Writing In a Post MacBook Way

My Late 2009 MacBook bit the dust last week.  It had been having problems with charging for quite a while and I even had the MagSafe board replaced back in March, which worked for a little while.  But, sadly, it went back to not having any LED light on when connected to the charger and taking over 24 hours to charge from 20% to 100%.  My solution was to keep it plugged in at all times, which worked well, until it somehow got unplugged.  Now it wont power on at all, even with the charger connected. 

I’ve invested a fair amount of $$$ into outstanding software like Scrivener, Mars Edit, BibDesk, and MacJournal.  These three (well two, actually, which I’ll explain in a minute) were the core of my writing tools. 

Scrivener makes it insanely east to create entire writing projects.  It gives you everything you need to organize, research, and compile a writing project, for anything from research papers and short stories, to complete Novels.   I used it for articles that I periodically submitted the JREF blog, as it allowed me to easily keep track of my various research results and integrated them into my articles (since the JREF deals with skeptical topics which required copious and well cited research this was a huge plus).  I also used it for longer and more rigorously researched articles like one that was published in Skeptical Inquire magazine earlier this year.

BibDesk is an essential and excellent bibliography manager.  It is exclusively a Mac application.  It does it’s job beautifully.  It even has an excellent search engine that goes out and finds not just articles based on your search, but will add them and format them in several standard different professional citation styles.

MacJournal was my first blogging software.  It worked beautifully with my WordPress blog (the one you are reading now).  I ended up replacing MacJournal with Mars Edit, mainly because MacJournal did not have an easy way to create Block Quotes.  Also, Mars Edit handles media attachments a bit better.

Now, Mac-less, I have only my Windows 7 laptop, which I purchased mainly for my job as a computer field engineer (my company pays me a stipend in each paycheck to use our own computers), I have had to start using this for pretty much all my computing activities, in addition to my work related stuff.

Fortunately, Scrivener just recently (in the past year, I believe) began offering a version for Windows.  I just downloaded the trial version and will purchase the full version.  From what I’ve seen and read so far, it has all the feature of the Mac version.

I’m currently writing this using Windows Live Writer, which works well enough, and looks pretty, but doesn’t keep track of older posts, at least not in any useful way.  It does, however, have an easy to use Block Quote feature. It is on a par with MacJournal and Mars Edit.

Alas, there are no really good replacements for any of the other software tools I used on my Mac.    I’ve tried bibliography managers for Windows, but none of them offer the comprehensiveness and rich feature set of BibDesk.  The free versions pretty much suck.  There are good ones that I could pay for, but I can’t really afford any of those.  BibDesk is free.

So, I have most of the types of tools I used to have on my Mac on my Windows box, it’s just that except for Scrivener , they just aren’t as a easy to use and thus I spend more time and effort to accomplish the same tasks on Windows compared to my Mac.  This just makes my job of writing that much harder.

I love Mac.  Their apps are better and the companies that produce them seem to really try hard to make the writer’s job as easy as possible.  Plus, the all adhered closely adhered to the Mac look and feel.  They just looked and worked better.  Period.

At least on my iPad, I have my trusty old MacJournal, so there is that. 


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