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Apple Easter Eggs

By: David K. Every
& Daniel Fanton
(C) Copyright 1999 DKE - All Rights Reserved.

Code Names:
Newton MessagePad 100: Junior, Wedge
Newton MessagePad 110: Lindy
Newton MessagePad 150: Q
Newton OS 2.0 print-only handwriting recognizer: Rosetta
Newton OS 2.0: Dante

Newton 2.0 Eggs

Aliens Easter Egg AEE Exclusive
Informer: Rob Muir ([email protected])
The below text is, in part, provided by Russel K. ([email protected]). The original author is unknown.

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, which is 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. So, since the "Time Zones" application contains 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., etc. But 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 that Area 51 was 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. For the meetings, it displays the human face looking at a little alien body. For events, it shows pictures of little flying saucers, and for to do's and annual events, it displays robots. (To purge the aliens from your PDA, open the back and press reset). Note: On the MP 130, you will not see "Area 51", but instead you will see either "Groom Lake" or, more likely, "Dreamland."

    A little more info. on Area 51: Area 51 is also known as Groom Lake, lying about 90 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is where the government tested spy planes like the U-2 and the Stealth bomber (legend has it that Area 51 is also home of captured aliens and spacecraft).

Dates Preferences Easter Egg
From: Chad Ray McDaniel ([email protected])

a) Open the Dates application.
b) Tap on the info. icon and tap 'prefs'; the preferences slip will open.
c) In the prefs. slip, tap in the three of the corners (not the one with the close box to hear a neat sound and see the names...

Top Right: "Scott Jensen"
Top Left: "Fred Tou"
Bottom Left: "Jeremy Wyld"

Egg Freckles (Gone in MP2100)
Article Written By:

Write the words Egg Freckles in the notepad, and tap Assist. It will display a screen with a Doonesberry panel, where Doonesberry is holding a Newton and a stylus with a caption bubble above his head saying "Egg Freckles?". An obvious spoof of Trudeau's lampooning of the early Newtons which would perform questionable handwriting recognition.

New York Times published an article on December 17, 1995 saying Garry Trudeau gave Newton programmers permission to use the cartoon after they told him of their plan to add the panel. Also according to the story, the original cartoon (the one mocking the Newton) was not "poking fun only at the Newton" but was more geared at "boys and their toys." Apple has also given Trudeau, who is a "devoted Macintosh user," a MP120 with Newton 2.0. He doesn't have "any handwriting-recognition calamities to report" with Newton 2.0.

Be careful! I am told that on the MessagePad 130 if you try to print the Trudeau picture again after it disappears, the Newton will go ballistic and default on all preferences after it restarts.

Information About Box

1. Open a Newton Book.
2. Select the "i"-button (Info).
3. Select the "about"-menu.
4. In the about-box, tap three times quite fast in this box.
5. Wait and see what happens.
6. Try to hit the close button.

It will display:
"I only ask for information"
- Copperfield

And a Newt with a Newton graphic. --->

This goes away when you tap anywhere, including the close box.

Secret Games
From: Oliver Fross

There are two secret games embedded in 2.1. They are variations on poker and are scored the same way.

The first is called "draw poker" or just "poker." You are dealt five cards, and you play poker as you would in real life! The rules are pretty straightforward: you select the cards that you want re-dealt, click "deal", and away you go!

The second game is called "solo poker", and you actually manage five simultaneous hands of poker at once. It has been commonly referred to as "patience."The rules are as follows:

Each row and column of 5 cards make up poker hands. That's 25 total
cards. Points are assigned to the hands as follows:
1 pair = 2 points
2 pair = 5 points
3 of a kind = 10 points
straight = 15 points
flush = 20 points
4 of a kind = 50 points
straight flush = 100 points

The object is to swap cards to make the best possible hands, maximizing the number of points. You get $1 for each point over 200. You lose money if you come in under 200.

There are two ways to view these easter eggs:

1. You can make a direct NewtonScript call through Works to
get the poker game:

A. Make a new spreadsheet
B. Enter a new cell with the following content
C. Then, tap the checkmark button!

You can get the Patience game the same way, with the call of:

2. Or you can download a package that does it for you.

Does That Make Sense?
From: Albert Zeeman ([email protected])

Let's hear what Albert had to say:

During March/April I had a Newton 120 to test. The first night I did the
HWR part for almost a hour. I noticed that after a while the separate
words which I had to type in almost seemed like sentences. One part
struck my attention and I really had to laugh. The words which I had to
type were:


Knock Three Times (Gone in MP2100)
From: April 1996 Issue of Macworld (Page 18 of Newtonworld)

Write any of the following three times and you'll get a surprise: larryy (Good Worker), Brandyn, lesv (angel), stafford, lyon (Richard).

