On my current quest for some “quiet time” in the digital tornado that is my cyber lifestyle, I’ve come along some interesting tools. While they may be more then known among many of you, being mentioned by Alpha Geeks on their posts on Lifehacker.com and other sites, some of you might not know these tricks.
The hardest thing when writing a blogpost, an article or any peace of prolonged text is not being distracted by the 200 OTHER things that are going down on your screen. Fancy wallpaper, Icons that just beg to be clicked, 20 open tabs in Firefox or the urge to peep at the scrolling Twitterfeed … all of these and more can turn a well focused geek into an Digital ADD basket case with the attention span of a 12 week old puppy. (and believe me, i know how short those spans are).
Enter OMMWRITER, an application for the mac that allows you to “zone and zen out” in the middle of your digital tornado. Download the application, start it up and you are instantly transformed to a peaceful winter landscape (on your computer that is) that takes up the entire screen. Every other piece of you UI is hidden as “the zen goes full-screen”. In the middle of your screen you have a blinking cursor that awaits your creative input. As very very soothing music plays in the background, you also hear satisfying clicks when you enter text, letting you know that you are “finally” being productive.
Ommwriter drowns out any other pop up, sound message, ping or ding from your operating system. As long as you’re in Ommwriter its like the rest of the world (or in this case, your OS) just does not exist….
“Mousing over” to the side you DO get some options to change your font, typeface, the color of the background (just a few options there) the music that is playing and the option to change the clickety click sound as you enter text. Ommwriter lets you save to Ommwriter format but also to pdf, rtf or txt making your finished work accessible to any open standards.
The paid version of the application comes with more backgrounds and music, but so far I’m really enjoying the free version. The first time I sat down and tried ommwriter, I felt a little like Doogie Howser, typing away on his otherwise “blank screen”, but the results ..Well, you’re reading them right now aren’t you. With 3 blog posts in 3 days I think i can vouch for the effectiveness of Ommwriter. Sitting down behind my Macbook Air in the morning , cup of coffee next to me, Sulu the puppy on my lap, its amazing how I can “ease” into my digital day without being overwhelmed by the digital tornado of the internet.
The internet is a city that never sleeps. Webservers are always awake, On twitter there are people who are getting up, going to bed, but there are always people twittering away in super caffinated days at the peak of their days. Sometimes, the quiet of MY dawn is completely lost when opening up my computer. Its like getting out of bed and walking into a busy train station where everybody is already milling around at 500 mph .. while you’re still trying to rub sleep from your eyes.
So finding a “distraction free” place to wade into your day, or give your own thoughts a chance to arrange themselves on the screen, is a great thing. Now you don’t NEED to use Omniwiter of course. Playing an MP3 by Enya while having your Notepad full screen does about the same thing. (you just don’t get nice chirpy sounds when you enter text). On linux ? enter “nano blogpost.txt” in the terminal and dragg the thing fullscreen, you won’t have any ‘distractions’ either (or for that matter, why boot into your GUI at all). But with over 700 words keyed in in 15 minutes while feeling completely relaxed ? It works for me !
Link : OMMWRITER.
PS : I completely misspelled Ommwriter as “omni-writer” in this blogpost ! thanx to @podfeet for pointing that out and setting me straight.