Re: [NTLK] How do you use your Newton?

From: Lord Groundhog <>
Date: Thu Aug 14 2008 - 19:05:20 EDT

~~~ On 2008/08/14 22:03, Sonny Hung at wrote ~~~

> Yes, we don't know each other for you do inquire

Sorry Sonny -- I grew up in New Jersey, and at least in my generation,
"riding" each other was part of the way of life. FWIW, my wife is also good
friends with one of my ex-girlfriends and with several of my girl friends
(that space makes all the difference, doesn't it?) so we could end up in
similar situations if I didn't live in the UK now.

So yes, back to our beloved Newtons. I may as well answer this now.

Christian aka "Lord Groundhog"
56 years (but not for much longer)
American now living in the UK (near Oxford)
A handful of 2100s and 2000(u)

I was aware of Newtons from the early '90s when a computer consultant told
me I should consider it as a possible solution to my mobile needs, but I
never managed to try one out and the price put it outside the realms of

Finally in 2003, a member of our newly formed MUG, Ross Keuhne, did a
presentation on hand-held devices. He brought some Newtons as part of his
presentation, and let us try them out. It took about 10 minutes for me to
decide I liked the Newton, and within the first half-hour I was something
like in love. No, there was no "something like" about it. I was in love.
The thing that captured me was that in next to no time, Ross' Newton could
read my handwriting as if we were old friends. Better -- a lot of my
friends still can't read my handwriting. I have two basic modes:
calligraphy or "what the...?" I have no idea how Newton managed. By the
end of the evening I wanted a Newt. The next day I suspected that I wasn't
being impractical -- overlooking the fading connectivity of the Newton for
the sake of its geisha-like attentiveness to my every word. I briefly toyed
with a Palm, but input on the Palm is too much like a torture even the
Inquisition wouldn't countenance, so although I briefly used a 2nd hand one,
I couldn't commit to it.

Enter summer 2005. I finally bought a 2100 and on Ross' recommendation,
signed up here so I could learn more. Now I couldn't possibly do without my
Newt -- or NewtonTalk.

I've added a few Newtons, so now I have one that mirrors my main one so I
have total backup and an instant understudy in case of disaster, and others
that have very specific jobs to do. And my eyes are always open for another
one or two Newtons if the timing and situation (and money) are right. My
hareem ...

I decided early on that it would be an advantage for me to avoid the
entanglements of trying to synch my Newt with a computer, especially
regarding my appointments but also with addresses. And by the time I'd had
my Newton a few weeks, I was carrying it all the time so synching became a

The most important thing I do on my Newt is write: I write verse and other
nonsense for my own amusement; I take notes during meetings, during sessions
and phone-sessions with clients; I write reports, memos, papers and other
material for work; keep research notes and write sermons; keep lists of
music, books and other things I'm looking for; store scraps of data I need
with me for reference; and generally I "live" in my Newton. I intend to get
other software to do some other things on it too.

Now I always have my appointments with me, and if I need directions to them
I can add a sketch map. I also have my address book with me. From the time
my Newton wakes me in the morning till the time I write down important notes
from the day just gone and tweak the next day's meetings, phone calls and
tasks, my Newt is how I make sure I'm in the right place at the right time,
doing the right things. And now when I wake in the middle of the night with
an idea I just can't afford to lose, I can scribble it down without turning
on a light and disturbing my wife; the backlight isn't too bright for her.
Next morning, I still have my idea instead of frustration.

The other decision I made about my Newton was to avoid internet browsing and
e-mail at least at first. It'd be nice to have them for the sake of
flexibility, and I may still add all that, if only because connectivity will
make it easier to get other apps onto Newt. But the reason I avoided
connectivity at the beginning is because my Newton is where I do my work.
For me a Newton without the 'net and without e-mail is like going into a
quiet room with no distractions, no conversations, no telephone, no
doorbell. So I'm loathe to surrender my refuge. I've been astonished
(though on reflection I shouldn't be) at how much more I've gotten done
since I've had a Newton. I put it down to the lack of distractions, and
also to the fact that Newt is always with me, so I don't "lose" ideas
anymore and I don't waste time looking for the internet.

Of course if I exercised more self-discipline, having the web and e-mail on
my Newton would be a non-issue, but that never helped on my computers. For
me, partitioning off communications from writing means I write more and

Most amazing to me is the way Newton connects the different bits of my data
for me. It really is like hiring a personal aide. It already does so much
for me, and I still have so much more to learn about it.


~~~ ~~~ ~~~

łAny sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a Newton.˛
            -- what Arthur C. Clarke meant
(With thanks to Chod Lang)

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
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Received on Thu Aug 14 19:05:52 2008

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