[NTLK] Newton gateway idea

David Arnold davida at pobox.com
Fri Jan 8 23:37:39 EST 2016

> On 9 Jan 2016, at 03:40, Randy Glenn <randy.glenn at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> browser.

Back in the day, there were PCMCIA serial cards from a company called “Socket Communications” (I think?) that were supported out-of-the-box by NOS.  A quick search suggests that some form of that company still exists selling mobile-related stuff, so it might be possible to get a hold of their cards.  But I *think* they were really just low-power, 16550-compatible, basic serial/UART cards.  So it *might* be pretty easy to build a PCMCIA card with a suitable UART chip that works with NOS without any additional effort.

I used to use NIE’s PPP to a Linux box on a regular basis, and my recollection is that it worked without any real issues.

Rather than requiring two serial ports, once you’ve got PPP running, you can use PT100 to telnet into the Linux box.  My plan was a expose configuration through an old-skool HTML-2/HTTP-1.0 web site that could be easily grokked by NetHopper …

If you wanted to get fancy, shipping serialized NewtonScript frames back and forth over TCP might make native application development pretty simple too.

> 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.

Type III rules out the MP2k’s, so I was hoping to get a Type II (ie. 5mm high) form factor to work.

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

Yes.  So the next year or so is probably a critical time to buy EOLed components if it’s ever going to be possible.


> 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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