Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

“Evernote needs a dashboard,” I decided a few years ago. I kept hoping that Evernote would develop one, but they didn’t. “And a word count where you can see it, not hidden away…” No joy there, either. Until Alternote.

Alternote is a fascinating new OS X app that’s just what I wanted. It functions as an Evernote dashboard: I can view only those notebooks I want to look at. I can have a list of favorite notes.

And there’s a WORD COUNT (yippee!) in the bottom right of each note. (I’m wiping away tears of joy here, trust me.) Word count’s hugely important to writers.

What I like most about Alternote

See above — I can use Alternote as a quick way of getting things done in Evernote.

I love Evernote’s Mac app, but with over 6K notes, it becomes hard to get stuff done, because:

  • It’s easy to be distracted with notebooks and notes;
  • No easily visible word count when writing (see above);
  • Too many notebooks. Yes, distraction again. I’m a Gemini, and we love bright shiny objects.

You can keep up to 100K notes in Evernote, but I weed out my notes and notebooks regularly. Many notes expire; that is, they’re only useful for a limited time. A goals list for example, is time-limited. Once you’ve achieved those goals — or haven’t achieved them — the outdated list’s just a distraction.

So, the biggest plus for me with using Alternote is that I can cut down on Evernote’s distractions.

I also like the Markdown facility; I write almost everything in Markdown. You can repurpose at will in Markdown, especially with The wonderful Marked 2 app.

In summary: if you’re a Mac Evernote user, and want an app that acts as a useful front-end/ dashboard, give Alternote a try.

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets
Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Whether you’re a new fiction writer, or are an experienced pro, you need hungry markets for your books. Genres come in and out of fashion. Discover the hot genres on the Kindle Store — and write what’s selling NOW.

Our comprehensive new program not only reveals the hottest selling genres, it also helps you to write and SELL them. Enjoy. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Who Needs Another Blogging Platform?

Who needs another blogging platform? No one, if you believe that current platforms are perfect. After 15 years of blogging, and after trying just about every platform — I know that no platform is PERFECT.

Each and every platform is either too simple (not enough functionality) or too complex. And no, I’m not looking at WordPress when I say “too complex.” WordPress is perfect for what it does; it’s my favorite platform, but I’m not enraptured when it comes to usability. If you just want to write a quick post, it’s challenging. You know that you’re not going to be done and dusted in under ten minutes.

Perfection in a blogging platform is impossible

That doesn’t mean that developers should stop trying. As bloggers, we should encourage developers. Not with nitty-picky “I want this” or “Gimme that” demands. Rather, encourage developers to envision a platform that’s not only robust, but is also a pleasure to use.

If I were looking for developers with vision, I’d start with the Realmac Software people. When I switched from PCs to Macs in 2005, while still actively writing for PC magazines, I was nervous. Was I insane? Why oh why…? I talked myself out of buying a Mac for months. Then I did. Then I discovered apps like RapidWeaver (from Realmac Software), and Curio. Then Scrivener. And my switch to Macs enhanced both my productivity and creativity.

Realmac are launching a new blogging platform

When I heard about this Indiegogo campaign for Typed.com, I had to contribute, of course.

I couldn’t be more eager to see what Realmac deliver. I love blogging, and when people who’ve delivered inspired apps like RapidWeaver and Clear promise a new blogging platform, I know we’ve got a treat in store.

The campaign is doing amazingly well. It just started a couple of days ago, and is already well over its goal, with 24 days to go.

Blogging’s a challenge: inspired tools inspire you

I’m a software addict. I used to feel bad about this. It seems frivolous. On the other hand, if you buy an app which makes your work easier and more fun, and you’re more productive, there’s nothing frivolous about that. It’s common sense.

I can’t wait to blog on Typed. It’s something to look forward to. If you love blogging too — or even if you dislike it, but need to do it — remember Typed. If it becomes as popular as I suspect it will, you may be using Typed before too long.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

Email Management App: Boomerang for Gmail

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your email, you’re not alone. While there are many email management apps, it’s hard to find an app which works the way you do. If you’re a Gmail user, and need a straightforward app that’s both a scheduler, and reminder, Boomerang for Gmail is worth checking out.

Boomerang for Gmail Works in Your Browser

The app’s easy to install. It works in Gmail in your browser (Firefox, Chrome and Safari), and Google Apps email. It’s unobtrusive, until you need it; you’ll see a small icon when you open Gmail.

Install

Click on the icon, and the menu opens.

When you’re writing a message, Boomerang for Gmail installs options under the Send button.

send

Click the Send Later button, and you can choose a time and date to send your message. If you want to follow up a message, click the dropdown boxes, to choose a date and time to follow up. You can customize the follow-up menu to suit your workflow.

It’s easy to review your scheduled messages and follow ups. Click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and choose Manage Scheduled Messages.

review

You can even add notes to messages. Let’s say you’re looking through your archived messages, and realize that you need to ask one of your contacts a question, but don’t have time now. Open the message, click the Boomerang for Gmail icon, and write a note to yourself. (The Note icon is on the top right of the menu.) Write the note, and choose the time you want the message returned to your Inbox.

