[NTLK] Armstice board (was: Unused Messagepad)

Grant Hutchinson grant at splorp.com
Tue Feb 28 18:41:05 EST 2017

On 2017-02-28, at 2:07 PM, Steve White wrote:

> I am friends with the owner of that Bunwarmer, and I own that Universal Newton Adapter.

Hey Steve.

Following up on the Bunn Warmer ...

I also own a second 'warmer that was purchased along with my ARMageddon and ARMistice cards. Below is some of the information that the seller sent me prior to the purchase. Perhaps there's some useful tidbits amidst the text.

At some point, I need to photograph this other prototype.



Subject:     Newton Protos...
Date:        January 11, 2002 9:54:22 AM MST
From:        Gregor William Stewart
To:          Grant Hutchinson

Dear Grant,

I have a Newton 'Bun Warmer' proto that looks very similar to the
one featured on your page. I also have the ARMageddon and
ARMistice NuBus cards, somewhat described below, and the
software/cabling to make them all work. A friend who used to work
in the Newton Group at Apple gave them to me a while back (he is
the writer of the description).

After uncovering, playing with, then throwing out half a ton of
old Macs, PDAs and all whatnot during the holiday, I decided that
these items have been cluttering my place up for long enough. I'd
like to sell them to someone who will love them, for obvious

Since you already have one, I don't imagine that you are
interested in the 'Warmer and its enabling card, but I thought
that you might find the other card attractive (even if it isn't a
red emate). It's a quite rare, 'Newton on a card' affair and I
last saw it in operation three years ago. Since then it has been
in antistat wrapping in the 'Newton Stuff' box.

Brief Description of the whole package:

This is a very interesting package for the collector of Newton
memorabilia. Essentially it comprises three elements: two NuBus
cards and a large Newton prototype.

The large Newton prototype is a Bun Warmer which is basically all
the components of an early Newton Messagepad spread between two
thick plates of plastic held about an inch and a half apart.
Between the plastic plates are various components of the logic
board, and some switches and ports for control and i/o. On top is
a MessagePad screen which could be used in the usual way when the
device was running. Unfortunately, on this one the screen has
been cracked by a blow to it. One could remove the screen from an
original MessagePad and have a go at wiring it in as a
replacement [an original MessagePad is included as a subsidiary
item, for this very purpose].

Prior to the screen breaking, this prototype worked. However,
they were fragile and unreliable when they were new, so there is
no telling whether this one could still work. A quick look at the
Bun Warmer shows that they were more or less hand-built with lots
of hardware fixes to get them going. The Bun Warmer was dependent
on a NuBus card for communication with a Mac and for receiving
new versions of the Newton OS as it was being developed. That is
what one of the NuBus cards is. You will need some software, a
NuBus Mac, probably MacOS 7.x and a lot of luck to get this
working, but it could happen. So far as I know only a few hundred
Bun Warmer's were ever produced.

The Bun Warmer was to be replaced by an improved NuBus card. This
was basically a Newton on a NuBus card that facilitated a
self-contained development environment running on a Mac.
Originally there were going to be a lot of these, but they turned
out to be very expensive, and I think around 50 were made.
Shortly after they were introduced, prototype MessagePads
appeared which could be used for development. So these cards are
super rare. You also needed special software to use this card.
When it works it is pretty cool since you get a Newton running on
your Mac. One of these cards was called an ARMageddon and the
other was called an ARMistice. I am not sure which was which,
though I think the ARMageddon preceded the ARMistice.

One more thing, when you have one of these cards (I can't
remember which) in your Mac the boot sequence is altered to
include a moment when the card is initialized and a black splash
screen with a yellow Newton logo flashes up. That's pretty cool.

It's worth noting that my 'Warmer has much more raw board than
yours appears to - it's a very early proto by all accounts (hence
the requirement for a NuBus card). The function decals at the
bottom of the screen are printed on paper!

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