People change, times change, interests change

Who wants a file archive?

I started this thing, which I called UNNA, back in September of 2000. At the time, there had been a great collection of Newton software called NewtonMAD – however, some of it was warez and so it needed to be ‘cleaned up’. Some Newties, including myself, started doing this, and out of it came UNNA, the goal of which was to compile, amass, and categorize as much Newton software and as many file archives as we possibly could, in one place.

Back in 2000 I was still living in a dorm in University, and I was only a few weeks away from meeting my future wife. I was using an old DEC Alpha workstation ($50 surplus from the U of G CompSci department) running NetBSD as the server, and my residence internet connection for bandwidth.

UNNA grew and grew and I kept on finding and mirroring files, tirelessly moving them around, extracting them, whatever whatever. I realized it would be a good think to store file information in a database. Paul and I came up with a database schema, and JB Hemlock wrote a PHP based management system for it, for free (which was frickin awesome). I kept adding files. I added the ability for people to submit files. I started a network of mirror sites. Redesigned the website a few times.

Where the hell am I going with this? Basicially out of all of the things I’ve done, UNNA is the longest-running and probably the most successful. That said, I still have a love/hate relationship with it. Since about 2002 my time for all things Newton-related has been in decline. The past few months it has been quite close to zero. I feel like shit because of this, I feel like I’ve been letting the community down by not updating and not adding new files.

I’ve false-started, dropped, or quit so many ideas and projects in the last 5 years I probably couldn’t remember them all. Now I’m going to be 25 and I’m finally starting to feel focused: I’m finally going to be working in my field, software development, I have a wife who loves me and a house to work on. I didn’t have any of these things when I was just a geek in my dorm room. Now I do and they’re more important than my geeky exploits.

I’ve had tons of cool site ideas, code ideas, but I don’t have time to put them down on paper or in code. Little things I sometimes finish, like the time I figured out how to find a PICT image in a Newton package and convert it to a GIF, but by and large my Newton and my hard drive is full of half-finished code and stuff.

I want to get rid of UNNA, but there’s no place to put it. I’ve let it stagnate and people have called me on it numerous times, but no one has offered to take it over. The maintainer would have to have an intimate knowledge of PHP, MySQL, Apache, and Linux, not to mention the Newton. I still love using my Newton and do so every day, but as far as accomplishing things in code, I have a feeling I’m going to be able to fulfill those aspirations at my job. I am really starting to like my company, warts and all, and since I walked in the door I knew that it was full of great code and smart people. I’m finally going to be developing code instead of support, and I am looking forward to working hard and focusing on it.


6 replies

  1. Take it from a 32 yr old who owns a house,
    married, 2 kids, and a career that no longer excites.

    You should enjoy this time with you life and career because it’ll change. Your ahead of the game because it sounds like your taking note of your present.

    I’m just a typical guy. My time of reaching geek status way behind me. I know I probably only use less than 25% of my Newton’s capabilities. Yet that’s me and where I’m at.

    Just want to say that whatever you do with the UNNA, don’t lament the fact that Life happens. Thanks for supporting the UNNA for when you did. You’ve given me (and I bet countless others) a place to go for Newton software.

  2. OK kind OT, but MSN isn’t working and I’m curious. Have you played with the “Last.FM” part of AudioScrobbler. Once you get 300 tracks played, it adds a “Personal.FM” icon to your AS profile. If you click it a window opens and begins playing a radio station of the music you’ve listened to — AND it updates your AudioScrobbler last-played info.
    It doesn’t go to your comp and play your music, because some of the songs it plays are different versions than I have in my library. But maybe it just matches your songs to it’s own library and builds an M3U for you?
    I’m not really sure how it works, but it’s pretty cool. Any idea how they accomplished this?

  3. Hi!!
    I found your page on the NEC UltraLite Laptop. I’m looking for some ROM cards. Are you interested in some better pictures of this laptop? Email me with an email addr5ess I can send some to. I have model PC-17-02 which is practically brand new and has less than 10 hours of usage. I’ve decided to play with it now. I have a collection of old used and old new laptops. 🙂

  4. Vic…
    I’ve been reading chuma and visiting UNNA for years now. I enjoy both deeply, but I can definitely feel where u are coming from. Much congrats to the house, wife, and the job. I hope all three remain fulfilling as the years go by.

    Many and deep thanks for all you’ve done for the Newton community. I am by no means a Newton power user, but I still contend that it was way before it’s time and events like WWNC ’04 show it’s well loved and viable….

    Best wishes to u…

  5. Have enjoyed your posts, your support, and your wit. Glad to see life kicking in the afterburners for you…enjoy the rush!

    Keep it green!


  6. Hi Victor,

    I remember like it was yesterday when I brought up with you. It was around beginning of March 2002. The files date back to March 11th, 2002…
    It was always nice to “work” with you. Even if I never took it as work, more like “hobby”.
    It’s great that you found your focus. I’m 28 and I stopped looking for one. For me it’s just my work at the moment. I should get some reallife, I suppose.
    Hope we’ll stay in contact! 🙂


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