When You Just Want To Write

I’ve got to admit right up front.  I’ve never been a fan of Microsoft Word, the feature rich wordprocessor.  Perhaps all of the features that it has are needed by some but surely not by me.  I’ve never had cause to use all the bells and whistles and probably never will.  It’s not that I’m against paying for productivity.  Years ago, I bought Sprint from Borland and it was my mainstay until the Ministry of Education licensed WordPerfect.  Both were very powerful and did the job.  Publishing to paper was never terribly exciting – publishing to the web and writing for it is.

I was thinking about writing habits and, these days, I use Evernote or Google Docs for my regular writing and notetaking.  I don’t suspect that I’m alone with this.  There is a real fascination of using Microsoft’s web offering, SkyDrive which certainly has a great deal of power to it.  I’m also cognizant of screen space and the ribbon just uses too much of it for my liking.

Even the layout kind of muddies things for me.  Easily distracted, when I’m using this, not only do I want to find what I want to do but I also want to find what else I can do!

A while back, @aforgrave introduced me to Ommwriter.  Advertised as minimalist, it’s just takes over your screen so that you can do your writing.  Nothing else.  To that end, it doesn’t compare with the functionality of a full blown wordprocessor but for my needs, it doesn’t need to.  It’s just a quiet place to writer.

Following up on the notion of doing things in a browser, I went looking to see if there was now a browser version.  Unfortunately, not.  But, I did find a very interesting application.  It’s called Writebox.  It pushes the concept of minimalist for me.  It installs as a Chrome application or you can use it through the web.

Of course, it has a title bar.  What would an application be if it didn’t?

There’s not much there to steal screen real estate or to distract you (or your students) when you open it in your browser.  But, start keyboarding and it gets better.  That titlebar just fades away and you have a blank page to do your writing.  No distractions whatsoever.  OK, I lied.  I’ve used computers long enough that NOT having a title bar was a distraction that I had to get used to.

There’s no Save button but there is a Sync button.  When you decide to Sync, you have two options.  Sync to your Dropbox account or to your Google Drive.  It’s very simple and straight forward.  I know that there are times when I want to take a few notes on one computer and access them on another.  Google Drive is perfect for that; and now so is Dropbox.

Just write (with no distractions) and sync and you’re done.  How’s that for minimalist?

 

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5 Comments

  1. The thing that’s really missing is that there’s no tool out there now that works with several mediums. Take word–while there’s no doubt that it’s feature-rick it’s useless for the web, what with all those inline styles it insists in using. Why can’t it just produce HTML content with an external css?
    I used to have a product called “The finalword,” which was not bad. A bit crude, but then, that was 1985. What i liked was that its markup language was identical to scribe so I would just use a kermit to upload important stuff to my university vax/vms account (I was a grad student in the eighties so a vax/nms account came free)and then print it on the laser printer using scribe. Then, though, sometime in the later eighties I found word and pretty much liked it.
    Oh, and sprint–me too! I used to subscribe to BYTE in those days and Borland did a pretty good job on the pre-release. Yes, it was nioce and fast…and eerily like the Finalword! Used it right up until word 2 for windows came out and then never looked back. Loved word 2…that is until writing for the web became more important.

  2. I had turbo pascal–it’s how I learned structured languages. Prior to that I had just used BASIC and Fortran. Sometime in the eighties I also bought Turbo C along with a whole bunch of books. I never did anything with it, though. Way too unforgiving for someone who makes so many careless mistakes :>)

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