[NTLK] Newton gateway idea

David Arnold davida at pobox.com
Sun Jan 10 15:34:12 EST 2016

Hi Elias,

Yes — an external “blob”, like a MiFi, makes a lot of things easier.  But the key problem is communications with the Newton.  Using WiFi means the link would need to be insecure (since the Newton doesn’t support WPA2), and so I’d really like to avoid that.  Using Bluetooth would possibly work, with a Pico BT card in the Newton, but … I’m reluctant to require that dependency, especially given limited supplies of suitable BT cards.

Aside from wireless, connectivity is restricted to the Interconnect port (for which approximately zero connectors are available), the internal modem slot, or a PCMCIA slot.  One option I’ve considered is using a PCMCIA extender to attach to a “sleeve”: a slight bulge on the back of the Newton could support a circuit board, perhaps external connectivity (ie. USB), and perhaps even an extended battery).  But .. if it can be done internally, using the Newt’s power supply, I think it’d be the best option.

Second best is probably something using the Interconnect port.  I’ve no knowledge of “maker”-class folding of metal parts, but .. maybe it’s possible to build a 3D printed (or CNC routed) plastic skeleton, populate it with wire connectors, and wrap it in the metal shell?  A limited run of SMT-compatible Interconnect plugs would open up a lot of possibilities.


> On 11 Jan 2016, at 01:32, Elias Basse <kd5jfe at gmail.com> wrote:
> Would a small form factor similar to a mifi or small cellular router with
> an internal battery be a better idea?  It would be another device to charge
> but could wifi to the newton and be kept in a pocket.
> I do this already with a beagle bone and have a vnc with custom resolution
> size to fit the newt for modern browsing.  Smaller than a deck of playing
> cards and could last for about 12 hours on a 1s lipo.
> It certainly works well although a bit clunky for the interface.  A serial
> communications channel could be opened via network similar to wifi docking
> for tighter integration with internal apps.
> With this all the apps in the world can be available such as email, web,
> gsm, etc without lag because it runs on the external processor.
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