[NTLK] Newton Love Affair - AKA First Newton

M.D. S mdsf001 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 8 12:27:05 PST 2021

> My love affair with the Newton began in 1994 when a work colleague
> approached me with an offer; one which I couldn't refuse. He had just won a
> brand new 110 in a contest held by a local radio station (CKGM). Being a
> programmer on mainframes he wasn't interested in small devices but he knew,
> I, being a tech geek hardware guy, was into this. I had heard of the MP100
> but found it painfully expensive so Newtons were out of reach, until now.
> He offered to me this piece of art (imho) for, if memory serves, $100. It
> was love at first site.

> Everything about the 110 was beautiful, the design, the stylus, the
> colour, the user interface, .... I could go on. It was everyhting I had
> dreamed of and more. The little details like the telescopic stylus, the
> trash bin animation, the beeps, chirps, and other sounds were perfect. It
> also provided me with a wonderful platform to practice my calligraphy
> skills; prior to which I would have made a doctor blush with my chicken
> scratch. I would practice for hours on the handwriting program... oh the
> fun :)  I'm proud to say that I reached a 95-98% recognition rate so
> whenever someone poked fun about *Eat up Martha* I would whip out my Newt
> and shut down that blasphemy usually in a showy display of "In your face!"

> I loved my Newt so much that I became a Newton evangelist in my neck of
> the woods - Montreal (Capital of the Poutine) and converted enough people
> for me to start my own consulting business on the side - Virtual Computer
> Solutions and became an Apple Solution Professional back in the darkest
> days of Apple's history ***. I mostly catered to business execs and
> restaurant owners to help improve their productivity. Fast forward to 1997
> the Montreal Mac Club invited me to present my newly purchased 2000 to an
> audience of about 150 people (complete with an overhead camera setup so the
> audience could see me interact with the screen in real time).  The crowd of
> people who came to see me afterward made me feel like a minor rockstar :)

 A year later, as many of us recall, it all came crashing down :(

> However, I still contined to use it on a daily basis until 2004. Sure I
> had dallied with numerous WinCE devices but the interface was well...
> Windows and kludgy on such small devices. I never went to Palm like many
> former Newtophiles were doing (I used to put stickies on my work
> colleague's Palm device that read "When I grow up I want to be a Newton."
> or "That's not a PDA... A MessagePad is a real PDA." (to paraphrase
> Crocodile Dundee).

> I guess the beginning of the end for me was when I started using a Sony
> Clie NR70 (another amazing device) and a Sony-Ericsson P910 (amazing
> phone). Despite all it's fantastic functionality the size, when compared to
> the Clie and 910 (which was an awesome PDA as well as phone), the Newt got
> relegated to nostalgic interludes until it went into my drawer of all my
> venerable devices (less of a graveyard and more of a Pantheon of fantastic
> devices). Today it sits alongside my original 110 (which I took back from
> my ex as part of the divorce) and a couple of MP100s - all of which, knock
> on wood, are functional. :)

> Funny story.... By the time I had purchased my 2000 I was a total Newt
> junkie. It did everything for me... book reader, phone dialer both through
> the modem or using a blue box ;-), email, web surfing, games, word
> processing, teleprompter for presentations, used it to watch short videos,
> it even read out loud my alarms - something which my iPads still can't do.

> Anyway, suffice to say that when I sent it in to Apple for an upgrade to a
> 2100 I was like Bertie Wooster without Jeeves (look up Jeeves and Wooster -
> hilarious series). I tracked the update progress with eager anticipation
> every single day and remember looking forward to having it delivered
> straight to the office. As luck would have it I was in meetings the day
> scheduled for delivery. During a break I went to reception to see if there
> was anything for me. Sure enough UPS had come by but needed a signature at
> the same time the receptionist had gone to the washroom. Upon her return
> she found one of those UPS delivery stickies on her desk!!! I pretty much
> lost it at that point and bolted out of the office (well not exactly bolted
> out since we were on the 24th floor of an office tower in Old Montreal but
> you get the point).

> So there I was, roaming the streets of Old Montreal, without a coat,
> mid-February, looking for any sign of the UPS truck. Luckily before
> hypothermia set in I spotted the truck about a block away down a side
> street and dashed out towards it. Just as the driver was getting back in to
> his big brown delivery van I began yelling STOP! STOP! at him. When I
> finally caught up to him, frozen, out of breath I could see the fear in his
> face :) I explained to him who I was, what had just happened and pleaded to
> PLEASE GIVE ME MY NEWTON! :D  I'm not sure if it was fear or compassion
> that he felt (probably a bit of both) but he went in to the back of his van
> dug out the box and after showing multiple pieces of ID and signing for it
> I got my Newt back. It was being reunited with my right arm after losing
> it. :)

> (I just realised that was 24 years ago this time period).

> *Fun fact: I still have my Apple golf shirts and badge with my name on it
> :) - taking those to the grave with me... . :)

>  Cheers!

> Mike Sforza

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