I am ga-ga for this software - is there dot-mac support?

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freelancing
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:36 pm Post

I have been planning on writing a book for some time, but other than essays handwritten in college, before there were laptop computers, etc., the project seemed too daunting.

Like a lot of people, I kinda got the push again w/ the New Year. I never make resolutions - but hearing what everyone else claims to be doing is sometimes humbling and inspiring. Yet I digress.

In about a week's time, I downloaded and tried out every software product out there (that has a free trial, anyway) that claims to be software for Mac users for writing. A few apps were 'eh' ok, but just repurposed word processing, really.

I am probably ADD, have the attention span of hyperactive 2-yr-old on crack & meth, and I'm scatter-brained (is that redundant?). I can never keep track of my own thoughts (am I being redundant again?)...

...then, I found Scrivener (clouds part, angels sing)...

I followed the complete tutorial (this alone is a gem! Tutorials are usually so lacking and are rarely this thorough - you ROCK!) and was already feeling like Cupid's arrow had hit my heart. Of course, I'm a Mac & iPod user. So, not much impresses me. I'm already using the best OS and hardware in the world - what else do I need?

I almost never buy software, but after a few days of use, I gladly paid the modest price (just a few minutes ago, actually) to use this robust writing tool.

I love Apple's iWork and I'm looking forward to seeing Leopard and iWork '07, but Scrivener is the software I will use for this project and any other writing endeavors I have in the future. When you find 'the one,' no sense looking elsewhere.

Scrivener helps me think. I can be in the middle of my stream-of-consciousness writing and another thought pops in my mind concerning research, and lo & behold, only a moderate diversion in the research folder to add notes and I'm back to writing without having to leave the program or lose my scattered train of thought.

If I get published, I will be putting your URL in the colophon, you can be sure. In 3 days, I have written the introduction and 3 chapters. I have never been so productive on anything I've ever done. I hope you make a million bucks off this software.

I was just doing an iChat conversation last evening with a coworker of mine and I just praised your software to no end.

I'm just a web developer - so I mostly do scripting, not the level of programming that must have gone into this program. I can tell how hard you worked on this - it's awesome!

I got inspired to write after reading "Damn, I Wish I Wrote That!" a few years ago, but sat on my duff, staring at blank paper or a blank page in Word or TextEdit and was too overwhelmed. I bought blank books and started writing, but always making edits and you can't easily spell check or undo while writing.

I am now in the daunting research phase which may take me several months. I'm researching ethics and laws concerning my subject matter, in each of the 50 states to make my book more useful (if anyone actually publishes it). I really think that this phase of the project would be too overwhelming if I didn't have Scrivener to hold my hand. God bless you.

As someone who has lost data more than once, I do back-ups, but I really am fond of off-site back-up such as that with dotMac (.Mac). I'm just doing a drag-n-drop of my .scriv file into my .Mac documents folder - but it would be nice if this happened automatically everytime I did a force-save, or maybe every 10 minutes, etc.

I am also wondering - is it best for Scrivener to be closed when I do this drag-n-drop saving, or does it even matter?

Do you already have this working w/ .Mac synching (you thought of everything else!), or do you have that plan in the works?

I feel so blessed that right when I really felt inspired to write and check out different software apps, Scrivener 1.0 was already out of beta and ready for me to use.

After just a few days, I had realized it was true love. Scrivener, will you marry me?

THANK YOU! Your software kicks chicken!

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AmberV
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:59 pm Post

freelancing wrote:Scrivener helps me think. I can be in the middle of my stream-of-consciousness writing and another thought pops in my mind concerning research, and lo & behold, only a moderate diversion in the research folder to add notes and I'm back to writing without having to leave the program or lose my scattered train of thought.


Something you might try to further streamline this process is to assign a keyboard shortcut to Scrivener's system service "Create New Clipping from Selection." While this works from anywhere on the system, it also can work from right within Scrivener. While you are in the process of writing and have an idea, simply type it right into the current document you are working in, select it, press your defined shortcut, and it will be automatically saved to a special folder in the Binder for later sorting. Since the text is already selected, you can just press <delete> to remove it from the current document, and continue writing.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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freelancing
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:07 pm Post

AmberV wrote:Something you might try to further streamline this process is to assign a keyboard shortcut to Scrivener's system service "Create New Clipping from Selection." While this works from anywhere on the system, it also can work from right within Scrivener. While you are in the process of writing and have an idea, simply type it right into the current document you are working in, select it, press your defined shortcut, and it will be automatically saved to a special folder in the Binder for later sorting. Since the text is already selected, you can just press <delete> to remove it from the current document, and continue writing.


