||The Real PDA|
Despite having been discontinued by Apple in 1997, the Newton series of devices still embody the best qualities of operating system and interface design and in the eyes of the many people who still use them, has yet to be supplanted by any current device. The highly effective and accurate handwriting recognition that works in situ everywhere, the database structure of the whole machine and the unified user interface make it a cut above other PDA's
There is an elegance and charm about the Newton experience that is a tribute to the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the people who created it. Not a shrunken personal computer or a mere organizer, the Newton has an individual identity which melds all the common organizational tasks with advanced word processing, drawing and sketching, database and Internet. The wide variety of third party software covers every conceivable task and interest - visit the links below to get a flavour of the wonderful things that have been created.
I have written three Newton packages:
ClipAssist, URLwriter and Lottery. Detailed descriptions, screen shots and downloads are available under the links to the left.
There are Newton Books on ASCII and Unicode character sets, Newton 2.x error codes and clothes care symbols. In development are books on Electronics and Geometry Basics
As I use outlines a great deal on both the Newton and the Mac, I have created some Droplets for the Mac application called SuperReplace to assist with formatting.
Newton POP3 E-mail Setup
It took me a while to get the setup right when connecting to CompuServe with SimpleMail <http://www.simple.dial.pipex.com> on my MP2000 so I thought I would set it out in the document below. It should still be a useful guide for other clients and services.
pop mail on newt.pdf (19k)
Newton Connection Utilities (NCU) & Claris XTND
In order for the NCU to work properly on the Mac, you need to install various components in your classic System Folder. This archive contains the most recent or most compatible versions of the items in the Claris Folder, including a comprehensive set of XTND translators and the communication tools.
A Read Me file is included which describes where the components should reside and how the special Newton Works XTND translator can be used with MacWrite Pro 1.5 to easily exchange WP documents between the Mac and Newton with all formatting intact.
NCU & Claris XTND.sit (910k)
eMate Screen Spring Clutch & Cable Fault
There is an age-related problem that afflicts increasing numbers of eMates where one of the spring clutches that support the screen can pop out of its mounting in the hinge and puncture the display cable, leading to all kinds of problems.
If the screen feels slightly sloppy or you heard a loud click when moving the screen, I would strongly recommend that you investigate if at all possible before something happens to the display cable, which is then very hard to repair. Examining the hinges requires that you remove the motherboard which is straightforward if you follow the guide I have prepared.
I have written this page that includes a full description of the fault with photographs and drawings of some solutions which have proved to be effective.
eMate Memory expansion board
David Humphreys aka PCBMan has recreated this board with a beautifully made design. See his site for details and ordering:
Here are images of both sides of the original board for identification purposes.
eMate Mem Top.jpg (356k)
Backlighting the board allows the vias to be seen - the intervening ground plane may indicate it's only a double layer PCB:
eMate Mem Backlit.jpg (388k)
Here are the measurements I have made of my board as viewed from the top:
eMate Mem Dimensions.gif (48k) - Available as a VectorWorks document - email me.
The connector rows are staggered with the bottom row shifted right (when viewed from the top side) by half the width of a pad i.e. 0.5mm.
Spacing and number of contacts is the same as the top row.
Readings were taken with a Mitutoyo Absolute digital calliper and a magnifying eyepiece with etched 0.1mm contact graticule.
The exact size and spacing of the edge connector pads is hard to determine precisely but must conform to the industry standards for this type of connector.
For a "dead" platform the number of sites and the continuing software and hardware development that is occurring is phenomenal. It is estimated that 800,000 Newtons of all types were manufactured and it looks like a lot of them are still being used. There are a vast number of resources on the Web dedicated to the Newton but here are three places of special interest:
NewtonTalk - a very active mailing list for all matters Newton which is also available in digest form. There are people there with a very wide range of skills and they are ready to help.
NewtonTalk was maintained for many years by Victor Rehorst whose efforts for the Newton community cannot be overestimated. Grant Hutchinson has taken over from Victor recently and has our grateful thanks and appreciation.
Newton FAQ - A comprehensive digest of all that is currently known about the platform.
The United Network of Newton Archives - UNNA. A growing repository of Newton software that is searchable with Google technology.
Frank Gruendel has an informative site PDA-Soft <http://www.pda-soft.de> which includes details on Newton device batteries and their repair. Essential now that newly manufactured battery packs are unavailable for most models. Also you will find detailed instructions on the disassembly of MessagePads and the eMate and some interesting packages.
Rich Lindsay maintains a site called This Old Newt <http://www.thisoldnewt.com> which lies at the heart of the Newton presence online and has news, interviews with Newton people, acts as a marketplace and has many Newton related links
PCBMan aka David Humphreys <http://www.members.tripod.com/mrpcbman/>has some very interesting hardware enhancements for the Newton including an easily installable board which adds a conventional Mini DIN serial port to facilitate connections without using the dongle adaptor usually required. (Unfortunately this currently sold out)
Grant Hutchinson has a site called the Newted Community <http://newted.dyndns.org/> which is a fine spring board to the Newton FAQ and Glossary and other useful information including a Newton Error message search page.
Newton in Print
There is a very good book called Defying Gravity - The Making of Newton by Markos Kounalakis with photography by Doug Menuez, Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.
It describes in detail the people and events surrounding the creation, development and launch of Newton. The book is produced to a high standard and is well worth trying to find.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who developed the fantastic applications I use every day on my Newtons which have helped me so much over the years.
Special mentions for the following:
Clinton Logan and Landware for ProCalc Ex, proPoint, NewtPaint, QuickNames, PhotoShow, The WriteStuff, Convert! and much, much more. Thanks mate.
Dan Rowley at ICS for X-Port, BarKeep and GestureLaunch - what can I say, invaluable!
Buy & download at <http://orders.kagi.com/?IC>
Manual at <http://newted.dyndns.org/users/osohn/export/XP2_DOCS.PDF>
Simon Bell for SimpleMail - truly excellent mail client keeps getting better.
Smart Dog Software for BackTalk so those curious Palm things can beam to us.
Modasys for Voice Notes - audio recording and playback.
Travel Concept Solutions for PowerTrans - multilingual translator.
Thorsten Lange for i++ and Witty Keys - making switching tasks a breeze.
Way Wong of Byte-Size Software for Hilite2000, PunctPad and Outline Styles <http://www.members.aol.com/bytesize>
Hardy Macia of Catamount Software for NoteScroller
Ben Gottlieb at StandAlone Software, Inc. for DateMan, PaperLines and Notepad Converter.
Red Box Software for Timer Watch - great stopwatch with splits and count up/down timer.
Artifact for 2 Enter 3 - handy RPN calculator that uses handwriting entry.
Jim Anderson at Narcosis Labs for NewtWiki - hyperlinking by gesture.
This package is still evolving so try it out and provide feedback as to what you would like.
Finally, to Michael Tchao, Steve Capps, and Walter Smith and all those at Apple and Newton, Inc. who made the Newton a reality. Regardless of all the issues that surround the development and ultimate cancellation of the Newton project, you managed to get a fantastic tool into our hands which has still not been matched years after its demise. I salute you.
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© Joel M. Sciamma, 2002-4.
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