Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vehige: MacJournal — Does It Work?

I’m a Mac. Almost two years ago, nettled at how slow Windows was and annoyed at how many times Word crashed — and swayed by just how cool the Mac commercials were — I begged, pleaded, and cajoled my wife to let me buy a MacBook. She conceded, and I’ve been a very happy Mac user ever since.

As happy as a clam (whatever that means).

In the meantime, my blogging around here has been sorely lacking. To say the least. Part of it had to do with having nothing to say . . . or least with having nothing I thought worthy to write about. Part of it had to do with being involved in other things. Part of it had to do with trying to balance a fourth child with homeschooling (an act that got the best of me; my kids now attend a local Catholic school). And part of it had to do with additional responsibilities at my parish (I’m the RCIA Director).

Now, as much as I love my Mac, the one thing miss from Windows is a piece of software called OneNote — a very nice organizational tool that allows you (a) to separate your notes into multiple, self-contained documents while also allowing you to (b) search said documents for various topics.

Thus I could have a folder that kept all my notes on the Old Testament, and for my notes on the New Testament, another for systematic theology, and a fourth for moral theology. (At the time I was using OneNote I hoped to convert all my old college notes to the computer, thereby killing two birds with one stone: cleaning off a closet shelf and reviewing all my classes while I typed in my notes.) Then, if needed, I could search all my notes for all references made to, say, the sacrament of baptism, or the Eucharist.

I actually saw OneNote a the first step to getting serious about writing some of the books I’ve had in mind.

Then I bought a Mac, no longer wanted anything to do with Windows, and hence lost OneNote. I can’t say I was too upset, but I was a bit disappointed.

A few months ago, I learned of a piece of Mac software called MacJournal. After taking advantage of the fifteen-day trial, I realized that I had found a replacement for OneNote. In fact, being the Mac fanboy that I am, I’ll say that MacJournal is better than OneNote. Like all things Mac, it’s easy to learn, intuitive to use, and it doesn’t crash.

Now, why am I telling you all of this?

Because MacJournal not only functions as a journal, but also as a blogging software. Never heard of that myself until I stumbled upon MacJournal. Blogging software, if you don’t know, allows you to compose your posts off line — and even tag or label them — and then lets you send them to your blog without ever having to log into your account.

Which is pretty darn cool for several reasons.

First: I hate writing posts in Blogger. I always inadvertently push the just right keys that publishes the post too soon, or takes me to another web page, or opens a new window. Or something.

Second: Working on Blogger also has the supreme disadvantage of having to be on the Internet while writing — which means having to log on to Blogger. Since I always have MacJournal open (I’ve come to use it for a variety of reasons), I can start a new document and begin writing without that hassle. (Small things like these really irritate me; I don’t have a very frustrating life.)

Third: More than that, I hate writing posts in Word (when I used it) and Pages (Mac’s alternative, which is, yes I’m going to say it, better than Word) and then having to copy and paste it into Blogger. The format never carries correctly; I have to sit there and figure out which words I bolded, which I italicized, and where the links should go.

But with MacJournal, I can work on a post at my leisure and simply send it to Blogger knowing that it’s going to show up on the blog exactly as I intended.

So this post is a test post to make sure all the wires are connected and Thursday Night Gumbo gets this from MacJournal. If it works as it should — and I have complete faith that it will — this fact means for you that I should be blogging more.

But no promises.

Yet, at the very least, the coolness of MacJournal and my desire just to use it should get you something.

[UPDATE: MacJournal will also update any changes I make to my original post — like this one!]