Re: [NTLK] RES: Case for a Newton and a hardcopy calendar

From: Adrian Marsh <>
Date: Sat Dec 01 2007 - 20:28:00 EST

There was a case from Franklin Covey that had a prptected 'socket' in the front of one of their (somewhat expensive) organiser systems. I saw it once in a bookshop in Cairo, so it may not be a current model (as we in the 'Orient' tend to receive products much later, often when they're no longer sold in Europe or the US). How adjustable this space was I can't exactly recall (i.e. only Palm-sized?), but it was well-designed and looked adaptable.
I am one of those who've used a variety of Newtons since I bought a 2000 upgraded model in 1995, and constantly at that. A brief period when living in Sweden for a year saw me revert to a Filofax and iBook, but for eleven of those twelve years I've used a Newton. At one time it was the only computer I had for e-mail (I had a Colour Classic running 7.5 and no external modem). I have written everything from notes, lectures and lesson-plans to parts of my PhD thesis and outlines for novels. Spreadsheets for research projects and outlines for presentations (even slide-shows), accounting and project management, book-reading, sketching (great for quick birthday cards for friends, as iCards are generally so ghastly and impersonal), and family-trees (though the software is sadly limited by not being able to register it). As an internet device, my Newtons have always been wonderful - email, browsing and blogging and as long as I don't expect to do too much more than read the news, search online library catalogues, tr
awl through Wikipedia or use web-mail, the browsing experience is fine.
I've frequently overloaded the Newton 2100 with all kinds of packages, only to realise that whilst its marvellous that one can read star-maps, watch small movies or track the progress of the aeroplane you're on, I don't need them, nor do I need games, photogtaph applications or GPS maps. The degree to which one can "go way too far" as someone earlier on this list put it, is similar to the level of expectation one has about any technology - generally much too high. The degree to which we all adapt and use our Newton devices is clearly one of the 'charms', whilst the way they appear to adapt and even anticipate, as another list-member put it, is another.
Our emotional investment in personal technology is fascinating, as human beings. As we are neurologically complex artificers, the relationship between our tools and our ability to articulate through them seems very important (Calvin Martin, that remarkable ethno-historian put this case profoundly in "In the Spirit of the Earth: History & the Invention of Time", John Hopkins Press) and the very adaptability of the Newton OS is almost humanistic, communication-oriented and profoundly suited to articulation through the brain-hands nexus, without the intervention of an intermediary keyboard. The eMates did add that intermediary, but maintained the OS and original interaction, and what human beings 'fashion' or 're-fashion' with our hands directly, tactile and concrete, we 'invest' in emotionally. The Newton is a kind of technologically advanced potter's wheel (if the analogy is not too fanciful) because we literally hold it, mould our thoughts and expressions upon it, with it even (in the collaborative sense). D
o we think better when we are actually writing, rather than typing? It's certainly a very different experience (even on a Newton) and that may well be because we are primarily artificers, without trying to reduce Newton users to some biologically determinist group of advanced primates.
I've been fascinated to read some of the more discursive comments posted recently, and I wonder if we have a developing philosophy or meta-physics of Newton use and experience? Seems especially apposite given the great alchemist, natural scientist and physicist these machines are named after...

Adrian R. Marsh, MA
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Received on Sat Dec 1 20:29:43 2007

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