicator, and wireless messaging system.The Newton is indeed full of promise, but that’s not the same thing as fulfilling the promises.

I’m just trying to think of a situation where today’s Apple would release a product that had more “untapped potential” than actual usefulness.

The original iPhone, maybe? It didn’t have apps, cut/copy/paste, or any of the things we all take for granted now. But then we didn’t have to worry about faulty handwriting recognition. Today, it seems a new Apple product must have an immediate pick-up-and-use aura. Potential comes through iteration, sure, but you’re not left holding a device that inspires a yawn – or a question of its practical aspects.

The opposite argument is that apps didn’t come to the iPhone until a year after its launch, and then the whole world seemed to open up. With the Newton, it took until at least Newton OS 2.0 to get things in motion.

The kicker of Peter Lewis’s review comes at the end: “The possibilities are grand. For example, one can imagine cellular phone circuitry being shrunk to fit in the Message Pad’s credit-card-sized PCMCIA slot, or a Newton being shrunk to fit in a cellular phone.”

One can imagine, indeed.

[Via Gizmodo, via Retro MacCast.]