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Messages - johnk [ switch to compact view ]

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101
I've got nothing against "capitalism" or growing wealth, but at some point, capitalism starts running amok in ways that are not beneficial.

Going back to the core of your argument, Renegade, I don't think many would disagree with this statement. On the other hand, there seems to be little appetite among voters (particularly American voters) for state intervention in the economic process. And it's still America's view on this issue that matters most. America is still (just) the economic engine of the world.

Sometimes it's difficult to have these conversations across national boundaries because our own histories and teachings mean we have very different working definitions of capitalism or socialism, right-wing or left-wing.

For example, viewed from the comfort of my armchair here in the UK, American politics seems a very frightening beast. You have a right-wing party (the Democrats), an extreme right-wing party (Republicans) and another large political organisation (the Tea Party), for people for whom even the Republicans don't seem right-wing enough. Terrifying.

This is using the modern, narrow definition of right-wing to mean the extent to which you accept state intervention in everyday life (through taxation, or regulation).

The most right-wing party in the UK (the Conservatives) has as its leader a man who is a great champion of our national health care system (the state-funded NHS, free to everyone at the point of delivery), the same NHS that was vilified in TV ads by American Republican politicians during the "Obamacare" debate. Republican ads described the "nightmare" of being treated in the UK's "socialist" medical system. In the hands of American right-wing politicians, the word socialist has no definition. It simply means "a bad thing". To many people in the UK (including the Conservative Prime Minister) the NHS is one of the greatest achievements in Britain's history.

But of course the NHS is not immune from the capitalist model, indeed it interacts with it every day. Drug companies sell drugs at a price, and the state either pays up, or patients don't get the drugs (see Nudone's earlier post).

This has been concentrating my mind over the last year. I was diagnosed with cancer at a time when I had no employment and little savings. Without the NHS, I would have been in big(ger) trouble.

Ultimately, the length of time I will survive depends on whether I get access to new and expensive drugs. By a curious coincidence, shortly before I was diagnosed, a British television programme showed the curious process through which drugs are approved for use -- using as an example the very drug I am likely to need soon.

It's called Revlimid. The NHS will pay a maximum of £30,000 per patient (about $48,000) "per year of good life" for a single drug. The drug company wanted £45,000 a year per patient for Revlimid. The NHS refused use of the drug. So the drug company came back a few months later and said "okay, £42,000". The NHS has some discretion in paying more for what are seen as "end-of-life" drugs. They actually showed the committee's voting session on TV. The eighteen-member vote on whether they should pay £42,000 per year per patient for Revlimid tied at 9-9. The chairman's casting vote was yes. So I should get the drug. Which means that other patients with other conditions will be denied drugs, because the budget is always finite.

Allegedly, Revlimid was a "relatively inexpensive" drug to develop. It is an extremely profitable drug for the company. I try to be realistic about these things, but it is difficult not to conclude that drug companies hold health services to ransom.

102
That's how capitalism works. There are alternatives...

Like what?

This is veering off topic, but you're right that, in practical terms, we cannot all choose tomorrow not to live in a capitalist system. But we can choose how we live in that system.

"Greed is good" is now an iconic phrase, summing up an era. But I would argue that the really key phrase is "growth is good" -- the automatic underlying assumption in every economic discussion that more is always better.

I joined many other people in recent years by "downsizing" my life. Not just the "giving up posh restaurants" downsizing people do when hard times hit (I could never afford posh restaurants anyway), but more radical downsizing -- from big city to much smaller house in a small town, far less discretionary spending, a simple lifestyle. We can survive on very modest income. Recession is nowhere near the worry it would have been five years ago. We are to an extent insulated from it all. But we are much "poorer" economically. We have experienced severe "negative growth", as economists would say. But we are happier. It was a good decision.

If significant numbers of people made a similar decision, opting out of wealth generation? It would be economically devastating. Living standards would fall back by at least a generation. Would you be happier? That's the real choice we have today. And everyone can make it for themselves.

