Smart Dog BackTalk

BackTalk for NewtonOS 2.1 is a collection of system components that together give the Newton the capabilities it needs to exchange information with other information appliances.

BackTalk ObEx Stack

The BackTalk ObEx Stack is a Newton implementation of the IrDA IrOBEX standard, the de facto infrared standard currently used by Palm™, HP, and other PDAs and appliances to exchange files and information.

This standard is not used to talk to infrared printers (that would be JetSend or IrTranP), nor is it used to make a serial connection over infrared to an infrared modem, infrared serial adapter, or infrared-equipped mobile phone (that would be IrCOMM). Rather, it is used to send typed file information between devices (typically between handheld devices, but also between desktop machines and handheld devices).

The ObEx Stack is a licensed port of Extended Systems/Counterpoint's IrOBEX stack software. This is the same IrDA IrOBEX stack that has been licensed by Palm Computing and others for IrDA-compatible communications. The BackTalk ObEx Stack provides both an IrDA IrOBEX client (primarily used for sending information to a remote device) and an IrDA IrOBEX server (primarily used to receive information from remote devices) in a package that can be used by other subsystems and applications that need IrDA IrOBEX capabilities.

The BackTalk ObEx Stack requires registration and a license to operate; it will not execute if its registration code has not been entered. If you'd like to examine basic BackTalk ObEx functionality without purchasing a license, try the BackTalk ObEx Demo.

BackTalk ObEx Transport

The BackTalk ObEx Transport is a system component that makes functionality from the InterChange libraries and the BackTalk ObEx Stack libraries available for all Newton applications as a "Beam" transport.

This lets a Newton user use standard methods (the "Action" or envelope button to send data, and the InBox to receive data) to translate, send, and receive data to and from other IrDA-compatible appliances, including Palm™ and HP devices.

The BackTalk ObEx Transport requires the BackTalk ObEx Stack module and the BackTalk InterChange module, and will use whatever InterChange-compatible translators are installed.

BackTalk InterChange

BackTalk Interchange provides a basic harness that allows data to be converted to and from Newton-compatible formats.

InterChange itself provides only basic translation capability (it can encode and decode basic Newton frames, and can encode most Newton soup entries into text). Primarily, it provides a harness into which independent translation modules can be installed, to provide whatever translation capability is desired.

The BackTalk InterChange module can be used by any application requiring data conversion capabilities. Currently, it is used by the BackTalk ObEx Transport.

Palm Converters for InterChange

CapShare Converter for InterChange

These modules provide specific translation capabilities for BackTalk InterChange. See the list of supported devices for details on what capabilities are provided by each converter.

BackTalk ObEx Demo

The demonstration module is a standalone unit; it does not require any of the other components. It can (and should be) removed after a licensed copy of BackTalk ObEx Stack is installed.

The demonstration module can use the BackTalk ObEx Stack's IrDA IrOBEX server capabilities to receive information from other devices, but cannot send any data from the Newton to other devices.

Further, the demonstration module can display the received data, in ASCII or hex formats; but it cannot use the BackTalk Interchange capabilities to translate data into Newton-compatible formats.

This allows you to determine whether your Newton can in fact receive data from a particular device, without requiring a license for BackTalk ObEx Stack. But a license will be necessary if you wish to manipulate or use the data in any way.

After upgrading to the full BackTalk ObEx implementation, the BackTalk ObEx Demo extension should be removed from the Newton's Extras drawer.

For more information

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This page was last modified on April 24, 2001.