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.

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Free Fonts: Jazz Up Your Docs And Website With Freebies From Google

Happy Monkey Google Fonts
Happy Monkey, available at Google Fonts

Free fonts are everywhere on the Web, but some are dodgy in use. Google to the rescue. Did you know that Google offers free fonts?

I became aware of them when I was reading this post, Make Text More Readable with Solarized and Cousine:

Google Fonts offers the Cousine typeface, designed by Steve Matteson, for free. Cousine is similar to Nitti Light… To install Cousine, if you haven’t used Google Fonts before, click the “Open Cousine in Google Fonts” link at the top of left of the specimen page, and refer to the numbered steps in the second screenshot for download instructions. Once you expand the Zip archive, double-click the font(s) to open them in Font Book, and then click the Install Font button.

I decided to download Cousine, so that I could see how the process works. It’s easy. Just choose follow the directions in the quote above.

While Cousine is a readable font, I prefer to use Georgia. I primarily use Textmate and Ulysses 3 when I write for the Web. Here’s Georgia in Ulysses 3; it’s easy on the eyes.

Georgia in Ulysses 3
Georgia in Ulysses 3

Cute decorative font: Happy Monkey

I found a decorative font I love at Google Fonts – Happy Monkey, by Brenda Gallo. It’s only available in Regular, without variants, but it will be fine for using with Photoshop.

If you want to use Google Fonts on the Web, here’s Google’s Getting Started Guide. Google offers a warning, in case something goes wrong with your font choice:

Note: When specifying a web font in a CSS style, always list at least one fallback web-safe font in order to avoid unexpected behaviors. In particular, add a CSS generic font name like serif or sans-serif to the end of the list, so the browser can fall back to its default fonts if need be.

Gorgeous Business Presentations for Really Lazy People (Fast)

Haiku Deck - iPad presentations

If you enjoy giving presentations, you don’t enjoy creating them. It’s boring. Not because of the content… When it comes to YOUR presentations the content is always stellar, right? Creating presentations is boring because of the software. My eyeballs bleed whenever I open PowerPoint, and KeyNote isn’t much better.

Whenever I see “create presentation” on my projects list I shudder.

But what if creating presentations could be fun? And fast? And moreover, what if the presentations you created were a long way from dull-as-dirt PowerPoint slides?

If you want to have fun while you create gorgeous presentations, you need an iPad.

Then you need to grab Haiku Deck from the App Store. Cost? Nothing. It’s free, although you can buy additional themes, from within the app if you like.

Haiku Deck is celebrating its first birthday. I downloaded the app almost as soon as it came out. Now I look forward to creating presentations. Yes, I’m serious.

How I create presentations fast

With Haiku Deck, anyone can create a fantastic presentation in less than an hour.

I use sticky notes stuck onto an Oasis pad to create the presentation outline. One sticky per slide.

Then, sitting on my sofa, with the outline on a coffee table, I relax and create the presentation on my iPad. Best job ever. :-)

Does your boss demand PowerPoint?

That’s fine. You can export your wonderful presentations to PowerPoint when they’re done.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Write or Else! Funniest Writing App Ever

Write or Die
If you’re slacking, Write or Die forces you to write

Although I usually don’t have problems writing because I’ve trained myself out of blatant procrastination over the years, I can get side-tracked. I decide that although I need to work on Project X because a deadline’s looming, it’s far more important to work on Project Y.

To force myself to work on Project X, I’ve been using Write or Die. It’s a fun app which has several Modes. I love Kamikaze Mode, because if you don’t keep writing, your words start disappearing.  It’s a giggle; a real antidote to boredom.

Write or Die has a free Web version, as well as a paid download for Mac and PC. It’s also available as an iPad version. Give the free Web version a try, but beware Kamikaze Mode.