Angela Columbian David Dolcelula G-Man John LauraN Marcy Milo Mom rob k Rodney SAMamerican Spammer Steve Steve R. Back yonder ’round about 1998, when I finally dove into the world of the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, otherwise known as a PIM (Personal Information Manager)), I bought a new but discontinued Newton, the MessagePad 100.
Some time after I got my Newton, I got my first cell phone, a Qualcomm thing where you could slide the earpiece to answer and end calls.
A year or two ago, I was tired of keeping two sets of records, so I stopped using my Palm for contacts and moved everything to my Mac. When rumors of an Apple phone started to surface years ago, you can understand why I was so intrigued. I wish I had a video of myself and Ben at that keynote, because the iPhone, as Steve was revealing its many wonders, turned out to be far more exciting and fantastic and brilliant than I had ever imagined it would be; Ben and I were excited beyond reason. Between the Newton and the iPhone, I had probably 8 years of simply passable PDA experiences.
Of course, there is another similarity between my old Newton and my new iPhone: both are early version products.
For a great set of beautiful pics that inspired me to dig out my own Newton, go visit philcarrizzi at Flicker.
Fatih Sarioglu, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, holds a hybrid microfluidic chip that uses a simple circuit pattern to assign a unique seven-bit digital identification number to each cell passing through the channels. Phone calls and text messages reach you wherever you are because your phone has a unique identifying number that sets you apart from everybody else on the network. The technique uses a simple circuit pattern with just three electrodes to assign a unique seven-bit digital identification number to each cell passing through the channels on the microfluidic chip. The research, reported in the journal Lab on a Chip, could provide the electronic intelligence that might one day allow inexpensive labs on a chip to conduct sophisticated medical testing outside the confines of hospitals and clinics. Microfluidic chips use the unique biophysical or biochemical properties of cells and viruses to separate them. The new technique, dubbed microfluidic CODES, adds a grid of micron-scale electrical circuitry beneath the microfluidic chip. This impedance change has been used for many years to detect the presence of cells in a fluid, and is the basis for the Coulter Counter which allowed blood counts to be done quickly and reliably. The positive and negative charges from the intermingled electrical circuits create a unique identifying digital signal as each cell passes by, and that sequence of ones and zeroes is attached to information about the impedance change.
Because the cells sorted into each channel of a microfluidic chip have certain characteristics in common, the technique would allow the automated detection of cancer cells, bacteria or even viruses in a fluid sample. Close-up image shows a hybrid microfluidic chip that uses a simple circuit pattern to assign a unique seven-bit digital identification number to each cell passing through the channels.
The underlying principle for the cell identification is called code division multiple access (CDMA), and it's essential for helping cellular networks separate the signals from each user. The next step in the research will be to combine the electronic sensor with a microfluidic chip able to actively sort cells. The computing requirements of the system would be minimal, requiring no more than the processor power of smartphones that already handle decoding of CDMA signals.


Ultimately, the researchers hope to create inexpensive chips that could be used for sophisticated diagnostic testing in physician offices or remote locations. Ruxiu Liu et al, Microfluidic CODES: a scalable multiplexed electronic sensor for orthogonal detection of particles in microfluidic channels, Lab Chip (2016). Providing vital health care services to people in developing countries without reliable electricity, refrigeration and state-of-the-art medical equipment poses a number of challenges. The researchers show the ability of a micromilling machine to manufacture microchannels down to 30 Aµm and also the ability of a microfluidic device to perform partial separation of red blood cells from plasma. Scientists using a technology called cryo-EM (cryo-electron microscopy) have broken through a technological barrier in visualizing proteins with an approach that may have an impact on drug discovery and development. US biochemical engineer Frances Arnold on Tuesday won a million-euro technology prize in Finland for her work on "directed evolution", a method of rewriting DNA to improve medicines and develop green fuels. Using a powerful combination of techniques from biophysics to mathematics, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanism of a liver enzyme that is critical for human health. A family of compounds known as perovskites, which can be made into thin films with many promising electronic and optical properties, has been a hot research topic in recent years. Borides are among the hardest and most heat-resistant substances on the planet, but their Achilles' Heel, like so many materials', is that they oxidize at high temperatures.
It was fairly inexpensive, as Newtons went, and I could not afford any of the newer models. It was small, incredibly simple, sipped on battery power, and was perfectly suited for my needs. The Tungsten had a color screen, a fast processor, Bluetooth, but was still limited by Palm’s unchanged app designs and inability to sync properly with my Mac. OS X kicked ass, and Mac hardware itself was becoming utterly sick, as the kids these days might say. I was definitely a Nokia fan, as you can see, because their interface was the most well thought-out, in my opinion. Many was the time I had been tempted to buy a used Newton 2100 and spend the time to hack it to work with OS X. Had I been able to own a newer Newton back in 1998, I’d have had a more refined product, with less quirks and a very mature feel.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are using a similar principle to track cells being sorted on microfluidic chips.
The new technique also captures information about the sizes of the cells, and how fast they are moving. The technology can track cells with better than 90 percent accuracy in a four-channel chip. For instance, antigens can be used to select bacteria or cancer cells and route them into separate channels. Current flowing through the circuitry creates an electrical field in the microfluidic channels above the grid. The unique identifying signals from multiple cells can be separated and read by a computer, allowing scientists to track not only the properties of the cells, but also how many cells have passed through each channel.


Sarioglu and his students have demonstrated that they can track more than a thousand ovarian cancer cells with an accuracy rate of better than 90 percent.
The microfluidic channels are fabricated from a plastic material using soft lithographic techniques.
Beyond cancer cells, bacteria and viruses, such a system could also sort and analyze inorganic particles.
The proof-of-principle device contains just four channels, but Sarioglu believes the design could easily be scaled up to include many more channels.
The new OS improved and began to offer wonderful features combining integrated use of calendar and contact data. Believe it or not, people out there still hack the Newton, and you can find solutions to make a now-ancient MessagePad sync with any modern Mac. That identification and information could allow automated counting and analysis of the cells being sorted. But to obtain information about the results of the sorting, those cells must now be counted using optical methods. When a cell passes through one of the microfluidic channels, it creates an impedance change in the circuitry that signals the cell's passage and provides information about the cell's location, size and the speed at which it is moving through the channel. It had frustrating limitations based on OS design choices, and, worse, synced very poorly with my Mac. With .Mac syncing, I had my contact info on my home Mac and all of my work Macs, and if for some reason I needed the info on the road, I could look it up on my Nokia or iPod. I forgot it was there, and when I closed the door to the shelf, the phone came sliding off, and it smashed my Newton’s screen.
The January 2007 Macworld keynote will, of course, be the one that goes down in history, because it’s when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. I could access the info via the Palm Desktop app for the Mac, but it was such a terrible program, I simply never bothered. You should only ever have one place for personal information, otherwise confusion and mismatched data will ensue.
What’s so fantastic about both the iPhone and the Newton is that Apple got the basics right from the very beginning.
However, technology was not allowing me to work this way, so I made a valiant and very successful effort at managing two contact lists. The concepts were sound, the designs were top-notch, and intelligence just oozes out of both products. As the iPhone gets updated over the next few years, I know Apple will fix some things, add others, and the iPhone will only get better.



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