Posts tagged “poetry”.

Gettysburg Address, Newton-ized

October 12th, 2009

Foyer scrota and severe heavers ago our flashovers brought force on thy cosmetician a new notion conceives in lubricate and deducted to the prosecution that all men are crated quail.

From Clark Humphrey’s Misc Media, circa 1994. His Newton Poetry version of the Gettsyburg Address comes about a third of the way down while discussing Newton’s handwriting recognition.

“It may not be able to make an exact digital version of what you write on it,” Humphrey says, “but it can turn it into computer-assisted cut-up poetry!”

In fact, that’s how I started Newton Poetry – take a random piece of poetry, write it into my MP110, and type down whatever came out.

Welcome to the new Newton Poetry

January 12th, 2009

Well, what do you think?

On Friday, after playing around with my download and messing with the theme, I figured, “shit, why not?” I bought hosting space, uploaded my files, and began a weekend-long project to bring the new Newton Poetry live.

Was it easy? In a word: heck no.

Finding my way around FTP (I’m using Fetch), uploading WordPress files, and having to do a reinstall of everything I worked on – including a lengthy XML file upload – all came to a head at about 6 p.m. today, when switched from to a self-hosted site.

I miss some things from already. Most of all, I miss the handy Blog Stats page, with its graph and referrer list. All the YouTube videos I posted had to be re-posted with the embed code. And, you know, free hosting was nice.

But the original Newton Poetry never looked like I wanted it to look. For one, there was too much blue. Two, I dig simplicity. I took notes from the other blogs I visit and built my theme, based on the Infimum theme, around what I like.

Let me know what you think. I know there are a few dedicated readers out there, and I appreciate your thoughtful feedback and support. Is something missing? Is there something you’d like to see me cover (I know, I know – the wifi stuff is on the list)? Drop me a comment and let me know.

A side note: the focus of Newton Poetry will broaden a little bit to include some other Mac- and tech-based stuff I find interesting and want to share. But fear not. The Newton MessagePad will always be the mainstay.

Thanks again, everyone, for all your support. Make yourself at home.

The shape of things to come.

December 16th, 2008

Finally getting a chance to grasp what a fun and delicate beast blogs can be.

Here’s a little hint at what Newton Poetry might become, someday:


You can click for a larger image.

I’m finding that little things, like inserting Newton graphics next to the sidebar headers, is more difficult than I thought. Already I’ve noticed how different it is compared with my original concept. Part of it is the theme I chose to mess around with, but it also highlights my general noobishness when it comes to CSS. PHP? Don’t get me started.

Mark your calendar: 2009 is when it will happen. I’m close enough to my 500-a-day goal that I can justify making the switch to a full-on, self-hosted blog.

So – what do you think so far?

Sorry fellas, no more hot Mac chick

December 12th, 2008


If hosting a blog has taught me only one thing, it’s that people find your site through some very interesting search site inquiries.

Take the above listing – a snapshot of Tuesday. Notice a trend?

When you type in “christmas chick” in, say, a Google Image search, a post I did last Christmas on Macenstein’s “Mac Chick of the Month” comes up third in the list. Her name is Morgan Kennedy. Except, really, nothing comes up – I deleted the post.

I appreciate all the search hits Ms. Kennedy’s pictures brought me, but in the end I decided (a) that it really wasn’t my post that was drawing the attention – Macenstein did all the work; and (b) this is a site about the Newton MessagePad, not half-naked (but very lovely) women.

Even though that original post, dating back a year ago now, is gone, the picture remains. But not for long. I’m deleting that, too. That means that I’ll sacrifice several hits a day in lost search engine traffic.

Really, they weren’t here to see me, anyway. They were here to see Morgan.

Happy Thanksgiving: a blast from the past

November 27th, 2008

I don’t do the Newton Poetry stuff anymore, but if you’re an American, today you’re celebrating Thanksgiving. Here’s something I posted a whole year ago to honor the holiday.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. I’ll be enjoying a four-day weekend.

First anniversary: the Newton Poetry manifesto

October 11th, 2008

Today, Newton Poetry celebrates its first anniversary. From its simple beginnings it’s grown and developed and changed into something not too far removed from the original idea.

