Three Apps

I’ve been using for the past several weeks three cool little applications. The “past several weeks” seem to me an adequate test period - I easily get excited about new software, but rarely run it a second time if I don’t like it - so I can whole-heartedly recommend them.

The first of them is the Windows Live Writer, one of those desktop blog posting tools. It’s has a clean, nice UI, does the job with minimal fuss and is surprisingly powerful. You point it at your blog homepage, give your username and password and, if you’re lucky - I was - you start posting, as it autodetects your blog type and picks the proper posting API. You can drag an image over its window, resize it, set the flow of text around it and it generates a thumbnail which links to the original (which is also uploaded). It tries to present an editing environment that looks like your post will look when published. Basically, it Just Works. Maybe other desktop posting tools have evolved - last time I checked about an year ago, they were a complete mess.

The second tool is Dark Room, which, I hear, is a Windows reimplementation of something called Writeroom, which is for Mac OS X. It’s a sensory-deprivation-chamber text writing tool: it opens fullscreen, defaulting to green-monospace-on-black-background, and lets you write without distractions. I like writing in such an environment, as I’m certainly guilty of the cardinal let’s-pick-the-proper-style-for-this-heading sin when I write in Word, and have a hard time taking SciTE seriously. Nothing tells me “Just. Start. Writing.” like the dark screen of DarkRoom.

The third tool is called, errr, Console, and is just that, a cmd.exe wrapper with tabs and some more options for buffer size, appearance etc. I tend to have several console prompts open, so it’s handy.

By the way, both DarkRoom and Console support transparency, which seems to me an especially masochistic option. What’s the point of making your text unreadable on purpose?? I remember it was a big thing several years ago with *ix window managers, but I thought it would be a passing fad. I’m surprised to see it in recent applications. I certainly haven’t ever seen anyone use it.

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