May 7th, 2009
InfoWorld.com calls the Newton Tribe a “tech cult” in its “True believers: the biggest cults in tech” post.
Dave Caolo at The Unofficial Apple Weblog says there’s a membership cost into this cult:
Newton ownership is definitely not for everyone. it’s big and takes some doing to get it to cooperate with contemporary hardware and software. But for the faithful it’s a terrific piece of hardware.
InfoWorld calls Newton users the “most slavishly devoted tech cult of all,” and features other gadgets like Palm PDAs and Commodore 64s.
We’ll take that as a compliment.
December 30th, 2008
What’s up with the personal digital assistant (PDA) these days?
Says one blogger, they may be obsolete already.
Yet despite delivering the initial promise of the Newton — yes, you can scribble anywhere on the screen and it will decode your notes; yes, it does the agenda and contacts and notepad stuff well; it also takes voice memos; it’s got a decent word processor and spreadsheet on board; it’s a desert topping and a floor wax — it’s fundamentally obsolete.
It turns out that people don’t want that stuff in a notepad-shaped machine. What they want is a mobile phone that does the address book/agenda stuff — and is an entertainment gadget besides, with a camera and music player built in.
Kind of like what the iPhone offers, right?
Now that most smart phones, the iPhone included, come with contact and appointment applications, is there a need for a dedicated machine to handle day-to-day business tasks? The numbers seem to say “no,” and the popularity of the iPhone and RIM’s own BlackBerry back that up. Even as far back as 2006, the outlook for PDAs looked grim.
Shucks, even my 30 GB iPod video comes with some of the functionality, at least in terms of reference data, of a PDA. What do you think? Is the PDA idea extinct?
October 14th, 2008
Owning an iPhone and a Newton, it’s always fun to poke around at other mobile operation systems when I get the chance. The other day, I put my stylus on a Palm for the first time, and got to play around with it for a bit.
Gizmodo puts all the major smartphone OSes – RIM’s Blackberry, Apple’s iPhone, Windows Mobile, for instance – against each other in a run down of features, pros, and cons.
The only classic mobile OS in the bunch is the “basically dead” Palm OS in the Centro, which is sad, considering (a) the Palm OS looks so dated with the other systems and (b) Palm succeeded where the Newton did not in a lot of ways. Now it’s a dying system.
July 7th, 2008
When Merlin Mann, GTD guru and author of the 43 Folders blog, invented the Hipster PDA, he probably knew the adaptability of a plain index card idea holder would be infinite.
Us Newton MessagePad users, however, might scoff at the idea. Index cards? Color coding? Binder clips? It all seems so…Office Max.
But maybe Mann is on to something. Why can’t we Newton fans adapt the idea of the Hipster PDA into something more, I don’t know, Apple?
That’s why I’m introducing the pNewton, a Hipster-style MessagePad that takes the best ideas of the Hipster PDA and makes them even better.
May 1st, 2008
Doug Parker in Orlando, FL just e-mailed the Newtontalk group announcing that he’s taking orders for Newtways.
What’s a Newtway? It’s a adapter that helps the Palm Stowaway keyboard connect to your MessagePad. “Using Daniel Padilla’s Stowaway driver, you can type on a quiet keyboard that folds to a fraction of the size of the original Newton keyboard,” says the Newtway site. Says Doug in his e-mail:
They’re $13USD each, shipping for one is $2USD, and shipping for 2 is $5USD, domestically and internationally. If you’re paying with PayPal, there’s an additional 5% fee. You can email us to confirm the receipt of your order, or simply PayPal us at newtway [at] ispinn [.] com and include the shipping address.
Doug asks that you put “Newtway order (your name or initials)” for the subject line of your e-mail.
The idea is that the Stowaway keyboard was much more portable than Apple’s own for-Newton model. With the Newtway, you can combine the two.
[Image courtesy ispinn.com]
March 19th, 2008
by George Herbert
I got me flowers to Straw thij way,
I got me boughs off Manila free;
But Thon was up by Wake if day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with Thee.
Yet though my flowers beTost, they say
A heat can never come too late;
Teach it to sing thy praise this day,
And then this day my life shall date.
[Read the original. Have a happy Easter!]
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 27th, 2008
‘Tis a sad day, Newton fans.
Today is the ten-year anniversary of the death of our beloved MessagePad platform.
John Sculley’s dream was dashed when Steve Jobs arrived back on the scene. Says AppleMatters.com:
Having hastened Sculley’s departure or not, the Newton made it through two more CEOs and hundreds of thousands of wasted development dollars before it was spun off as an independent company. he world will never know if the Newton could have stood on the merits of the product without Apple’s backing, and true Newton fans cried a bitter tear on February 27, 1998, when Apple announced that further development of the Newton would cease.
*Tear* Poor sales, lack of development, Palm chipping away at market share – it was all too much for the newly refurbished Apple to deal with.
CNet.com has a great breakdown of the announcement on the day it happened, so check it out for the full story.
Now? The Newton community is still alive and well, thankyouverymuch, thanks to folks like you and me.
But remember, remember, the 27th of February…or something like that.
October 28th, 2007
From Larry Tesler, former member of Apple’s Newton development group:
In my view, Apple prematurely launched the Newton for competitive reasons. From 1990 to 1993, Apple felt that pen computing and handwriting recognition was going to be the next big thing. The first product that satisfied the user’s needs would surely dominate a huge new market.
It was, technically, the “next big thing,” (or, actually, here) but in a different mode than “computing.”
From G4TV.com. Read the rest here.