103
I can't believe I'm jumping to the defence of the big corporations, but a few things need to be said.

To the best of my knowledge, printing and distributing a book is a minor part of overall publishing costs. I think a standard hardback print run for a mainstream novel costs less than £1 per book. So if publishing companies are looking to maintain the same level of profits on ebooks that they obtain on print books, you're not going to see a huge reduction in prices. But yes, prices should be slightly cheaper than print books.

Secondly, if you're looking to rip people off, there are many, many better industries to do it in than book publishing.

Thirdly, yeah, I don't like DRM either. I don't buy DRM'd products. Or if I do, I might choose to break the DRM afterwards (I have no moral problem with doing that once I have bought the product). But lately, I actually find myself sympathising with the book/music publishers. Because I know so few young people who will pay for digital files. Of any sort. Music, video, software. Many young people seem to think you're nuts if you pay for ones and zeros. Mass copying of files among groups of friends appears to be the norm. It has nothing to do with price. It's a generational thing. A whole generation is growing up that somehow seems to have no moral qualms about digital theft. If I were a book publisher, I would use DRM. There, I've said it.

And in general: I worked for a big multi-national for many years (not a book publisher). Yep, they are utterly and absolutely focussed on maximising profits in any way they can. It's their job. The role of any company is to "maximise the long-term return to shareholders". And who are the shareholders?

You and me. The vast majority of shares are owned by financial institutions. Pension funds. Insurance companies. Other financial institutions. Investing our money. The return you get on your pension or other fund, or whether your company/government can afford to pay you a decent pension when you retire, depends on how these funds perform. It's all circular. The pension funds put huge pressure on big companies to maximise returns. Because you and I demand the best possible pension when we retire. We "get ripped off" at one end, we get a better pension at the other. It's no use blaming "the rich". There really aren't very many of them. Statistically, they're irrelevant. We're the ones demanding a decent pension and the right to sit and do nothing for 20 years when we retire. So it's swings and roundabouts. That's how capitalism works. There are alternatives...

104
Another odd thing - the Kindle doesn't read .htm natively, but if you rename them to .txt it can do a pretty good rendering. Character and list formatting are supported, but not tables, as well as external links. You just need the bare <htm> and <body> tags. I've found that a quick way of saving content from the Web to read later.

If it suits your circumstances, you could feed the web content through Instapaper, which strips away formatting and saves the page content in your Instapaper account (it's a one-click job once you set up a bookmarklet in your browser). Then Instapaper can email the content to your Kindle automatically if you wish (in Kindle-friendly format, of course). Makes everything seamless. And it's free (although I find Instapaper so useful I voluntarily pay a subscription).

EDIT: Also, I am sure I have emailed .HTM files to my Kindle in the past, and it has done an excellent job at conversion. Which isn't surprising -- I think mobi/azw files are just very basic html with a bit of DRM added (in the case of AZW).

105
Apart from the e-ink, the best thing about the Kindle (for me) is that you can email documents to it as an attachment (Word document, HTML, plain text, whatever) and a few seconds later the document appears on your Kindle, formatted and ready to read. The Kindle server converts the document to Kindle format on the fly.

It makes it very easy to use the Kindle to read any long documents. And of course other people can email documents to your Kindle too (hence the value of services such as Instapaper).

106
General Software Discussion / Re: Outlining software recommendations?
« on: February 02, 2011, 11:32 PM »
^ I think that you might have misunderstood what it is.  It doesn't create outlines in Word documents; it organizes Word documents.  When you're working on a large project, in a lot of cases, you're working with more than one document.  This allows you to organize them, rather than have to manually keep up with several word documents.

Yes, Writing Outliner for MS Word is, on one level, a similar product to the excellent free utility Chapter by Chapter, which is a useful tool for organising Word documents.

107
They're going to keep saying that the e-ink displays are better on the eyes vs the tablet screens, but that's a bunch of bullshit.

Slightly off-topic, I guess, but that's quite something to state as a bald fact. Many would disagree. I can't read anything on an LCD screen for more than two or three pages without my eyes burning (and I've always bought very good screens). I send any long article I want to read to my Kindle, which is one of my best ever purchases.

