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Paul Guyot Releases ATA driver for NewtonOS 101

Posted by Hemos
from the dear-lord dept.
Dorian Gray writes "For a long time everyone, including Apple, said it couldn't be done...mainly because NOS linear soup storage is so completely unlike conventional filesystems. But Newton users have refused to let the platform die, no matter how the manufacturer mis-managed (or ultimately killed) it."
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Paul Guyot Releases ATA driver for NewtonOS

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does this mean we can use 'clik' drives (now called something else) from Iomega. I use a WinCE iPaq for work, but I keep my personal diaries and other notes and writings for work on my N2K. The N2K, btw does not drain batteries (a week of heavy use on the NiMH internal), reads my handwriting very well, lets me print acronyms using the stylus flawlessly and reads things to me with Macintalk. When my iPaq has good continuous handwriting recognition, text-to-speech, can be used heavily for more than one day on a charge, then it will be as comfortable to use as my Newton 2000. When the iPaq has speech recognition in addition to the above, it will be what the N2001 would have been had it lived. Glad to have an ARM chip on that iPaq and the possibility of playing with Linux on it. As to porting Linux to the Newton, or any other PDA. Will there be a Linux client that syncs with my Outlook Calendar, Tasks, Contacts? Until then, its not even basically ready for business PDA. Sorry to say, but its the truth. Outlink does this for Newton. As to Palm, I'd love to have gone with that, but I tried several models but can't read the screen. On the iPaq the screen is great and the N2K I can make the font (everywhere) larger.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    elegant, your post merely emphasizes the fact that Microsoft was and is years behind Apple and that drives you nuts. 10 years to copy the desktop interface and 4 to copy the handheld. That's old news. I would sure as hell hope they'd have caught up ny now.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder why anyone would want to use NewtonOS.

    I used to have that point of view. Until I used version 2.0 of Newton Intelligence.

    And came to the conclusion that the handwriting *DID* work, and it could even read my handwriting.

    And, in 1995, it was the ONLY handheld that ran off of AA batteries and could use a keyboard you could type on.

    The runner up: A tandy 100-102.

    It doesn't have any of the neat features OSes like embedded Linux, WinCE, PalmOS, et al do.
    You make this claim. Yet you don't back it up with anything save your own total LACK of knowledge about the way Newton's were made.

    Given in 1996, using 57 mA of power (calculated by drilling a hole in a battery pack and hooking up a VOM), you could:
    Play quicktime (converted) movies.
    Voice recgonition
    Cursive and printed handwriting
    a TCP/IP stack
    Web browsing
    Record sound
    Playback sound

    Lets see your list.
    Is there an embedded linux shipping that does all of these?
    No.
    Palm OS?
    No.
    WinCE?
    No. But the followup product Pocket Windows can.
    Oh, but it takes more than 57 mA of power. And can't do it in 1 meg or even 4 meg of DRAM.

    It was meant for old devices where you'd type.
    Huh?

    Why didn't they port Linux to the Newton? It would open up the Newton for many more people and makes quite a bit more sense, as it would make new paths down the embedded Linux trail.

    And this shows why you are not at all credible to comment on the Newton.

    The Newton design was 1st started back in the bad old days when to have a meg of memory, you needed 32 or more DIP chips. And it would cost you well over $1000.
    So: how do you do this?
    Answer: You have a heap. And you make that heap work with under 1K of space. Shove what you need on the heap, use it, and go get the next chunk. This is a bit different than how most units handle running code. Why does a Newton work with .5 Meg DRAM, yet a WinCE needs at least 16 Meg DRAM?

    The last mass-produced Newton had a 4 meg RAM chip, and on a 'well used' (aka a nice mix of programs and a 20 meg flash card) you end up with 284000 free heap space. The model before the 2100 had only a 1 meg RAM chip.

    Due to the way the DRAM is chopped up you can't get an OS like Linux or BSD to run on a Newton. Period. If you actually *KNEW* anything about a Newton, you'd know that due to the way the hardware was set up you can't shoe-horn in a different OS.

    Not to mention that to get the 4 meg DRAM's used in the 2100 required a custom production run of hitachi silicon. This ment Apple would have to order min 25K DRAMS, or re-design the board for the 16 meg part. (Rumor was there existed 16 Meg Newtons, but no one talks about these units, or if the 16 meg DRAM would work on a stock 2100)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2001 @03:57PM (#476682)
    It's interesting that this pops up right when this wannabe-Amigan got his hands on a Psion Series 5.

    It's amazing how much current palmtop OSes suck. I like Psion/Symbian's engineering, their belief in the keyboard (although if you've ever held a Revo, you'll understand the usefulness of tablet devices; this from one who loves keyboards, no less)...

    PalmOS, in its present incarnation, is laughable. I had great hopes for EPOC, but I don't find it much better- the newer releases on the 5MX and Netbook make it _powerful_, but it's not nearly as elegant as I expected it to be. Psion has a number of ideas right- the zoom buttons, for instance (and the zoomability of nearly any app; very useful when you deal with a small screen and various readability conditions)... and the integrated programming ability is what makes the platform flourish. However, some things really suck- it's relatively complex to just write a note, for instance.

    I don't much like Apple engineering, but the Newton had the right degree of transparency to its interface; it made it easy to do things. I have a feeling Symbian Release 7(?) will bring back some of that transparency, as it's designed for tablets and will include handwriting recognition and such... but it shouldn't have taken the world this long to catch up.

    Amiga has plans in the PDA market, now- ironic, since I believe it was R.J. Mical (who left Amiga/Commodore to work on the Atari Lynx) who then moved on to Apple to work on a killed Newton-like project a year or two before the Newton project emerged... In any case, Amiga Inc. has planned a 'query system' for data storage which may resemble the Newton in some ways. Might be another reason to root for them, if you aren't yet convinced they aren't vapor...

    Back in the day of the Newton, I wanted a $100 device in the form factor of a Palm, which would do one thing- function as an ASCII text reader, in a simple and elegant manner. Such a device still doesn't exist- and HTML/XML are superceding ASCII, but it's interesting... elegant devices are hard to come by, now. The Psions are elegant in their own way- my 5 organizes my life, despite its faults, but there's nothing out there that can replace a (dead tree) notebook like a Newton could.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 27, 2001 @06:04PM (#476683)

    Three Cheers for Paul's achievement. As the prepubescent third of the SlashDot readership hasn't realized yet, getting an ATA driver on the Newton is really an amazing feat.