A year ago, Newton Poetry started as a blog about poetry that I scribbled into my Newton MessagePad 110 and the translation that came out of the Newton’s handwriting recognition technology. Misspellings, garbled text, weird syntax – it was all par for the coarse, and tons of fun to read. I got my inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s famous “Jabberwocky” poem (hence my sub-headline) and the story behind it. But after a while, the act got old. I got bored, and I wanted to explore the history and mechanics of what made a ten-year-dead platform exciting and still relevant. What is a Newton? Why do people still devote free time to this machine? How can it be useful in this iPod Touch and iPhone age? Is Apple working on a new, revised Newton platform? How do you use a MessagePad in today’s OS X environment, a system never designed to handle the Newton’s serial-based connection?

There was something there, and there was a (admittedly small) audience. While the poetry stuff garnered plenty of views, it was mainly from search traffic; searchers were probably looking for meaningful analysis of the poem they were looking for, not some weird, misspelled translation. Whereas posts like getting an original Airport card working in a G3 iBook, or fixing up a PowerMac G4, drew tons of attention and discussion and comments, the poetry just…sat there. No love at all. Despite early experiments, no community formed around the idea of (a) submitting a poem, either famous or amateur and then (b) having some 15-year-old PDA spit out random text based on that poetry. And really, scribbling a poem and waiting for the response is tiring. It’s no fun anymore. Therefore, posts with poetry have dropped off. I just haven’t felt like doing them.

Posts on Newton history? Those I love.

Maybe it’s that I’m interested in poetry, and I’m interested in the Newton, but I’m not interested in the combination. At least not any more. There are no volunteers who are willing to do Newton poetry (that I know of), and I’ve given up on the idea of training apes to do the work.

Result: no more Newton poetry.

Merlin Mann’s post on blog pimping and writing about what you truly love hit a nerve with me. Those poetry posts generated plenty of hits. I didn’t write them because I wanted Google-trafficked attention, but I took a shot on building something out of a goofy idea. If I wanted a money-maker, or an attention whore, I could post a Newton poem a day and sit back as the hits kept coming.

But that’s not what I want to do. What I want to do is explore the Newton platform, and experiment with it, and run fun little projects on classic Macs, and eke out an blog existence that where I appreciate and enjoy spending time messing around. I look back at those Newton poems and…golly…I just don’t get misty eyed reading them, you know?

Newton Poetry might become a self-hosted blog. I have a goal to achieve before that happens, but it’s something I’ve spent more time and research on. Taking a trip into blogland is one of the last great experiments I can pull off with this thing. The idea makes me nervous, but I look at the blogs and sites I love reading, and all of them have benefited from the kind of modifications and customization that make a self-hosted blog worth doing. Graphics and a unique domain and tweakable CSS – I have no idea what I’m doing with any of that. But the question is: how else can I learn? How else can Newton Poetry grow?

There lies the rub, friends. What’s next? Where do we go from here?

Projects like the upcoming links page and the how-tos have helped develop Newton Poetry into a beast all its own. Newton fans and users have to have a home base in this day and age. Luckily, they have several. But as time goes on, more and more of those “page not found” messages will creep up. Newton-focused web sites are disappearing, and it’s up to a few of us die-hards to keep the tradition alive.

I don’t know how to program with NewtonScript, and I don’t know how to make a Bluetooth card work with a MessagePad 2100, and I sure don’t have the length of years behind me to remember when John Sculley first released the Newton MessagePad onto the thirsting masses. But boy I have fun with my Newton. And I know you do, too. Most of you give two shits about what happens with Apple, too, and many of you have iPhones to play with, and you wonder about the connection between today’s iCal and the MessagePad’s Calendar. You hit “send” on the the e-mail you just scrawled with a stylus or tapped out with the on-screen keyboard, and you understand how a non-physical input method can be a boon in today’s crazy world. You waste time playing Newtris on your Newton and the new Tetris on your iPhone, and you check out great sites like Blake and Arn’s TouchArcade and you remember when some of those simple games (chess, blackjack) first appeared on your monochrome Newton screen. And God Almighty, you curse the day Steve Jobs hit the big Reset button on the whole Newton ideal.

If any of that sounds like it might apply to you, then I hope you’ll find that Newton Poetry serves some purpose in your hectic life.

This whole thing was a shot in the dark a year ago. Everyday I watch that “today’s views” number creep up as some geek who just bought an eMate off eBay finds out how to connect his or her new toy to their iMac and a whole new world opens up right before his or her eyes. That’s what this site should be about. That’s my audience. That’s where I see this site going in the future. Because while I haven’t yet purchased a 2×00 MessagePad model and connected to the web via Wifi, I will, and I’ll explain how the heck I did it. Maybe that’ll help someone. Maybe it’ll just confuse others. Whatever. It’ll be damn fun to try.

