's Bulb

Planting Ideas

- Small - Large - Obvious -
- Unfeasible -

Growing Solutions


Ok, so the Newton's a great machine (still). Unfortunately it's not quite perfect. As we all know, Apple killed it just as they'd got it almost right. Every so often ideas arise that would improve the Newton. 'Newton's bulb' tries to present these ideas to those able to implement them, and to those wanting to learn. Ideas range from the simple to the complex, from the sensible to the wishful...

If you are looking for a simple project for learning Newton scripting, or if you suffer from terminal altruism and wish to help a community orphaned before it's time, then perhaps this is a site for you.

Here's a few ideas that occurred during my Newton travels. Perhaps some ideas will appeal enough for others to grow into something substantial. Instead of relentlessly bugging remaining overtaxed Newton developers, it might be better to set out your ideas and place/link them here. Developers looking for ideas can browse them in their own time and pick out aspects they like. You might just plant the seeds for their next big project. They can contact you if they're interested.

If you know of similar applications to those proposed here that already exist for Newton (or any other handheld computer), then please send an e-mail so a link can be added here. Some of these ideas were inspired by others, some by my own experiences, and some were already independently pursued by others. Of course some are a statement of the logically obvious.


Idea only Started but inactive Active development  Completed

  Completed Projects (found at http://www.unna.org)

  Voiceturn - Allows you to turn the page in a book or application by making a sound or tapping on the Newton

  Simple hacks and small projects (?suitable for new scripters)

Voiceturn II - Improvements to Voiceturn

VoiceTurn III - Further ideas for Voiceturn

Dock Cleaner - a way to remove old computers from the dock's Appletalk 'Connect to..." list

Book Content - a way to fit most  240 x 318 240 x 302 books and their contents window on a MP2x00 screen without overlapping.

Avis Backdrop - Various ideas on modifications (large and small)

NDPS Hit Parade - NPDS module to dipslay the hits per day on the NDPS web server

Bar Basher - Use your finger to read and control the Newton while reading a book - more easily!

Newtscape suggestions - Add the ability to save Avis pictures easily, and directly from the cache selection.

Tames Names - Rename packages in extras

Outta Sight - Extension that hides frozen packages (see Extra Assistance for a larger project)

The Fridge - An extension that hides packages in the Extras display that are part of a Freezeman set. Only the Freezeman set icon is displayed.

Defacer - Export and restore the markings you make on Newton books. Archive them, with the books, to your PC.

Fontezy - Change specific fonts within a note without changing others. Useful for multiple font notes (e.g. Symbol & Times, Japanese & English, etc.)

Assister's sister- Add/change the times associated with Newton Assist event interpretation (e.g. 'lunch' is interpreted to1-2 PM instead of 12-1 PM).

Time Traveler - Set a date in the Dates application directly, using the standard Newton date selection interface, and go to straight to that view.

Relocator - Move all an application's entries within a user specified date range into a user specified folder (e.g. for archival/deletion/etc).

  Big Projects  

iSync for Newton - Add Newton compatibility to Apple's iSync

Extra Assistance - adds an A-Z index (similar to freezeman) to the backdrop & extras drawer. Useful for heavily loaded Newtons...

Note Utilities - Suggestions for handling stationary items in a more useful manner


Add more keyboard shortcuts [Not yet...]

Maintain MS word and other document formats (which use Claris XTNDs) [Not yet... ]

Works Consistently - app to add font translations to Works and other apps (also see fontezy) [Not yet...]

Soup Reducer - Archive/restore specific Notes/Works/Dates entries and folders to/from your PC from/to your Notes/Works/Dates soups.

BabelNewt - A floating app that allows you to select a word in a foreign language document and translate it.

MP3 Player - Use MP3s with the Newton

Sattrac - A satellite tracker that calculates satellite trajectories and alerts you when satellites are due to pass overhead.

SSH Telnet client - SSH (secure shell) for Newton's telnet. Secure connections could be used to remote machines and their services

nPDF - PDF reading for Newton OS
  Super Heavyweight Zone (not for the faint of heart)

JAVA for Newton OS (make use of cross-platform software)

The Newton WABA project

JAVA 2, Micro edition ( J2ME) support - A range of devices (palm's, phones, and others) run programs for this JAVA environment.

Squeak for Newton OS - A port of the smalltalk-like Squeak environment

Pilot Emulator for Newton OS - wouldn't it be nice to take advantage of all that Pilot OS software and development? This might tickle your fancy...

Newton OS Emulator  - Work started on a Unix based Newton OS emulator.


Drivers for the following devices would be pretty cool

Modern keyboards - In the old days Pilot users lusted after Newton keyboards. Now it's the other way around.

Wireless LAN (Apple's Airport) - The Newton has long had wireless (part of the design). Drivers for modern standards/cards are required.

Opus Rex - drivers for PCMCIA PDAs capable of personal information management (PIM) functions.

A portable FM wireless microphone and receiver using Tandy/Dick Smith style kits and a line in plug (preferably using off the shelf products).

A new, modern, replacement screen - see the MP2x00 Display Upgrade pages and a German group (babelfish translation)

  Favoured Sites  

Paul Guyot - Author of the Newton ATA driver and a variety of other packages

Daniel Padilla - author of Newton Dose (Newton community news), voiceturn, audio I/O hardware hacks, and other packages

Steve Weyer - Author of Newtscape, WABA, and other packages

Sean Luke - Author of WABA and other packages

UNNA (United Network of Newton Archives) - a large archive of Newton Applications (multiple mirror sites)

URLs mentioned in comp.sys.newton.misc

Newtontalk site - Newton mailing list - the main Newton e-mail list for Newtons (searchable archives)


A programming starter kit (32 Mb) is available from UNNA. Some of the simpler ideas (above) may provide you with a starting project.

A Newton programming site

A tutorial of how Fontezy was written is also available [Not yet...]


Return of the Living Newton

Cost of development : >US$1 000 000 000

Cost of unit: US $1000

Units sold : 1 000 000

Cost of one cartoon : Priceless!