I hate DRM as much as the next guy, but in the time I've owned a Kindle I've never bought a single ebook. I bought the Kindle just to use as a device to read long articles copied from the web. I use Calibre to send free newspapers/magazines to my Kindle every day, and I use Instapaper to collect everything I want to read on the web (and Instapaper will email that stuff to my Kindle automatically). All for the cost of a Kindle, which is a decent bit of hardware. The built-in browser is surprisingly usable, and with the 3G Kindle version you get free worldwide 3G. Sounds like an ad, I know, but just adding a bit of balance to the ebook debate. Big companies can do good things.

108

What if it's just a little fun to change things around?  That's why I'm doing it now, it's like stress relief for me.  I like to practice making my websites look like other ones that I find nice.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that, of course, particularly if you enjoy it. I was just talking about people I've seen wasting huge chunks of time on re-designs, thinking it would get them more readers, when what they really needed was better content.

109
A footnote from the Johnk rule book of life. Rule #3458: Re-designs are a waste of time.

I did quite a few newspaper "re-designs" in my time (always at someone else's request). I have seen countless re-designs of newspapers and web sites.

Very, very rarely have I ever felt that a re-design was a good use of time. Unless a design is really, very badly broken (in terms of readability, legibility, signposting etc), then time spent improving content is always a better use of time than time spent on design.

Just my 2p.

110
Some fonts are optimised for print (the vast majority), other are optimised for screen display (e.g. Verdana, Georgia). Some work reasonably well for both. Not many though (Calibri springs to mind).

There's no amount of tweaking you can do to make a font look good on screen if it's only intended for print use.

I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to web design. Unless your site is an artistic statement in itself, where pixel-perfect placement is essential, I always think it's best to keep it as simple as possible. If you specify fonts, make it tried and trusted, universally available fonts.

I have a hunch that what you really like about the AListApart site is the design, including the line leading for body text and the use of white space around the text. I don't think it's the fonts. Look at their CSS file:

#content .ishinfo, #content .title, #content .byline {text-align: center;}
#content .item, #content #ishintro, #ishoutro {border-top: 1px dashed #999;
  padding: 1.5em 1em 0.5em; margin-top: 0.75em;}
#content #ishintro, #content #ishoutro {padding: 1em 1em 1px; font: italic 1.05em Georgia, serif;}
#content .title {font-size: 1.8em; text-align: center;}
#content .byline {padding: 0 0 1em; margin: 0 0 1.25em; text-align: center;
  background: url(/pix/byline-separator.gif) 50% 100% no-repeat;}
#content .byline a {font: bold 0.85em Verdana, sans-serif;
  text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 2px;
   margin-left: 0.25em;}

#banners {margin: 0 20px 20px;}
#banners li {margin: 0 0 10px;}
#banners li a {background: #CCC; display: block; width: 173px; margin: 0 auto;}
#banners li img {background: #CCC; display: block; margin: 0 auto;}
#banners li a:hover, #banners li a:hover img {background: #666; border: none;}

#choice {border-top: 1px solid #D9D9D9;
  padding: 1.5em 20px;}
#choice h3 {color: #333; font: 0.9em Verdana, sans-serif;
  text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 0.33em;}
#choice .title {text-align: left; font: 1.5em Georgia, Times, serif;}
#choice .byline {display: block; border: none; text-align: left; margin-top: 0.5em;}
#choice .byline a {font-size: 0.8em;}
#choice .info {font-style: italic; font-size: 0.9em;
  color: #666;}

#sidebar {width: 140px; padding-left: 15px;}



Nothing unusual there. Verdana, Georgia, Times....

