1. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Member

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    What I Have Learned Regarding Writing Software (kinda 'Techy')

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Glen Barrington, Oct 11, 2018.

    I am a Windows guy, and my comments are directed primarily towards Windows software, though my suspicions are this applies to the Mac, iOS, Android, and Chrome titles as well. I am not referring to software like MS Word or LibreOffice Writer, but instead those titles like yWriter, Scrivener, Atomic Scribbler, etc. (even most of the online subscription services! And even that scary monster, Liquid Story Binder.)

    My apologies to those who think my post is obvious, but when I read articles and posts about writing software, nobody comments on this, and the literally minded computer programmer in me is screaming to point this out!

    The good ones are exactly alike! And they are almost ALL good! It doesn't matter which one you select. All seem to be based on the hierarchical (Tree) text database model popular with note-taking apps and things like the Windows Registry. The only difference is the number of functions that the authors can cram into the software, and how large the amount of text they are willing to have the database manage, as a single record.

    I am convinced that once we realize this, it is practically impossible to find any of them 'too complicated to use'. They are all built around the idea that bits of text, some large, some small, can be placed into a hierarchical tree structure, and then moved around making the bits of text 'children' and 'parents' of each other with a drag and drop user interface.

    The key to getting the software you feel comfortable with is finding one with the features you will use. But don't be afraid of the software that has stuff you won't use if the rest of the program seems perfect for you, go ahead and get that software, and just don't use those features.

    I personally am still deciding between "Atomic Scribbler" and "Scrivener" for Windows. One claims to be a basic writing organizer, while the other seems to offer the author a 'soup to nuts' Novel project management system. But when it comes to basic functionality, they are identical. I'm still testing out which workflow works best for me. using a series of software titles for the planning and execution of my novel, or trying to do everything with one piece of software. I suspect, in the end, I would be happy with either one!
     
  2. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Active Member

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    Undecided.
    Why do you care about the data structure(s) employed in the software? Speed of execution?
     
  3. Glen Barrington

    Glen Barrington Member

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    In a previous life, I was a database administrator, it is in my nature to try and understand the inner workings of things. I believe that once we see the commonality of apparently different systems, learning those systems become much easier. Virtually EVERY authorship software title works in the exact same manner. Learn one, and you are 80% of the way to learning them all.
     
  4. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Active Member

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    Undecided.
    In my previous life I was a software developer, and I'm sixty years old which means I was doing it in the days when Bill Gates was reported to have said "No one will ever need more than 640K of RAM." So, my question stands.
     
  5. Ioshka

    Ioshka New Member

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    In my previous life I was a translator of screenplays... I must now be in hell, because that's what I'm still doing.

    I have the programming skills of a slug... When someone first suggested that an A could be equal to an A plus One, I wanted to call a lawyer. And I'm still suspicious.

    Anyway... for reasons too long to explain, there was a moment in my life that I had to do my translation work standing on my feet. That was back in the Nineties, so, the hardware looked like this...
    [​IMG]

    Not to brag, but I had YUGE productivity thanks to a little something I had noticed and acted upon back in 1987.

    Namely that editing is CONNECTIVE...

    For example it is connective in it's blind mechanics. What do I mean?

    A monkey finds an iPad, highlights a stretch of text and hits backspace
    [​IMG]
    Then the bard comes back from the grave and also finds a tablet, selects and hits backspace
    [​IMG]

    What happens in both cases? Simple. The value just beyond the tippy-tippy end of the highlighting (no matter what it is) gets "connected" to the cursor position.

    So we see that editing is "blindly" connective.

    But what is the difference between the two acts?

    Famous French philosophers would assert that there is no difference.

    But 99 out of 100 Jewish Rabbis would agree...

    [​IMG]
    That Shakespeare ends the highlighting where he does precisely BECAUSE he wants the value (word, punctuation mark, symbol, number, etc.) just beyond the tippy tippy end of the highlighting.

    So now we see (with the support of lot of smart men with hats and beards) that editing is connective in its pondered purpose.

    Well, at least focused editing... Naturally, one can also blindly chop off chunks... So we're talking about focused editing... in which there is discernment.

    Then I noticed that editing was also bizarrely connective in its geography.

    No I'm not nuts. Open up your major word processor (say, MS Word, Libre Office) and set the "show non print symbols" toggle to ON.

    Look what you'll find before and after every paragraph.
    [​IMG]
    You will find an optionally visible Pilcrow - a paragraph symbol. It's in the "lay of the land" of any text.
    [Pilcrow]paragraph[/Pilcrow]

    And if you zoom in on a text, you will also see that most words are preceded and followed by a spacebar space
    [​IMG]
    [space]WORD[/space]

    And then I noticed that editing was also highly RE-CONNECTIVE in nature.

    Imagine a writer going over his novel (I'm sure you can!) And he comes upon:

    It was a gloriously luminous day

    He wrinkles his nose... "Gloriously luminous?!" BLEAH! Why not "sunny"?!

    So he taps in the improvement.

    It was a sunny gloriously luminous day.
    Now obviously he needs to delete "gloriously luminous". But what's not so obvious is:
    "What's on his mind?" Does he want to delete "gloriously luminous" because he doesn't like those words?
    NO!!! That decision was made when he tapped in "sunny"... now he wants to RE-CONNECT to his good-to-go word, to that part of his text he's (momentarily) happy with.

