IA Writer: Back Again

I’ve always been one for switching my writing application. Every time there is a new update I just have to give it a try and once again I am back to IA Writer.

I don’t know why I keep switching away, every time I come back I am just in awe of how beautiful this application is. I love writing in it and what more I look forward to the next piece of content I can create.

IA Writer is the only application I use in place of Microsoft Word when it comes down to writing business documents because its PDF exports are simply beautiful and are something I am proud to send a client.

IA Writer creates plain text files saved in iCloud with no need to worry or even think about them. Plain text can be opened on any computer or device in a myriad of applications. This openness is what allows me to switch apps so very often but why. This look at it – beauty.

The most recent update takes things a step further. You can now add images to your documents and these are synced to iCloud with your text files so you can finally work across devices without any issues.

You can add CSV files and a beautiful table will be presented in your preview an export.

IA Writer truly has stepped up the game for writing apps and is an all time great.

Blogo Revisited

Blogo recently had a large update that fixed a lot of bugs and moved to a freemium pricing model. With these changes I thought it was about time I revisited the application and updated my thoughts on it.

With the new update the basic blog post management and creation is free for 1 blog. The image editor is also free as well as the improved Markdown support and WYSIWYG editor. For £7.99 a month you can manage multiple blogs and manage and reply to comments.

The writing experience is not on the level of a writing application like IA Writer or even Desk PM but it is still a huge improvement over writing in WordPress itself.

Blogo Editor

I’ve been in search of improving my writing workflow on WordPress for some time and nothing seems to cover what I want. For the longest time I have been writing in IA Writer and then copy and pasting my work into WordPress for publishing – not ideal. Blogo seems to be going in the right direction for what I want from a writing/publishing application but it still has a long way to do. It works better then Desk PM for publishing to WordPress however it still lacks so much when it comes to the writing experience.

Desk PM

I’ve always been looking for a great writing app that allows me to produce the large amounts of content I create on a daily basis and easily publish this to any number of the WordPress sites I regually post to. Recently I’ve been using Draft as I needed something web based however now I am back in my office full time I want something for Mac.

Initally I went back to IA Writer but really missed not having direct posting to WordPress so started to look around. I found Desk PM – a writing app made for both writers and bloggers.

Ok so what is that exactly. Well imagine IA Writer with a few publishing options and the ability to preview the post on your website. It is a full Markdown editor as well as a WYSIWYG.

Desk PM

So where does it fall short. Well it doesn’t allow full blog management like Blogo and the Markdown syntax is not faded as it is with IA Writer or even Gust. All in all Desk PM offers a good writing expirence but doesn’t come close to dedicated writing apps.

I recently went back to using Gust on my personal site and will probably provide an updated review on the plugin in a couple of weeks time after I have really tested the latest version as it seems to of improved a lot in recent releases.

Draft Review

Recently I started to work more on a variety of devices including a Chromebook and this meant my Mac only writing applications needs to be cross platform. I started to look around and found something I liked in Draft. Draft is a simple, clean distraction free Markdown editor in your browser that also supports something none of my previous writing apps have – Direct posting to WordPress.

Yes that is right I can write on Draft in Markdown and with the click of a button have my work sent to my WordPress site as HTML and published for me. I have looked at applications that promised this type of stuff before however they all fall short as they try to do too many things.

I don’t want to manage my website from the application just write be content and post it. Now of cause Draft is not perfect, far from it. While it does allow me to write in Markdown and preview the output I would like it to fade the Markdown syntax as IA Writer and Ulysses do. This just makes the document easier to read in the editor.

Some other nice features would be sentences and paragraph highlighting as well as a typewriter mode that keeps the text I am writing in the middle of the screen. These are the only features I miss when moving over from IA Writer.

As a free web application Draft is a great solution and I would highly recommend it to anyone however as soon as I can be more stationary and get back to working from my office full time I have to say I will be back on IA Writer.

Apple Magic Keyboard Review

Yesterday after the kid split water on my old Apple Wireless Keyboard I was forced to go and buy the new Apple Magic Keyboard. Something I wasn’t interested in when it first came out. I have been typing on the older keyboard for many years and I loved it. So how am I finding the new keyboard.

Well in a word, flat. The new Magic Keyboard doesn’t have the same stance and angle of the older wireless keyboard. Something I am still getting used to. It feels like my fingers have to travel further and I have to move my hands more when typing.

Ok so lets back up a little. Setting up the keyboard is a doodle, simply plugin in it with the included Lightening Cable and turn it on. That is it, everything is paired and working. To my surprise you don’t even have to be logged in to your mac for this. My Mac had gone to sleep and was asking me to unlock it with my password when I connected to the keyboard for the first time. I was expecting to have problems because of this but nope it just worked.

When I first started to type the keys where naturally where I expected them to be and I had no problems hitting the right keys and not real slow down in typing speeds. As mentioned earlier the keyboard has a flatter profile and is closer to a Macbook in style. Something I am used to on my Laptop but always preferred to type longer form content on my iMac. The keys are firm, they don’t wobble when pressed and they have a good amount of travel when you press them down. This might just be because it is new and hasn’t collected years of dirt under the keys, yet, but the keys do seem loader when typing away at full speed.

Overall, the keyboard is very well built and is a good improvement over the old wireless keyboard. The differences are something you get used to very quickly and then start to like after a short while. In my case I got used to the keyboard in around 30 minutes but I do write a blog of content for a living so it make take you a little longer to get used to a keyboard if you don’t write in excess of 1000 words an hour.

I have not purchased the Magic Trackpad yet as I don’t see a need for one, however, I can see my buying it shortly just to match the new profile of the keyboard.