111
General Software Discussion / Re: How To Type Symbols and more
« on: January 25, 2011, 05:39 PM »
John, thanks VERY much, muchísimas gracias, merci beaucoup, Vielen Dank!   :Thmbsup:
Ná habair é

112
General Software Discussion / Re: How To Type Symbols and more
« on: January 25, 2011, 05:24 PM »
Happy to oblige. Open the config file AX.cfg in the program folder. The relevant section of the file looks like this:

(; -------------------------------------------------------------------
; CHARACTER CYCLE SETS
; -------------------------------------------------------------------
; This is a library of possible cycles
; <Set_name>=<character cycles>
; • Each cycle MUST finish with the start character
; • If you add sets you think might be useful to others
;   feel free to email [email protected]
; -------------------------------------------------------------------
Catalan=aàa AÀA cçc CÇC eéèe EÉÈE iíi IÍI oóòo OÓÒO uúüu UÚÜU
Danish=aåæa AÅÆA oøo OØO
Estonian=aäa AÄA oöõo OÖÕO sšs SŠS uüu UÜU zžz ZŽZ
Finnish=aäa AÄA oöo OÖO uüu UÜU
French=aàâäa AÀÂÄA cçc CÇC eéèêëe EÉÊÈËE iîïi IÎÏI oôo OÔO uûùüu UÛÙÜU
French1=aàâäæa AÀÂÄÆA cçc CÇC eéèêëe EÉÊÈËE iîïi IÎÏI oôöœo OÔÖŒO uûùüu UÛÙÜU
German=BßB aäa AÄA eée EÉE oöo OÖO uüu UÜU
Icelandic=aáåæa AÁÅÆA dðd DÐD iíi IÍI oóöo OÓÖO pþp PÞP uúµu UÚU yýy YÝY
Italian=aáa AÁA eéèe EÉÈE iíìi IÍÌI oòo OÒO uùu UÙU
Portuguese=aáâàãa AÁÂÀÃA cçc CÇC eéêe EÉÊE iíi IÍI oóôõo OÓÔÕO uúu UÚU
Russian=a??a A??A b?b B?B G?G g?g D?D d?d E???E e???e F?F f?f I???I i???i K??K k??k L?L l?l M?M m?m N?N n?n O?O o?o P?P p?p R?R r?r S???S s???s T??T t??t V?V v?v U??U u??u Z??Z z??z C?C c?c Y??Y y??y
Spanish=aáa AÁA eée EÉE ií¡i IÍI oóo OÓO uúüu UÚÜU ?¿? nñn NÑN
Swedish=aåäa AÅÄA oöo OÖO
Turkish=aâa AÂA cçc CÇC ggg GGG iiîi IIÎI oöo OÖO sss SSS uüûu UÜÛU
Math=2²2 3³3 o°o /÷/ +±+ *×* uµu
Symbol=£€£ $¢$ c©c .•…. <«< >»>
Custom=aàáâäåa AÀÁÂÄÅA BßB cçc CÇC eéèêëe EÉÊÈËE iîïíìi IÎÏÍÌI nñn oôöòo OÔÖÒO uûùúüu UÛÙÜU ?¿?
; -------------------------------------------------------------------
; DEFAULT SETS
; -------------------------------------------------------------------
; Provide a list of set names seperated by commas
; • Order may be important.  Early cycles will mask later ones
; • See AX_ReadMe.txt for how to override this using a shortcut
; -------------------------------------------------------------------
SETSen=Custom,Math,Symbol
SETSfr=French1
SETSde=German


In the top section (CHARACTER CYCLE SETS) you add a line with your custom set, placing each character set in the order through which you want them to cycle. NB: you must end each character cycle with the original character, e.g. the "a" cycle must begin and end with the plain "a" character.

Then in the next section (DEFAULT SETS), you change the entry "SETSen" or "SETSfr" or "SETSde" to reflect your custom set, as I have done in the example. Which you change depends on whether you originally installed it as using the English, French or German set. If you can't remember I guess just change all three! Any more questions, just ask.

113
General Software Discussion / Re: Outlining software recommendations?
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:33 PM »
I'd like more keyboard-friendliness too.  Can't see a keyboard method of expanding/collapsing nodes, for example.
Ctrl-Space for one node, Shift-Ctrl-Space for all nodes. There's a list of shortcuts in the manual (the "manual.nte" file in the program folder).