    First things first: I'm (Sean Luke) not just a Newton user, I'm a Newton developer. I'm the person little by little working on the MP3 player for the Newton, along with Paul Guyot and a few other diehards. :-) I'm also the author of (in my opinion) the second coolest thing to come out on the Newton recently since Paul's ATA driver, namely Waba (Java) for the Newton [umd.edu]. I've also written Hemlock (a Sherlock-compatible internet search system for the Newton) and a bunch of chinese programs and other fun stuff.

    Okay, so I'm a diehard, but the only reason I write Newton programs is, ultimately, for me. They're all open source. If other people find them useful, more power to 'em. And it's fun and relaxing -- the Newton's development environment is quite nice, especially compared to the Hideousness that is developing on Palms or WinCE boxes, ugh!

    The Newton I use is a MessagePad 2000, the oldest Newton model that really, truly is still superior to pretty much anything out there. Which disturbs me. And the Ebay market has reacted accordingly -- the MP2K was introduced 6 years ago at $1100, and is still worth about $400 used. Newtons hold their value like no other computer I have ever seen. Which is a pain in the butt for me because I'd like to buy a Newton MessagePad 2100 to do some further development on, but they're still in the $700 range. :-(

    The MP2K was an astounding machine for its time -- it's still an impressive machine. It has a 480x320 16-bit grayscale screen, a 162 MHZ StrongArm processor (and this was back in '94!), 1 Meg of static RAM, and 4 megs of internal Flash RAM for archival storage. It has a battery life easily as good as a Palm Pilot. It's got two PCMCIA card slots, presently filled with a 16-meg linear Flash RAM card and an AmbiCom 10Base-T Ethernet card. I also have a modem card.

    Early Newtons suffered because Apple rushed them out the door before ParaGraph International (the makers of Apple's first handwriting system) had handwriting working very well at all. ParaGraph never really did much better, and eventually migrated to WinCE. This first handwriting system was bad enough that Palm Computing was born through selling Graffiti, an alternative input method for the Newton. In NewtOS 2.0 (circa 1993) Apple supplemented Paragraph's word-by-word recognition system with Rosetta, a letter-by-letter recognition system developed internally at Apple. Perfected in NewtOS 2.1, Rosetta is, bar none, the best handwriting system available for any PDA in existence. If you think Microsoft's recent attempts are any match, you haven't actually tried a Newton (OS 2.1) machine. It really is that good.

    Newtons are very sophisticated little beasts, able to fax, print to inkjets or postscript, beam, email, ftp, surf the web, create and display fully-formatted ebooks (the Newton pioneered the notion), write in aribitrary foreign languages (Newtons were the first devices to use Unicode, which is used throughout the device). Equipped with Apple's MacInTalk voice synthesis, they can speak text in different voices. They can record and play long chunks of sound.

    For as small a user community as the Newton community was, there was a very large number of developers, partially due to Apple's exceptional NewtonScript development environment (NewtonScript is a proto-based OOP language rather similar to Self [sun.com]. As such, Newtons have an amazing array of stuff available for them for free now. Besides the typical notepad-datebook-namecards-etc., Newtons sport web browsers, web servers (!) [130.126.50.66], terminal emulators, word processors, spreadsheets, drawing programs, mod players, astronomy software, on-the Newton development software (although most Newton development is done on Macs or PCs, the Newton comes with a built-in compiler), and of course games, including a great chess program which beats the snot out of ones on other PDA platforms.

    Why did the Newton never really take off? Because it was WAY ahead of its time, and because Apple hadn't figured out the price point. Apple was selling highly sophisticated Newtons for $800-1000, when it should have been stripping them of features and selling them at $300. It took Palm to finally realize that what people wanted was a glorified day planner that you could put in your pocket, for $300, and to heck with powerful features. The result: the Palm Pilot, a terribly primitive device with a grotesque UI, but it cost the right amount, had a great battery life, and fit in your pocket. And more power to 'em! Palm got the market right. It's taken Microsoft years to realize the same thing.

    Just before Steve Jobs axed the Newton, the product was finally making a profit and Apple was preparing to spin off the company into a separate firm, Newton Inc. It had taken years, but the Newton was finally making money, and Apple was preparing a tiny one to compete head-on with the Palm Pilot. Why did the whole thing get Steved? Former Apple employees point to the fact that the Newton was the brainchild of John Sculley, the man who ousted Steve in the first place.

    Oh, well.

  • That's the single thing that has kept me from buying or even considering a pda--I want to use it with one hand, as most of the things I can think of that (or when) I'd use it require a free hand.

    I'm aware that there's a keyboard that you can attach, but I want it built into the case, as
    part of the case.

    hawk
  • Please note I haven't read the comment which YOU are responding to; I'm just responding to your comment on its own.

    If I wanted a full-blown computer to carry around I would have a laptop. In fact I do have one. Cel300, 256M RAM, 14.4" TFT XGA display, PCMCIA/USB/DVD with video in and out. Runs Linux or Windows with ease. Firewire if I really wanted it. 3H battery time when playing DVDs. 100WPM data entry rate. Kinda blows the Newton or any PocketPC out of the water when you look at a PDA as a replacement for a computer.

    Now to my point: I don't want to carry around a full computer. I want a Palm (and I do have one) which acts as a portal. It isn't MEANT to do large amounts of text entry. It isn't MEANT to be a MP3 Jukebox or an electronic picturebook. It's meant to give you quick access to data and be able to modify/add to it as needed. It does this remarkably well and the battery life is incredible, even with the 8M versions.

    I don't have to go around stuffing cards into it or changing batteries or scrawling across its surface because I know what it's supposed to be used for and I don't try to make it into something it's not. Yes I have the keyboard and modem attachements but that is because they're required Sometimes. I don't bulk up my PDA with these options.

    Off my soapbox now. :-)

  • Microsoft Transcriber [microsoft.com] has the best handwriting recognition I've ever used, including the Newton. It's weird that they don't include this with the PocketPC by default.
  • Actually, the 2010 problem was fixed a while ago.

    Newton 2010 fix [drissman.com]

  • by otis wildflower (4889) on Saturday January 27, 2001 @04:25PM (#476688) Homepage
    Are you on crack?

    NewtonOS and NewtonScript were, if anything else, very interesting animals...

    And I'm damned if __ANY__ other PDA can match its interface for intuitiveness and ease of use. The data soup model is _perfect_ for such devices. And their third party software was also amazing. I have a palm IIIc. Nothing yet has approached the usefulness of MoreInfo (from SilverWare) for PIM functionality. And BTW, people don't buy PDAs to watch video clips or host webservers, they buy them to manage their time and tasks, as well as offer a window into their information sphere. Newton was the best at it, and to many it has yet to be matched.

    Maybe in a few years we'll have a PalmOS or other PDA system that is as good as NOS2.x was in 1997. I certainly hope so.

