When I hit your website today, I noticed in the "letter of the day" someone had already sent practically the exact email that I would have sent. You are probably being deluged with email after Pirates and after appearing on Slashdot today, but for the record:
1. my first computer experience: Black Bell & Howell Apple ][ in grade school (started learning Basic - I had full access, as the teachers were mostly fascinated to watch someone else play around with it).
2. Learned BASIC on a Bally/Astrocade game console with Bally Basic cartridge
3. Finally got an Apple / / e in Jr. High
4. Got my first 300 baud Hayes modem at 14. Got my own phoneline shortly thereafter (thanks to my parents, who really just wanted their phone back).
5. Started my first BBS at 14
6. Got a "Woz" Apple IIgs
7. Still ran BBS but it was down most of the time as I did a ton of graphics/audio/assembly programming on the GS for sheer fun
8. Got a degree in CS from University of Illinois
9. Started a game company with another guy, released 15 titles in 6 years
10. Left that to follow other dreams - working on smaller, possibly less competitive software projects now. Doing games for Palm Pilot. They're fun to write :) and hopefully fun to play. I have a few fans, anyway :)
So many of us just fell in love with computers for no explainable reason.
It seems that lots of cool young computer people went through the BBS phase in those days.
Congratulations. So many don't bother to finish college. At least you can tell others that you did.
One game that I hope to see again in a PDA is one that I had on my Magic Link. An array of characters was presented and you had a fixed amount of time to swoop out connected letters that formed words, with longer words counting more. The key to a good score was to look for batches of common word endings and suffixes and to work on that.
What did you think about Newton Technology? I would like to know that.
I always thought that computing devices should be smart and do things for us. The Newton has the smarts to read normal handwriting and to figure out handwritten commands like "Sara dentist tomorrow 11 AM". It's also more like a computer in a small package. Maybe PDA's aren't worth enough in people's lives to need a mini-computer. The pocketable Palm Pilot is more a modern Sharp Wizard, but it came at the right time, when everyone who'd want it had a computer. It's big step was easy synchronization. Too bad the Newton didn't have this. The eMate did have easy file transfer over IR.
I loved taking notes for hours on my Newton. I'll miss that the most. It's screen was large enough for this. It will probably be a long time before I have that good a notetaking tool based on handwriting.
There are probably many more things to say. I tried the Newton 3 times througout it's life and it only stuck at the end, with the MessagePad 2100. It was finally good enough in some ways that had bothered me before.
Is is true that you were a big fan of the Newton eMate?
What's your opinion regarding the discontinuation of the Newton platform?
The eMate solved a lot of problems that I had for years teaching 5th graders with PowerBooks. It survived rough treatment and drops, the way a laptop shoud. It didn't have constant hardware and sofware failures. It was easy to do many of the things students have to do in class. It was even easier than any computer to transfer files between students and teachers, with "Send" and "Receive" buttons that worked. Sort of like the simple syncronization of the Palm Pilot that made it so accepted.
Thinking about the prior customers as part of our loyal family, we should have been more loyal to them. Apple should not have discontinued the slightly profitable line until someone was found to license the technology to, even if for free. That way, some other company or companies could support it and provide replacements for the future, even if the Newton and it's great technologies weren't right for Apple to continue with.