Tag Archives: plain text


Rediscovering Ulysses

Screenshot of Ulysses applicationA few weeks ago, George suggested using a blogging client as a backup method.

I’d actually stopped using one some time ago. It wasn’t really a conscious decision; I simply had fewer occasions for cross-posting and after my 2012 experience of a plugin gone bad, I got a lot more careful about redundant backups.

George’s post piqued my curiosity, though. What blogging clients are available these days? I knew about MarsEdit, of course, but I didn’t know what else might be out there, so I did a lit…


Getting Things Done with TaskPaper


[This is a guest post by Nabeel Siddiqui, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at The College of William & Mary, where his research focuses on personal computers and the intersection of the public/private sphere. You can find him online here.--JBJ]

It’s safe to conclude the ProfHacker staff are fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. The book had a major influence on lifehacking , and a ton of software implements or uses its principles. Since starting graduate school, I have used Culture…


Starting off in Markdown with Word-to-Markdown

Piece of paper with Markdown formatting

Over the years, we’ve written a lot about Markdown–the simple, human-readable language for formatting text–here at ProfHacker. Lincoln wrote an introductory post about it a few years back, and followed that up with one on Pandoc, a tool that lets you convert all manner of text documents ond another on Markdownifier, a tool that lets you grab plain text from (almost) any web page. We’ve had several posts on tools for writing in Markdown: Cory on WikiPack, Mark on Gonzo, me on TextDrop, Natalie o…


Updates to Noisli

One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.

I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment….


A Year of Turkel Tutorials

Many of the students and scholars I know who have picked up technical skills in the world of the command line (see Lincoln’s introduction and a series of posts here at Profhacker) or who have attempted their hand at programming come to what they know through tinkering. Some new way they want to analyze their sources, improve the discovery of interesting patterns, organize their stuff, or automate their tasks supplies them the justification they need to carve out some time to learn by playing. T…


Write in a New Way with Gingko

gingko logo When I work with graduate or undergraduate students on their writing skills, I often ask them to tell me about their writing process, from the note-taking stage through pre-writing, writing, and final revision. I often ask whether they outline a paper before beginning to write, as that’s often a useful way to begin exploring how a particular writer thinks and organizes ideas. I don’t believe that all writers need to outline, nor that all outlines should be done in a certain way. Unfortunately, …


From the Archives: Writing Practices and Tools

20130616-111453.jpgWe’re now well into summer, when many of us have ambitions of getting a fair amount of writing done. As seems to be not uncommon, a good number of the members of Team ProfHacker find regular writing both a pleasure and a challenge, so we’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the subject. Here’s a rundown of past posts that may be of interest:

Getting into the writing habit

Trying to kick-start a summer writing habit? Check out Billie’s Writers’ Boot Camp: Summer Writing Edition 2012. Better yet, ch…


Grab a Web Page in Plain Text with Markdownifier

Markdownifier screen shotWe’ve written a lot about plain text at ProfHacker, from an introduction to Markdown, to using Pandoc, to creating slides from plain text. One thing I’d like to be able to do with plain text is this: Often I’d like to grab some text from a website in plain text. Copying and pasting into a text editor loses links and italics, while pasting into a word processor brings a lot of junk formatting with it. It’d be nice to be able to copy a website’s text in Markdown.

Brett Terpstra, the creator of nvA…


Everything You Need To Know About Markdown

handwritingWe’ve written several times about the benefits of writing in plain text, and about using Markdown as a human-readable, futureproof way to format it. Lincoln started us off with “Markdown: The Syntax You (Probably) Already Know”, and last month Konrad showed us how to use this simple approach to create Prezi-style slideshows!

When I say “human readable and future proof,” consider, for example, what it takes for Microsoft Word to render 5 simple words:

Click for full size.

Click for full size.

Markdown is both a synt…


The Wizards of Vim

I met a Vim wizard for the first time in 1994. Two of them actually, a married couple. They really were wizards, at least in that mysterious internet gaming environment known as a MUD. That meant they had powers to build and transform the online world that the rest of us plodded through, one “north” or “south” command at a time. They had the power to bring objects into being and banish players from the realm. They told me that someday 3D graphics would allow us to wander through digital worlds w…