    Let's hope the open source community, in developing OSS PDA ware, sees fit to appreciate what the Newton did well, and steal it wholesale, thus leapfrogging current limited PDA designs.

    (let's put it this way: The Newton is to the Palm what a vintage Porsche 911 is to a modern japanese subcompact: The Porsche is more powerful, more exclusive, more beautiful, more viscerally pleasing to the driver, but is also more expensive, more temperamental in handling, more difficult to maintain, and ultimately less successful in mass-market monetary terms than the japanese subcompact.)

    Your Working Boy,
  • Slightly offtopic:

    There are a few things that I have never seen implemented better than on the Newton. One is, honestly, the size. Having something a little less portable is worth the extra writing space for me. Another is the notepad software that came with NOS. A note/outline-taker and to do list in one program: Simple, elegant, with features I find lacking in PalmOS's note taker (like an outline and checklist function that let me nest items -- invaluable and totally absent in anything I've seen since!) and not inundated withbells and whistles like many of the CE products I've seen. Sure it's nice to be able to sync with Outlook, but that's not what I usually do with it.

    NOS and many of its apps had a lot of great features that were strokes of interface-design brilliance, but which never showed up in later PDAs. My only real complaint was the mediocre handwriting recognition (which was still WAY ahead of its time and not much behind the hw apps I've found for CE). Until then, I wait with baited breath for Apple to wake up and come out of the shadows again with the *new* coolest PDA ever.

    "(no knowledge of subject matter) + (crack cocaine) = (journalism!)"

  • Apple was preparing to spin off the company into a separate firm, Newton Inc.

    Actually, Apple did spin off Newton Inc. as a separate company. But only for one month, then Steve brought it back in-house. And failed to do anything with it until all the talent had bled off to Palm and elsewhere (Phillips, Casio, etcetera).

    Perfected in NewtOS 2.1, Rosetta is, bar none, the best handwriting system available for any PDA in existence.

    As the person who tested it, I agree. :-) The Rosetta recognition engine was developed in-house by Apple's ATG group. Despite it being a master work of genius, Apple didn't really know what to do with it and trimmed most of the staff; they all work elsewhere now. The official product name was "Apple Printed Recognizer". The unofficial name was changed to "Mondello" (after a local restaurant) due to a trademark issue, but they never changed the easter egg.

    (The egg: write "Rosetta! Rosetta! Rosetta!" in the NotePad; it'll respond with "That's me!")

    The best recognizer I know of in the windows world these days is on pen-based windows machines; Paragraph now sells a Windows office suite that includes an updated version of Calligrapher, the engine they refined as the Newton's cursive recognizer. At the time of Newton 2.0, Calligrapher had a print-only mode that was getting to be pretty good, just not as good as Mondello. It's not bad running on a Windows PC.

    [I'm Glen Raphael; I wrote NewtPaint, founded the Stanford Newton User's Group, and worked in the Newton System Group and later for LandWare, Inc. as a Newton developer. I loved that product, but nowadays I'm trying to make do with a Pilot.]

  • Still, I think the platform was doomed from the beginning. Bad management didn't help, but the whole "Insanely Great" culture, utterly immune to outside criticism and rational priorities, is what ultimately killed it.

    You may be right. The Newton was a lot more expensive than it needed to be because priorities weren't set; there was a "kitchen sink" mentality whereby every cool feature it might conceivably have, got thrown in. Both hardware and software were overengineered.

    Although to be fair, this was a new device aimed at a new market, so nobody really knew what direction it might take. Palm learned a lot from the Newton experience and managed to take a few good ideas and leave the rest for future products in the indefinite future rather than try to be all things to all people.

    Here are some features one could have left off the Newton MP2k hardware:

    (1) the stylus holder. There's a pop-out bracket to hold the stylus upright when the newton is flat on a table.

    (2) the ribbon cable punch-out. Take off the cover and look at the hinge area; there's a thin rectangle area one might punch out to put in a ribbon cable for a hypothetical cover that would contain a scaled-down keyboard.

    (3) The internal modem slot. Swing open the serial-port cover; next to the serial port there's a square area where one might install an RJ11 jack to connect to an internal modem. No such modem was ever made.

    ...and so on. The rubberized coating felt great, but probably wasn't worth the cost. It was reainforced well enough that you could drive a car over it. There were screw holes for mounting it on a tripod or anti-theft kit. It was better than it needed to be, hence more expensive.

    As for the software, all Newton programs were interpreted into bytecode at run time. The advantage of this is it would in theory let Apple change processors later, but they never did. The disadvantage is that all code ran slow. Newton used Unicode. Newton could talk directly to printers. Newton could "beam" information in the days before there was an IRDA standard.

    It was a general-purpose computer rather than a PDA. The additional complexity drove up engineering and manufacturing costs to where average people couldn't afford the product at the price Apple could afford to sell, so only us "early adopter" geeks went for it.

    Oh, well; on to the next big thing...

  • I remember the Apple marketeers insisting that it was not a computer. Didn't they coin the term "personal digital assistant" for precisely that reason?

    Yup. The core idea of Newton and the idea behind all the best Newton applications was to do a few specific things well rather than trying to be all things to all people. The first product was too expensive because it was ahead of its time, and subsequent products largely jettisoned the "keep it simple" idea in the hopes of getting sales wherever one could find them.

    Palm ran with the original idea and did it better, only incorporating Newton ideas if and when the technology came down in price enough to make the new tech affordable. The first Palm didn't even support beaming, and the idea of one fixed screen size was hardcoded in instead of trying to work on "anything from a post-it note to a whiteboard". Fewer degrees of freedom and a narrow focus is what made Palm devices cheap to build, easy to support, and ubiquitous.

  • Thanks, I'll check out the Psions.
  • Right on!

    I use my Newton 130 every day. I will keep using it until I can get a machine that:

    1) runs on AA batteries and doesn't chew through them too fast.
    2) can run Java class files compiled with Sun's JDK and downloaded from a Linux machine. I will not spend a single penny for a development kit, and I will not learn another special PDA language like Newton BASIC or Palm BASIC.
    3) the ability to run Python and Tcl programs would be a bonus
    4) a real keyboard
    5) size isn't a big deal, but obviously I want something that weighs less than a pound.
    6) has some access to the system bus so third parties can add pages, phones, hard drives, GPS, or whatever to the device.

