I found my Newton


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Many many years ago I bought an Apple Newton MessagePad 100.  It was a refurbished unit that was already being replaced by the MessagePad 110.  After many moves and storage units, it got a little lost.  It was found today and I thought I’d give it a whirl.

When I’d last put it away, my recollection was that it didn’t work.  I recall it stopped working the day I replaced the backup battery.  Since one of the accessories I’d bought for it was an AC adapter, I plugged it in and turned it on.  It worked.  I was a little shocked and a little elated, and now I’m wondering what to do with the thing.

It was a great little device in its day.  Years ahead of its time with handwriting recognition (even considering the many jokes about how non-accurate it was).  Consider that it was designed for you to train it.  Later, a company would come out with a piece of software for the Newton called Graffiti which trained YOU instead of the device (Graffiti was later the basis of the Palm Pilot which would supplant the Newton as the dominant PDA).

So, I did some digging to see if I can find software for it.  I still have the PC connection cable (if necessary, I think I can find the Mac serial cable), original protective sleeve, fax/modem, and an extra battery holder.  I also have a charger for the NiCd battery packs which were available, but those had long since become useless and I’d discarded them.

You can get some no longer supported software directly from Apple.  I’ve also found the United Network of Newton Archives repository and the My Apple Newton blog.  I’ve not stopped looking, but I do have more things to seek (like software which definitely works with Windows XP or newer if I can find a machine I still own which has a serial port; none of my Macs certainly have one and I’m not sure I want to buy a USB to serial device).  A linear flash drive would be nice, too, if I can find one of those antiquated things.

Do you have any old hardware lying around that was once cool and might still be?

2 Responses to “I found my Newton”

  1. genghis7777 says:

    Thx for the mention of “My Apple Newton.”

    Another software repository can be found at http://tinyurl.com/4ksfyxs. A little rudimentary but a lot of the software there is sorted into NOS version compatibility.

    I use a MP2100 so I’m a little hazy on what works for NOS 1.x devices but I can attest that NCU works on XP. There’s a good chance NCK will too.

    IMO the Apple Newton remains one of the best user interfaces for a mobile device, but then I like to write rather than touch.

  2. You’re welcome on the mention and I appreciate the additional link to software.