114
General Software Discussion / Re: How To Type Symbols and more
« on: January 25, 2011, 10:10 AM »
http://vulpeculox.net/ax/

for English keyboards I believe, not sure

- for any keyboard, I believe. And surprisingly easy to use

I've been playing around with AX and the best thing about it is that you can create a custom set of changes that make the program do exactly what you want. By default it works in a single language of your choice, but with a custom set you can cover multiple languages. My set currently looks like this:

Custom=aàáâäåa AÀÁÂÄÅA BßB cçc CÇC eéèêëe EÉÊÈËE iîïíìi IÎÏÍÌI nñn oôöòo OÔÖÒO uûùúüu UÛÙÜU ?¿?

When you type a letter and press F8, AX cycles through the options in the order you have chosen. I've used AHK for this kind of thing in the past, but AX actually makes this very easy and quick. Good find.

115
General Software Discussion / Re: Outlining software recommendations?
« on: January 24, 2011, 03:04 PM »
How about Noteliner - a simple and traditional pure outliner? However I'm not sure what you mean by needing "custom sorting"?

116
General Software Discussion / Re: Slash your windows boot time
« on: January 03, 2011, 10:49 PM »
I don't worry too much about boot time, but as others have said Windows doesn't always handle startup too elegantly -- too many programs trying to do too much at the same time. Rather than use yet another program I just run an AHK script at bootup to delay some programs, e.g.:

Sleep, 30000
Run "C:\Program Files\Local Website Archive\wsarc.exe"
Sleep, 15000
Run "C:\Program Files\Rainlendar2\Rainlendar2.exe"
Sleep, 15000
Run "C:\Program Files\FastCheck\FastCheck.exe"
return


And I guess you could just use a Windows batch file, using the SLEEP command.

117
Yes, we've also done the down-sizing, down-salary, simpler life thing. We left the big city and moved to a small town. And yes, our lives are much richer, and we're much happier.

In fact I've yet to meet anyone who has done the same thing and regretted it.

And when serious illness struck last year, the fact that we only had a small and very manageable mortgage, and we had learned to survive on a relatively modest income, made things a lot easier.

118
Living Room / Re: A NAS server for my home
« on: December 08, 2010, 01:13 AM »
I had a quick look at NASLite2 when I was wondering what to play with for my own NAS, (which will hopefully work out to be a silent sub-60W w/ 4TB unit), but it didn't seem to support DLNA which a large number of media players support
NASLite-M2 is the dedicated media streaming version of NASLite, covering UPNP, DAAP etc. Quote from NASLite-M2 product page: "UPNP streaming is enhanced by profiles targeting DLNA, XBOX, PS3 and Generic media clients directly".

119
Living Room / Re: A NAS server for my home
« on: December 07, 2010, 11:57 AM »
I just started playing with FreeNAS, (mainly for data backup - I don't have anything to stream to....yet), and I have to say that it was exceptionally easy to get going.

An unused EPIA SP8000EG with 1GB DDR, booting off of a old 1GB Flash drive with, (currently), an old 160GB SATA HDD as storage, (encrypted UFS for which it's using the dedicated AES hardware on the motherboard).

Another alternative in this scenario is NASLite, which I've used for years. It will run on more or less any old kit you have lying around. I didn't have any old kit when I built my first NAS five years ago, so I bought an old motherboard, a Celeron 700MHz processor (release date June 2000!) and 256MB RAM, less than £20 all-in, and it ran without problems until recently, when the power supply died. Rebuilding it now with slightly newer kit! NASLite is a bullet-proof, easy-to-use Linux-based file server OS for $29. Runs headless, so you can just stick it in a cupboard and forget about it.

120
Living Room / Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« on: December 06, 2010, 10:34 AM »
I think the opposition are going to find it very difficult to match the iPad, much more so than the iPhone.

The iPhone is (arguably) priced at a very high premium -- there's plenty of room for the opposition to work.

But the iPad is different. For me it's the first time Apple have gone into a market without a very heavy price premium (when you consider the hardware), making it difficult for the opposition. The (iPS) screen on the iPad wipes the floor with the current opposition. iPS panels are not cheap, that's why you see so few monitors using them. The iPad screen is so good that some photographers are using them as occasional/second monitors.

