Newton never dies. It just gets new batteries!
After all these years, the Newton line of handheld and mobile computing products continues to amaze me. The product has been officially dead since late February, 1998, but hundreds of thousands of users are still dedicated to using and developing for the product. One of the excellent examples of how powerful the device is today is Newton Personal Data Sharing (NPDS), a suite of applications that turn any Newton running Newton OS 2.0, into a powerful, full-fledged web server!
I recently rediscovered NPDS from a thread on the newly revived Newtontalk.net mailing list. Since then, I’ve tracked down a 3Com Ethernet Card, dug up my old Newton MessagePad 2000 (upgraded), and downloaded and installed the software needed to run NPDS. I’ve got a cable modem at home, and the installation and configuration phase went without any problems.
Now, I have one of the smallest and coolest web servers in the world! Who would have thought that the Newton could do something like this? To access my Newton on the World Wide Web, point your browser here.
With NPDS, I can serve content from my Date Book, Address Book, or Note Pad. I guess you can think of my Newton Web Server as a personal FusionOne or Yahoo! Calendar on the Internet!
I’ve gotten in touch with one of the developers who is continuing to support and enhance NPDS and the Newton platform, Paul Guyot. This guy is fricking amazing with what he’s developed over the past few years. His ATA Card Drive, when finished, is going to be rocking. Imagine slapping my IBM Microdrive into my Newton for a full gigabyte of storage space! I can see why Paul was nominated as the Newtonian of the Year in 2000 by This Ol’ Newt. He’s the preeminent Newton developer in the community today!
It’s 00:36 on Friday, June 29, 2001, and I’ve been communicating with Paul, who lives in Paris, France, via my Newton. With NPDS and the WebPager module, he can send me instant messages from his browser that appear directly on my Newton’s screen! To reply, I just enter a note in the Notepad application and he can see it by grabbing a screenshot of my Newton’s screen. How cool is that?
This application is so neat, it might even make me crack out my copy of Newton Toolkit 1.6.4 to get back into development. It’s been sooooo long since I dealt with Newtonscript and NTK. I’m not even sure I can program anymore for the Newton. But, as we say in French, “On le verra.” Yes, we’ll see indeed.
There are a number of people setting up their Newton’s as personal web servers. There is a tracker available on the Net which lists people who have Newton web servers. Give ’em a looksee and be sure to sign their whiteboards. Finally, if you’ve visited my Newton, make sure you sign a message on the public whiteboard or on my main web site’s guestboook.