More Software for Writers

Journey Revisited

A few years back I started using Journey on my Nexus 5x. It’s a journalling app and a very good one, somewhat reminiscent of Day One on the Mac/iPhone for those of you familiar with that.

It did all of the things that journalling apps are supposed to do. It let you write entries on your phone and automatically tag them with your location and the current weather. You could append up to four photos at once as well.

It looked beautiful. It was available as a Chrome App which ran on pretty much any machine with Chrome installed and there were Windows and Mac desktop versions as well. There was even a private online version you could use in your web browser.

I stopped using it for serious journalling because at the time, for me, the syncing was just too slow. It synced entries through Google Drive and it took forever to do so.

I kept using it mostly as a photo journal. If I was someplace with my family and I had some cute pics and wanted a reminder of the day, I would make a Journey entry. For my serious journalling, I stuck with RedNotebook.

Anyway, a while back there was an update for Journey and it started appearing on Google Play’s Editors’ Choice apps. I gave it another try, and boy, have things improved. Now the syncing, after the initial sync at least, is lightning fast. It still looks beautiful and it exports nicely to multiple formats. I have taken to using it for all my journalling needs.

It is also available on iOS these days. If you’re looking for an app to be your diary or book journal, it’s the one I would recommend.

Moon Reader Plus Pro

A while back I wrote about using Moon Reader Plus for editing my manuscripts. Since then a weird thing has happened. I find myself using it to read ebooks on my phone in preference to using the Kindle app. One reason is that I have been buying bundles of DRM free ebooks from Humble Bundle and other places. I load them onto my Android Phone via Google Drive and then Moon Pro scans them into its library. It is a more feature rich reader than the Kindle Reader and using it makes me slightly more mindful about what I read because I have to put a little effort into getting it onto my phone.

My reading on the Kindle tends to be a weird grab bag of books I love, and books I have picked up on sale. There is no storefront in Moon Reader and I am not tempted to buy anything new as I read. There are slightly fewer distractions. I am still not sure these differences justify the extra effort but I find myself doing it anyway. As happens often with me I can’t put my finger on the exact reason, I just know I am doing it.

Softmaker Office 2018

Textmaker, a component of Softmaker Office, was recommended to me as a Microsoft Word replacement for Linux that could actually handle things like comments and track changes just as well as the original. It also has some features that Word lacks. It can use tabs for instance, which is important to the way I now work, and it exports easily and well to epub. It is not as polished as Word at things like drag and drop section editing but I have used it on Linux and been happy with it.

Recently I got a coupon for a discount on the new Windows version. Combined with the discount I got for being a user of a previous version, this brought the price down to thirty-six pounds. As a compulsive purchaser of writing software I thought why not? I have a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 but I am not thrilled by the concept of subscription software. I thought it would do no harm to explore alternatives. SoftMaker Office gets good reviews and its been stable and supported for a long time. It runs on Linux and on Windows and there’s a beta version available for the Mac. A one-off purchase even at full price costs the same or less as a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office. I paid less than half that.

My initial impressions are favourable. It took no effort to get up and running and it lets you switch between the modern Ribbon interface and the old-fashioned menu one which I prefer. It can do multiple backups of the same document and finally, it has a live word count although the implementation is a bit clunky. It opens my Word manuscripts easily and it handles comments and track changes well. I’ll report back once I’ve given it a thorough test.

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  1. I read a lor on my phone, but i didn’t knew Moonreader. i use something called “Prestigio ereader” but i’m thinking about getting another app. maybe i’ll try Moonreader.

  2. I’ll have to check out TextMaker for Linux – LibreOffice Writer isn’t great with Track Changes, which is my preferred editing tool.

    Though I got an old refurbished MacBook Air for Vellum, and I’ve been surprised at how comfortable it is to write on. And the current version of Office for Mac is vastly better than the pre-Ribbon version.

    • Hey Jonathan– I agree that the latest version of Word is much better than the previous one. Unfortunately, my MacBook Air is over 7 years old and really struggles with it so I had to uninstall it. Help may be at hand though. Textmaker for Mac is on free beta and it runs really well.

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