Posts tagged “PDA”.

The cultish Tao of Newton

May 7th, 2009 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.

NewtVid: Knowledge Navigator

February 25th, 2009

John Sculley’s original idea, the Knowledge Navigator – a hyper PDA of sorts, with stellar artificial intelligence and a bit of personality.

The Newton could be said to be the realization of Sculley’s concept. Watch the video, and let me know what you think. You can also download Apple’s video from UNNA.

Seems like the iPhone and our always-networked Macs are bringing some of the ideas of the Knowledge Navigator to life, but we still have a long way to go in the AI department.

Gadgeteer has Newton user interview

February 19th, 2009

Head to The Gadgeteer to read an interview with Newton MessagePad user Marisa Giancarla, who is working on another eBook reader for the Newton.

State of the PDA: are they obsolete?

December 30th, 2008

What’s up with the personal digital assistant (PDA) these days?

Says one blogger, they may be obsolete already.

Over at Charlie’s Diary, author Charlie Stross says even his HP iPAQ is on its last legs in terms of usefulness:

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?

Newton quote of the week – 12/11/08

December 11th, 2008

“I suspect Newton is used as a name because the device can easily be dropped (and probably as easily broken) thus confirming certain precepts of gravitation developed by Isaac Newton.”

– John C. Dvorak, computer columnist, when the Newton was announced. Dvorak calls the Newton one of the “top ten tech turkeys.”

‘Steve Jobs and the Portal to the Invisible’

November 14th, 2008

From Esquire, by Tom Junod:

Like the iMac, the iBook was designed not to be an instrument of utility but an object of desire; like the iMac, it was designed to be a pleasure both to look at and to use; like the iMac, it was designed to be designed, and by introducing it a year after he introduced the iMac and two years after coming back to Apple, he made it clear that he was not going to play the same game as those whose idea of technological innovation was beholden to the number of transistors that could fit on an integrated circuit.

Amen. The iBook G3 clamshell is still a joy to behold, even though the translucent plastic look has been gone since the G4 series. It was rugged, truly portable, and very Apple.

Later in the article, Junod quotes someone on the Newton:

“Like Newton. Remember Newton? It was the first PDA. It might not have worked, but it was the first. That’s not what they do now. Now they start with what makes an existing experience crappy. And that’s where Jobs is a genius. That’s where his ruthlessness comes in. He’s ruthless with himself, ruthless with other people — he’s also ruthless with technology. He knows exactly what makes it work, and what makes it suck. There were MP3 players before the iPod, but they sucked. So he’s like, Okay, what do we have to do so that they don’t suck? Same with the iPhone.”

“It might not have worked” is a pretty strong statement, don’t you think? Is the Newton experience “crappy”?

Newton MessagePad was a preview of the enterprise iPhone

October 27th, 2008

By some accounts, businesses are snatching up Macs more and more these days. 9 to 5 Mac says the use is quadrupling, while some say the increase isn’t so great. But for the subject to even be noticed, something has to happen.

In fact, something is happening: Apple, whether directly or indirectly, is telling the enterprise market, “we’re not so bad.”

Apple tried this years ago. The Apple III was meant to be a business model PC. So was the Lisa. But their cost or glitches, combined with IBM’s early dominance, relegated Apples to the “creative” and education markets. Hippies love Macs. Suit-and-tie professionals? Not so much. At least that was the perception.

Then Apple created a tool that was tailor-made for business: the Newton Messagepad.

More… »

First PDA: IBM’s Port-A-Punch

October 21st, 2008

Maybe the Apple Newton MessagePad wasn’t the first personal digital assistant (PDA) after all.

No, that designation may be reserved for the IBM Port-A-Punch (above). The Port-A-Punch was a handheld punch card marker developed in 1958 for on-the-spot data recording, like statistics and inventories.

Punching holes in punch cards was an exact science, however, and Wikipedia tells us that the punched holes were too “fuzzy” to be accurately read. Punch cards were the USB flash drives of their day, even as far back as the 1800s, storing all kind of information. It’s pretty amazing to think about, especially considering the giant stacks of cards needed to store data. There’s a spot in this computer history video where a guy trips, spilling his two-foot-high stack of punch cards and ruining an entire computer program. Whoops.

Check out more about the Port-A-Punch at IBM’s history page.

[Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]

Wired’s iPhone app wishlist includes ‘iNewton’

October 5th, 2008

See here, from this month’s issue of Wired. Looks like my little April Fool’s idea hit the big time:

iNewton: Turns your iPhone into a perfect re-creation of the coolest PDA of 1993.

Coolest PDA ever is more like it.

Now if only someone would take the idea seriously.

NewtVid: Newton MessagePad 2100 unboxing

September 18th, 2008

Okay, so it’s not an original MP2100 unboxing, but the guy from still seems excited.

One thing he got wrong: he said the Newton didn’t have Wifi, which isn’t quite right. You just need a few add-ons.

[Courtesy Mobile Computer Magazine.]