  • If you want to *see* what this is all about, and what the Newton OS looks like: http://www.spodder.com/newton/paul.html [spodder.com]
  • The above is a highly informative and interesting post. Apple needs to do something again w/the handheld market, and their positioning is right for it, but who knows if they can afford to do anything? Ah well, at least Apple has gotten a lot from owning ARM stock.
  • by geoffeg (15786) <geoffeg@sloth.GIRAFFEorg minus herbivore> on Saturday January 27, 2001 @04:29PM (#476697) Homepage
    Ok, ill try again:

    Stroke/letter recognition is a pain. I had a Newton 2000 for a few years and got used for taking notes just like I would on paper, in cursive. No, I didn't have to remember some new character shape. No, I didnt have to write one character at a time. No I didn't have to wait. No, I didn't have to write each character over the previous one. No, it didn't mis-recognize every 10th character. No, I didn't have to write letters in one area and numbers in the other. No, I didn't have to go into capitalization mode. Most people don't understand what this means. It means you write like you would on paper and in a few days, after the newton had learned your handwriting through a little AI, it would work almost flawlessly.

    Ok, I think I was obnoxious enough about that, now, let me continue onto the other benefits of the newton (2x00 especially).

    Real PCMCIA slots (two on 2x00). You could go down to your local computer store, pick up almost any modem, put it in your newton and be relatively sure it would work. Not some special "springboard" module that has to be bought at some special store or online.

    It's FAST. I believe people had talked of writing an mp3 player for newton.

    A real speaker and a port of macintalk at the end. It was easy to have a message or email read to me and I would easily understand it.

    Real voice recording. A microphone provided voice or music recodings in different qualities and would record until the unit was out of space. When that happened, just put a PCMCIA flash card in.

    The list goes on and on and.. You get the picture.

    Ok, I'll get off my soapbox.
  • Good comments...

    I was given an old (ca.1993) MessagePad 100. It's amazing to me what this thing can do, even now. I had to replace the backup battery (dead) and got a 2MB Newton flash card for storage expansion (and a plug for the card slot).

    Now I've got a Keyspan USB to PDA adapter and I can use Newton Connection Kit to keep the Newton synchronized. It really is an impressive device, and even though it's running NewtonOS 1.3, its handwriting recognition isn't bad at all. It takes a while to teach the Newt how you write, but it understands me now.

    And, "ink" notes is something I find indispensable. Apple nixed a good thing. They could have shrunk the Newton down and captured a larger market had certain forces not been so blind.

    I've thought about getting a Palm, but Graffiti annoys me, and the Newton is all I need right now.

    --Bernie
  • Investment? You mean that out of court settlement to prevent Apple from hanging Microsoft out to dry on stolen QuickTime code? Kindof a funny investment, neh?
  • Jobs has a nigh-pathological loathing for the Newton, since it was the pet project of John Sculley, the fellow who ushered Mr. Jobs out of the company he helped to found. Jobs is reputed to have said to the developers of the Newton "Apple makes computers. Computers have keyboards. Where's the keyboard?" even though a keyboard was an option for the Newton. So, if Jobs had anything to do with the Newton, it would have been even deader than it is now. He killed it pretty handily when he took the reins back at Infinite Loop.
  • Apple's quarterly losses notwithstanding, the sales on the MessagePad 2100 were pretty strong. The 2100 was arguably the first really great Newton.

    At the time Jobs came back to Apple, Newton, Inc. had been spun off into its own company. If I recall, Apple still had a large (perhaps controlling) interest in the company, but Newton, Inc. looked like it had a bright future ahead of it. So yes, since Jobs had to buy out the remainder of the Newton, Inc. stock and then close the company down, it sounds like it was pretty damn personal to me. Like running somebody over, then backing up...
  • The first thing I noticed at every convetion at the Javits center in NY is that every booth has anewton hooked to a card reader Until I went to Mac world there wasn't a Newton insite istead they had some big clunky things and it accured to me that the Newton was John Sculy's baby I guess everyone knows how Steve feels about him I guess thats why they don't use them at Mac world
  • Umm, who made fun of them? The story basically says "haha all you people who doubted it could be done were wrong", if anything thats the opposite of what you're complaining about... the only thing that might be making fun of them is how it says "from the dear-lord dept.", but who cares what Hemos thinks anyway? :)
  • Apples and Orange ARE comparable!

    See: http://www.inno-vet.com/articles/1999/0599/52.htm [inno-vet.com]

    :)
  • Yes, Amber, but this is all on a machine from *gasp* Apple that hasn't even been produced since 1998. How old is your Wince machine?

    Also, the "Macintalk" port isn't a connector.. it's an OS-level high-quality text to speech engine "ported" over from MacOS.
  • by _vSyncBomb (50710) on Saturday January 27, 2001 @03:30PM (#476706) Journal
    I know about eight people who still use Newton 2000 series machines on a day to day basis. I recently dug out my old mothballed MP2000, after I broke the screen on yet another Palm OS unit.

    It's been a funny and interesting experience, because the damn thing is so eminently more *usable* than ANYTHING on the market right now including any Palm unit (they're different kinds of machines, though) and including the iPaq. I had forgotten.

    Things you routinely can do on a Newton--jot down a quick "ink" note and fax it from the airport between planes, take *real* notes in a meeting on its half-VGA sized screen, read the latest issue of Slate (converted to NewtonBook) while eating lunch, look up a phone number, download a usenet newsgroup to read on the plane, track a package with your cellular modem, actually convert print handwriting to text and *work*--these things as a combination still elude the most modern PDA-type devices. Palms are great for looking up numbers, and WinCE is not really great at anything but it *can* do a lot of this stuff if you really need to. Newton can do it all easily, quickly, and without requiring the user's brain to even really engage in the task of making it work.

    Palm units just do not have the horsepower to do it all. 16Mhz and a tiny display. The current crop of WinCE machines can do some of this stuff, now that they also use StrongARM processors, but they remain significantly more cumbersome to use.

    The Newton is sort of a sad story--only the MessagePad 2100, the very last of the species, was the first Newton device that lived up to the Newton's promise, after the line's laughable start.

    But for a surprising number of people (those who don't really need good desktop synchronization), these last Newtons still are more *useful* than anything currently available.

    If there were a reasonable desktop companion app for the Newton, I would probably keep on using it for a long time, maybe even until 2010--when the Newton's "2.01K" date problem kicks in and they really become obsolete. (OK, probably not that long.)
  • The Psion 5mx meets all your criteria, and goes way beyond it. The Psion's touchtypable keyboard is built-in, and it's all in a smaller package than the Newton. I've got Perl and Java on it. It'll even run Linux, but you won't want to because the EPOC operating system is good. Desktop synchronization, and more.

    I'm a big fan of the Newton, and would be if it had kept going, but the Psion is a darn good palmtop.

    The Psion does have its failings, there isn't a lot of third party hardware available for it. I'm currently agitated that I can't wirelessly browse on its half-VGA sized screen. Palms are good for something.