Map & Time Zones Eggs
(Map and Time Zones are the same thing but they are usually refered to differently depending on the user.)

ïIf you tap in the North-West Atlantic, it says "Middle of Nowhere". Try tapping in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
ïYou can also locate the titantic.
ïYou'll find a couple of cities (well, towns) that contain Newton in their name. There's "Newton, Iowa" (the home of Maytag) in the USA and "Newtonmore" in the UK.
ïIn Time Zone, tap on opposite corners of the Time Zones slip. The
(apparently) farthest city in the world from your location will be selected. For example, selecting Wellington, New Zealand will send you to Madrid, Spain (a total of 12340 miles).

Neat Bong

If you write neat bong on the Notepad, highlight it, and tap the Assist
button, a list of the Newton development team members will appear. Rumor has it this is a list of people that worked on the 2.0 Rom but left Apple before the completion of the project. But, as usual, it's just a rumor.

Note: This is a different list of names than the similar 1.0 easter egg that
generates another list.

Eclipse Animation
From: Rob Muir ([email protected])

Set the date to October 24, 1995 (the solar eclipse in Asia). Turn off the Newton. On the next power-up there is an eclipse animation (about 10 seconds long) showing in the startup screen. It is unknown how many other eclipse dates will trigger this but March 9, 1997 will also work.

If you don't know when the next solar eclipse is, and don't want to wait, Eclipse,
created by S. Milman, will let you run the four built-in eclipse graphics any time you want. It will only work on a newton and is in the .pkg format. I uploaded it in the .hqx format as a compressed folder.

Umm... Yeah... Whatever
From: Kevin Fox ([email protected])

If you keep the pen pressed down 1/4" from the left side of the screen, about halfway down, when booting up, the Newton will ask if you want to bypass installscripts, effectively booting your newton with all packages frozen. They appear in the extras drawer with X's through the icons. Tapping one will run the install script and open the package. This saves heap and is the only way short of a full memory wipe to delete a package that crashes the newton in the installscript. This also works with cards. Hold the pen down right after locking the card into place to freeze all the packages on the card.


About Newton

Write About Newton and push Assist. This prints the names of the Newton development team and finishes with a dedication to a deceased team member, Ko Isono, who commited suicide. Random letters of programmers names are sometimes missing. In German systems type "Über Newton".


(I am not sure wether these are just a part of 2.0, previous versions, or both.)

Newton Knows where the Titanic is - in Time Zones

You can find the Titanic in Time Zones (in extras) -- just off the coast of Maine. To make things easier, choose to find the Titanic.

The Moon

Tapping more than once obove the day causes the moon to stay longer.

Happy Hour

Type schedule happy hour Friday (with the Getting Started card installed), select it, and then tap Assist. This works for the 110 and maybe others. Your Newton will go through its interpretations and then present a dialog box with the following information:

Who: Apple Assurance
When: (the next Fri.)
Where: Apple Assurance
Subject: Schedule

This also works if you add a time (e.g. "schedule Happy Hour Fri 6:30").

Without the Getting Started card installed, you can freely schedule your
happy hours without the Apple Assurance gang interfering.

Newton Jingle

Those 'random' tones generated with taps of the pen on the Newton 2.0 are not all that random.In fact, they make a short song. The notes for the Newton song are according to the C major scale (a little bit higher than normal scale)...

The best way to try this is to make a check list in "Notes" and then untap and tap the check box. Folks at Apple in the know say the sounds are randomly generated, but it does, in the above case, appear to not be so random.


In the Notepad, using the Printed (Rosetta) recognizer, write Rosetta! Rosetta! Rosetta! and look at the recognized text. That's it! "Rosetta! Rosetta! Hey, that's me!" is the output from the software! (I do not know if this program was made by Apple).

Secret Font
From: The 3rd issue of "Stylus" (08/94)

The MP has a secret font called "Espy". To get it, write Remember toothpaste, select it, tap Assist and then tap Do. "Toothpaste" will be entered in the ToDo list. The font used is the secret font. Select the word and move it to a note (using the clipboard). While it is still selected, type "Espy". Store the note carefully. When you want to use this font, select some text and move it to the right of "Espy".

Note: Use the size 18 to better see the differences between Espy and the other two fonts (Simple & Fancy).

