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Moblogging with a museum piece

May 8th, 2004 · No Comments

I’ve started joking that I’m going to start mobile blogging (moblogging). My one problem is my lack of equipment. At the moment, any funds in our technology budget would be directed to higher priority items (like a new laptop for me…).

Ah, but now I know how I will moblog – I’ll convert one of our many Newtons! I saw (via the social software weblog) this Wired article Mo’ Better Blogging with Newton that began:

Further proof that Apple’s Newton will never die: A Seattle blogger is using the brick-like PDA to run the very latest in personal publishing — a mobile blog.

Programmer Mike Manzano maintains his Dumb Blogs Have More Fun mobile blog, or moblog, almost entirely from his Newton MessagePad.


At first glance, Apple’s Newton is an unlikely candidate for such duties. For a start, Apple discontinued the much-maligned Newton in 1998. It should have gone away, but it is still used by thousands of fans, who have found lots of ingenious ways to keep the hardware and software current.

Manzano fitted his MessagePad with a Wi-Fi card that sits in one of the Newton’s two PC Card slots (it uses a driver written by a Newton user in Japan).

Manzano writes in longhand, running his posts through the Newton’s spell-checker. “It’s got really, really great handwriting recognition,” Manzano said. “Natural and accurate.”


Manzano said he’s thinking about soldering a Bluetooth chip onto the Newton’s motherboard, just as Eckhart Koeppen attempted. Then he’d be able to wirelessly transfer photos from the phone to the Newton, and then to the moblog.

Ted and I are well aware that Newton was discontinued in 1998 – that’s about the time Ted got laid off from Apple….

but he brought home with him a copious collection of T-shirts now hanging in the closet, and a few models of Newton that have been lying around the office gathering dust. I think we still have some of the handy accessory items that would be useful for carrying Newton around town. All I got to do now is figure out how to get it set up for Wi-Fi and make it work

So yesterday at lunch I asked Ted when I can start moblogging with these museum pieces. Since this fellow blogger is in Seattle, perhaps we can find him and see if he’d help us out 🙂 After all, what else are these Newtons going to do but gather dust? They’re pretty big to be paperweights. I figure we should send them to a museum or moblog! Often I think about how great that PDA was for its time, and this Wired article exalting Newton again makes me sad for what was lost. The quote about “really, really great handwriting recognition” is a bit bittersweet (that was a “much-maligned” feature). But maybe Newton can know new life through blogging!

Tags: geek