Markdown

Diet Coda 1.5

Diet Coda is the code-editing app to get if you have to maintain websites from your iPad, and it just updated with some great new features. Files can now be stored locally and synced with Dropbox, and the app now supports a slew of new syntaxes, including Markdown. It's a $20 app, so only serious coders need apply.

Writing on the iPad

Federico Viticci's epic review of Editorial is now available as an awesome book on the iBookstore, and is packed with a ton of new content for your enjoyment. For a limited time, it's available for only $3, so be sure to pick it up today.

If you're like me and you do a lot of writing on your iPad, this is an invaluable resource.

Congrats to Federico on publishing his very first book!

UPDATE: Looks like the book is already a success.

My Squarespace 6 Wish List

As you may know, Unretrofied is a site powered by Squarespace 6. There are a whole lot of things to like about the service, but it's certainly not without its faults. Considering the way Squarespace seems to be keeping the entire podcasting industry afloat with all those ad-spots and sign-up offers, it would appear that a lot of people are still switching to the service in droves.

I think it's only fair that they know what to expect after signing up, don't you? So what I've done below is write something of an open letter to Squarespace, asking them to fix these basic issues that have been lingering around for months and months.

Now, I should note that I have absolutely zero information about what the developers are working on behind the scenes. For all I know, they could already be ironing out at least some of the issues I'm about to list. This is just my list of complaints as it stands right now.

CriticMarkup

Gabe Weatherhead of Macdrifter and Eric Hess of The Mindful Bit have teamed up to develop a new syntax called CriticMarkup, which is useful for denoting editorial changes in a document and is fully compatible with Markdown, LaTeX, and HTML.

As someone who doesn't do a whole lot of collaborative writing, I honestly don't have much use for this currently, but I think it's a fantastic idea and something I'll be keeping on my radar.

They've come up with lots of other goodies to go along with the syntax, so head over to Gabe's site to read more about the project or visit the CriticMarkup site itself.

Day One Review

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, some people will often say something to the effect of, "Why wait for the new year? Just start right creating a habit rightnow."

While I understand where they're coming from, one can't ignore the simple power in the changing of years. Of course, we all know that it simply marks another revolution of the earth around the sun, and yet, the psychological effect remains profound.

It evokes a sense of sweeping away the old and bringing in the new. It helps us compartmentalize our successes and failures, making them easier to track throughout our lives. For those of us procrastinators who have egregiously passed on earlier opportunities to better ourselves or form new habits, the start of a new year can be a wonderful catalyst.

Consider the Text File

The text file is a versatile thing. It's been around since the beginning of computers and is just as powerful today as it was then. It can be read on any platform of your choice by a seemingly endless number of applications. It's easy to move around between folders and even other devices.

It can contain just about anything—your daily thoughts, a task list, your monthly expenses, article drafts, backups of those articles, a love letter, the book you intend to publish...the list goes on. If you run a blog, you can write your articles in Markdown syntax, which is both human-readable and easy to reformat as HTML. There are scripts that can take a simple text file and turn it into something far greater.

The text file has been around this long for a reason, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. It's just about the most future-proof type of file around. It has become indispensable in my workflow, and it can do the same for you. In a world full of incredible apps, people often forget about the building blocks that got us this far, which is the point of this piece. Consider it a reminder that even the simplest tools can often be the most powerful.

Go ahead, open up your text editor of choice. The possibilities are endless.

Review: 'Drafts' for iOS

Transient

Ever have an idea that suddenly popped into your head that was so good you needed to jot it down, but by the time you get a chance to write, you've forgotten what it was? Or do you have an idea that isn't yet ready for the big time and needs to be refined first? You need an app like Drafts.

Drafts is designed to help you get your ideas out of your head into text form in the quickest way possible. When you open the app, it promptly greets you with a blank white canvas and a keyboard. No searching for previous notes, no need to add a title first, no distractions. Once you open the app, you simply start typing.

Transient

After you've finished typing, you can tap the '+' icon on the center toolbar and save it for later, or you can tap the 'Share' icon on the right side and export it to many different places, including Evernote, Tweetbot, SMS, Facebook, Reminders, Dropbox, Omnifocus, Sparrow, Agenda Calendar, and a lot more.

Drafts supports Markdown as well, if you're into that sort of thing. I've personally been using it as a tool for practicing Markdown on the go, since it includes options to preview the HTML output of your Markdown or send it elsewhere for use.

If you would like to go back and see all of your previous drafts, just tap the 'paper' icon on the tool bar and the keyboard will slide down, revealing the drafts list underneath. There's no organizational structure that I'm aware of (like folders or tags), but if you need to find any specific thing you can just use the search feature (obviously, it's the magnifying glass icon on the toolbar).

Drafts has become extremely useful for me, because I often have an idea spring to mind that I forget by the time I can get it into text form. I could just open Evernote and create a new note there, but Drafts feels so much more direct and I don't feel like I'm going to forget anything by the time it opens because it only takes a second or two.

With Evernote, I have to wait for the notes list to finish syncing, then tap the 'New Note' button, then tap in the body area to start typing. Those extra seconds really do matter, especially when you're doing those same things every single time you open the app. Plus, with Evernote, I'm tempted to properly tag and title each note when I'm done, but with Drafts I don't feel that compulsion. In this case, simple really is better.

There are plenty of other features in Drafts that I haven't even talked about here. For such a simple app, it's pretty powerful, and I highly recommend it. The iPhone version is $2 and the iPad version is $3.