NewtOS 2.x Easter Eggs

Area 51 Egg

Todd, Evan, David

Does anybody have any information for me who this is coming from ?

Lifted this from Compuserve....

You may or may not remember me talking earlier about the Area 51 contents of the Newton 2.0 software. At that time I said that the information was still in ROM and could be had programmatically. What I didn't know, but do now, is that it's possible to remove the patch by hand. Notes follow passed to me by a series of spies -- I don't even know who the original author is, but the information is dead-on correct (except I can't verify the cryptographer part -- don't give me a hard time about it, you try and talk to the CIA).

There's an Easter egg in the 2.0 Newton (MessagePad 120) which was "censored" by, yes, the CIA. Back in '94, one of the Newton software types made a trek to the (very) small town of Rachel, Nevada, located at the edge of a secret government airbase. The base, called "Area 51," is thought by UFO enthusiasts to be filled with alien technology which the government is in the process of reverse engineering. Meanwhile, the government denies the very existence of the base, in spite of widespread media coverage ("Larry King Live from Area 51", etc).

We figured it'd be funny to put a reference to Area 51 in the Newton -- especially given the substantial overlap between conspiracy buffs and computer nerds. In the "Time Zones" application (including a world map) we put an entry for Area 51 in its correct location. Later, we added a twist -- if the user picks Area 51 from the map, the icons in the datebook application take on an alien theme. Normally, meetings are represented by an icon of two people face-to-face, events are represented by a flag, etc. When Area 51 has been chosen, the icon for a meeting is a person facing an alien, the icon for an event is a flying saucer, a to-do task is represented by a robot, and so on.Okay, cute enough.

Now cut to August 1995, when the 2.0 ROM has been declared final, seed units have been in customers' hands for a little while, and the release is just about ready to go. One of the seed units, it turns out, was sent to a cryptographer working for the CIA. When he found Area 51 listed at the correct latitude/longitude, he complained to Apple, demanding the removal of the Easter egg and threatening to have his superiors take the issue to Spindler if necessary. In the end, Newton management caved in to the demand and decided to pull the joke out of the system.But the ROM was already done -- so the feature was hidden by a software patch ("System Update") -- but this part of the patch can itself be removed, and "Area 51" returned to its rightful glory. Here's how to get the Easter egg back:

1) Open the Extras drawer.
2) Switch the folder of the Extras drawer to "Storage".
3) Tap on the icon "Time Zones" and press the "Delete" button. Warning -- any cities you've added to your Newton will be lost.
4) Switch the folder of the extras drawer back to "Unfiled icons."
5) Tap on "Time Zones."

You'll find that Area 51 is on the map -- just tap near Las Vegas and choose Area 51 from the popup. Now look at the icons in Dates. (To purge the aliens from your PDA, open the back and press reset)

On the MP 130, you will not see "Area 51", but instead you will see either "Groom Lake" or "Dreamland".

Select "Egg Freckles" and press Assist

"Rosetta! Rosetta! Rosetta!"
Write "Rosetta! Rosetta! Rosetta!" (without the quotes) using the printed recognizer.

Tap two times rapidly in the get info box of a newton book. Then tap the close box.
In Time Zones click in the ocean or somewhere far away from civilization
In Time Zones click where the Titanic sank
Select "neat bong" and tap assist.
Eclipse on the Newton
Julie on the 18th of August 1996
When I turned on my MP120 yesterday morning, I got a very fast eclipse. A dark small circle passing in front of a larger, light circle. Total duration was less than one minute. I think the whole thing was "on top of" the standard light bulb Newton startup screen, but it happened so fast, and I wasn't really paying attention until it was about half over.

In the dates application open "prefs" under the info button. In the prefs slip tap in each corner of the slip (other than the corner with the close box).

I don't know if this is a good egg to include because apparently it can really screw up any "repeating" items in the Dates application, but there is an eclipse easter egg that is activated on dates where there is an eclipse somewhere in the world. To see the egg you need to either set the newton date forward to an eclipse date and then power off and back on, OR set the newton's date to a date previous to an eclipse, reset the newton and then set the date to the eclipse date and power off and back on.

WARNING: This may seriously mess up any repeating dates items you have in the dates application!

As an example date, there was an eclipse on Oct. 24, 1995.

Todd Nement:,
Evan Wagner:
David Beck:
Jack Starmer:
Jim Taylor:, Julie Ellis:
Thanks and keep on hunting, Harald, 8-Aug-96