Big news last week was Mountain Lion's sneaking out the gate without a big hoopedy doo Keynote. There's been little news on that front since then, but there are a few pieces to the puzzle, along with iCloud follies, and a few Apple TV tips (which might just be Apple's next big thing). Let's see what's cookin' in the hot stories this week.
Being a writer in these tech-driven times is great, since you can get work done just about anywhere – from the comfort of your cushy couch, a rumbling bus ride, or a busy cafe. We’ve rounded up eight must-have iOS apps to help get your words flowing and productivity rolling.
I remember writing school reports on a typewriter. Almost thirty years later I'm typing this review directly onto the screen of a computer barely thicker than the comic books I read when I should have been working on those reports. Maybe science is magic? Phraseology is a surprisingly useful word processing app for the iPad. It's not a viable replacement to a computer running Word or Pages, but if you need to churn out some verbiage on the go and don't have a laptop, Phraseology is more than up for the job.
It’s that time of year again, and fear is in the air. Around the world writers are knitting their brows, clenching coffee-stained teeth, and breaking out in cold sweats at the thought of not finishing their stories with a bang. It can only mean one thing: it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and take that dive into the literary world you’ve always dreamed of––at least, I hope so. I’ve already completed one novel-length manuscript, but this year I’ll be competing against the clock in my first NaNoWriMo. Besides understanding friends and an endless supply of caffeine, I’ll rely on software suited to NaNoWriMo’s unique demands. Fortunately, there are plenty of NaNoWriMo-friendly options available for your Mac and iOS devices.
Writer’s block is terrible -- and it inevitably happens at the worst possible times. As you can imagine, the Mac|Life crew has our own struggles with this affliction from time to time, so we have lots of different strategies for working it out.
Screenwriting tool Montage wants to make your job easier, so it even includes a sample script that acts as a tutorial. Reading through the antics of “Monkey” will get you started with minimal irritation.
StoryMill is all about writing novels, and its features keep longer projects on task. The app manages scenes, characters, locations, tasks, and research notes in its source list. Unlike Scrivener’s Binder, the source list doesn’t actually display individual items underneath each category. Those appear on a separate list, and clicking each category to see them seems like a cumbersome extra step. The actual writing is done in the main text/notes window. A pane for metadata completes the screen layout.
Storyist is a tool to write novels or screenplays—fiction is its strength. The familiar screen layout includes a project manager that serves as the collection point for the manuscript, plot, characters, settings, and other information. However, we found adding new items to the project unnecessarily complicated. Users can set the modal main view to display the text editor, outline, or storyboard, and a pop-up inspector offers the necessary choices to style text.
Ulysses tries to carve out its niche by going back to basics -- simple organization, distraction-free writing, and something called “semantic text editing.” The screen layout is familiar -- you’ll find a project organizer on the left, the text editor in the center, and notes and metadata on the right. We began writing right away and found navigation between text documents, notes, and synopses straightforward.