  • Since the Newton and iPaq both use StrongARM processors, wouldn't it be an easy port if one had the source code? I think that would be more interesting than Linux on an iPaq.
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Saturday January 27, 2001 @04:13PM (#476709)
    Me and a friend were talking about portable pc's and I said it's was too bad that Apple dropped Newton because they really had something there. They had most of what the pocket pc's have today, but about 5 years ago. Only if they could have done something about the size. I thought the last newton was good in size but still kind of on the big side. I think the Palms were out then. They killed the Newton in the portablity race. Now, if they would not have killed it, they could have redesigned it, they would have killed palm.

    I don't know how much truth there may be to this rumour, but I saw here [sotrap.net] a mockup of something that could be called the Apple iPad. I can't tell if it's fake or not (I guess it could be a fake). Either way it's a neat idea! Now I saw a pic that looked like it came from the same web site (same kind of style of pic) that looked similar to the Titanium G4 Powerbook. The pic was out BEFORE Macworld. Maybe this might be the next one more thing from Jobs... :)

  • It's sad and mildly amusing to see the contortions people have to go through to justify how wonderful their toys are. I don't get it. I can run damn near anything I want on a network made up of three 486s (11-32mb RAM), one 586/60 (yes, they really DID make those :) with a bit under 5gigs of hardware RAID, and a sparc IPX. A friend of mine has more RAM, drive space, and processor power in one machine (by a couple factors) than I do combined and... he can still really only run the same stuff. When 90% of the actual important content of the web alone (we'll not even talk about telnet or anything else) is text, a lot of times it just flat out don't matter. :) Lanir, who plays with ancient, arcane toys but not PDA's unfortunately. :)
  • by fsck! (98098)
    several other people have stated that the newton and the palm aren't competing devices. they're right for the reasons they state (palm is great in its simplicity, newton is more like a real platform). the thing you aren't seeing is that most consumers won't carry two handheld computers. mit media lab geeks aside, one onboard computer per person is plenty. so from a financial point of view, they are similar enough that they are competitors.

    personally, i break out in hives if i forget my visor at home. but i'd love to see some of apple's current engineering make its way into a resurgence of the newton line. that would be a dream machine.

    --
  • simply enough - the newton OS was (is) slick. it is the first (and last?) decent attempt at the next generation of operating system. anyone who disagrees, is, well, a meat head.

    -k
  • Ah, so you have a Palm then?
    ----
  • It was given a gracefull funeral. I went... infact i skipped my econ class to go.. heh. They had a funeral with speeches by the programmers and project leaders... and then they buried one in the lawn at the infininte circle. *sniffle* twas a sad sad day
  • Actually, we're both right.

    The original WinCE handwriting recognizer was based on Pen Windows.

    However, as I mentioned, Paragraph has *ported* their recognizer to WinCE (Calligrapher). I didn't say it was the default recognizer. Only that it's become quite popular with users and is shipping with several of the HPC units (the PocketPCs usually rely on MS's graffiti-like Transcriber app). See Paragraph's website [paragraph.com] for more info. At any rate, from what I've read Calligrapher is based on the old Newton HWR engine.

  • What the Palm has isn't HWR but stroke/letter recongnition. Try again.
  • Why? Palms are nothing but hyped up electronic daybooks. Newtons are almost full-fledged computers but with a proper interface and model for a pen driven device.
  • Heh. Anyone who defended the Newton would just be more diserning. I much rather have a month worth of battery power, a properly desisned interface and HWR that works over some windows knock-off that lasts a couple hours on batteries.
  • But what a Newton is good for is when you need something in between a Palm device (electronic datebook) and a notebook computer (big, poor battery life, heavy). A WinCE device won't cut it, poor battery life.

    No, Newtons and Palm devices don't live in the same niche, exactly. Palms are good for what they do, very true, but it is fair to say that the Newton (and or that matter, Wince devices) do more.
  • That's something I'm hoping for. Squeak also runs on the Linux framebuffer for Linuxes for the iPaq (and some other WinCE devices) and the VTech Helio. One could create a PDA OS with it.
  • by RevAaron (125240) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <noraaver>> on Saturday January 27, 2001 @06:01PM (#476721) Homepage
    I agree!

    I'm in college, and I take all of my notes on my upgraded MessagePad 2000. I also put all of my Biology I notes on-line, because converting them to HTML and uploading them is very easy. Check out http://www.d.umn.edu/~reic0024/notes/ [umn.edu]. Not something you could do on a Palm (without way to much work), and the HWR is unmatched. While Wince machines have Transcriber, it's correction functions and letter changes are extremely poor compared to thato f the Newton's. Transcriber also doesn't seem as well integrated into Wince as well as the Newton's HWR is into the Newton OS.

    One thing the Newton does for me, and that I like a lot: it's close enough to a computer that I can use it to keep me off my computer. I can develop software (I'm working on a genetic programming framework in NewtonScript), design, and other fun stuff without having to be indoors planted in front of a noisey computer.

    I'm hoping to see something better come out that's supported, but it's truly dissapointing the sad PDAs that are out now.

    Keep the Green!
  • I started using a Newton when the 130 came out and I saw my own killer app: Expense Plus (written by the same guys that wrote the expense app for the PalmOS.) I was travelling a lot for my job and was really bad about handling my expenses. E+ fixed that perfectly.

    I was commuting between the U.S. & the U.K. and switched to a Newton 2000 as my primary computer. Under two pounds in weight, that cool 'indiglow' backlit screen, and as fully fuctional as a laptop... at less than half the price ('96 laptop prices)... and of course more than enough battery life for the 9+ hour flight 'tween Seattle and London! (unlike any laptop then or since.) I had Eudora for my mail, and the excellent PT100 for my telnet client, and the NewtScape browser... along with my Ricochet radio modem for use in Seattle and SF, and a Nokia GSM modem card for use in the UK... I had it all. I would use it constantly on the train between Swindon and London... and it drove the uptight Brits crazy. They *really* wanted to ask about it, but their reserve would never let them.

    It was truly an amazing little computer.

    I still have it, ...enshrined it into my personal museum of dead-end technology, along with an eMate, an A/UX machine, some NeXT slabs, a BeBox, and some never-shipped prototype servers I can't talk about. Since I work at a large hosting provider I should grab that ATA driver and my 1.3 gig laptop drive with a PCMCIA interface and fire up the Newt as a webserver. Of course I have lost my pen! Anyone have one for me? [mailto]

    I won a Palm V a few months back, and I have given up on it after being endlessly frustrated at the horrible interface and the totally stupid Graffiti input. Writing one letter at a time in a box is insane. It is bad enough that I type vi commands while not in vi... I don't need another brain dead technology transforming my personal habits. At least the Newt let me use my own handwriting... and it even recognized it about 97% of the time.


