Tuesday, 17 March 2009

browser tricks, tiddlywiki things and writemonkey

Not-so-stupid browser tricks

Aviary is a graphics creation & manipulation website you may want to consider if you've forgotten your USB stick with Inkscape and GIMP. Developed by Adobe, it offers Web 2.0 versions of graphics manipulation, vector editing, effects and colour swatch creation.

Bookmarklets are a cross-browser friendly version of add-ons. A number of them have some immediate use for gamers but they also have the advantage of being cross-browser supported. If you use a bookmark synchroniser like Foxmarks, these come with you as well. Useful if you're on the move and you need the functionality.

Also, TiddlySnip is a Firefox extension that cuts & pastes into a TiddlyWiki. Speaking of...

TiddlyWiki Things
Some time ago I extolled the virtues of TiddlyWiki. If you're new to TW, then take a look at TiddlyWiki for the rest of us; a brilliant introduction to TW written in plain and downloadable for future reference.

Here's six add-ins you may find useful but be warned, the more plugins you pile on, the slower it takes for your TiddlyWiki to get started so only load up on what you really need. If you want to know how to install plug-ins and macros then check out Mnteractive or WikiHow for guides.

twab - A contact list which can import or export various formats.
QuoteOfTheDay - Picks a quote from a list defined in a separate tiddler - a daily dose of random.
ReminderMacros - This gives you a calendar and things to do on your TW.
Rollon - A randomiser that can roll on lists within lists. Courtesy of Joshua@Tales of The Rambling Bumblers.
RSSReader - Good if you want to test a feed or two.
TagsTree - Creates a hierarchy for your tags which helps organise your TW.

Finally a review of Writemonkey by Pomerancha Software. This was suggested to me as an alternative to Q10 which is my usual Windows full-screen writing tool. So far it's performing admirably in keeping me on-focus even if I do want to hit F1 to get the most out of it. That will fade in time - this always happens to me when using a full-screen processor.

The startup offers a moment of Zen which is transitory as soon as you click the Exit button.

Writemonkey has an extensive feature set including the ability to momentarily switch between windows. It is suited to portable use and can sit on a USB key with impunity. You can amend font, colour and other features in the Preferences settings (F10) and even preset preferred colour combinations (the default is neon green Courier on black paper) which is soothing on the eyes. Writemonkey has a good set of accessibility features which allow a user to adjust text width and size using a scroll mouse wheel or keystroke combination.

Files can be saved in various locations specified by the program and the repository. Navigation within the file can be done by using assigned bookmarks within a document (so you can move from header to header) or by jumping between assigned search strings (like the Find facility in a word processor). Editing text requires the keyboard, the program does not support drag-and-drop editing by mouse. Click at the start of a line and the program selects the whole line - a nice, intuitive touch.

It also offers a progress bar and timer for sprint writing. Those of you who partake in NaNoWriMo or similar events may find either of these useful. Overall, I'd rate this highly in terms of fast install, high stability and good feature set. I'd commend Writemonkey to anyone who needs a text-based full-screen processor for their Windows system.

Any more stuff you know about that I need to see? Leave a comment!

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