Monday, September 30, 2013

The ironing is delicious

The ironing is delicious

So a few years ago I posted about resurrecting this blog. Then I posted about minimalist writing environments, and concluded that Byword was interesting but too expensive to justify a shot-in-the dark purchase to try it.

Now here I am, posting from Byword to test out it’s new functionality that allows you to write in Markdown and then post directly to your blog…

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Minimalist editing

After playing with the full-screen editing modes of both Scrivener and MacJournal, I started to wonder if there were editing environments that were even more free from distraction. Turns out there are. The ones that I've looked at this week are:
What I'm looking for here is a return to the way that I wrote documents in the 'old days'; first concentrating on the text in a word processor, then concentrating of the layout in a desktop publisher. This is what I discovered for each app.


This is a paid app, available through the App Store for £5.99. It has Markdown support, which is neat. It can fade all of the paragraphs except the one you are editing, which is a feature I've not seen elsewhere. However, I've not found a free trial version and so it's hard to be sure how easy it is on the eyes in real use. From the screenshots, I'm not convinced.


This is an open source program, seemingly based on Qt, with precompiled binaries for Windows and OSX and source code also available. This isn't as aesthetically pleasing as the other applications here — the user interface is less polished. However, feature-wise it's a strong contender. It has RTF support, you can customise the UI, and it has a pleasant (optional) typewriter sound effect. Oh, and it's free.


Here we have two versions: the free Dāna I and the purchasable Dāna II. The purchased version has more backdrops to the writing area and sound effects, and will relieve you of a donation of your choice of $4.11 or more. I've tried the free version, and it was nice to write in. However, only one of the sets of backdrops and sound effects were tolerable to me, so I don't know how much use I would get out of the paid version. A lot of work has gone into making this one look superb though.


The first thing that I noted about this app was the compatibility with DropBox, SimpleText and TaskPaper. These are all nice apps in their own right. Running the app for the first time was far more 'Matrix' than 'Zen writing environment' and the font was too small. It's all changeable, through the standard preference settings, but it's not as easy as FocusWriter let alone Ommwriter. As a paid app, this doesn't really have anything to elevate it above the capabilities already in MacJournal. At $24.99, I'm not going to be considering this one further.

Wrap up

For now, I'm going to use FocusWriter and give Ommwriter another go. $4.11 is something that I could risk to see what improvements the paid version brings. Byword is also interesting, but slightly more expensive — I need to know more about it before I take that plunge. After all, TextMate has good Markdown support and I already have that.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Resurrection ...

... as Raise Dead just wouldn't cut it after this long. Excellent, the blog lives again.

I finally have my grubby mitts on a print copy of the Serenity role playing game, after tracking one down for sale second-hand in the States. Opening the packet with some trepidation, I discovered that it was in immaculate condition. Many thanks to Stacey W. at Paper Cavalier (Green_point on Amazon).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Directionality of Mac Pro Bluetooth

So I finally got round to testing my theory about the Bluetooth on the 2009 Mac Pro. I reorganised my desk so that the Mac Pro is behind my 24“ Mac Cinema screen with the right hand side (as seen from the front; the side with the panel) facing me. I’ve had no keyboard dropouts nor jerky mouse movement yet. The mouse was almost unusable with the Mac Pro in the same position but with the other side facing me. So it seems that the bluetooth signal can only penetrate out of one side of the case! That must have been a facepalm moment for the designers.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Mac

Well, the Mac is working much better now that I have stuck a Bluetooth dongle into it. I think that the antenna design in the Mac Pro is poor from what I am reading on the forums. The keyboard and mouse are working flawlessly now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mac troubles

Well, I’ve tried reducing the power on the wireless network to 28mW from 70mW, enabling Bluetooth Coexistence, moving the cordless phone and putting some white paper underneath the mouse. I’ve not had the keyboard drop out tonight, but it isn’t a perfect mousing experience either. More tinkering needed.

Imported some photos to iPhoto. I can’t seem to zoom into them and it imported circa 800 items from a directory containing 1200... yet more tinkering.

I did fix the calendar on my iPhone by finding out which entry had a start date after the end date though. Tinkering successful!

I did decide that I liked MacJournal enough to buy it though :)

Friday, July 10, 2009


I’m going to give MacJournal a try now that I have a Mac sitting on my desk at home. It is certainly prettier than Journal4 running under Windows. It is also more journal oriented than Notebook. I have 15 days to see how it goes.