Monday, May 23, 2011

What looks like a super writing tool -- Scrivener

This is a big hello to all you new Wilkes students. I've found a tool I think would have made my life a lot easier when I was churning out papers, responses, and blog entries for my courses. Keeping track of ideas and sources was a complicated affair especially when writing a long paper or doing one of those courses that required multiple written pieces. Scrivener (in Mac and Windows versions) is designed to "help you get to the end of that awkward first draft. … Outline and structure your ideas, take notes, view research alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context" -- it all seems to be there.

What I love about this tool is that the 30 day free trial means 30 days of actual usage. If you only use it once a month, you get 30 months free. After that the price is very reasonable. There is a good collection of tutorials, a wiki with the FAQ's, a support form, and you can register copies of the software on more than one machine. You can also publish your work so that it can be read on an iPad or other e-book readers and sync it with apps such as Simple Note that use DropBox. I'm wondering what it will look like on an IWB.

I'll be writing next week to see if you can move files back and forth between Mac to Windows as sometimes I work on one, and sometimes on the other. I've just bought a fancy new Mac, but have found that with the high-res screen, I can' change the sizes of the fonts in the toolbars unless I sacrifice resolution and I'm struggling to see the tiny print. Fortunately I have a second monitor (the best hardware investment I ever made) which works best at a different resolution which is better for my aging eyes. I've also installed something called DejaMenu which allows me to open a menu that pertains to the second screen on the second screen. This is a natural act on a PC -- Mac doesn't seem to lead the way in everything.

Onwards towards the end of the school year ...

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