    And how does he Re-Connect? Aha! He uses the Microsoft Anomaly! He reconnects by garabage disposal.

    It was a sunny gloriously luminous day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018 at 8:51 AM
  6. Ioshka

    Ioshka New Member

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    The MICROSOFT ANOMALY?
    Yes. If you only use a computer, you can't really appreciate it, but once you work on a device in which highlighting (text selection) is a pain in the butt, maybe you will, because...

    God is in the details
    (And so is Bill Gates)
    Why does one go through the trouble of highlighting text? Principally for 4 reasons (of course I'm generalizing).

    1. To format - that is, to prettify deserving text that will live on in the final document.
    2. To copy and paste - that is, to repeat
    deserving text that will live on in the final document.
    3. To cut and paste - that is, to better position
    deserving text that will live on in the final document.

    and then
    4. To destroy undeserving text that obviously will NOT live on in the final document.

    Notice the anomaly? We are forced to lavish the same attention on the garbage

    [​IMG]

    as the deserving words - the gems.​

    [​IMG]

    Let keen eye maneuver pudgy finger to drag small handle
    over tiny text until the selection glow is just right and then... destroy!!!
    (kinda like polishing a vase before smashing it with a sledgehammer)

    In cases 1,2,3 above, the operator is interested in the text he has bothered to highlight.

    In case 4 instead, the operator is NOT AT ALL INTERESTED. In fact the highlighting can be construed as an indicator pointing to the ONLY thing he is interested in: the value immediately OUTSIDE the highlighting.

    Merry splinter Kleenex guardrail whippersnapper tear Boeing shoebox Christmas

    Merry splinter Kleenex guardrail whippersnapper tear Boeing shoeboxChristmas

    [​IMG] Microsoft has whammied the world into connecting my garbage disposal.

    Fine (not great, but good enough on computers with their big physical keyboards, mice and function keys)... but so crummy on the handhelds that this crumminess engendered a whole new gadget industry.
    EXTERNAL KEYBOARDS...
    Ahh but the scribes have rebelled! You creative writers were all asleep. but we the translators... the "scribes" were woke.






     
  7. Ioshka

    Ioshka New Member

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    Where were we?

    Glenn Barrington, to whom I owe an apology says (way up north):

    The good ones are exactly alike!

    And he's got a point. I've never understood those who complain about the "cluttered" interface of Microsoft Word. The damned program is so configuarble that you can have just a blank screen with ABSOLUTELY nothing in front of you.

    But my focus is on the handhelds... The Android sphere has nice products but for writing /editing they're in a catatonic state. All the action is in iOS. The way Germany beat Brazil in the 2014 World Cup... that's iOS vs Android for writing.

    Note: God is Great and Murphy is his prophet.

    Apple is discontinuing the iPAD mini... so there will be nothing for whip-it-out, instant-on, work-anywhere/anytime PRODUCTIVE text editing... unless you have girlie fingers and lots of cash for the big iPhone.

    In any case for editing on the handhelds, all were equally terrible... Not for the bells and whistles... The bells and whistles are great. Ulysses is dynamite, and Scrivener is Heavenly... but for the actual meat and potatoes of editing...

    "Place thine finger upon yon screen and have tired eye command thine pudgy finger to drag the trusty thingamabob to spread the glow of doom until said glow of doom is perfectly extended right up to AND EXCLUDING EX-FRIGGING-CLUDING the value you want!"

    Connective in its blind mechanics, connective in its pondered purpose, bizarrely connective in its geography... and Re-Connective in its common practice!

    Wait a minute! Kindly grant me a button... no wait, two buttons please. One would be enough, but two will make things snappier.

    Button 1 is [§] (sector symbol in square brackets)... and it obeys the following simple instruction.

    Check the value to the immediate left of the cursor, go back in place and then cancel to the right up to and INCLUDING that same value case insensitive.

    Hey! Thanks to the connective nature of text editing, look what I invented.

    A tap on [§] at the head of a paragraph will cancel that paragraph in one fell swoop and further taps will go on canceling other paragraphs (even empty ones).

    Snappier and involving less anatomy than what's normal on a regular computer.

    How does it work. [§] reads the pilcrow to the left and then cancels up to and including the next pilcrow it finds, effectively gobbling the paragraph in the middle.

    A tap on [§] at the head of a word will cancel that word in one fell swoop and further taps will go on canceling other words... till the end of time. (preceded by some guy in a Swiss laboratory who says "oops")

    To cancel from anywhere inside a parag. to the end of the selfsame... only two touches. Just hit <ENTER> where you want to end the para. followed by a tap on [§]

    The amount of text involved doesn't matter... this is "Connective Editing"

    To cancel from the cursor position to any whatsoever punctuation mark / symbol... only two touches.

    Need to cancel to the end of the period sentence. You tap in a period "." and then hit [§]... No scraping the screen... no thingamabobs... the speed is "tah-tah!"

    Need to cancel to a word? Just tap in the first letter of that word ("b" for "book" - "W" for "Washington") and tap [§] as many times as necessary to bring the desired word to the cursor.

    But for word connection there's Booster mode... [=]

     
  8. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Active Member

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    Okay, my question is withdrawn. We're not talking memory allocation are we... sorry. The curse of age.
     
  9. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    I've heard things about memory allocation and age.

    You know, it's funny you should bring this up. My third eldest, Larissa, she was talking about this just last week...

    For more insight, reference 1:35 into:
     

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