[NTLK] News from the weird ROM board

Matej Horvat matej.horvat at guest.arnes.si
Wed Oct 16 15:09:12 EDT 2013

> Remember the weird ROM board that I
> came across a long time ago?
>      <http://www.pda-soft.de/weirdromboard.html>
> Well, recently I sent it to the amazing Super-Matthias who
> had rigged up a
> device for reading Newton and eMate ROMs.

That's really cool. I was afraid you were going to never touch it again.

> This Newton must have had modem support, since the following
> values are defined in the ROM:

No surprise there, all models support the Hayes command set. The Newton  
Fax Modem uses it.

> If the one and only Larry Yaeger is still reading this list,
> he might be pleased to know that he appears (at least in the form of a
> binary easter egg) in the ROM:

The strings are the same as in the eMate ROM, and possibly other ROMs.

> The debugging section even makes suggestions for
> NewtonScript code that
> compiles, but might not have been meant the way it was
> written:

The NewtonScript compiler in the ROM is based on the same code as the one  
in NTK, and these strings are the same as in NTK. It's strange that this  
ROM contains them, because normally you would debug with NTK and have it  
compile code before sending it to the Newton.

>     URI|+nBadWickedNaughtyNoot

This is the symbol 'BadWickedNaughtyNoot, which is a name of an  
undocumented global function (I think) in 2.x ROMs.

> Apart from Serial, AppleTalk, Modem and Infrared Apple
> seemed to have had another form of communication in mind: Blackbird. I'm  
> unsure
> as for what that was supposed to be:
>     useSerial
>     BsuseAppleTalk
>     SuseBlackbird
>     useModem
>     cHuseIR

Those are NewtonScript symbols, but you accidentally included some bytes  
that belong to the 32-bit symbol hash which precedes their name. The  
actual symbols are 'useSerial, 'useAppleTalk, 'useBlackbird, 'useModem,  
and 'useIR.

Blackbird was probably the codename for the Windows NCK. In NOS 1.x, when  
you choose to connect with the "DOS/Windows PC" option,  
userConfiguration.docker.type gets set to 'useBlackbird. The other two  
options are 'useSerial ("Macintosh serial") and 'useLocalTalk (not  
'useAppleTalk). For some reason, the Windows NCK's protocol is slightly  
different than the Macintosh version's. Don't ask me how - I don't know  
much about the docking protocols, but I know that the Windows and  
Macintosh NCK protocols are not compatible. (Maybe Simon Bell knows?)

Apparently this ROM, despite being a 2.0 development version (it's not 1.4  
or something else, right?), still supported NCK.

> I also found the string "TVRemoteService". Seems that
> Apple's Newton department had a lot in the queue at one time.

Or it could be what they called the kCMSSlowIR endpoint, nicknamed "TV  
remote", since that's what it's most useful for.

> Matthias and Yours Truly will try to feed this ROM file to
> Einstein. Since we would probably be able to hand-tweak the screen
> resolution, we might even manage to make it run.

I can't wait!

Matej Horvat

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