Mostly, though, it's (as always) about the software. One of many examples: newspaper and magazine publishers have been waiting for a long time for third-party hardware to arrive that would be the ideal e-publishing mechanism. A lot of the big players seem to have decided that iPad/iTunes is the one, for now at least. The only real opposition? The Kindle. There'll be lots of commercial arguments with Apple, sure, but publishers trust Apple to produce first class kit and a shopfront for their wares. The fragmented Android market will find it difficult to make the same promise to publishers.

121
Living Room / Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« on: December 01, 2010, 07:46 PM »
Apple makes good hardware. Whether it's worth the price is an individual decision.

I hate Apple for other reasons.

Best example: A while back I bought a Nano (mainly because it could be Rockboxed) and I stupidly allowed iTunes to import my music collection.

Without asking permission or informing me, iTunes wrote gibberish into my MP3 tags (to get slightly more technical, iTunes wrote code into my comment tags to enable gapless playback, a good iTunes feature).

Now if you looked at the MP3s in iTunes, everything looked perfectly normal. You could read the tags. It was only when I used different software to play my MP3s that I saw the gibberish in my tags. Completely unreadable.

That's the problem. The underlying assumption that, if you're an Apple user, you don't use anything else. Ever.

And that's why I don't generally use Apple stuff. Apart from.....

A couple of weeks ago my brother decided that having three iPhones (!) was too much, so he gave me his 3G. It is a lovely bit of hardware. Very stylish. But I was surprised at how slow it can be. Dreadful lag sometimes. And rubbish battery life. Wifi reception is poor. The built-in email app can't even hide folders. And for an Apple product, it seems to crash a lot...I could go on. But I will keep it. Why? The apps. It's all about the apps. It's never about the hardware, it's always the software. I preferred my Nokia E63 in many ways, but Symbian software is no match for the Apple apps. Already I couldn't live without iPeng...

122
Mini-Reviews by Members / E Text Editor - a very mini review
« on: November 11, 2010, 07:00 PM »
Basic Info

App NameE Text Editor
App URLhttp://www.e-texteditor.com/index.html
App Version ReviewedV.2.0b
Test System SpecsWindows XP SP3
Support MethodsForum, email
Upgrade PolicyPaid upgrades, $19 for v2
Trial Version Available?One month trial
Pricing Scheme$46.95
Screencast Video URLhttp://e-texteditor.com/index.html

A Very mini review:

This is a mini mini-review of E. There are many people on this forum who code for a living, and who are in a much better position to judge the overall quality of a text editor.

I'm going to concentrate on what makes E stand out for me. I don't code for a living, but I do seem to end up quite often having to deal with HTML, and recently, I discovered Markdown. For those who are unaware, Markdown is text-to-HTML conversion tool. Markdown has a very simple, easy-to-use syntax, that means you can include your Markdown code as you write, and then use the Markdown tool to create an HTML file when you're finished.

An example helps to make it clear. In Markdown: <br />
<code>**bold words**</code> is in bold, <code>*italic*</code> is in italic.

an HTML H2 heading is <br />
<code>## Heading goes here</code>

And so on. Easy to write as you go. But it's never become widely popular because it is essentially a command line tool. Mac users had their fancy TextMate text editor, with its Markdown bundle to make life easier. The rest of us just ignored Markdown.

Well, as anyone with an interest in text editors knows, E brings Textmate bundles to Windows. Great. But I wanted more. I wanted built-in preview of my Markdown code. Actually, I wanted live as-you-type preview of my Markdown code. And if I'm being really greedy, I wanted live preview of any kind of code, because I don't actually use Markdown, I use MultiMarkdown, a more obscure off-shoot of Markdown (Why? For those who are interested, see the footnote).

