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Help Me, I Want a Newton and Don't Know Why


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I have absolutely no reason to want a Newton. I have a Nokia N800, I have a Palm Zire 72, I have a BlackBerry for a phone, and all kinds of other gadgets and gizmos that have been exceptionally effective in serving my personal data needs. The Nokia N800 in particular is one of the most capable PDAs I've ever seen - I can only imagine the model from Verizon or whatever the hell in the States which had WWAN built in would have been even better, not needing a WiFi network to pillage. On top of that, it gets ~7 hours of continuous battery life under moderate use, which is usually more than adequate, and the handwriting recognition is okay. Plus, with Garnet VM, it'll run all my Palm applications quite nicely.

 

But, as addressed elsewhere, I like old things. And from what I hear, the Newtons were some of the most capable PDAs of their day.

 

So, I ask you all this: Which would be the best Newton for day to day use? The plan I'd sort of formulated in my head went something like this:

 

- A Newton MessagePad 2000 from here, for $35 + $25 shipping, but of course it doesn't come with a battery, stylus, or anything else integral to its operation.

 

- Piecemeal a stylus, battery pack, AC adapter, and a flash card from somewhere. This is starting to look expensive.

 

- One of these guys, for obvious reasons. I'd like to use this at school and be the jerk slowing down the wireless network with his wacky B device.

 

Unfortunately, this is all starting to look pretty silly. Close to $200 for a zany old PDA? I paid that much for my N800 and 32gb + 8gb SD cards, and it's got all kinds of stuff built in.

 

Nonetheless, I feel strangely compelled. Does anyone have any thoughts? Maybe a comparably useful model that's a little less pricey to find a reasonable example of? Or does someone maybe have a MP 2000/2100 that they'd be willing to part with?

 

The Wireless card and flash and stuff I can handle, but I would like to find a system that will either take AAs, or that has a charger, and obviously a stylus.

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You want a 2100 if you actually want to go on the web with it, as the lower RAM of the 2000 limits its usefulness there by way of serving up constant out of memory errors. The two are otherwise more or less functionally identical, though I know of at least one bug that the 2100 squashed that was present in the 2000. So there was some modest tweaking in the transition to the 2100 beyond the sheer RAM complement.

 

The 2000 might end up being $10-15 cheaper, but you might as well go for the "high end" at that price. If you watch and wait on eBay, you will find a good model for $40-70 from private sellers.

 

The key thing to watch for is the condition of the screen. You want one with no scratches. Along with that, you want the dongle (Newton Interconnect adapter) and all the case parts and stylus, obviously. But I would make sure of the screen's condition first and foremost, as once scratched, they are irreparable; the case parts can much more easily be sourced from dead units etc.

 

I have used a Newton (2000 for many years, then more recently a new-to-me 2100) daily since 1998. In that sense, it is the greatest of my retro machines bar none; the rest I collect but most I scarcely ever use.

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Not so - it works okay for me. I think the issue is that it's being hosted locally somewhere around here, running an HTTP server off a Newton. I can imagine this would be a little bit tempermental where connections are concerned.

 

You folks have provided a lot of good info - thanks! I think you're right, the 2100 is the Newton for me. Now it's just a matter of finding one.

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