[NTLK] Questions from an apostate

Aron Hsiao leapdragon at gmail.com
Thu Nov 1 00:52:56 EDT 2012

Hi all,

I hope this post doesn't rankle, but I'm in need of help.

I was a dedicated Newton user from the late '90s through the early '00s 
and am now an iPhone 4/iPad 2 user.

The problem is that I'm not satisfied with the software, despite being 
thrilled with the hardware.

I've still got my last Newton 2x00 hanging around and have been looking 
back through some of the data on it (it hasn't really been touched in 
half a decade) over the last few days. And I'm really frustrated as I do 
so by the current state of mobile software. At the same time, I can't 
realistically see myself bringing the Newton out of mothballs and really 
using it again. The hardware is just too old/heavy/monochrome/difficult 
to replace and expand, especially when I recall that I stopped using the 
Newton because I couldn't finish a backup any longer with NCU.

But there must be others out there like me that see the Newton as a high 
point in early mobile tech and that finds that the Newton did some 
things really well that have yet to be duplicated today. So without 
further ado, I'm posting to ask whether anyone has:

- Found an iPad Notes app that is similar in operation to the Newton app 
(esp. HyperNewt)
- Found any device with any form of handwriting recognition that compares
- Managed to get Einstein working in a way that is plausible for 
everyday real-world use
- Decided they've stumbled onto an honest-to-god "Newton replacement"

I've tried about a dozen notes apps on iPad, from the PhatWare offerings 
to Notability to Notes Plus. They mostly seem to think it's a good idea 
to try to ape a paper notebook in one way or another. But if I wanted my 
own handwriting in a setting whose only organizing principle is "pages 
in books" then I'd just take a cap off an ink pen and start writing on 
paper again. And if I wanted HWR just to behave like a plain text editor 
(think PhatWare) I'd just use a text editor and a keyboard. Anyone find 
anything that can do:

- Nested, collapsible bullets
- Content drag/drop on the page
- Handwriting recognition easily mixed with "simulated ink" for 
sketches, etc.
- Filing/organization that is (a) chronological but (b) also offers 
- Scrolling of notes both within a note and chronologically ordered, 
like the Newton

I'm imagining a marriage of MomoNote (for organization/ordering), 
Notability, and the PhatWare HWR apps, but with the addition of the 
Newton formatting features (nestable, collapsible bullets, checkboxes, 
and so on). Maybe it's out there and I've just missed it.

 From another direction, Einstein looks promising, but everything that I 
can find about it suggests that it is slow and incompatible with some of 
the major fixes that are necessary for a real working Newton (basic 
stuff like 2010 fix), and that it can't be backed up. True? If so, it's 
a non-starter for me—I'm really looking for a device that I can use for 
day-to-day stuff that Just Works[TM].

The Samsung Galaxy Note looks interesting, but I suspect that it lacks 
the organizational paradigm of the Newton (which in many ways was 
similar to that of the Palm devices later on), especially since it's 

For anyone here that's lurking but has moved on from Newton, what did 
you end up switching to? Has it worked out?

For various reasons (not least of which are simple hardware 
replacability and the ability to sync) I don't think I can revert back 
to using a Newton 2x00 again. I do want all that the iPhone/iPad have to 
offer. But I'll be damned if I'm not missing some of the basic PIM and 
note-taking functionality of the Newton devices, even if I can't bring 
myself to imagine carrying around a Newton *and* an iPad *and* an iPhone 
all the time.

Aron Hsiao

More information about the NewtonTalk mailing list