Posts tagged “wired”.
Besides reinforcing tons of fun stereotypes about French dudes, this is a neat little intro video for the Newton.
I haven’t spoken Français since college, so I didn’t catch a lot of it – but the gist is there.
Ne problème pas!
[Par l'intermédiaire de Wired Re-Read.]
Steven Levy’s concise, polished view of the tablet revolution in this month’s Wired (I’m a magazine subscriber) gives a nod to the Newton in one of the “tablets through the ages” sidebar. It was the polite thing to do after talking about Apple’s iPad, the failed Windows Tablet, and the possibility of a Google Chrome OS tablet in the near future.
What’s amazing is that Apple has released some high-tech dopamine in tech pundit’s pleasure zones. Some connection has been made between the iPad, the future of computing, and the hypothalamus – and Levy says the victim will be the graphical user interface we know and (perhaps) love:
One thing we do know is that a heated battle is breaking out over the grave site of the GUI. While unveiling the most heralded Apple product since the iPhone, Jobs presented a powerful and compelling vision of what comes next.
This is the fascinating part of this whole storyline: that now, at the crux of touchscreens and cloud computing and the gee-whiz interface Apple has created, we’ve reached Nirvana.
Which makes me wonder about other visions of the future, particularly Google’s. After playing around with a few Android devices, I can imagine some powerful tablets featuring Google’s mobile operating system. Forget Chrome OS; Android, to me, offers a much more compelling option if you want to pit the iPad against a true rival.
The open app system, the configurability, the relative polish, the touchscreen interface. It’s all there. For some, the iPad’s computing appliance metaphor is what they’ve always wanted. Less details, less trouble.
But for geeks, an Android-powered tablet is a something to think about.
In any case, it’s nice that the editors at Wired gave the Newton a bit of credit for helping to usher in this Tablet Era – and rightfully so. Rarely is a technology born in the water fully-formed. There are incremental steps along the way. The plow led to the horse-drawn plow led to the John Deere A (that my father, and many farmers, collect) to the modern giant thresher. And just like farmers like to admire and appreciate the classic John Deeres (my dad used to drive one in our town’s Independence Day parade), we can appreciate the quirks and personality of the Newton.
Also, those classic tractors are still useful and running well, with some maintenance. We keep our MessagePads and eMates chugging along as well, even when iPads have passed them by.
He may not even remember, but in August 2002, Leander Kahney of Cult of Mac posted a piece called “Newton’s Return: A hit and a myth” on Newton resurgence rumors after a New York Times piece hinted at something called…
The Times claimed “…Steve Jobs was pushing development of a new PDA-cum-cell-phone. Dubbed the iPhone, the device would lead Apple back into the dangerous ‘land of handhelds,’ the Times opined,” Kahney writes.
Flash forward a little under five years later, and everything comes to fruition. Amazing.
A pair of researchers studying the Cult of Newton found that such “brand communities” predicted or spread rumors that the MessagePad would return five times between its death in 1998 to 2002. “Through detailed analysis of news groups and websites,” Kahney writes, “the researchers conclude that the rebirth rumor is central to the ethos of the Newton community.”
Jesus Phone, anyone?
Any return of the Newton would simply validate “the platform’s technical superiority. If it’s good enough to be reintroduced, it’s good enough to keep using, fans reason.” Amen, brother. And the Newton idea did stick around: calendars, notes, third-party apps, unique input mechanism, e-mail on a handheld – they’re all there on the iPhone today.
I couldn’t believe I saw the word “iPhone” pop up in an article from 2002. We all know that Apple started working on the iPhone years ago. But sometimes those crazy rumors have a way of surfacing – and resurfacing – time and time again.
Which is cool. Stories about companies keeping inventory and invoicing duties on HyperCard – still to this day – remind us that old-school Apple is still usable and practical.
But how about for the Newton? Well, there’s NewtCard.
For $99, NewtCard
lets you put text, drawings, pictures and sound into a stack of smart cards. Add buttons to navigate, fields to collect data and scripts to bring your project alive with the tap of a pen. NewtCard is a Hypercard-like environment for Newton devices.
I’ve only played around with HyperCard on my Mac SE, but it seems HyperCard was an earlier version of HTML forms. In fact, Atkinson laments that his hyper-creation didn’t involve networking, or else it could’ve become the first (hyper)Web.
“Support is definitely limited,” George Henne of NS Basic says. “Still making NewtCard available makes absolutely no sense commercially, but it’s one of our favorite products of all time.”
A hundred bucks seems like a steep price for something to play around with on your Newt, but what the hey – HyperCard still has paying fans. Why not for MessagePad users?
Even better? NS Basic is offering a package deal: NewtCard AND NS Basic/CE for $99.95. Order it here.
“Please understand that it’s been years since we looked at the code,” Henne told the Newtontalk list. “We’ll do the best we can to help with support, but our memories are limited.”
Like it hasn’t happened before, right?
This time, our green friend made Wired.com’s “Lamest Fetish Items” list. Gear lust gone bad? Says Wired: “Most misunderstood gadget ever? Or biggest flop? Both.”
Flop this. Newton seems to appear on every list ever made by a technology-based site, for good or ill.
Enough’s enough already, folks. We know the MessagePad was both cool for the time and a big commercial flop. We get it.
Happy Memorial Day.
An oldie but goodie: a 2004 Cult of Mac story about bloggers using their Newtons to upload posts.
Mike (above) runs his Dumb Blogs Have More Fun moblog “almost entirely from his Newton.” What makes the Newton so handy for moblogs? Says Kahney:
the important thing for moblogging is the Newton’s portability; because it’s easy to carry, it’s always handy, and moblogging becomes a regular habit. The same is true of camera phones.
Unfortunately the link to Mike’s blog doesn’t work (you’ll notice that a lot with Newton sites), but this was an interesting look into the beginnings of the blogging craze – especially because it involves Newtons.
What caught my eye, however, was the binding on the cover of the magazine. Notice anything?
Wired had a bit of fun with the old-school Apple logo colors – placing them in the original order, even.
I didn’t even notice it when my subscription edition came, but today I sat at my desk, turned around, and *BAM* it hit me. The old Apple rainbow.
Say what you will about Wired pimping their writers’ upcoming books, or their stance on whether Apple is “evil” or not (because they do things differently?), but their design is fun. If you’re not an Apple fan, you may not have even noticed the subtle clue.
In spite of everything, thanks for the nod, Wired.