[NTLK] Reflecting on the first few weeks USING my Newt 2000

From: Jon Scordia (jscordia_at_mac.com)
Date: Sat Jul 30 2005 - 03:03:01 PDT

Hi list. Sorry if this is a ramble...

Well you've all helped me (thank you!) fight my way through the trials and tribulations of setting up a Newt for modern day use, and now I've settled into actually using the thing.

I'm a long time Psion 5mx user and migrated to a SonyEricsson P910i supplied by my office in the hope that the Psion's fairly elegent operation system and useful PIM/'office' software collection would have developed *forward* in the intervening time.

Not so. The P910i exhibits all of the current problems of trying to cram too much into an awkward form factor, making compromises in every regard. OK, its pretty good at surfing the net, and I'll never get vRally to run on a Newt! (Oh and I can make phone calls with it). However the experience doesn't last long before your hand cramps and frustration at the interface takes over!!!

I started off trying to get my Newton to do everything, loaded MP3 software, graphics software etc etc...

But that is not its strength. Until such time as a really useable, powerful all-in-one device arrives that has an elegant and genuinely user friendly interface, I am a firm believer in sticking with a number of specific devices that do what they are good at, and very well. Why try and force the Newt to play music when my iPod just can't be beat?

And that's where I started to REALLY ENJOY using the Newton. Using Newtworks and Notes with various upgrades and helpers, using brilliant interface enhancements like Avis Backdrop coupled with writers calc (sums on the desktop) and of course Dashboard, and getting into Blueprint2 plus others, I now have the most user friendly and intuitive interface to the kind of stuff I need to do quickly and daily that I have ever seen.

And you dont need to wait for the Newt to start up.

It fits into the Apple paradigm perfectly in as much as the software interface recedes into the background and you just seem to get things done. A number of inspired user interface design decisions made 10 years ago STILL keep the Newton ahead of the game.

And its size? 'Hi Jon I see you've brought the brick into work today' is a regular comment! However I often have an hour long train journey, Glasgow to Edinburgh, and I've been sitting comfortably with the Newt on my knee, the handwriting recognition still works over the bumps in the track, and I'm getting things done! Never did that on the P910. UI like the Psion, but the screen was a bit too small. The weight, size and feel of the Newt, the size and clarity of its screen, are all very much positives in my book.

I reckon that the 'palm pilot' and the phone will merge and the smart phone will be perfected and take over the handheld PIM world. I reckon that the laptop will not get much smaller because it needs to have a decent screen and a decent keyboard (ergonomic factors not technological limitations)

And that will leave a gulf in the middle, where a tablet based keyboardless computer will evolve that will only be successful if its interface is elegant and intuitive. If it's a success it will look and feel VERY MUCH like the Newton!

I hope Apple is listening. In the meantime I just sit smugly on the train, working away happily and waiting....

Right that's got that off my chest, cheers listers!


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