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ATPM 13.01
January 2007




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Outliner Writing Environments

I am waiting anxiously for your conclusions, before I spend any more money and time on new programmes!

I have used CopyWrite, which is fairly simple, but seriously lacking in some basics like rearranging scenes/chapters/characters and changing hierarchy. I have StoryLines from Anthemion software, which is very buggy for the Mac but has some potential as an outliner. However, it crashes half the time. The only print option is the screenwriting version, so I think it has a long way to go before it’s truly useful for me.

I have tried Tinderbox and like the fact that it is a nice mirror to the way my brain works. It isn’t necessarily very beautiful, but then again neither is the inside of my head. It would be very nice if the textbox option had a full-screen view for uncluttered writing, but clicking the little arrow at the bottom gets me close enough. Also, I’d like to be able to see the children’s names inside the containers from the base level view. I will probably never use it for a weblog, so it may be overkill; as it is, I’m a long way from understanding what Tinderbox can do for my writing. I’ve been spending way too much time researching and figuring out programmes and not enough time writing.

I have tried demos of NovaMind and Inspiration; both are nice enough, but just not exactly what I’m seeking. NovaMind would be better if there was an “explorer-type view” in the outline view or at least a way of seeing written text in the outline view. Inspiration is great for the kids, but I find it pales in comparison to NovaMind for brainstorming and mind-mapping.

It would be helpful to hear how other writers are using the various softwares in their work.

Thanks for tackling this review.

—Heidi Eder

Synergy 3.0

You may want to look into the free Quicksilver tool. Apart from being a true OS X swiss-knife, the iTunes module and the triggers are equally adept in providing the functionality you describe.

—Anupam Sengupta

I use Quicksilver too, although not for controlling iTunes. Good catch!

—David Thompson

OpenMenu X 1.0.2

Your questions about the value of this program are spot on. I love it. But then I also use Linux and Windows at work so am used to this kind of customization and using a right-click contextual menu.

People used to the old Mac one-button mouse won’t even know what this is about. So call it a power user’s delight. My wife has turned the right click on her new mighty mouse to a double-click and would never see the value.

—Michael McKee

Fission 1.1

I looked at Fission, and really liked it from an editing standpoint, but missed the ability to record into it in the first place. I’m recording spoken audio for the 365tomorrows podcast, and currently using Amadeus II to capture and edit. Fission appears to be a much more capable editor, and I love the fact that it’s Universal, though Amadeus Pro is in beta, and is also Universal (but I haven’t tried it yet).

My recording needs are simple, basically to capture a stream of audio from a mic, where I normally read the same paragraph over and over until I’m happy with it, then move on and slice and dice the resulting file at the end, so but for the lack of a recording feature, Fission looks to be an excellent tool. Does Fission have a recording ability that I’m missing, or is there any indication this might be added as a feature? Alternately, what would the best audio capture program be that would complement Fission’s editing capabilities?

—Stephen R. Smith

I agree that recording capabilities would be nice. You didn’t miss anything—Fission does not have a recording function.

You might consider the upgrade for QuickTime Pro, which would let you create both audio and video recordings within QuickTime Player. Those files could then be opened and edited in Fission. Whether or not recording capability added to Fission—someone from Rogue Amoeba will have to respond to that one. I have a feeling something might be in the works.

—Lee Bennett

Photoshop for the Curious

This is a great idea for a series of columns. I have had Photoshop on various Macs since at least version 5. Even so, I don’t really know the program that well. It sounds like this is right up my alley. I can’t wait until we get to some of the color issues. Keep ’em coming.

—Sylvester Roque

• • •

What a great holiday gift! Thank you so much for the Photoshop column! I have just started to use the program a little bit by trial and error and some tips from others. It is really helpful to have the tool palette explained, and your descriptions are very clear. I look forward to the next edition!

—Karen Sharp

Coping With Mac OS X’s Font Rendering

My eye sight isn’t great, but I still prefer OS X’s smooth fonts to any other OS. When I see OS 9’s ugly fonts I want to throw up. Don’t even get me started on Windows.

—Mike Cohen

• • •

I just found your site in a somewhat desperate attempt to determine whether or not to keep the otherwise gorgeous MacBook that I just bought. Won’t bore you with many details, but this was to be my first Mac in almost 20 years, since high school. Upon using the MacBook (with OS 10.4.6, I believe), my wife and I both noticed the “fuzzy font” issue that you appear to be describing. No amount of fiddling with the font smoothing settings seems to remedy the situation. Neither of us is a writer, but I am an attorney and my wife and I both spend a good bit of time staring at fonts on the screen. We got the MacBook in part for its media capabilities to handle pictures and movies of our daughters, but, if we can’t fix the font issue, it might be a deal killer for us as well. Did you ever find an acceptable solution? If we can’t find one, I’m afraid we may have to return to the Wintel side of the world. Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer.


I’m afraid I have not discovered any new techniques since writing the article. In my case, if I use applications that let me control the fonts, and if I’m careful to choose the more readable fonts, it’s tolerable. The upcoming Mac OS X Leopard will feature resolution independence. This will not make the fonts any less fuzzy, however it will essentially let you increase the font size system-wide. The fuzzy edges are much less of a problem with larger font sizes, so if you’re willing to trade some pixels for more readable fonts, this might help you.

—Michael Tsai

AppleWorks Files

I read your review about AppleWorks 6. Just a short question. I have Mac OS 8.6 and am using the 5.0 version. I use it for labels on the back of photos I sell and plan to buy a new iMac.

Can I open my old AppleWorks files on the new iMac when I transfer them to the new computer?


You would need to upgrade to AppleWorks 6 in order to run it on a new Intel-based iMac, unless you use an emulator.

—Michael Tsai

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