SONUG, Palm keyboards and phones, oh my!

SONUG was great. We met on Sunday, had some pints, had a LOT of great discussion and showing-off, and generally a good time was had by all. John Charlton came all the way from Royal Oak, Michigan, and I think we showed him a good time. Curiously absent were Peter Cameron and Stephanie Maks – where are you guys? We miss you!

As a result of my big mouth at the meeting, Ao Loo lent me a Palm Portable keyboard after I promised I would try to see if I could interface it with a Newton. Grant Hutchinson has been collection information on this for quite some time, except that he’s been looking at the Handspring version, not the Palm version. The Palm version should actually be much easier to deal with since it already has RS232-level signals, whereas the Handspring version would require a line driver in order to interface with the Newt. So the process is going to go something like this:

  1. Find appropriate connector that will slide into the connector on the keyboard (a simple piece of circuit board might do, that’s basically what the connection on the Palm side is anyways)
  2. Solder a Newton interconnect port onto the little breakout board that Ao also gave me (this will be a PITA!!)
  3. Connect the appropriate wires between the interconnect thingy and the keyboard
  4. Write a piece of software that wakes up the keyboard and reads its keystrokes, sending them somehow to the NewtonOS

I’m wagering that the hardware part of this is going to be MUCH harder than anything else.

Yes, I got Sandy’s C332 unlocked yesterday. It was a joyous moment to see it boot up into the menu, and to call her on it to let her know that it works 🙂 Last night we programmed it with some ringtones, but it seems that its ringtone composer is different from other Motorola’s – it doesn’t support setting the tempo!! I might have to compose it on my V101 and then SMS her the song.


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