Posts tagged “morgan aldridge”.

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.]

Tackling the RetroChallenge with an eMate

January 4th, 2010

A few weeks ago, Morgan Aldridge wondered if going absolutely retro, with nothing but a Newton eMate 300 and an old Apple StyleWriter, would be possible.

Now, he’s testing himself – and the RetroChallenge – at his word:

The challenge is very open-ended, so I was content with setting a reasonable goal of repairing & updating an eMate 300 as a clean & simple environment for focused writing. It needs the hinge repaired, battery recelled, 2010 patch applied, and a few other issues addressed, so there’ll be more involved than merely clearing away desk detritus. If I manage all that with time to spare, then I’ll venture to craft a working modem script which allows me to get online with AT&T EDGE/GPRS via Bluetooth, but I’m not counting on it.

It’s a heckuva challenge, to use a mid-’90s-era Newton to manage your daily tasks and projects.

Aldridge is trying to use the simplified desk space to organize his life. What could be simpler than a monochrome proto-netbook? He says that being a Newton power user doesn’t make the RetroChallenge that challenging, but he gets two benefits: accomplishing a goal, and completing a contest.

“With less than an hour to go before the start of the challenge in my time zone, I’m very much looking forward to a clean, minimal, and usable Newton desk at the end of the month,” Aldridge says.

Can’t wait to see how it goes, and his results at the end of January.

Newton quote of the week: going retro

December 17th, 2009

“Sometimes I wonder just how “Newton” I could go. Clear off my desk and leave only an eMate and Color StyleWriter 2200? Would love it.”

- Morgan Aldridge