Posts tagged “wired”.

20 Years Later, the Newton Lives

August 6th, 2013

Head over to Wired.com for a lovely write-up on the 20-year-old Newton Community from Cade Metz:

After its debut in early August 1993 — twenty years ago — the Newton was widely derided as a flawed machine that no one wanted. The Simpsons made fun of its handwriting-recognition software, as did Gary Trudeau with a Doonesbury gag. In Trudeau’s cartoon world, the Newton recognized “Catching on?” as “Egg Freckles?” — and the die was cast.

The piece features some regulars in the Newton family, like Grant Hutchinson and Steve Capps.

You get a sense of the Newton’s continued usefulness from the story, like Ron Parker using his MessagePad on the hiking trails around Lake Tahoe.

(Also, check out how handsome all those Newton guys are.)

[Via @splorp]

First post-Steve Apple product

August 26th, 2011

[Via Wired, via Morgan.]

NewtVid: Rendez-vous with the MessagePad

April 19th, 2010

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.]

iMac G4 ad insert from 2002

April 8th, 2010

imacg4guidewired

Drool.

Here we see a great switcher message, and a kick-off to the “digital hub” strategy Steve Jobs laid out at Macworld the year before.

[Via David Kendal's tip.]

The tablet era

March 31st, 2010

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.Wired's Newton graphic

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.

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.

Predicting the iPhone 5 years before it happens…thanks to Newton rumors

July 29th, 2008

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 iPhone.

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.

NewtCard: HyperCard for the Newton

June 4th, 2008

A greener HyperCard

Leander Kahney’s profile on Bill Atkinson, the original designer of Apple’s super-cool program HyperCard, has some folks feeling nostalgic for easy programming and cards arranged in stacks.

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.

This according to NS Basic’s FAQ.

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.”

Newton makes another list.

May 26th, 2008

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.

More stories of blogging on a Newton

April 3rd, 2008

Mike Manzano, Newton blogger

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.