[muglo] Re: palm pilot

  • From: "Galen P. Zink" <blueandwhiteg3@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: muglo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 23:57:42 -0700

On Tuesday, June 10, 2003, at 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
>> As far as the functions of the Newton, it was certainly a very
>> impressive piece of technology at the time. If you're willing to use
>> special software and consider the "real" possibilities of a piece of
>> hardware, I challenge you to compare the Newton to the Sharp Zaurus.
>> You get regular handwriting recognition, amazing expansion, endless
>> software possibilities (the OS can be completely flashed, other linux
>> distros are available) including X11 and KDE. The expansion
>> capabilities exceed that of the newton (more hardware is supported -
>> ethernet, 802.11b, cellular data, bar code scanning, bluetooth, 
>> compact
>> flash/sd memory, 56k modem, and more),
> well, here I am reading mail from 2 years ago.... late in replying of
> course, LOL
> I just have to say on this newton thing, that the expansion
> capabilities of the newton include :
> ethernet (well, not really expansion since it was already built-in)
> 802.11b wireless
> cellular data
> bar code scanning
> text scanning
> ata flash memory cards/compact flash & the older flash cards
> 56k modem
> and more....

The Zaurus has all that... and bluetooth support via your choice of 
cards, USB host support via compact flash and syncing via built in 
TCP/IP over USB (Mac OS X compatible) compared with pokey old serial. 
It uses internal (flash) memory and has a compact flash and secure 
digital/mmc slot for expansion. So you can have endless combinations of 
expansion AND it is hot-swappable. IIRC, the Newton uses PCMCIA which 
is not hot swappable. And as a final touch, there are probably more 
drivers for the Zaurus than the Newton because it is open source and 
existing drivers can be quickly ported.

> (not to mention the undisputed, best handwriting recognition any
> device ever manufactured has ever had)
> seems like all it's missing from your list is bluetooth

I forgot to include it.

> I think the newton is capable of more than you think....

The Newton isn't incapable, it's almost as capable (no color screen, 
slower CPU are the biggest points) as the Zaurus but it weighs 2-3x 
what the Zaurus does and is much larger... one fits in your pocket, the 
other in your briefcase. In terms of software, the Newton might have 
better handwriting, I'm not sure. But the Zaurus is totally open, so if 
I really wanted better handwriting recognition, I could write my own 
code and implement it, not via a hack, but right into the OS. And it's 
rather nice that all the major open source apps will compile for the 
zaurus... can you read and write word, powerpoint and excel files on 
your Newton? How about near-Photoshop quality photo editing (GIMP)? How 
about emulate a Palm? What about using standard network protocols on 
your Newton (HTML, SSL, SSH, VNC, etc)? Watch video (video lan client, 
mplayer, etc - plays divx/mp4/mpeg1/mpeg2/avi files)? Run Java 
(functionality built in!)? Much of this isn't possible because the 
Newton uses a closed-source OS and lacks a color screen.

The Newton was a *completely amazing* machine when it came out. It's 
still a nice PDA but is rather behind the times - lack of color, closed 
OS, slower CPU, large size. Now when the XNewton (or would it be 
iNewton? :) comes out, this will change, but for now, that's the way 
things are. And since I'm not waiting around for Apple whenever they 
decide to release their PDA, I'll be picking up a Zaurus here in the 
next few months.



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