If the Newton project was supervised by someone able to feel what the market needs, and abandon dead ends in development, and if Newton was published not in 1993, as in 1989 or 1990… But, alas, it all happened the way it happened.
Apple Computer used the work of hobbits!
Scully introduced the Newton group with their vision of their task. What emerges, “computer in your hand” could not be. In addition to handwriting recognition that Steve Saccomano and his colleagues seemed though complex, but quite achievable task, had a few more tasks much more difficult.
But… “We are no barriers either in the sea or on land,…” As said, KEPS, they Sacomano with quiet horror watched fascinated by the work of engineers. Came true the worst of fears.
The first variant of the device revolutionary platform Newton, Figaro, was similar to Knowledge Navigator of the rollers Scully. Case size is 9 by 12 inches, or at 228,6 304,8 mm. According to ISO 216, A4 to this size does not hold, there is only 210 to 297 mm.
The body was located:
- leading all other parts of the complex in motion and implements the intelligence, three of the hobbit;
- hard drive;
- chips access remote networks;
- chips control IR sensors (infrared);
- LCD screen with active matrix, not color;
- the battery for this.
All of this weighed a lot and was pulling, according to conservative estimates, 6,000 of those dollars. But each device can communicate (for IR channels) with five himself like that, of course, was essential. Scully the decision of the team liked, he commanded to continue working.
Speaking of hobbits…
“Computerra” many years ago, called the processors “Cheburashka” and explained their origin: these hobbits were not originally from middle earth, and from the research center AT&T Bell Labs.
But, seriously, the processors were indeed unique. They were the embodiment of the iron With the abstract machine architecture CRISP (C-language Reduced Instruction Set Computing).
C-machine is a theoretical development of Bell Labs, the hypothetical bezregistracii processor architecture optimized for execution of programs with many procedures and the stack organization of data storage. Astronavta the disadvantages of conventional processors, which prevented the programs compiled from C, to work with maximum efficiency.
Iron attractive embodiment of abstraction interested in Apple Computer, which led Bell Labs in confusion. This was an experimental processor, validation of concepts and theoretical insights. They were not intended for commercial purposes in their design and manufacture were not followed the formalities necessary for the issue of the product. They are almost not tested, did not spend time for accurate debugging and fine-tuning. The Apple representative said. He agreed and promised to inform people.
AT&T took with Apple Computer a certain number of dollars (two million and a half this estimate, the exact amount unknown).
The hobbit was full of bugs and almost never worked. In response to the claims Apple, AT&T Bell Labs agreed to bring processors to industrial quality for the extra few million dollars (the usual value of the debugging process, nothing personal).
Apple refused and decided to use ARM processors.
AT&T Bell Labs brought the hobbits to industrial quality level, already at its own expense, and they were used in an interesting communication tablet EO Personal Communicator, a British company Go, which was not a market success, because his time had not yet come. And somewhere else, showing a more than impressive results, but the history of the hobbits ended ingloriously. It was unfair, but such is life.
Developers had several problems, some of which are complexity and uniqueness surpassed their wildest dreams. The guys gathered talented, and the conditions they have created is fantastic.
No one customized. Their efforts were treated with understanding. They spent several months spent days in research and pleasant discussions. In the novel by Lev Kassil “Goalkeeper”, which in 1936 was shot the same film, one of the characters, Karasik, the engineer, was engaged in development projects, unrelated to the actual problems, whatever they wanted, as was written in his job description. In the film, this point is almost not reflected, but in the novel described in great detail, and I’m “hooked”.
In the USSR this was not, especially in the 30s. But on the Apple Computer in the late ‘ 80s a group of highly paid employees lived about the same.
In the framework of Newton software, Apple has developed another language, Dylan supporting “multiple paradigms”, in fact, their two – object-oriented programming and functional. The language combines the features of LISP, SELF and several other languages, he never (in the Apple era of its existence) was not finished, but I didn’t die after the termination of his Apple, rather the contrary. On the portal language reported that they still use today, but the last update (2014.1) dated 2015.
Release the core of Newtons was written on the worker-peasant C++, it was written low-level services and libraries. A significant amount of code contained in ROM, but not to conceal it – to reduce the load on the CPU and RAM.
About a year or two before the release of the first Newton on the Dylan language was, inexplicably, overwritten operating system. Nobody was going to maintain two systems, a version written in C++, was actually better. I read the memoirs of someone who was copied on the system Dylan’e, which did not understand why.
All the tasks were more or less solved, except for the recognition of handwritten texts. It was not even bad, really bad. This is one of the tasks, high-quality solution which is not ill by them is practically impossible. In such cases, are purchased ready third-party libraries, but it is in our days, when there are plenty to choose from. In the late ‘ 80s to choose was not anything else.
Handwritten text is recognized, but uncertain, imprecise, sharply reacting to the slightest deviation in spelling (resize, tilt, unfinished or odd lines) – it was a failure. To release a handheld computer in which this function is the main method of data entry was broken, it was impossible.
And the project would be closed, but there was absolutely incredible, worthy of a spy Thriller story. In Moscow, the capital of the USSR.
To be continued