Posts tagged “writing”.

Off-The-Grid Productivity With an eMate

August 8th, 2013

Apple Newton eMate 300

Matt Gemmell on “Working in the Shed“:

We live in an age of ubiquitous information and communication, so distractions have never been more pervasive. We have too many choices of what to look at or focus attention on. The internet is a glittering carnival of diversions, and that’s wonderful – until you need to get some work done.

So what does he do to help? Work on an eMate, of course.

A great read on distraction-free productivity using classic hardware.

[via Minimal Mac, photo courtesy Matt Gemmell on Flickr]

eMate wins low-end writing battle

November 24th, 2009

alphasmart

Greg Pak at Pakbuzz was a dedicated AlphaSmart Dana user. It’s portability, small form factor, and battery life made the Dana his go-to writing machine.

But then Pak grabbed a Newton eMate off eBay, for comparison’s sake, and has declared it the “greatest lo-tech writing machine on the planet!” The exclamation point means he’s serious.

In comparing the AlphaSmart Dana, AlphaSmart Neo (above), and the eMate, Pak found they had a lot of similarities:

Both the Dana and the eMate were designed with the educational market in mind. Both are solid state computers with no moving parts and incredibly sturdy plastic bodies. Both run on software originally designed for pocket organizers and feature a stylus rather than a mouse. Both have black and white screens with green backlights. Both use their own barebones but functional word processors that can export and import rtf files. Both turn on instantly and automatically save everything that you type. And both run for days on a full charge.

The difference is in the eMate’s syncing capabilities (thanks to the newest batch of Mac-to-Newton sync software), security, data safety, and geekiness.

The Dana and Neo win in terms of speed, weight, and long-term viability, since they’re still in production.

The fact that the AlphaSmart products both sync with USB out of the box make them attractive. Pak’s issues with document syncing seem like a killer, though. I love the ability to drop a NewtonWorks document onto my Mac desktop as a rich text document and be done with it.

Battery life on both AlphaSmart products, however, seems killer.

‘Where I write’ – Sci-Fi workspaces

June 8th, 2009

wiw-peter-straub

Author Peter Straub at his workspace, using either a G5 or Intel iMac.

The Where I Write project has a bunch of great sci-fi author photos taken in their workspace by photographer Kyle Cassidy. I always find it fascinating to see where other people do their creative work. How many Macs can you spot?

[Courtesy of Neil Gaiman.]

Keeping productive with vintage Macs

March 30th, 2009

Riccardo Mori over at System Folder:

When your main system is capable of keeping multiple applications open, it’s easy to be distracted by incoming emails and updated RSS feeds. Not to mention the temptation to search the Web by following the spur of the moment — when that happens, the best case scenario is that I find myself two hours later digesting a lot of information I found following link after link, yet without doing anything really productive.

His solution? Write on a Mac Color Classic, or a Newton eMate 300 when away from home, to cut down on distractions.

“No browsers, no emails, no distractions: just me, my ideas, and the word processor,” Mori says.

It’s a brilliant (and, in a recession, cost-effective) solution to a problem a lot of us face every day. Why be productive when there’s another blog post to read? I’m working on my own, similar setup with my eMate 300.

Nice to see that Mori is getting something done on perfectly capable hardware.

Using a Newton eMate 300 as a journaling device

February 23rd, 2009

Since my eMate 300 arrived at the end of last summer, I’ve struggled with ideas on how to use it. I bought mine mainly as a testing machine; my MessagePad 110 could only run Newton OS 1.x applications, and I wanted to experiment with more recent Newton apps. Also, eMates don’t have the portability and flexibility of their MP2x00 cousins.

So, what to do? It’s only recently, as I think back to the eMate’s original use (education, writing, word processing), that I’ve thought of a practical use for the little green machine: a journal writer.

I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used a typewriter to hammer out short stories. When I discovered the computer, it opened up a whole new world for me. I grew up to be editor of my high school and college newspaper, earned my degree in journalism, and went on to be a professional public relations writer. I live and breathe the written word.

A few years ago, I picked up journaling after a long hiatus. A plain notepad and pen have been the victims of random thoughts since I graduated college in 2003. After using a keyboard for so long, though, I notice my hand fatigues after only a few paragraphs. It’s no laughing matter.

I thought about using one of my Mac SEs as a journaling machine, just as an excuse to turn on of the little guys, but the SEs lack the true portability I was looking for. Laptops are fine – I have two iBooks – but finding excuses to use my classic Apple hardware was the goal. The eMate was just what I was looking for in a writing machine.

At home, the eMate works fine. But the rechargable battery is dead, and it’s not like a standard MessagePad with replaceable batteries. The eMate’s battery is wired in. So my next project is to find a usable eMate battery and replace my dead one.

When that happens, the eMate’s portability will be good enough to carry with me on vacations, trips to the coffeeshop, and even local performances or exhibits, where I can type down my thoughts. The smaller eMate keyboard will take some getting used to, but I’ve used it a few times already, and it’s not that big of a change.

In the meantime, I’m going to use Newton Works (with, perhaps, a few add-ons) to keep an electronic journal. I may search for other word processor apps, just to test the options, and implement a folder structure by year for organization. Now that I have Newton-to-OS X syncing down pat, I can even export my entries as text files – just in case any of them work as a blog post.

It’s hard to justify owning an eMate just for testing and projects alone. Over time, I can think about other uses for it other than journaling – like recipe-keeping (that old cliché) or even Twittering. Who knows?

All this will give me an excuse to poke around the Newton 2.0 interface a bit more, try out some apps, and goof around with my newest Newton. Stay tuned – the next Newton Poetry post could be typed out on an eMate keyboard.

Newton still good for posting blog entries.

November 20th, 2008

Turns out you can do some blogging with your Newton and a keyboard, even these days.