    As for Steve Jobs, I have decided what I would say to him if I ever met him in an elevator:

    "Mr. Jobs, I just wanted to congratulate you on the new 'desktop computer as hub for the digital lifestyle' initiative you announced at MacWorld Expo. Because in doing so, you are finally transforming Apple into a Consumer Electronics corporation and fulfilled the VISION OF JOHN SCULLEY!'

    heh.

  • Eh, it's not so bad. I just got the IIIc, reasonably priced color, and with the 8megs I've started moving away from doing everything in memopad and putting it in thinkDB [thinkingbytes.com] instead. And I'm using AvantGo to get HTML snapshots of my online journal [kisrael.com].

    It can't do everything (most of the streetmap apps are pretty slow) but most of what it can't do is more hardware related than anything else.
    --

  • at the time that apple was still doing newtons they were so horribly mismanaged. If Jobs had anything to do with them I bet Palm would have a lot to compete with, or maybe palmos handhelds wouldn't have even come about.
  • I used to use my Newton exclusively, but now I am the proud owner of a Palm. ATA supported or not, my Newton is really cool, except for the fact it sucks battery power like mad and its handwriting recognition was awful for people like me who write lots of acronyms. (plus it was big) Did you know that the Newton can play like regular, recorded sounds as opposed to the cheap-o MIDI supported on Palm? I'm not sure how important this whole ATA thing will be -- it's difficult to get Newton rechargable batteries anymore as well as other Newton peripherals....my palm is smaller *and* is still supported so that's what I think is important. Anyone want to buy a used Newton ;) ? My 2 cents..
  • Stroke/letter recognition is a pain. I had a Newton 2000 for a few years and got used for taking notes just like I would on paper, in cursive

    My pocketPC can do this, just use microsoft transcriber.

    Real PCMCIA slots (two on 2x00). You could go down to your local computer store, pick up almost any modem, put it in your newton and be relatively sure it would work. Not some special "springboard" module that has to be bought at some special store or online.

    Ok, so there's no PCMCIA slots on pocketPCs, but you can get CompactFlash, and there are just about as many perfrials out there that use CF as PCMCIA.

    It's FAST. I believe people had talked of writing an mp3 player for newton.

    64bit 150mhz CPU (the same one used in the n64, but at a higher speed). And it already comes with an mp3 player. Video to.

    A real speaker and a port of macintalk at the end. It was easy to have a message or email read to me and I would easily understand it.

    My pocket PC has a built in speaker (as does the palm), or you can use headphones. it dosn't have a 'macintalk' connection, but it does have a serial port, and you can get CF ethernet cards for $65.

    Real voice recording. A microphone provided voice or music recodings in different qualities

    I've got that. Of course, there's no way you'd ever consider anything from M$, but there it is...

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • thanks!

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • A web server is several orders of magnitude simpler then a web browser, you could probably hack up a simple server with a few lines of perl. Slashdot had a story about an AppleII with a webserver a few months ago

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • Also, the "Macintalk" port isn't a connector.. it's an OS-level high-quality text to speech engine "ported" over from MacOS.

    Oh. The post I replied to makes more sense now...

    Amber Yuan 2k A.D
  • I used my last point moderating "First post" up.
  • But the Newton is the only device that allows you to write in normal proper human language (versus some bizzare made-up alphabet), including script, with a pen. It has pcmcia, IR, and localtalk so it could conceivably get on a network/ the internet numerous ways, without the need for a prorietary unecessarily expensive internet provider (like you get stuck with with the Palm. I like to be able to choose between various providers, thank you very much.)

  • However, the Palm is still far behind the Newton in many ways.

    1) The Newton handwriting recognition adapted to YOU. Yes, it was horrible at first, but MP130s and MP2000s did a more than fair job. With the Palm, while the alphabet isn't a difficult one, the user must adapt to it.

    2) The web browsers for the Newton were full web browsers. "Newtscape" would display and scale as much of a web space as memory allowed. Usually it did a fine job of grayscaling everything, it supported much of the basics that were around then... none of this WAP crap.

    3) Battery life... my Newton 110, which I dig out now and then, lasted longer in continuous use than even the lightest, lowest memory palm, I've ever used... a much more efficient machine than the Palm Pilot.

    For all practical purposes, unless you're lucky to have an MP2000 around, using a Newton daily might be more of an archane habit than a productivity measure. But the entire line of Newtons set a benchmark that no one has yet eclipsed with their new products.

  • The reason the Newton was killed by Steve is that it was a Scully produced product. Take a look at everything the Steve axed when he got back, and you will find that most of them were started while Sculley was at the helm. There are a few exceptions, but due to the animosity between those two, it seems to be a decent explanation. I got rid of my MP2k about 6 months ago, and bought a Visor because of support/software availability issues. The MP2k was a great PDA, but it was more along the lines of a laptop replacement than just a PDA>
  • The reason they needed to port ATA to the newton was to support better media. Newtons had wacky requierments on the media types you could use. All the current PC-card media in one way or another require some support of ATA.

    Now that they have ATA MP3 will not be far off. The newton would rock as an mp3 play for my car...

    Lizard boy

  • It was a general-purpose computer rather than a PDA.
    That's an interesting thought. I remember the Apple marketeers insisting that it was not a computer. Didn't they coin the term "personal digital assistant" for precisely that reason?
    The additional complexity drove up engineering and manufacturing costs to where average people couldn't afford the product at the price Apple could afford to sell, so only us "early adopter" geeks went for it.
    Which is the story with every Apple product I can think of. They come up with all these Insanely Great ideas, which they pursue as hard as they can, regardless of their practicality. Here's the latest and greatest: every Mac comes with a network interface. Initially this was a glorified serial interface, but has evolved into high-end stuff. In the latest iteration, we have 100 megabit Ethernet, with special logic that recognizes a point-to-point connection, so you can have a 2-node hubless network without buying a special cable. Sexy! Except how many Mac people even use their network interfaces?

    __________________

  • by fm6 (162816) on Saturday January 27, 2001 @04:19PM (#476736) Homepage Journal
    But Newton users have refused to let the platform die...

    I applaud Guyot's achievement. But it's certainly an exaggeration to put this in the "they said it couldn't be done" category, just because of some conflicting memory access models. Clearly Apple people thought ATA access could be done, and would have done it if the product had survived long enough.

    It's also childish to talk about "refusing to let the platform die". The platform is dead -- no sane manufacturer is ever going to consider reviving production. Like any popular platform, it will remain in use until the last system becomes unrepairable. The same is true of the Commodore 64.