I gotta tell you, I'm going to need a cigarette, this software is so awesome! Ok, not to be dim, but how do you assign such a short cut?

I did intently follow the step-by-step tutorial and did all the little exercises along the way, but I honestly cannot remember every detail. I will probably only retain the functions that I use regularly... but this is an awesome tip. I was doing online research last night online and remembered seeing something like this in the tutorial, but couldn't remember what it was.

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AmberV
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:13 pm Post

To manage my services, I use a little free (donationware) application called Service Scrubber. It lets you prune out the stuff you never use, too, making the menu much more useful. I didn't use Services for years because it was such a mess that it took longer to find anything in it than it did to simply do what the Service was supposed to be making easy!

And you know, as far as learning Scrivener goes: I've been using this application since the first private beta release, and I while I probably know nearly every function, I am still finding new ways to combine them every single time I sit down to use it. As I get more and more refined in my usage of it, I find that the mechanics of writing are slipping into the background for the first time in my life. I am no longer really thinking about what I need to be doing, and just doing it. Amazing.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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freelancing
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:20 pm Post

AmberV wrote:To manage my services, I use a little free (donationware) application called Service Scrubber.


This is cool. I've never used services before and have been quite clueless.

AmberV wrote:As I get more and more refined in my usage of it, I find that the mechanics of writing are slipping into the background for the first time in my life. I am no longer really thinking about what I need to be doing, and just doing it. Amazing.


Yes! That is what (in theory) computers are supposed to do for us - which is why we're Mac users! We can get our work done w/o popping the hood every five minutes. I'm already feeling so free to just work on this project, and I'm sure the process will get more refined as I continue. Now, I'm just struggling with the idea of all the research I'm going to have to do (ugh).

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AmberV
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:25 pm Post

As someone who has lost data more than once, I do back-ups, but I really am fond of off-site back-up such as that with dotMac (.Mac). I'm just doing a drag-n-drop of my .scriv file into my .Mac documents folder - but it would be nice if this happened automatically everytime I did a force-save, or maybe every 10 minutes, etc.

I am also wondering - is it best for Scrivener to be closed when I do this drag-n-drop saving, or does it even matter?


There is no direct .mac synching or FTP synch. This was brought up a while ago and determined that it is best to let FTP applications do their thing and keep Scrivener clean.

But, since you use .mac there is something you can do that is a lot easier than the method you are using. Mount the .mac volume on your system, and from within Scrivener press Cmd-Shift-S. This invokes the menu command Backup Project To.... In the dialogue, choose the .mac volume and the location where you wish to keep your backups. If you choose the ZIP option, the Scrivener file will be compressed into an archive to save space and potentially reduce online transfer times (not sure on that one). This command produces an identical copy of the project at the time of backup.

Your second question about drag-and-drop: As long as the little red button in the top left corner does not have a little dot in it, you should be fine. That dot appears whenever you have made a change in the project that requires saving. You'll find that dot is pretty fleeting though, as Scrivener automatically saves itself whenever you pause. It would probably be a very difficult task to switch to Finder and drag your project file over before it auto-saves!
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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AmberV
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:29 pm Post

freelancing wrote:This is cool. I've never used services before and have been quite clueless.


It is really a shame that Apple does not ship a Services organiser like Service Scrubber. I think the concept is definitely one of those things that really make the Mac a superior operating system. The ability for independent programs to communicate between each other could be taken a lot further than it has. Poor menu management, conflicting shortcuts that you cannot easily manage by default, and possibly a low profile has kept it from being as useful as it could be. For example, wouldn't it be great if you could stick a "Send to Scrivener" button in the toolbar of another application? This kind of thing would increase the visibility and usefulness of services. Ah well.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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freelancing
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:49 pm Post

AmberV wrote:There is no direct .mac synching or FTP synch. This was brought up a while ago and determined that it is best to let FTP applications do their thing and keep Scrivener clean.


Certainly makes sense.

AmberV wrote:But, since you use .mac there is something you can do that is a lot easier than the method you are using. Mount the .mac volume on your system, and from within Scrivener press Cmd-Shift-S. This invokes the menu command Backup Project To.... In the dialogue, choose the .mac volume and the location where you wish to keep your backups. If you choose the ZIP option, the Scrivener file will be compressed into an archive to save space and potentially reduce online transfer times (not sure on that one). This command produces an identical copy of the project at the time of backup.


