Copyright © 2016
Tag - Writing
Do you mind if I pick pieces of my own first? I want to pick my own five favorite articles that I wrote for MacNN this year –– and I want to do that first, because it's easy. It is so much easier than trying to pick a favorite five from everyone's pieces, though I can't postpone choosing those for much longer. In part two, I will be doing exactly that -- so please read this slowly to give me more time to choose.
I do have friends and relatives who believe I am connected to my iPhone by duct tape, that I am forever staring at it and poking at it. They have a point, but I don't see it as using my phone, I see it as writing, as reading news, as planning out my day, and occasionally as passing the time relaxing. That's always been the thing with an iPhone: when you open, say, the Calculator app, the phone is a calculator. It's not a phone that can add up, it is calculator. Then it's a calendar, then it's email. It is fully each thing it runs, and over the years, I've had it be a lot of things.
The first six months after I bought Scrivener were rather quiet: it was on sale and I got a copy for my wife who didn't need it and to this day, some years later, hasn't used it once. We both recognised that it's a good application, we both know people who use it and evangelise about it, we just both didn't get around to spending time with it. I cracked first. I can't remember the project now but I was working on something that seemed to lend itself to what I knew about Scrivener so I worked on it on her Mac.
We have had rubbish smackdowns before. Really rubbish ones where if we didn't end up recommending every single thing in the fight, it was very close to every single one. It's not that we're too nice, though: it's that we pick excellent hardware and software for these smackdowns. This time, it's one on one. Mano a mano between two apps that have a lot in common and of which neither is so cheap that you'd buy them on a whim. It's Keyboard Maestro 7.0 versus TextExpander 5, both for OS X.
You do spend far too long on Facebook -- hang on, we've just had a friend request -- and Twitter, and we have absolutely no problem with that. Well, time spent reading what your friends are up to is great, it's far quicker than phoning them up, or actually going to see them. Equally, reading the news on Twitter, or writing some brilliantly witty tweets, that's great. It's all the other faffing about, getting oneself to read and to write, that bothers us -- and that is where Hootsuite 2.9.2 comes in.
You should probably get some coffee: this may take a while. We've previously reviewed Curio Express 9.4.7 and found it so swimming in features that it was hard to really grasp all that it can do and we ended up inadequately summarising it as a notetaking app. However, the Express one is like a Lite, cutdown edition and now there's the full-blown Curio 10. It has so many features it can't contain them all and needs to spill out into an extra, free Curiota 1.0.
If you're in college, you spend a lot of your time writing papers assuming you want to succeed. This is also true of scientists, humanitarians, and countless research-based jobs. Trying to organize all your source material is generally pretty difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Papers 3, a personal research library, is here to make your life a little easier, and we've been using it for a while.
There's a new update to this outlining app for OS X, but even the makers say that OmniOutliner 4.3.2 is a minor improvement. It's just that sometimes, you need a minor improvement to remind you how much you rely on something. Even when we've previously enthused about OmniOutliner for iPad and iPhone, we've always gone "oh, yeah, and there's a Mac version too." Yet there are those of us on MacNN who use OmniOutliner for Mac every day.
If you've been following our Wednesday Pointers column over the last nine weeks, you'll know that the column on that day was devoted to documenting the process of writing a book, and then turning that manuscript into a real, buyable, out-in-the-world e-book and paperback. That book, William Gallagher's The Blank Screen: Blogging, is now available -- and an e-book version of the columns has also been created.
There's reviewing and there's reviewing. You know that the tiniest single-function utility gets examined, turned upside down, poked about with and possibly even shaken a bit. You also know that doesn't take long. There are things like Microsoft Word which take a month or more of serious use with betas and previews before more serious use with the final release. Then there's Vellum 1.2.5. We've had this software for about six months, maybe seven. You can't say we're quick with the news on this one, but complete, we are.