    I was an early adopter of the Newton, but I've long since gone over to the Palm. The other day I dragged out my old Sharp/Newton to retrieve some info that never got transferred, and I was geniuinely saddened to see the two side-by-side. The Palm has its advantages (not least in real versus illusory portability) but it will never be the same as a Newton. Still, I think the platform was doomed from the beginning. Bad management didn't help, but the whole "Insanely Great" culture, utterly immune to outside criticism and rational priorities, is what ultimately killed it. And refusing to accept that fact is a nasty waste of human potential.

    __________________

  • Yeah, the newtonOS is dead, but so was Amiga, and it seems to be making a comeback. I know im comparing apples and oranges, but still.
  • Wow, thats the first time anyone has ever taken what I say seriously =)
  • OT, but funny thing from your Pen Windows link, under "Windows 95 FAQ":

    When will Windows 95 and Cairo ship? 94-03-18
    When will Windows 95 ship? When will Cairo ship?

    Windows 95 is scheduled to ship in the second half of 1994. Cairo is scheduled to be released in the first half of 1995.

    What is Daytona? 94-03-18
    What is Daytona? When will it ship?

    Daytona is an interim release of Windows NT that is scheduled to ship this spring.


    So, apparently according to Microsoft, NT 4.0 was a "interim release" and Windows 2000 ("Cairo") was going to ship in 1995!!
  • from the dear-lord dept.

    What the hell is that? This is an awesome hack. I'd like to see Hemos do something *other* than code web sites.

    All the more reason for my other comment [slashdot.org].

  • The Newton is now long dead, and it should be given a gracefull funeral. Current Newton Users should move to Palms.
  • Urrm, the damn thing used up so much juice you had to swap batteries every day. And if you forgot it once the back up battery would be flat and you lost all your shite + you had to get another backup battery.
  • Are you joking? My Newton used up one set of rechargables a day. And when I forgot to change them with another set my backup battery went dead RAPIIIIDO. Using up so many juice is one of the reasons why the Newton didn't become a huge success.
  • Remember Cyberdog [apple.com]? Apple's answer to Microsoft Bob?
  • Ugly green case? Sounds like you have an eMate there. I almost bought one for $1000 Au but couldn't raise the cash. I later bought a Palm iiie to do the things I intended for the eMate. :) There's no doubt that Newton series were impressive machines at the time, but they were hideously expensive, especially across the pond. If I stumbled across a second hand one around here I'd snap it up, just to see what the fuss is about :). Why get into these holy wars, Newton vs PocketPC vs Palm? Just buy the one that does what you need it to at the time, at a reasonable price point, and be happy with what you have. If I'd bought the eMate, I'd still be using it. Now I have a Palm iiic. It's just the luck of the draw.
  • When I was shopping for my first pda, I looked at the e-mate (newton variant) and ended up buying a palm pilot professional. As near as I can recollect, a brother of mine in DKE had a newton in 93, and really dug it. My first real experience with a newton for any prolonged time was the guided tour for the Star Wars exhibit at the Smithsonian two years ago. The whole guided tour was done on a newton, with star wars animation and sounds as well as the narrator telling about the different models and costumes from the movies. If I could get that tour prog in its entirety, I'd get on ebay right now and have me a newton. It'd be in fine company with the other PDA's I own: Palm Pilot Pro (1mb) Palm III with TRG upgrade to 8mb m100 with 8mb Handspring Visor Deluxe (w/backup springboard and phone module) Everex winCE device Philips WinCE device

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • IIRC the WinCE devices came out in the last 2 years. they have not made a newton in the last 3-4 years. Current WinCE devices are equivelent to the last Newtown, better in some and worse in others. They are signifigantly cheaper(an order of magnitude or so) and that is a major factor. All of this does show one thing. The Newton was way ahead of it's time. For example I had a web browser on my 1994 era model.

    If Apple had two more years who knows where it would be.

  • Glen, thanks for all your work over the years. I still use my Newt, pretty much daily. It's the perfect cross: a laptop when you need it, and a PDA when you need that. A truly gorgeous machine, helped by all the software developers that wrote stuff that made it indispensable.
  • "Get hold of a Newton"? Yes, that is exactly what you did, you have to use two whole hands to get hold of a Newton. Your comment "Adds a lot of bulk to the unit" makes me laugh, obviously you never held a Newton. Heavy? Ha. Yes the OS was VERY cool, but you could also carry around a PC with that much Horsepower. The WINCE device with the modem, and the PC CArd socket and the .... would NEVER out weight the Newton. Get a grip people, it was Ok for then, but it is gone. Alas...
  • Cuz right out of the Newton box, I could type or scrawl 'lunch with bob tues" and it would schedule an event called 'lunch' the next tuesday, with the most frequently accessed bob in my address book, create links to each of those things, show it to me one last time in case it was another tuesday or another bob or there was a conflict, and voila. Palm can't do that - I've yet to see a 3rd party app than can. Hiw you can leave hyperlinking out of a 90's OS is beyond me. The genius of the Newton was the OS. The form was simply to big. For that matter my General Magic pad was a better UI and OS from the user standpoint *lest we forget that's the view that matters* but again, way too bulky. I use a Palm daily, I show my Newton when I want people to see a whole solution, and the Magic Pad when I want them to continue to use it past 5 minutes. One reality check is if you can't make the screen big enough to know they're Susan Kare's icons, go back to the drawing board. That last comment is merely food for thought.
  • It was meant for old devices where you'd type.

    Whereas embedded Linux was made for PDAs, right?
  • We need a new moderation option here.. "flamebait, ignorant and just plain wrong, but pretty damn funny all the same, +2"
  • Yep, definitely agree there :) Transcriber is on the ActiveSync CD you get with your PPC. I guess the reason it's not included on the ROM is that some people won't use it, and the performance on lower end PPC's may not be great (it works beautifully on my iPaq :)
  • Real PCMCIA slots (two on 2x00). You could go down to your local computer store, pick up almost any modem, put it in your newton and be relatively sure it would work. Not some special "springboard" module that has to be bought at some special store or online.

    You can get a sleeve for the iPaq that lets you use PCMCIA cards. Adds a lot of bulk to the unit, though.

    But I agree with a later comment. The Newton was way ahead of it's time. Only the PPC is just catching up now.

    I so want to get hold of a Newton .. ;)

  • You're right, I haven't used a Newton. That's why I want to get hold of one :)
  • Holy god that looks beautiful. But will it interface with windows? I think thats a serious limitation that apple will have to think about.
  • No, I'm the human being residing at about 42 17'N and 071 22"W, sitting in a futon chair in front of my Pentium III 500 with 320MB of RAM running Windows 2000.