I will do this. It would be nice if it happened automatically, though. I'm too scatter brained to think of everything all at once. :)

AmberV wrote:It would probably be a very difficult task to switch to Finder and drag your project file over before it auto-saves!


Well, leave it to me to find a way to do that! I have a knack for accidentally doing the impossible. :P

About 10 years ago, I worked at an advertising agency. When I first started working there, there was this one guy who I assumed hated my guts. He was so unpleasant and never talked to me. When I'd say hello to him, he'd barely acknowledge my existance. After about a year, he started talking and I found out why he was in such a foul mood for so long.

About a week before I started working there, he had almost completed writing his life story on his Mac there. We all worked 80+ hours a week, an no one balked at him using the computer for his own project as long as clients weren't being billed for his time... as long as we met our deadlines.

Anyway, he hadn't printed anything out and right when he was about to save his latest addition, the hard drive died. He had been working on this project for years and the only copy resided in the PowerMac 7100/66 on his desk. Naturally, he had a melt-down. His bosses felt so bad, they sent his drive to data recovery specialists on their own dime - willing to spend thousands of dollars to recover this data... but they weren't able to get it back - apparently something truly devastating happened inside the drive where the arm scraped the platters enough to sufficiently scramble his data permanently.

He was so devastated, he fell into a deep depression and was that way for over a year... and I can understand why. I lost contact w/ him, so I don't know if he ever decided to start over again.

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KB
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:14 pm Post

Hi freelancing, and thank you for your enthusiasm for Scrivener (and for buying)! You'll have to excuse the brief reply - normally I'm more verbose, but right now it's a Friday night and, to compound issues, my MacBook ethernet port has just stopped working so I am hunching over a very old monitor attached to my MacMini (because my lovely 20" monitor broke too...).

Anyway...

Currently there is no way to back up automatically in the way you want, although there is certainly no harm in dragging .scriv files to your backup media (or dotMac in your case) whilst Scrivener is running. It sounds like this would be a good 1.5 - 2.0 addition, so if you poke me in the ribs in a few months' time, I will take a look to see if there is an easy way of adding more backup options.

Thanks and all the best,
Keith

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Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:46 pm Post

I think Time Machine in Leopard will solve this issue very nicely. The only problem is to find the disk space... For me, it is either an extra hard disk in the Mac Pro or get the new Airport Extreme and plug a RAID drive into the USB and turns it into NAS.

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freelancing
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:19 pm Post

CountZero wrote:I think Time Machine in Leopard will solve this issue very nicely. The only problem is to find the disk space... For me, it is either an extra hard disk in the Mac Pro or get the new Airport Extreme and plug a RAID drive into the USB and turns it into NAS.


Yes, I am waiting with bated breath (is there any other kind?) for Leopard. Time Machine looks so awesome. I know that the way Apple trumpets their stuff, they will probably out-do what they demo'ed at the developer's conference and make it even more mind-blowingly fantastic - not that I'm setting high expectations or anything!

Until Leopard, I will be doing dragging & dropping. I hope that they come out w/ 802.11n express versions of Airport so it's easier to have the NAS drives in different locations. I love the express base stations for iTunes - I currently only have PowerPC Macs at home, so nothing to take advantage of the n-draft standard quite yet... but it never hurts to plan or fantasize.

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Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:42 pm Post

I have very simple (and I think secure) BU strategy, which might be of value to others.

At the end of every session I create a zipped (and nicely dated) BU file, using the Scriv menu. I save that to a draft BU folder on my HD.

I then open my Mac.com iDisk and drag a copy of the just-backed-up file into my BU folder there.

Finally I send myself an email with the just-created file as an attachment. I use googlemail which provides tons of storage.

All of this takes me about 2 minutes, at most. It results in having four up-to-date files, two on my Mac (the actual working file and the BU file), one on Mac.com and one in my gmail space. I also have, of course, incremental files for each day of writing.

Hope this helps.

Tim
In theory, there's no difference
between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.

Yogi Berra

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Eiron
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:48 pm Post

Ya, all very nice, but where's your backup if the world comes to an end?
:) E

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AmberV
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:50 pm Post

I use the FTP program Yummy FTP that has the ability to save a little program into a directory which automatically uploads modified or new files to a specified location on a FTP server. I have one of these set up in my backup location, so that whenever I save a backup out of Scrivener, it is automatically in a secure location on my web account. I needn't even do anything. I hear Transmit has this feature now, too.
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Ioa Petra'ka
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Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:59 pm Post

If you already have a .mac account, you can just setup a scheduled backup in the Backup app to upload the .scriv file every X minutes.