productivity

On TextExpander

TextExpander has long been one of my most frequently used programs on the Mac – it allows for me to drastically cut down on the amount of time I spend writing common phrases, which is especially useful for quickly typing long foreign names in my field of work (history).

For example, for my paper on Malacca last year I set a snippet so

daq#

becomes

Afonso de Albuquerque. 

(Yes, I am horrible at Portuguese names). I also have longer and much more complicated snippets I use for journaling and writing personal reviews of media, as well as frequently typed pieces of information like emails or addresses.

However, Smile Software recently announced that they were transitioning the software to a subscription-only model which would cost the end-user $5 a month, or $60 a year, and also add a syncing service. Reactions have been mixed, and even a reduced subscription price for users of previous versions has done little to mollify miffed users, who have pummelled the iOS version with multiple 1-star reviews. Personally, I’m not happy about it either, not because I fundamentally disagree with software-as-a-service, but because the new features that come with the subscription pricing don’t readily justify its high price. Syncing via Dropbox has always been simple and consistent for me, and I don’t do long-form writing on my iOS devices so the included ability to use TextExpander on iOS is wasted on me. Lastly, there’s no academic pricing or version, which was a tremendous incentive for me when I purchased version 5 of their product.

I suppose we’ll have to see whether Smile changes their policy going forward in response to the torrent of negative feedback they’ve received. If they don’t, I will likely continue to use version 5 for as long as I possibly can, or switch to another application. It’s not like there’s a shortage of text expansion applications out there.

The Nice Thing About Journaling

The nice thing about journaling consistently for the last ten years is that I can see how my thoughts evolve over time, and how my emotions and processes shape what what I do and become. Let’s face it: when one has 2400+ entries in their journal, there’s a lot to read and learn from.

But mostly, I realize how god-awful my poetry was when I was 16. It’s not as bad as Vogon poetry, but it’s not something I’m particularly proud of either.

I’ve used the brilliant Day One for my journaling needs for the last four years. Prior to that, I used the now-defunct Journler, and before that, MacJournal. I ended up abandoning these two programs because their development stalled and as Mac OS X evolved their interfaces began to look more and more dated. Good UX is absolutely key for a program I use every day.