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Godin: the end of dumb software

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people who get bothered shouldn't use them for first drafts, we should use a text editor
-iphigenie (September 15, 2009, 01:03 PM)
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I agree. Take a look at WriteMonkey ( ) when you get a chance.

It's a "black-screen" text editor with some very nice "hidden" features: spell check, snippet repository, dictionaries, jumps and lookups, optional typewriter sounds :-*, etc.

It keeps out of your hair and just lets you get into the flow. Especially useful when you're "writing hot" as the saying goes. Best first draft tool ever if you're more concerned with getting down what you want to say rather than worrying about cosmetics.

There are several "competing" products that use a similar interface. I've tried a few of them as well, but IMHO WriteMonkey found the ideal balance between features and function. Especially thoughtful is how it allows you to access all its features by either using hot keys or a right-click popup menu.

First draft bliss! Free for the download.

This is the app I wish I wrote. :Thmbsup:

What about folks, like me, that work nights and do, indeed, have meetings at 2am?  Food for thought, anyway.   :D
-skwire (September 13, 2009, 09:42 AM)
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What about a simple option that at least lets you specify what you would like the default to be, AM or PM?  It's not "smart" but gets the job done for all parties.  Just a thought ...  :)

What about a simple option that at least lets you specify what you would like the default to be, AM or PM?  It's not "smart" but gets the job done for all parties.  Just a thought ...  :)
-sunlitlaz (September 28, 2009, 12:11 PM)
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Any calendar software I've used, old and new, accepts 1a as 1:00 AM, and so forth.
Don't you think it's easier to type that instead of reminding yourself to check the time every time you make an appointment?
I know someone's already mentioned the benefits of not having default times, but the speedy entry part just occurred to me.
It really is quite fast. Also, since the point of having defaults is so you don't have to think about something in order to do it/get it done, I have to ask: Would you really not think about the meeting time if you had a default time option selected? I know I would always be checking it to make sure I didn't forget to change it.  :-\

Paul Keith:
Not to sound like a troll but am I the only one who read the topic and still doesn't understand what dumb software is?

Some of you know me. I can write a salt doll thread but I can't even spot the ocean with the concept.

For example, Godin's example is weird because I do want the edit button at all times and I do consider it smart for doing that -- at least based on the screenshot since I never used the program before.

Unless he means that he'd rather prefer double clicking the space to edit as opposed to seeing a button, I just don't get it.

Similarly I can get what SKesselman said about DeepaMahta. I haven't tried the program but from using Compendium's limited outline mode which lists all nodes in drop down tree list form in a sidebar, I could see why there is some advantage to that even in it's limited form.

...Yet I don't get what's dumb or smart about it. The only thing that I would really consider smart is, like many tagging software, if you drag a file it automatically understands that I am dragging a file to link to that program. Even there it works because the rest of the options are dumb: You double click and you get the same reference window options that you normally get and you can change the referral, change the icon, change how the preview mode is shown. If these were smart, I would hate looking for that option.

Then we get to WriteMonkey which IMO is the farthest software from being smart. In fact, it reeks to me of being dumb because it's not a notepad that understans when you want to write a story that requires dimming and when you don't.

Only through ignoring it's intelligence and by making it dumb has the software improved and become the best distraction-free software on Windows.

Ex. You know a keyboard is not a typewriter but for some of us who started there, type writing sounds became a nostalgic depressant of stress and stimulant of creativity that when WriteMonkey and other similar programs adds a similar dumb feature, it works both because it mimics the sounds of the typewriter but also because, by not expecting something smart from it, your mind doesn't really have a high standards of the best sounds optimized for storywriting. You just appreciate the fact that finally someone integrated your needs to a dumb software and that makes better than the low expectation you have for it.

Finally MS Word is just a headache for me outside of reading mode view. I never really felt that program both post and pre ribbon was anything great. It was just the standard and it was the most jam packed of features for everyone's needs. Doesn't mean it was dumb enough to get that I don't want to see an interface until I want to format it like Latex or Lyx nor does it mean it went smart enough to show the interface only after I'm in formatting mode even when as a technology it became smart enough to get that users do not want to constantly switch between edit mode and write mode when typing on it.

Godin lists several examples of "dumb" software in his post.

I divide this list of examples into two categories:

* Category 1 contains things he thinks the software should do differently which would suit him (and maybe everyone) better -- like presenting a certain list in chronological order.  These are not really controversial requests, simply things that may be less or more difficult to implement.
* Category 2 contains things he wants the software to *INTUIT* based on his use of the program -- and these are what i think of when i hear people complaining that programs should be "smarter".  They are also the things I was arguing against doing (like "guessing" whether an appointment time is likely to be am/pm without the user having to specify.


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