D-J's Recent Posts
Simply the most useful software out there, regardless of your area of interest or professional need. For the challenged who give it half a star, that's just bitter childishness, or trolling, or a competitive agenda. Or it's just that software is smarter than the reviewer.
No update in 2.5 years, yet it's still sold as something viable by Mariner Software. I bought version 1.0, abandoned it very quickly. Just downloaded this "latest" version out of curiosity, still a clunker filled with bugs. Mariner used to be synonymous with quality and focus a long, long time ago. They are so in over their head, should cut back to 4 or 5 titles maximum and do them well, rather than the 19 products they now have that are mostly old relics. Too bad, really. Their product strategy is as buggy and lacking in focus as their products.
When I got the announcement email from Final Draft a few months ago and saw the upgrade price, I knew they were still thinking to sell at $250. So I wrote an email suggesting that this isn't 2004 anymore and there are many solidly viable alternatives, from Fade In and the like to Fountain markdown, and that they may want to rethink their pricing strategy. The arrogant reply was breathtaking. Essentially, we are still industry leader and Hollywood depends upon us and our format is the industry default. So our price reflects this. It's like FD's marketing minds live in a bubble. Like many in Hollywood. If you're not familiar with Fountain markdown: http://fountain.io/
@Dmu: As Lev pointed out, Highland has screenplay, stageplay, and manuscript modes. John August, one of the people behind both Fountain and Highland, writes for both screen and stage. I don't use FadeIn anymore, but it allows you to format a new file as a screenplay, stage play, or TV format.
Those of us who have supported 1Password for years via paid upgrades are last on the list for upgrading to version 4. We can't upgrade, of course, via the App Store, but only on the Agile Bits website store... but it's NOT YET AVAILABLE for existing v3 users. New buyers can get it. Those who bought it last month, or half a year ago, can get the upgrade. But anyone with v3 not purchased on the App Store can't upgrade. Adding to the insult: The website doesn't say when we can upgrade, only "soon". Pffft, not the way to treat long-time supporters.
And the vital information that iCloud syncing is available only on the MAS version, not the website store upgrade, is BURIED in the site FAQs. The iCloud syncing is promoted everywhere, but this vital limitation is kept nearly a secret. You really have to hunt to discover it. Not paying for the webstore upgrade and not buying the new MAS version. Looking for an alternative asap.
This is for amateurs only. Not a single "pro" aspect to it. Tried it for a day and couldn't get Final Draft files in or out without converting to RTF. The software is clunky to use, and lacks finesse of any sort. Worse, however, is the absolutely horrid rendering on screen of body type in your screenplay. It is just terrible, like something from Windows 95 with no aliasing of characters. I can't emphasise enough how poorly type is displayed on screen. You can't imagine it. Really crappy and without any effort at quality.
Seriously, really just awful! The developers should be embarrassed.
As others have said, finally someone gets it. The developer has been very helpful and responsive to suggestions. I've adopted this into my writing workflow very easily. A lawyer friend uses it for litigation to keep track of case elements. The one suggestion I've already passed on is flexibility in time-unit labels. For example, in writing stories often aren't proportionately linear. There may be a one-week spurt of narrative, followed by the next bit of narrative taking place months or years later. With screenplays, one is more interested in page count and page number than exact chronological distinctions. I think this product would easily double its sales if one could remove the tethering to chronological time and restate the time units as, say, page numbers. In other words, instead of Day 1 to Day 120, have the option to label as [unit choice] 1 to [unit choice] 120. Highly recommended.
I've been using Postbox for a couple of years now, on and off. Increasingly I'm using it all the time. I find my productivity has increased because of its features. Stability has been excellent. Previous reviewers have complained about the lack of one-to-one support. But the developer, who responded in a good reply a couple of months ago, points out his dilemma: users want cheaper and cheaper apps, but to reduce prices the developer's overhead must decrease... Odds are that the only area to cut back is the time spent on customer service. It's a conundrum that is not easily resolved. But you get what you pay for. If you pay £10 for an app, you'll get features but not one-on-one troubleshooting. If you pay £40, you will. I would not want to be in the situation of an independent app developer nowadays, because to make a living you can't be as personalised as you could 5 years ago, when apps easily cost £100 but now cost £10. Memories are short. Software like this used to cost five times what it does now. Now we want cheap or free, and whine when developers don't provide the same 24/7 handholding they did when it was priced equitably.
Everybody wants cheap and free on the Internet nowadays. Stop being so cheap and pay for things that you use and which help improve your overall life. Myself, I've not encountered any of the technical or stability problems other reviewers have reported. It's easy to blame the app that crashes, but often it's some add-on menu bar thingy that is being bad, not the crashed app. Do some proper fix testing by turning off all the gadgets we install on our machines and use the app again. In the olden days, app developers could spend endless time ensuring their apps were compatible with every possible extension. But that can't happen nowadays at $10. So do it yourself.
And still no CalDAV support. Can't sync with iCal or Google Calendar. This is over two years after Office 2011 was released. At the time, support indicated they would have CalDAV sync available within six months, buttressed with all sorts of lame and vapid excuses why they didn't have it at launch. This is the most incompetent bit of major software product development imaginable. There are bugs still present in the latest update that existed two years ago. Product managers for Mac Office 2011 should be booted.
Ugh. With all of its money and people, Microsoft should be able to do better. It's been, what, almost two years since Mac Office 2011 was released... And there's still no CalDAV support for calendar synchronisation with such obscure products like Google Calendar or Apple's iCal. There are still far too many bugs that have been there since October of 2010. Outlook crashes and is incompatible with just about everything. Word is okay but even more bloated than it used to be, and the ribbon is a monster. Excel works well. PowerPoint is old and clunky. If I was Microsoft I'd fire every project and product manager for Mac Office. They should be highly embarrassed for releasing a product that is so poorly thought out and implemented. Ugh.
DEVONThink Pro Office simply does everything that I want brilliantly and flawlessly. I started with the basic version years ago, then with each major upgrade I've gone up one level. Haven't regretted it a second. The iPad app adds a whole lot more usefulness. With DEVONThink I use their equally splendid intelligent search application DEVONAgent Pro. When researching something online and trying to collect and collate websites and snippets and whatever, these two make it efficient and deep in relevance. Can't say enough about the products of Devon Technologies. They even have a couple of free apps that are simple and perfectly executed: EasyFind, Grid, Xmenu.