When I first arrived at Printer’s Inc. Cafe in Palo Alto for the August 2005 SNUG meeting, no one was there. I knew that Flash was in Canada and wouldn’t be able to make it, but what about the others? Is this the end of the Newton User Group? I myself wasn’t able to attend last month, and I heard that there weren’t that many people who showed up.
Fortunately, the old standbys arrived within 20 minutes of my arrival, including Woo Lee from Southern California. Woo has such enthusiasm for the Newton; he helps me recharge my own Newton batteries with all of the cool accessories he brings to the meetings. Tonight, he demonstrated three products from Italian Newton developer Adriano Angelillis: NewtEye, NewtLight, and NewtAC. NewtEye is a LED light that plugs into and is powered by the SER-001 serial port addition. NewtLight lets you power USB devices using your Newton as a battery source (500mA at 5V devices or less). Finally, the coolest product from Adriano has got to be NewtAC, which lets you power your Newton via a USB cable! Woo also brought along a replacement backlight for the Newton. I never knew that they were so flexible! He even took apart his Newton to show us his accelerator board.
What does the future hold for Newton? My belief is that it’s got to get away from old, aging technology and onto newer devices. Paul Guyot’s Einstein project holds the most promise. On the fastest Mac available today, the emulator runs about half the speed of a Newton MessagePad 2100. With further performance optimizations and tweaks, I bet he’ll be able to match the speed of the original hardware in emulation.
Today, we’re having a virtual meeting of the Worldwide Newton Association. On the agenda is continued talk about a possible Newton Conference at MacWorld San Francisco in January, 2006. Since I live in the Bay Area, I volunteered to help with some of the organizing. I’m thinking that we should hold it during the week, as opposed to the weekends before or after the conference. Sadly, visiting all of MacWorld can be done in a day’s time nowadays, so having it during the week would make better use of potential attendees time. Newton owners, what do you think?