Posts: 1185
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:05 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Upstate New York

Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:16 pm Post

Early in this thread, I suggested WordPress and Ecto. Subsequent posts brought up topics I hadn't considered, or hadn't considered carefully enough. So:

I still recommend WordPress if what you want is a place to rant and rave and ruminate in public. (Verify first that such activity is legal in your locale.) That tens of millions of other people also do it does not invalidate the enterprise, but it does minimize your chances of being noticed.

If you want more than that -- a commercial or institutional or professional site -- you're probably better off setting up your own site. For that, I'd choose Sandvox. If nothing else, you have to love their logo.

I had suggested Ecto. Then, after Michael's post, I re-checked Journler. Strange. I had been using it (gulp) simply as a journal. Turns out the damn thing also does a fine job of posting to WordPress. Although Journler is free (donation-ware, actually), I feel obligated now to send the man more money. Ecto still works okay, but I don't seem to need it any more.

Which brings to mind...

This is probably off-topic, and may already have been addressed in the forum, but I'll ask anyway.

Can we draw a line somewhere between one do-everything app and a hundred do-only-one-thing apps? Or put another way, are we better off with a lot of highly-specific tools, or with a few multi-purpose ones?

The answer to this, or the approach to an answer, will probably vary considerably according to the platform you're using, with MS in one direction and Mac in the other.

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Posts: 7142
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:22 pm Post

If you're looking for a tool to help you deal with a bicycle repair by the side of the road, a compact multitool will work just fine. If you're replacing major components in the comfort of your garage, you'll probably be happier with single-purpose tools.

Just as a skilled mechanic tends to accumulate many single-purpose tools over the years, I find myself using more different pieces of software. I think that's partly because I'm less patient with the limitations of multipurpose tools. (The expression, "jack of all trades, master of none" comes to mind.) But the single purpose tools have also become more capable (Scrivener being a prime example), and sharing among tools has become less painful. That, and as a recent Mac switcher I had to rethink all of my software choices anyway.

On one hand, the Windows platform has many more choices in any given category. Yet it doesn't seem to have as much truly excellent software as the Mac platform does. (At least not at prices that individuals can afford.) I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because there's so much competition (and MSFT casts a much longer shadow) it's hard for small developers to get critical mass? Maybe the platform itself gets in the way? Sharing among Windows applications seems to be much more difficult, too, which could be because of both MSFT's love for proprietary interfaces and also the huge mishmash of legacy code floating around.

Anyway, I find that my leading writer-oriented tools--Scrivener, DevonThink, and Tinderbox--serve distinctly different functions in my workflow. While the feature lists suggest a great deal of overlap, in practice I use them in different ways for different purposes.