The Apple Newton was beloved by almost everybody who had one. It came from an R&D group hidden deep within Apple Computer and was developed by people who believed it was the next big leap in computers. In one sense it was the legendary device which coined the term PDA in the early nineties, and in the other sense it was a devastating failure which arrived before its time. But something happened after the funeral, Newton lived on, and grassroots support sprang up.
Hi all Newton lovers, time for an update.
I recently made the trip to Düsseldorf and Paris to conduct some interviews with some of the most influential members from the Newton community. I landed in Germany and met up with Matthias Melcher, who actively works on Einstein (and has many other projects in various stages of completion, Einstein is the Newton OS 2 emulator developed primarily by Paul Guyot). Next, Matthias and I rode the Autobahn at high speed in his Tesla to meet partway (in Osnabrück, where) with Frank Gruendel of pda-soft.de, who has actively been a part of the Newton community in many ways including repairing and making guides to repair some common ailments of the Newt.
Next, I took the overnight bus to Paris (don’t ever do this, take the train!) and joined up with Sylvain Pilet and Cédric Sartout. We didn’t just practice my French, but did a whirlwind tour of Paris using the Michelin Guide on PCMCIA, followed by an interview. Paweł Piotrowski and his wife joined us incredibly from Edinburgh and we had a get-together of Newton fans at a local restaurant where we were joined by Paul Guyot (the influential guy behind the Einstein emulator and the World Wide Newton Conferences), who I had the pleasure of interviewing the following day.
To save money Matthias and his wife were kind enough to host me at their house, and I was able to get a cheap room and save a little budget in Paris by staying at a hostel. At this stage I have a lot of material for the film. I’m not finished yet, but I know already that some great material will end up “on the cutting room floor” which makes me think that there will be an extended version of the film and/or bonus features or some sort of podcast to get the material out there. However, there are some people I have not had a chance to get to yet, so the filming continues. More to come as this takes shape. It was a huge pleasure to spend time with these fans.
In the meantime, back to my day-job, but the editing in earnest will have to begin soon in order to get the film finished by the end of February.
As always, any feedback or concerns or critique are welcome.
(Some images courtesy of Paweł Piotrowski)
I was fortunate enough to have Logan of Snorkel.nz conduct an interview with Tony Kan in Christchurch recently, and Tuomas of Kuutiomedia.com in Finland conduct an interview with Eckhart Koppen of 40hz.org (author of the completely essential year 2010 patch). I will try and find others who can help me with
interviews. If you are interested in participating in the film, please don’t be modest (you can only make the film better by participating!) we will find a videographer to make it happen.
Simon Bell was creative enough to volunteer to shoot his own interview with his wife, who was a TV producer, using an iPhone. Initial tests have been really great, and with good lighting, a steady camera, reasonably good composition and good audio, it’s really hard to see that the video was shot using a lowly iPhone. Self-interviews can be submitted here, all that I ask is that you record good audio (since sound is half the picture, to quote Steven Spielberg), perhaps using a mic similar to this one. If you need financial help to get a hold of one of these mics or a similar one, let me know. It’s much cheaper than flying, and mailing one with return postage to you is probably not worth the time, money and effort! Contact me if you are interested and I will come up with some questions you can answer, or answer any questions you may have.
All the shirts have been mailed out. Thank you to the backers who chose a shirt, the rest of your crowdfunding “perk” is still of course in progress (the film). Please don’t be afraid to post pictures or messages to social media about the shirt to promote the film, I recommend using the hashtag #iLoveNewton and posting a self-photo. One more note: a small percentage of the shirts may have a defect of being slightly blotchy, this is a problem with how they were printed. If you suspect this is you, please just contact me and I will send you a replacement.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” – Isaac Newton
One thing I didn’t anticipate was how willing some of the original development
team of Newton and Newton OS would be to sit down and talk with me. As a result, half of the film is actually going to contain quite a lot of the history and philosophy of the Newt. I have uncovered a lot that was news to me (though not necessarily to anyone well-versed in Newton lore), for example, the Newton was originally meant to be a large slate-type device which would have a lot of advanced technology (and even a subwoofer) and cost $6000-8000 (in ’90s money!). That makes the iPhone X look like a steal. However, I don’t want to forget the original purpose of the film: to celebrate what came after the demise of the Newton team at Apple and the people involved today…
On September 25th I’m departing for a whirlwind trip to Dusseldorf to meet certain well-known active Newtontalk.net community members there, then heading to Paris for the 28 and 29tth for the same reason. If anyone is in those areas and willing to meet up with me, let me know. I’ll also be heading back to the Bay Area on October 23rd until the 29th, and spending the 30th in Seattle. Not exactly a vacation, this is all the time I could afford. I also have connections in Vancouver and possibly Phoenix, and will be spending time in Calgary and New York very soon.
Love Notes to Newton is a film about Newton, but it’s really a film about people. Here are some of the amazing people who have participated so far.
Our campaign ran on the backs of these shirts by illustrator and creative director Frank Orlando. We will still be selling them! Stay tuned for an updated purchase page. From the original description:
A few people have asked me to clarify what kind of videos I would like people to submit for the film. Although I am happy with any kind of interesting content, here are the questions that I would ask you if I was there interviewing you myself. This can serve as a guide, especially if like me you need guidelines to know where to start. If doing an interview, some questions you might start with:
- Tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do and what your interests are.
- When and where did you first find out about Newton?
- What do you think was so special about Newton?
- How have you been involved with the Newton community?
- Show me your Newt(s), and tell me about it(them)!
- How did you feel when Apple cancelled Newton?
- What’s next for Newton?
- What else do you think it’s important for people to know about Newton?
Or you could shoot a video of your Newton in interesting places, much like the “Who is Newton” commercial.
Of course, everybody is different, which is what is so exciting about this project! If you have any ideas about other questions I should ask, please contact me and if I agree I will add them to the list.
When you are ready to submit, it can be done here.