Newton OS's Pre-2.0

Change Start-Up Screen

To chage your start-up screen, put one, two, or possibly three spaces after the first line of your street address. If you set your password you can enjoy the screen longer.
MP100: 1 Space: Cat on a chair playing with a Newton
2 Spaces: Crow Holding a Newton stylus in his talons, and the Newton lightbulb logo. From: Harv R. Laser ([email protected])

MP110: 2 Spaces: Cat on the chair
3 or more spaces: A baby newt in a cage (I believe this is the baby newt) with a Dec. 15, 1993 birth announcement.
Blair MacIntyre ([email protected])

MP 120: 2 spaces: Cat on chair
3 spaces: Newt in the garden of eden. (Does not work on the French version.)

Debugging Thingy

Open the Extras drawer, then tap on the very upper-left corner of the rectangle that bounds it, then in the upper right. You'll see a dialog box asking you to select a connection for a built-in serial debugger (To see what is going on, connect your Newton to a terminal program). I have no idea what this is good for to an end-user, and it isn't documented for developers either. (This still works in the MessagePad 110).

Easter Egg Graceland (100 only)

1) Go to: Extras:Preferences:Personal
2) Change the country to "Graceland" (you will have to type it because it is not in the directory).
3) Power down the Newton
4) While watching the startup screen, power up your Newton. You will see a little Newt instead of the light bulb.

Note: Doing this will bring up something different in the U.S. on an American system then it will on a German upgraded (possibly 1.3) system. Be sure to change the country back before dialing. This egg should work on a MP100 if it doesn't have a 110 ROM. It will not work on other Newtons. I have had a report that it will not work on the 120 w/ v1.3. The effect remains until you change the country to something else.

ïBe sure to change this back or your newton will think you have traveled to foreign lands.

BTW: Liverpool has no effect.


Heís in plenty of random places!

Hereís one: Go to the Map, tap "Find", then write "Elvis". It will briefly say "The King was sighted in" and choose a city name at random before it catches itself and says "not found".

Tap the "Assist" button. In the area where you tell the Newton what to assist you with, write (or type) "Find Elvis". Watch closely. It happens quickly and doesn't stay on the screen long. This egg works in the 110, but it simply adds the location of the King to the list of found items.


Click on the version number of the Memory Preference element to see the programmers.

Moon Landing... Kinda, Berlin Wall, and Earthquakes

Directions: Hit the reset button in the battery compartment, then turn your Newton on (you may not have to restart depending on whether there is something to undo). Tap the Undo icon until the error message ("There is nothing to undo") will appear. Hit the Overview (Belly) button (between the scroll up/down arrows on the permanent icon bar), and you'll see two error messages that say "Newton." Tap on the first one which should say "About Newton". It will then say "Welcome to Newton." Now hit the information sign in that box.

ïThe time displayed on the American 110 and 100 is 7/20/69, 2:35 am. Contrary to previous reports, it now seems that the date, as the first step on the moon, is incorrect. The time of the first step was 10:56:15 p.m. eastern time on 7/20/69. Well, it is close, but not right, which means that the developers may have made a mistake or had something else in mind.

ïThe French MessagePad 110 date, 6/6/44 10:00, is the date of the Overlord operation. The operation began at 12:30 AM, so it is unknown exactly what 10:00 is related to. The Overlord operation was the code name of the american landing in Normandy during the WWII (also known as D-Day). Frederic Renard ([email protected])

ïOn the german version the date is the date for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

ïAlso, 10/17/89 5:04pm is the date you get for the MP120. That is the date and time of the Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, which is right next to Cupertino and Silicon Valley, where the Apple offices are. It also happened at the same time as the World Series. UK Newtons have this date too.

The Moon

  1. Open Dates.
  2. Click the upper left-hand corner, above the first letter in the name of the day.
  3. The phase of the moon should appear.

    At least, I think it's the phase of the moon. It's different for every day, and it seems to match the real moon. Although now that you've got a Newton, who cares about going outside?

    This egg seems to be moving with every release of the OS. The MP120, 1.3(44sthg) has the trigger spot to the left of the week overview line (s m t w t f s). The moon egg will also work on the Todo List.

Temperature (100 only)

On the original Messagepad (now called the Messagepad 100), tap the clock in the lower left-hand corner of the display, and hold down on it. The display will show you the current temperature! The temperature display will only work with a program called Screen Contrast.

The temperature appears because the MP100 tells the temperature to determine the screen contrast. It will not work on the 110 and 120 because there is a contrast dial on the side.

Created: 08/26/98
Updated: 11/09/02

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