Kibbles & Bytes Archives

Subject: Kibbles&Bytes #29: Don's Review of the Newton Message Pad 2000
Date: July 1st, 1997

Subject:     Kibbles&Bytes #29: Don's Review of the Newton Message Pad 2000 
Date:        07/01/97  9:06 AM
From:        webmaster

Dear Friends

I travel all over the country to attend sales and auctions of computer 
products. up until recently I carried by paper organizer and my Powerbook 
Duo 2300c with me along with an assortment of extra batteries cables and 
AC adaptors.  Even with the slim Duo I found my brief case to be heavy 
and overcrowded.  After convincing Hapy that I just had to have a 
MessagePad 2000 I started using the Newton instead and I am a convert.

I had tried previous iterations of the Newton technology but found them 
to be less than useful slow and inappropriate for serious business use.  
The handwriting recognition on the early Newtons was weak at best and the 
lack of a keyboard made the device an interesting toy.

With the MessagePad 2000 and the StrongARM SA-110 RISC processor running 
at 160 MHz this Newton is the perfect business assistant. My positive 
reaction started immediately when I turned the MessagePad on and in less 
than a second it was totally booted up and ready to use.  Dumping my 
large Claris Organizer database of phone numbers and addresses into the 
MessagePad took only a few minutes using the included Newton Connection 

Looking up a phone number has never been easier.  With my Duo and paper 
organizer I had a couple of choices I could boot up the duo wait for a 
few minutes while my 4 or 5 rows of extensions loaded and then find the 
phone number or I could open my paper organizer and hope that I had 
printed out an address book current enough to have the right phone 
number. Contrast that with my new MessagePad.  To find a number I press 
the on switch and immediately touch the find button write in the name 
and instantly the card with the phone numbers pops up on the screen.  
From there I can even have the Newton dial the phone number by holding 
the speaker up to the phone receiver and take notes on the call with the 
call record note card that pops up.

When I travel I usually have two main application requirements.  I need 
to stay in contact with my e-mail and I need word processing and 
spreadsheet capability. The Message Pad 2000 has two PC Card slots.  I 
installed a MegaHertz cellular ready 33.6kbps Cruise Card in one slot and 
a 4mb Flash Card in the other.  The modem works flawlessly with the 
resident fax software.  I was able to receive and send e-mail with the 
bundled EnRoute software (I am going to give Eudora Pro for the Newton a 
shot on my next trip) and even do some rudimentary web browsing with the 
bundled Net Hopper application.  E-mail faxing and beaming to other 
MessagePads are communications options built-in to every note calendar 
and application.  The messagepad is telephone smart in that it is capable 
of handling long strings of phone numbers access codes pauses and 
credit card numbers.  The 4 AA cells keep the Messagepad operating for 
several days at a time depending mostly upon how much backlighting you 

While at the auction I was able to record my purchases in the Newton 
Works Quick Figure spreadsheet track my purchases and later in my hotel 
room split them up in a full functioned Excel-compatible spreadsheet.  
This was where the MessagePad keyboard came in handy. The lightweight 
keyboard attaches to the serial port on the MessagePad and while a bit 
small for my pudgy fingers it was a boon to entering data and responding 
to my e-mail.  The word processing component of Newton Works is also 
plenty powerful enough to handle my on-the-road business correspondence.

Any of you that have received a hand written note from me know that my 
handwriting might make your 2nd grade teacher cringe (it did mine).  I 
write in a combination of cursive and upper and lower case print.  I was 
simply blown away at the accuracy of the handwriting recognition.  While 
it is true that to some degree I am being trained by the Newton I would 
guess that I am running at about 90% recognition which is far better than 
most humans.

I am still learning about all of the MessagePad 2000's features and 
capabilities but at this point I am unabashed in my praise of the device. 
 Lightweight powerful and a bit of fun the device still draws attention 
in airport lounge on the plane and even in a room full of savvy computer 
buyers.  I wish the new Newton Inc. company great success with this 

We have a few of the MessagePad 2000s in stock and will be carrying 
accessories such as pens AC adaptors modems and flash cards.  We have 
also added a few other PDAs to our price list including the popular USR 
Palm Pilot.

Other Stuff:

At Small Dog we keep up with the latest Mac news by surfing a number of 
excellent daily news sites. Our favorite site is the Macintosh News 
Network which provides daily late-breaking news software updates 
troubleshooting tips and technical advice. Updated three or four times 
daily MaCNN provide the latest in depth and comprehensive coverage of 
news related to the Mac OS and Apple (

New Stuff:
Here's a head's up on some of our latest purchases and a few specials for 
this week:

Recent Additions to Small Dog's price listing:

Performa 6400/200 16/2.4GB/8xCD/kybd/modem (r) - $1159
PowerMac 8500/120 16/1GB/CD (r) - $1549
PowerMac 8500/180 32/2GB/CD (r) -$1999
PowerMac 8600/200 32/2GB/12xCD/Zip  (n) - $2989
Motorola StarMax 4000/160 32/2.5GB/8xCD (r) - $1495
Motorola StarMax 4000/200 32/2.5GB/8xCD (r) - $1895
Powerbook 1400c/117 16MB/1GB/CD (n) - $2395
A few Newer Technologies SCSI and Ether Docks are in stock
LaserWriter 16/600 w/new toner (r) - $ 1399
Newer Technologies 225mHz 604e daughter cards (n) ($150 rebate) - $1099 
($949 after rebate)

Kibbles and Bytes Exclusive Specials

Performa 6300 16/1GB/CD/Keyboard/28.8 (r) 
  with 15" Multiscan Monitor (r)
  and Color Stylewriter 1500 (r)
  all for $ 1159

Apple PowerPC 150mHz 604 Daughter Card (n) - $189

Don Mayer 

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