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talazem reviewed on 06 Jul 2008
A great piece of software, from a true gentleman of a developer. I recently decided to try to run my own web and email servers (as well as file sharing, etc) of an older MacMini, and -- in the process of looking for true Mac-like software to help me in my crazy plan -- I came across this. However, my ignorance of these matters and lack of experience almost caused me to give up on the email server part. However, the developer was kind enough to explain some of the functionality of mail servers and of his software in a relatively lengthy email exchange, and things are up and running smoothly now!

If you're relatively new (as I am) to setting up your own mail server behind a router at home or at the office, then make sure to check out the handful of truly helpful write-ups he has on his website: "OS X and Broadband and the Airport Base Station", "Send Email Anywhere", and other very helpful writings that helped me configure my system safely and get it up and running. Thanks, Bernard!
[Version 3.0.4]

talazem commented on 15 Aug 2007
Just d/l'ed 3.9.9. Looks quite nice, except for a fatal flaw: after entering a task or item, and then reopening it, it changes the date by itself. To add to the matter, the website is currently down due to bandwidth limit excess. Like I said -- it does look quite good, but I don't see how to trust a time-task app that changes the dates of its entries, or whose help or forums can't be reached.
[Version 3.9.9]


talazem reviewed on 02 May 2007
This is an wonderful program for what it claims to do: plain text writing. But it really shines when one uses it in conjunction with LaTeX and other markup based writing. Why? Because the new features of 1.5 -- like inline style formatting and markers that can be set to export as markup -- can be be set to export as markup. This is excellent for people who like to export ultimately to LaTeX, with all the necessary markup, but do not want to *see* that markup on the screen as they write. This is a *huge* step in LaTeX editing/writing.

So, for example, you can apply styles to text -- for example, a yellow highlight, or the color red. That's what you see on your screen. Then, upon exoprt, you can have that be transformed to something else, such as LaTeX escapes.

Again, this isn't for people who just want to "type up some notes"; go use TextEdit for that. Don't care about plain text or LaTeX, and need RTF? Then Scrivener is the best of the breed (though, it must be said, that Scrivener also has an *awesome* LaTeX export mechanism due to its MMD integration).

The major weakness of Ulsses? The organizer. I understand they have their own philosophy, but ultimately, if I want to export into something PRINTABLE (as opposed to hypertext), then I need an outliner, a folder-type hierarchy. Why? Because that's how books and book-length documents (like theses) are organized. As it stands, Ulysses effectively has a two-level deep hierarchy. When I'm writing a book, or a thesis, that just isn't enough. Long printed publications are hierarchically based; that's reality. And I need a program that allows me to use that intuitive form of organization, and to move parts of the document around that hierarchy on the fly. It's just too hard to keep track of parts, chapters, sections, and subsections of a thesis or a book without as it stands now.

So -- since other have (unfairly) attacked Ulysses and praised the "competition -- let's be fair, and compare them based on relative *merits*: where do each of Ulysses and Scrivener shine (only focusing on strengths not existant in the other; not commenting on "writing software" features they both have)?

Scrivener: it has a database (to store your research files such as other RTFs, web pages, pdfs, etc, that you can then view within the prgoram); it is an RTF editor (if that's what you need); it has an excellent hierarchical organizer and outliner; it has excellent export abilities through MMD.

Ulysses: the ability to apply inline styles or markers that can then be translated into markup upon export is revolutionary, especially for LaTeX users; it is plain text (if that's what you need); you can choose to have inline footnotes, or footnotes in the notes pane; it is one of the most aesthetically pleasant pieces of software I have seen (not that Scrivener is ugly, and this is a subject thing, yes).

If the devs are listening, please put a hierarchical organizer (outliner) at the top of your developing priorities. That is the only thing necessary to make your excellent program perfect for people with plain text/LaTeX needs.

And if you're a user: please don't flame an apple for not being an orange (and mind you, neither are lemons).
[Version 1.5]

1 Reply


talazem replied on 02 May 2007
Sorry for all the typos; maybe MacUpdate can implement an "edit" feature for these reviews for sloppy commentators like me? ;-)

talazem reviewed on 19 Mar 2007
9.2 is an example of how the developer considerately addresses user requests that fit with the software's ethos. For those with multi-lingual and unicode-needs, small refinements like sorting one's list according by unicode -- so that letters with diacritics are placed in their natural order in English -- really make this a wonderful update. 9.2 also gives the ability to insert links from other programs (DEVONthink, Scrivener, etc.) that open up the relevant BE citation; useful, and depending on whether DT allows for linking in its sheets in 2.0, it could be a step closer to note/reference zen. The Pubmed features are even more automatic now; I just wish us JSTOR and humanities users had something like this (which is a weakness of JSTOR, apparently, not reference software). This release has something for everyone, and continues to make a rock-solid reference application even better.
[Version 9.2]


talazem reviewed on 21 Feb 2007
I just purchased DropDMG after trying it for a few days as part of my online backup system onto Amazon S3. What sold me was the ease of use, Automator support and the encryption. I made an Automator set using Drop DMG and JetS3t (through the scripting option in Automator) to securely back up my stuff onto S3. It ran yesterday for the first time, flawlessly! Not to mention the excellent support from Michael Tsai, both pre- and post-sale. Thanks!
[Version 2.7.9]

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