And E actually ticks all those boxes. If there's another text editor out there at a reasonable price that can achieve those things, I've yet to find it. How does it do it? Well E allows you to use the "transformation command" (conversion program/script) of your choice to create the preview. Markdown and Textile, another popular HTML markup engine, are built in to E. But with a few minutes playing around, I had E using the MultiMarkdown engine to create the live preview. (I just had to add some MultiMarkdown files to the appropriate folder in E, and then type the name of the MultiMarkdown engine in the text field at the bottom of the preview window). The MultiMarkdown E bundle (which can be found on the MultiMarkdown web site), offers syntax highlighting and other nice things. Click for the large image and you can see a sample page using MultiMarkdown code, and the preview in E.

etexteditor.png

It's not often you get your dreams answered. And as E is one of this month's special offers, I thought this was worth a mention. I can't be the only one who finds that live preview saves time. And I also thought that Markdown and its relations were worth a mention. Detailed info on the live preview feature here.

Conclusions
Other than bundles and the live preview, I actually find E to be a rather ordinary text editor. I prefer EmEditor for most things. And feedback in the E forums is not all good. Read them before you invest. But the live MultiMarkdown preview was certainly enough to open my wallet.

One other item of interest to mention - E is open source. Plenty more on that in the E forums.

MultiMarkdown: The original creator of Markdown wanted to keep it as a very simple tool (or had no interest in developing it further, depending on which web site you read). So it doesn't offer niceties such as footnotes or metadata or bibliography support, or what I would consider essentials such as the ability to specify an image size, or tables. Well, the developer of MultiMarkdown added all of those and other features as well, making it a better all-round tool for most purposes. Markdown and MultiMarkdown also use SmartyPants, which translates plain ASCII punctuation characters into “smart” typographic punctuation (e.g. straight quotes become curly quotes). One word of warning if you try these out -- the MultiMarkdown bundle is aimed at the Mac (Textmate) rather than Windows, and needs a bit of code tweaking to work with E (another hour of my life lost).

Links to other reviews of this application
Not much that I can find (the name doesn't help when you're Googling). Here are a couple of old reviews.
http://www.jonlee.ca/e-text-editor-textmate-for-windows/
http://htmleditors.shadowboxcreative.ca/2007/08/09/review-e-text-editor-10/

123
Slightly off-topic, I know, but I thought I'd just mention that I've started using ResophNotes and I think it's a well put-together program. Yes, it seems to sync reliably with Simplenote, but it's also the easiest way I've found so far to use Markdown under Windows (that is, a version of Markdown is built into ResophNotes and it will give you a preview of your Markdown output and allow you to save the HTML page).

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General Software Discussion / Re: Windows 7 Family Pack Upgrade
« on: October 11, 2010, 07:20 PM »
For those interested, the Family Pack is being made available again this month, "for a limited time" (what's that all about?). Anyway, it's on sale in the UK from October 22, and is available for pre-order now on Amazon and, I am sure, other retailers.

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Living Room / Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« on: September 26, 2010, 05:59 PM »
Yes, the most important factor (if you're doing any serious level of printing) is cost per page. So the key questions are: (1) durability of printer (2) toner cost and (3) how often the drum or other parts need replacing. Cheap printers aimed at the consumer market are often a false economy (and that goes for lasers as well as inkjets).

My best tech bargain in recent years was a second-hand laser printer on Ebay.

Business-class laser printers sell second-hand for a tiny fraction of their original value, presumably because so many companies are on those service contracts which replace printers every two or three years, whether they need them or not.

At the time I bought my printer (an HP 2300dn -- d=duplex, n=network), they were selling on Ebay for about £80, about 10 per cent of their price new.

So for £80 I got a heavy-duty laser printer in excellent condition (with an almost-full toner cartridge, new price up to £90!). The print engine is designed to cope with 25,000 pages a month. My printer had printed a total of 10,000 pages in its previous life, so it was almost new in terms of usage.

But best of all is the cost per page -- the cartridges print 6,000 pages, so even if you pay full price, that's only 1.5p per page. But I've never paid more than £30 (and that's for genuine HP units, not remanufactured/refilled stuff), so my toner cost per page is 0.5p.

It has been totally reliable, and is used as the household printer because of its network capabilities. It has never jammed, and I use duplex all the time. It's worth considering this route.

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