[NTLK] Newton gateway idea

Randy Glenn randy.glenn at gmail.com
Fri Jan 8 11:40:44 EST 2016

I had been thinking about something like this for the eMate. Some sort of
serial PCMCIA card that hooks up to a tiny Linux machine - one serial port
to a PPP server, and the other to a terminal for configuration and fixing
things. That gets you Internet access via NIE fairly easily, I think - and
then you can explore proxy servers running on the Linux chip for things
like encryption. Also, you could VNC into the Linux machine for a Web

Going with a Type III PCMCIA card form factor should allow space for a
Linux system and the serial hardware, while still fitting into an eMate. A
Pi Zero might fit in that form factor.

Actually pulling it off is another matter entirely, of course - a lot of
PCMCIA stuff is now end-of-life.

On Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 8:34 AM, SteveC <craft.steve at gmail.com> wrote:

> I just discovered the Raspberry Pi Zero. It has slightly more power than
> the original Pi, but is on a "wafer thin" board and costs...drumroll...$5.
> A whole kit is about $30 at Adafruit at the moment. I was an Arduino and
> Netduino enthusiast, but now a whole Linux computer for less money than a
> microcontroller opens up all kinds of possibilities, like your gateway idea.
> --
> Sent from my Intellivision Keyboard Component
> > On Jan 7, 2016, at 10:31 PM, David Arnold <davida at pobox.com> wrote:
> >
> > Inspired by Jake’s Internal WiFi project, I’ve been thinking about
> designing a companion board for the Newton that would act as an Internet
> gateway.  It would have a WiFi and/or LTE and/or Bluetooth radio for its
> upstream connectivity and act as an IP router, firewall, and
> application-layer proxy for various services for the Newt.
> >
> > The companion board would act as a general IP router, but have built-in
> proxies for eg. SMTP, POP and IMAP.  You’d configure applications on the
> Newt to connect to the services on the card, and configure the card to
> connect out to GMail, iCloud, etc (using SSL).  Configuration of the card
> could be via a basic web page (HTML2 over HTTP1.0) or perhaps with a
> dedicated app on the Newton.
> >
> > Physically, the board could be either an internal “modem” card (like
> Jake’s WiFi project), or a PCMCIA card.  The Newton would use NIE to
> connect to the companion board, either via serial for a “modem” card or by
> having the board emulate a serial or Ethernet card for PCMCIA.  A “modem”
> card would require minimal additional drivers (same as Jake’s WiFi card); a
> PCMCIA card would need to either emulate a supported serial or Ethernet
> card, or require a dedicated driver.
> >
> > Depending on how much power it’d require, the card could run a
> stripped-down Linux/BSD, or if necessary, a simpler embedded OS.  Either
> way, adding additional proxies for other applications would be possible by
> updating the firmware (eg. ssh, RDP, VNC, Twitter, Evernote, IFTTT, etc,
> etc).
> >
> > The practicality of this would seem to rest on the power and space
> available.  The wireless module will consume a fair bit, and running the
> card’s CPU would take a bit.  But an iPhone can support a powerful CPU,
> GPUs, lots of RAM and flash, LTE, WiFi, BT, GPS, etc, etc, using a ~1500mAh
> battery, and IIRC, AA’s are roughly that and we have 4 of them, so perhaps
> it’s possible?
> >
> > What do you think?
> >
> >
> >
> > d
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> >
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