    Did I mention that Microsoft Visual C++ Professional has added a multi-stage undo buffer to Internet Explorer? That's gotta be the handiest feature.

  • Consider it my revenge on Jeff Goldblum for his contract with Apple.
  • by helzerr (232770) on Saturday January 27, 2001 @03:17PM (#476759) Homepage
    Just because the Newton is obsolete means anyone who hacks it is stupid or wasting time? I am sorry to see the definition of hacking now only includes stealing DSS and DoS attacks... I suppose this means the portable hand-held Atari 2600 was stupid and a waste of time too? I'll have to remember the next time a manufacturer kills off support for a product I own I should just throw it away and make fun of those who still use it rather than learn something from it or contribute something to the user community.
  • "Just because the Newton is obsolete means anyone who hacks it is stupid or wasting time? I am sorry to see the definition of hacking now only includes stealing DSS and DoS attacks."

    wow. hold up there killer! just in case you ran right to the reply button - and judging by the # of your post, you did - let me quote (in it's entirety), hemos' post:

    "Dorian Gray writes "For a long time everyone, including Apple, said it couldn't be done...mainly because NOS linear soup storage is so completely unlike conventional filesystems. But Newton users have refused to let the platform die, no matter how the manufacturer mis-managed (or ultimately killed) it.""

    god damn. who pissed on your cheerios?

    My .02,

  • "Me and a friend were talking about portable pc's and I said it's was too bad that Apple dropped Newton because they really had something there. They had most of what the pocket pc's have today, but about 5 years ago."

    8 years ago (1993). not trying to correct you so much as point out how correct you are. =)

    My .02,

  • Imagine my suprise seeing Paul's name on slashdot. With an article about the ATA driver...too cool.

    Of course, I see the anti-Newtons are out, praising their little Palm-toys...people just can't stand to hear about anything that even remotely threatens (in their mind) their choice of hardware/software. Pity.

    I haven't even thought about Newton software for quite a while (use it every day, but when it already does everthing I need, it's just another tool), but it might be kind of cool to throw two or three hundred megs into it.

    Thanks Paul.

    Old Newtons never die...they just replace their batteries...


  • "What the Palm has isn't HWR but stroke/letter recongnition. Try again."

    True enough. I find it amusing that Graffiti originated on the Newt, but was dropped in favor of real HWR...then Palm snaps it up for use on their address book, and then thinks they have a real handheld computer.




  • Web browser? Hell, I've a web *server* on my Newton MP2100! :-)




  • PalmOS, in its present incarnation, is laughable.

    It works fine for what it was originally intended: simple calendaring, address book, and short notes. The problem is that it is now being presented as a "platform" for complex custom applications, and that it isn't very good for.

  • The Newton and the Palm are two different classes of devices because of their different sizes, prices, and weights, and I doubt they would be competing much. The Newton would, however, be significant competition to WinCE machines.
  • Squeak Smalltalk runs on WinCE devices, and it has an approach to programming more similar to what you might find on the Newton. Maybe it could fill a similar niche?
  • Admittedly, my only experience with a Newton type handheld is some old device with a keyboard released just before the whole line died out (ugly green case too. Product names?). The handwriting recognition was interesting, and I remember my computer teacher writing something and then doing his signature, and the signature was NOT converted to text. Interesting. Either way, I just got a Palm IIIe. It's the stripper model, but it's very nice. It does all I need, and more. If the Newton had the pricing of the Palm series (a neat trick at the time), it would have survived a bit longer. Nevertheless, those devoted Newton freaks should keep supporting their platform. I'll stick with my Palm, though.
  • But the whole point of Palm devices is that they're simple and straightforward ("hyped up electronic daybooks" isn't unfair). If you want a full-fledged computer, get a notebook; if you want something easy and light, get a Palm. Their beauty lies in their simplicity. If you want a Newton for historical interest or because that's your thing, fine, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to argue that the Newton's design (or its purpose) is somehow "better" or more "proper" than the Palm's. I'm not trying to prolong a religious war here -- I don't really enjoy using either device -- but I've written some code for the Palm and it strikes me as a well-engineered little device. -Mo
  • And BTW, people don't buy PDAs to watch video clips or host webservers, they buy them to manage their time and tasks,

    Ummm, you're right. But apparently someone here, as described in the article, is connecting ATA drives to their Newton.

    One doesn't need an ATA storage device to 'manage one's time and tasks.' Obviously people are doing something more with their Newtons.

    I telnetted into a Windows NT machine in the lab at work with my Visor last week. Because it was cool to do, but also because it's useful to be able to watch log files from anywhere I can find a phone jack. Again, that isn't what the developers of PalmOS expected me to be doing.

    I'd extend your analogy somewhat. A Newton is like a Mercedes Benz. A Palm is like a jeep. And there are lots of cases where I'd rather have the jeep. The difference in battery life alone outright kills the Netwon for many tasks.

  • I still own a few tubes of Z-80 chips.

    And two Synertek SYM-1 singleboards.

    And two Tandy Model 100's.

    Not sure which trumps which, but the insurance and storage costs on the 911 are definitely higher.
  • Your history is a little bit skewed. Palm didn't 'snap up' Graffiti. The people who produced Graffiti and licensed it to the Netwon formed the company that developed the Palm. One interpretation would be that they jumped off a sinking ship and have done well on their own.

    Now they're over at Handspring, btw.
  • It wasn't that hard for Microsoft to catch up with Apple.

    They simply had to keep moving, while Apple started and killed a handful of operating systems and various other projects. Pissing away resources like nobody else would dare.

    In a sense, it's a tortoise/hare kind of story.
  • It's always worth keeping a few SE's around.

    They use the same CRT as the SE/30. It's really easy to bust the neck of the CRT in an SE/30, and only about a fifteen minute job to then change it.

    I have two SE/30s that run NetBSD.

  • I'm finding my Visor Platinum to be pretty good for web browsing. I have the Handspring 33.6 landline modem and run Palmscape on it. It's nice to be able to read News websites from bed.

    And I can log into the company network over our SecureID dialup and check on my jobs, too.

  • allthough the poetry was beautifull... the worst OS ever is most definitly a microsoft product... im not sure which though.... they all have so many faughlts its hard to decide....
  • Excuse me? If I were going to post something, I'd have the cajones to put my name. Don't think so. Trolls.
    Yeah...It's funny because it's true.
  • _vSyncBomb wrote:

    If there were a reasonable desktop companion app for the Newton, I would probably keep on using it for a long time

    I'm working on one (Mac & Win)!

    See my newton web page [tempel.org]

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