Re: [NTLK] [ANN] Newton Connection for Mac OS X

From: Simon Bell <>
Date: Wed Dec 27 2006 - 12:30:53 EST

A big “thank you” to all of you who have sent messages of support.

As you can imagine, I have been flooded with reports of problems with
Newton Connection. Some of them need individual attention, but I
thought it might be useful to address some of the issues in this forum.

The NCX Installer is a workaround that allows me to install libraries
on your system that should be a part of the NCX app itself.
(Ultimately, when I work out how to link it correctly :/, NCX will be
a single app that you can copy anywhere you like.) The installer
installs the following:


The implication of this is that if you have several disk partitions,
you must install NCX on the boot partition.

Establishing a Connection
In my experience the most reliable connection method is serial, and
the fastest is ethernet (wired or wireless).

If you use ethernet ensure port 3679 is open in your firewall.

NCX listens for bluetooth connections too (as you’ll see if you have
a bluetooth-enabled Mac and look in NCX Preferences) but at the
moment the bluetooth Newton Dock module is not reliable enough for

It is essential to set the backup file location in NCX Preferences
before using the Backup function.

Keyboard Passthrough
You can’t enter accented characters (eg press option-e then e to get
é) when using the keyboard passthrough function. This is an NCU
limitation too.

Quitting NCX
Sometimes NCX refuses to quit properly, and even a force-quit won’t
kill it. This can happen if you launch two instances of NCX, or have
Keyspan drivers installed in Classic and run the Classic environment.
If this happens you need either to restart OS X or log out and back
in again.

If you have a lot of Names/Notes/Dates then export is likely to be
quite slow, especially over a serial connection. Be patient! In
particular be aware that if you click Select when exporting Notes,
they will all be fetched in full anyway, but only those you select
are translated into desktop format. This is what NCU does.

If import or export fails it would be really useful if you could send
a console log with your bug report. NCX logs everything it does, so
it should be possible to identify which data cause fatal problems.

To get a console log:
Launch the Console application in Applications/Utilities.
Click the Logs button to show a list of logs down the left side of
the console window.
Expand /Library/Logs, then Console within the list that appears, then
102 within that list.
Look in console.log - console.log.9 for the text Welcome to
NewtonScript. (This is how NCX starts its log.) If you have been
running NCX several times, check you have the right NCX session log,
ie the one containing information relevant to your problem; there
will be some timestamps a few lines below the Welcome banner. You may
need to look for a subsequent/previous run of the application.
Copy everything after the Welcome into an e-mail to me; you may want
to censor any personal information, but please preserve the general
format of the log.

Technical Trivia
NCX is built using Cocoa; the Newton framework is C++ (just like the
real thing).
It does not use the DCL.
It could communicate with Einstein to import/export data to that
The .nbku backup file consists of a 20-byte header followed by a
series of NSOF objects which could be read by another application
(yet to be written) to extract Newton application data.

During this initial phase, while a few problems are being resolved, I
am not asking for payment for NCX. (Of course, if you would really
like to give me something anyway I should be delighted :) You can
PayPal it to simonbell at mac dot com.) I may put a more formal
payment system into place when syncing works.

I shall be away now for a week, so please keep the bug reports coming
in but be patient until I can respond to them.

Happy New Year,


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Received on Wed Dec 27 12:31:04 2006

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