[NTLK] Newton Love Affair - AKA First Newton

CM Laspa 999ad at pathcom.com
Mon Feb 8 12:58:09 PST 2021

Oh, wow . . . I can seriously relate. I have a few ‘similar’ stories from the time too. 

***Darkest days? I’d say BRILLIANT days!


"A pox on 2020—give me stereo stories from the 70s and 80s anytime!”

> On Feb 8, 2021, at 3:27 PM, M.D. S <mdsf001 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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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