Re: [NTLK] Newton Screen Test - Take 3

From: Frank Lowney <>
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 08:24:23 EST

On Feb 1, 2009, at 7:12 PM, Thomas Brand wrote:

> My only thought is to use a Wacom drawing tablet and really show the
> handwriting recognition for what it is worth. Out of all the Newton's
> features handwriting recognition is the one feature the iPhone or iPod
> Touch cannot beat.
> Thomas Brand

I will break out my Wacom Tablet and give this a try.

Of course it won't be exactly the same. Using a tablet always gives
me a dyslectic feeling due to marking on one surface and having to
look at another surface to get the visual feedback that most people
need. Wacom has some high-dollar solutions to this but the Newton has
had it all along.

I have written about iPhone input methods being well behind what is
possible, even w/o a stylus. The virtual keyboard notion simply
hasn't been fully exploited yet. We are still using QUERTY despite
the fact that the problems this layout addressed (physical keys
jamming) has long been moot. DVORAK was supposed to be a better and
faster alternative for electronic text input but that may be too
little and to late to be useful on mobile devices that use a touch
interface. Can the Newton keyboard layout be changed? Not the
language but the keyboard layout. Could you implement DVORAK or some
yet-to-be-invented system on Newton?

What would a stylus-optimized keyboard layout look like? What would
the underlying assumptions be (e.g. hold device in one hand, operate
stylus in the other)? Or are we so stuck in our ways that what we
really want is one of those fold-up QUERTY keyboards that some Palm
users are so enamored of?

On the other hand, why poke at keys at all? Why not learn shorthand
and develop input systems for that? This would work with either
stylus or fingers. I wonder if you can still get your hands on a copy
of "Greg's Shorthand?"

> On Feb 1, 2009, at 11:44 AM, Frank Lowney wrote:
>> Now the challenge is to figure out what to show this audience of
>> iPhone and iPod users, some of whom may have never seen a Newton. At
>> first I thought that showing a few of the more popular apps in use
>> around 1997 or so would be the right way to pay tribute to the Newton
>> and its influence upon all subsequent devices in this genre.
>> However,
>> further reflection suggests to me that showing the things that have
>> been be done on the Newton that parallel things that people are using
>> iPhones do with their mobile device might be better. WiFi, Web
>> Browsing, E-Mail, etc.
>> Your thoughts on that are most welcome.
>> Oh yes, there's one more thing: Since this is just the intro to a 20
>> minute presentation, I'll have to keep the time on this clip down to
>> 1-2 minutes.
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Dr. Frank Lowney Georgia College & State University
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Received on Mon Feb 2 08:24:25 2009

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