It’s a new day, Dear Reader, with a more focused direction. File this in the “What Does It All Mean” folder, and read on. We have plenty more to talk about.

‘Newton Poetry’ in Spanish: Newt in translation

September 24th, 2008

¿Qué te hace tan especial?

It seems iPodizados has taken my iPhone-vs.-Newton post and reposted it in Spanish. Now, it’s “11 formas en que el Newton sigue siendo mejor que el iPhone.”

Cool. At least they provided a “fuente” link. the rough draft

August 28th, 2008

Newton Poetry on paper

Someday Newton Poetry will have its own domain name, after a certain goal has been reached.

Before that happens, however, I have to draw up a plan. So that’s exactly what I did. If and when Newton Poetry becomes, I’d like to stick with WordPress and do a customized blog. A Newton-looking theme would be great – not on par with some blogs, but sporting a MessagePad-ish theme would fit in nicely.

The rough draft above shows a basic outline of what this site could become.

  1. The overall site would look much like the Newton’s screen looks: a dock at the bottom, notes in between (the blog postings) and icons that mimic the MessagePad’s. Each day’s post could include the little Newton clock and date, with the envelope icon for comments. Something like that.
  2. My original idea for this site was to include the stylus somehow, but on it’ll be a must. But no green. The header, the site, the posts – all on a nice clean white. Maybe some of the icons can be green.
  3. Ah, the sidebar. It’ll have the requisite “archive” and “blogroll” and all the goodies, and maybe some space for an ad or two. This could, possibly, be the spot on the site where green plays heavily, just to set it off from the main body of blog posts.
  4. Here’s the dock. It’s a must, I think, and it could be a great spot for archives and such in place of the sidebar. It’s hard to find good, high-quality images of the Newton’s screen, but if I have to I’ll simply recreate the icons. This may be where I put links to the “About” page and my upcoming “Links” page.

That’s the plan so far. I’ll still have to learn a thing or two about installing WordPress on a host, and how to manage themes, but it can be done. And now I have a basic outline of how I want things to look.

Any suggestions?

The best of Newton Poetry

July 24th, 2008



Newton Poems:

Newton misc.:


iPhone 3G: It’s the little things

July 17th, 2008

It’s typical of an Apple product to delight and amaze the more you use it. The iPhone 3G is no different. It’s been a ton of fun to use and explore in the week I’ve had it.

First, I discovered this blog looks good on the iPhone’s screen, both in vertical (above) and landscape mode.

Other blogs out there are helping me discover new things.

Lifehacker shows how, by holding down the “.” and “.com” buttons in Safari and Mail, you get more options:

First, in Mobile Safari, just hold down the .com button for a second to see other domain options (namely .net, .edu, and .org). Second, when the keyboard has the @ symbol but no .com key, you can hold the ‘.’ (period) key to get the same domain shortcuts – something that comes in especially handy when you’re manually entering email addresses or filling in login credentials in new apps.

Just the “.com” in Safari was enough to make me smile. But this? That’s handy.

Wired’s How-To Wiki taught me how to avoid SMS charges (I opted for no text plan): plug your contact into AOL’s free iPhone AIM client and text to your heart’s content for free.

I’ve tested it, and it works great.

To Do apps, however, were another story. I struggled with the multitude of options out there: free apps, pay apps, voice note apps. I hate to sound cheap, but I was mostly looking at free solutions, and the reviews were of little help because they went either way. Finally, a new app popped up in the App Store – Dobot’s To Do app – so I downloaded it on a whim. And so far, it suits my needs pretty well.

I was never a big fan of the Newton’s solution to to-do lists. The easiest way was to sync the Newton with Newton Connection Kit and type up the list on my iMac. The keyboard made the whole process more comfortable and quicker. But on the road, you have to scribble a note, highlight it, have Assist interpret it, and the it appears in your to-do list. Way too complicated, and awkward when all you want to do is have a list of check-off items. In fact, it’s one of the key gripes that I have against the Newton. I’m sure there’s another to-do app out there, but I’m limited with my Newton OS 1.0.

If Dobot’s To Do app fails me, I can always spring for app that costs actual money. What I’m hoping, however, is that somehow Apple includes some sort of iCal to-do list sync.

My experiment is to try and use only the iPhone for lists, to-dos, and calendars for the next few weeks. By forcing myself to one platform, I can get to know its ins and outs, and find out what it lacks.