I recently bought a new iMac computer, and I installed about 30 different applications on the first day. They are applications I consider essential (or at least mighty desirable for my purposes). Last week I talked about programs 1-5
, and 11-15
. Today, I'm discussing apps 16-20.
16. Scrivener (OS X, $45) I've used Scrivener to write my two most recent books (Made By Hand and Rule the Web), and I'm completely sold on it. First of all, Scrivener is a top-notch word processor especially made for long-form writing. For each book, I created a chapter outline, which I was able access from a column on the left. It's a simple matter to rearrange the order of chapters, and I did this frequently throughout the writing process of my books. The full-screen editing format is a wonderful distraction-free way for me to write.
Second, Scrivener offers excellent research collection and organization tools. I was able to keep all of my notes, audio interviews, videos, and webpages that I came across in an organized outline that was also accessible from the left column.
Once I was finished the manuscript I used Scrivener to export the text as a Microsoft Word document in the format required by my publisher. This is one powerful application.
My wife is currently using Scrivener write a young adult novel, and she uses Scrivener's research tools to keep track of the characters in the novel. She uses the corkboard view to arrange virtual index cards, each containing a character description and back story.
I haven't yet tried out some of new features the that Scrivener offers, such as synchronizing project text with mobile apps such as SimpleText (which sounds really cool).
17. Switch (OS X, free) After looking around for a utility to reliably convert sound files of various formats into MP3 files, I came across Switch. This simple utility has successfully taken every sound file format I've thrown at it, and produced MP3 files. (Yes, I know about ffmpegX but I don't like it as much as I like Switch. YMMV.)
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