[NTLK] Questions from an apostate

Matthias Melcher mm at matthiasm.com
Thu Nov 1 09:52:54 EDT 2012

On 01.11.2012, at 05:52, Aron Hsiao <leapdragon at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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].

Einstein has a few issues that keep it from working in todays environments. I am working on it, Frank and Steven are helping whenever they can, but lack of time is the main concern.

1. Boot issue: Einstein takes 20 seconds to start on a PDA. That is unacceptable. Steve is looking into this and we are positive that we will find a solution to avoid boot time altogether. Instant on means instant work.

2. Speed: all over speed is acceptable. Not what a MP2100 user expects, but if you worked with an eMate, you know what to expect. I am working on this nd I have had good success with the current code. I am hoping to automate the process to get at least MP2100 original speed on an iPhone/iPad/Samsung Note.

3. 2010 fix: the last time I checked, the fix can be played into the Einstein just like you would on a regular machine. But since we own the code, we can apply the fixes directly to the ROM. Once we have solved point 1, solving this is not a big deal.

4. Communications and backup: the Network interface proof-of-concept works. This issue can be fixed if synchronizing over a network is good enough for you. We will likely never implement the serial port emulation. You can also back up the entire contents of Einstein by simply copying the Flash file elsewhere. But you can currently not synchronize or back up as you would using the serial port. The bigger issue here seems to be that the original Newton tools don;t run any more and the new tools are not kept current either. Likely a chicken-and-egg problem.

5. Compatibility to today: many MANY things changed in the real world in the last 15 years. Wifi connections are encrypted in a way the Newton can not deal with. EMail accounts use new protocol, and web pages use HTML encoding that is too complex for the Newton. Images on web pages are often larger than the entire Newton RAM. Einstein as an emulator suffers from the same limitations. We are trying to replace original Newton code with new code that will overcome this limitations, but that is slow and tedious. It works already for the network, though.

Stay on this list to get Einstein updates as soon as they come in.

 - Matthias

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