One of the biggest sagas playing out in the PDA cosmos is the result of Apple's financial confusion and reorganisations. For months speculation mounted that they would kill or sell off the Newton Systems Division. After a lengthy diatribe by Steve Jobs at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference, held in May in San Jose, Apple finally chose to spin off the Newton group as a separate, wholly owned subsidiary. This could be preparatory to selling the division, either to a third party or to a management led buyout.
Steve Jobs recounted his experiences with one of the first Newtons, and admitted to having never kept one since then. Despite this, he referred to it as that scribble thing, and spoke of his dislike for it. Steve's dearest application is email, and he couldn't conceive of writing email without a keyboard. He also said that maintaining two operating systems was hard enough for any company, but three was impossible.
One of the great things about Steve Jobs is that he isn't afraid to have an opinion and impress it on other people, even when a little rational thought shows it to be an empty one. Most serious mainframe companies have developed, admittedly against their will, at least that many operating systems. IBM for a long time, pre microcomputers, had VSE, MVS, S/34 and many variants and lesser operating systems. This shows that properly controlled, multiple OSes are supportable, even if it isn't a good idea. If they really have to drop an OS, why not the very old and tired MacOS? I also firmly believe that there will come a time when the idea of a keyboard for data entry will be associated with other great input devices like the abacus, slide rule, paper tape and card punch. Forcing the association of typing with email is a bit like wearing flannelette nighties to bed; both perverse and contrary to the spirit of the thing.
PalmPilot Desktop 2.1
3Com/US Robotics have released a beta version of a minor upgrade to the PC hosted PalmPilot Desktop connection utility. This works with all Pilot and PalmPilot models, and adds improved support for Office 97 applications (Word and Excel), as well as mail synchronisation features for Eudora. Minor bug fixes to HotSync and Expenses are also included. Like the recent 2.0.1 OS update (which corrected problems with stylus positioning), only download this if you known you need it. Be warned that Desktop 2.0 and 2.1 both require Windows 95 or NT to run, unlike Desktop 1.0.
only minor differences in PalmPilot Desktop 2.1
Topics covered this month:
Contacts mentioned in this month's column:Dragon Systems: http://www.dragonsys.com
Psion: http://www.psion.com/ and http://www.psion.com/
PalmPilot Desktop: http://www.usr.com/palm/custsupp/readme21.html
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