Holden Scott over at This Old Mac writes:

Writing articles… well, this is a joy to do. With the Newton keyboard, it is easy to write in Newton Works’ word processor. I simply import to my computer and copy and paste the text into WordPress. It even has a spell checker. In fact, I almost prefer working in Newton Word over Apple Pages.

Holden filed that post with his Newton 2000 and keyboard. I can imagine doing the same thing with an eMate or any other MessagePad with a good keyboard. Scribbling a blog entry with a stylus? That’s a little trickier…

On using ‘we’ vs. ‘me’ when blogging

November 6th, 2008

I like to go back and read famous Mac-oriented bloggers’ first posts. Maybe it’s a glimpse back into how things used to be, before they got all famous on us, but it’s neat to see the earliest thoughts and ideas of people I read everyday.

While reading John Gruber’s early work on Daring Fireball, I noticed his earliest posts referred to “The Daring Fireball” as a blog, as a self-referential moniker, and as a body of people (“we here at Daring Fireball”). I’ve done the same thing.

So which is it? Do you call your blog by the multi-person “we,” even though – in the case of both Daring Fireball and Newton Poetry – only one person is responsible for all the content?

[And that's another thing: Maybe it's my journalism background, and its obsession with style guides, but what is the proper style for mentioning blogs? Do you italicize them, like magazines? Or do you leave them in standard text? Direct links every time you mention them? What say you, reader?]

Since I’m the only one developing copy for Newton Poetry (and yes, I’ve asked for help before), it only makes sense to refer to the blog and myself separately. If I do or discover something, I’ll call it “me.” When something is featured on Newton Poetry, I’ll mention the blog. No more, “We here at Newton Poetry” nonsense. It’s just me. “I found this,” or “A few months ago, Newton Poetry featured…”

Even referring to the blog seems distant and cold – like I’m referencing myself and my work from far away. It’s hard for an abstraction to be paired with a verb (“Newton Poetry did this” is like saying “The number seven ate nine”), especially when it really is me doing all the doing.

John Gruber eventually fell away from “The” and “we,” and now everyone knows it’s his show. That’s what makes it so good: his personality comes across. The “me” is dominant.

Good, one-person blogs are acts of ownership and passion, and I guess I feel there’s no need to step around who’s doing the doing. It isn’t the blog. It’s me. And it’s you, in the comments section.

Together, we make Newton Poetry.

HowTo: Make a ‘Newton Poem’

February 28th, 2008

“What the heck is this site all about, anyway?” you may ask yourself.

Others have. Misspelled words, an abandoned piece of hardware, and a green screen – what does it all add up to?

I got the idea for Newton Poetry after hearing the term used to describe the gibberish MessagePads spit out from time to time when the handwriting recognition software falls short of its ideal. Then I saw someone had written the entirety of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem into a Newton, and I though, “boy, there’s an idea.”

So let’s see how I do it. More… »

Welcome to Newton Poetry.

February 25th, 2008

What this blog will cover.

I took my first look at the “Most Popular Pages” feature on WordPress, and – to no surprise – a few poems were the most viewed posts here on Newton Poetry.

There are tons of people, myself included, who look for specific poems, analysis of poems, and collections of certain authors’ poems, and sometimes those searches land them here. Which is cool, but sometimes I wonder if the jabberwocky they’re presented makes any sense to them.

After all, my Newton 110 misspells words all the time. One commenter even asked me what the hell was going on, and when was I going to learn how to write correctly. He never took the time to see what this site was all about – namely, putting poems into the Newton and blogging what the MessagePad spits out. Put in “my heart breaks” and the Newton might read it as “my fart burps.” It’s one of the fun hobbies someone can play with on the Newton.

But part of this site has also turned into a “how-to” lesson for new Newton users like myself. As I discover tools, or try out new abilities, I like to share them. Just in case someone comes along (as someone recently did, on this 68k MLA forum posting) that is totally green to the Newton, I’d like Newton Poetry to be a handshake and a “welcome home.”

Take faxing. I tried it out, and it was super easy. Someone could definitely discover how to do it themselves (if Apple’s good at anything, its an intuitive interface). But should they do a quick Google or blog search on faxing with a Newton, I would hope Newton Poetry would pop up and help them out.

And like any Apple fan, I’m always interested in the wider world of Macintosh, iPods, iPhones, Apple history, and trends on where my favorite company is heading. No Newton is an island, and so from time to time Newton Poetry will touch on things that I find interesting. Like the iPod Shuffle announcement, or the decision over whether or not to wait and buy an iPhone.

The Newton community is still a sizeable group, and there are die-hards out there that keep the faith and keep the platform going. They’re very accepting of newbies (thankfully), mostly because they’re so proud of the product they champion, and they freely part with best practices on how to get the most out of the MessagePad. That means I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and figure all this stuff out on my own.

DIY culture, however, says that you gain enjoyment out of the process and the end product, and few consumer electronics have inspired as much modding as the Newton. It was never intended to be a Twitter client – because it came out before Twitter was ever even thought of, natch – but I’ll be darned if someone didn’t figure out a way to make it work. That’s what makes the community so fun.

So there we go. Newton Poetry will highlight Newton Poetry, as always, but will also touch on how-to tips, Newton history, other Apple products (especially the portable varieties), and low-end tech culture in general. Call it a mission statement – whatever. I love poetry and literature, I love Apple products old and new, and I love playing around with my Newton.

If that’s not inspiration enough for a blog, I don’t know what is.

Welcome to Newton Poetry.

Wired.com: thinking the same thing.

December 19th, 2007

Great minds – and web sites – think alike.

My post on the other iPhone.

Wired.com’s post on the other iPhone.

The difference is Wired has access to Linksys reps and great sources.

I wonder if something is in the water.