Save Time, and Clear the Clutter

Do you use your email Inbox as a To Do list? It’s tempting, but distracting. The biggest benefit I’ve found with the app is that it saves time, and clears my cluttered Inbox.

Instead of adding a reminder to follow up with someone to your time management app, just schedule a reminder in Boomerang for Gmail, and the message politely returns to your Inbox.

3 Boomerang for Gmail Time Management Tips

Boomerang for Gmail has helped me to feel more in control of my email, and has also helped to ensure that fewer things drop through the cracks. The app’s also helped me to save time.

Here’s what I’ve found useful.

1. Schedule Email, and Batch-Write Your Messages

You check your email several times a day, but you don’t have time to respond immediately. Have Boomerang for Gmail return messages to your Inbox at the time you’ve scheduled to respond.

Schedule time each day for email, and batch-write your responses. Then close your email program. If you know you’ll need to send out messages next week, write the messages on Friday, and let Boomerang for Gmail send them out on schedule.

2. Create a Follow Up Workflow

If you have clients with whom you need to follow up, create a workflow. For example, if you’re working on a project, and need to send reports, you can write the reports, and schedule them.

3. Remind Yourself

When you’re browsing your email archive, you can create notes and schedule follow ups, without opening your contacts, or your calendar. Open a message, write a note, and schedule a time for it to appear in your Inbox.

Boomerang for Gmail’s charm is its simplicity. You can customize the app to work the way you do.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Typed App Review: Web Writers Rejoice (And Rant)

Typed App Review: Web Writers Rejoice (And Rant)

I’m rarely inspired to do an app review, but I’ve been waiting for Typed from Realmac Software for months, so I was super-excited to buy it. Yes, I said buy, rather than trial it. I trust RealMac; I’ve been using RapidWeaver for years, ditto Ember.

Here’s why I wanted Typed. I love Markdown because it makes it so easy to repurpose content. I write all short content in Markdown; books I write in Scrivener. This means that I’ve tried just about every Markdown editor around. I’m looking for that one app which will do everything I want… so far, no joy.

Since I had such huge expectations for Typed, I knew that I would be disappointed. And I am. But I hope that the Realmac people will eliminate some of the true aggravations when the app is updated.

The good stuff

Firstly, one big reason to love the app. It’s gorgeous. I love the interface, mostly. Because:

  • the word count is easily visible (a must for writers);
  • the fonts and the background can be changed. Fonts are mostly sans serif (shudder), but thank heavens there’s Georgia. Your background can be grey, sepia or black;
  • you can copy HTML at a click.

But as we all know, looks aren’t everything.

The pains in the you-know-what

Let’s look at the things I didn’t like:

  • Music (no way to eliminate it entirely)
  • Lack of typewriter scrolling
  • No export to PDF
  • No export to RTF

Really painful: the music

A big pain: the music. Why, oh why isn’t there a preference to eliminate the music entirely? I sometimes play music while I write, but I have a “writing” playlist in Spotify. That playlist is primarily classical music. I don’t want or need a soundtrack in a writing app.

I’m sure some people will love the music. I don’t, and here’s what makes it even more aggravating. When you hit Command Y for fullscreen mode, the music plays. You need to click on the Zen menu to pause the music. Again, WHY?

Fullscreen mode is excellent, full marks. Sadly, all the marks are lost when you need to turn off the music before you can concentrate on your writing again.

Preview mode in Typed
Preview mode in Typed

Really painful: no typewriter scrolling

What’s “typewriter scrolling”? It’s when the editor scrolls automatically so that the line with the cursor stays in the middle of the window.

Scrivener has typewriter scrolling, as does my current favorite Markdown app, MultiMarkdown Composer.

Here’s workaround: go to the end of your document. Press the Enter key until you’ve added lots of spaces, then press “====“ to draw a line. It’s not typewriter scrolling, but at least there’s some space at the end of the document.

Mildly painful: no export to RTF and PDF

The big joy of Markdown is that you can copy and/ or save your document to multiple formats. So, why no RTF and PDF?

I need PDF, because I send documents to clients. I need RTF, so that I can open the documents in Scrivener, and MS Word.

No big problem. I prefer to preview Markdown docs in Marked 2 anyway, which does export to RTF and PDF. However, for Typed users who don’t used Marked 2, this is a serious challenge.

Do I like Typed?

The interface is just about perfect. I keep Typed open to write social media updates, where previously I used TextMate to write short text.

Another big thumbs up: everything is where you expect it to be in the menus, there’s no hunting for anything, nor have there been any hangs, that is — no “application not responding” — moments.

So yes, in general I like the app. But please, Realmac, in the next update, add a preference to turn off the music completely. Then I could use fullscreen mode. At the moment, the music’s so irritating, I won’t use it.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.