Life On MarsEdit

Quick followup on my day with MarsEdit. The big takeaway was that I’m a colossal dope for forgetting it existed. Some apps are terrible. Most are simply “not right for your present needs” or, at worst, “clearly written by a serious and dedicated team, but not quite ready yet.”

I was a little amused when WordPress (which itself has come a long way) did the helpful thing I’d told it to do, and automatically found and linked other blogposts I’d written that talked about MarsEdit or blogging apps. In 2007…nnnno, clearly MarsEdit wasn’t right for me, for whatever reason.

I’m digging the hell out of it in 2015, though. It’s super-quick to just flash out a post. Is it because of the simplified, bespoke app, or is it simply because of my mindset? Who knows and I don’t care.

My friend (and MarsEdit developer) Daniel Jalkut offered to send me out a new promo/review code. I don’t need one. I downloaded the free 30-day trial direct from the app site — you can do that when you’re not selling it through Apple’s App Store — and if I’m still using it in a couple of weeks, I will be happy to pay him $40 for a license.

I feel like I’m doing a good thing when I pay a proper amount of money for a great app. As a way of saying “I like and respect the work that you’ve done,” throwing money at someone is a facile solution. But  not all facile solutions have the side effect of allowing someone to go out for a nice dinner.

MarsEdit isn’t the ideal that I had imagined. What I really want is a system-wide hotkey. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, tapping it causes a little note card window to pop up. I type a few sentences, maybe click a Twitter-style icon button to drop in a photo or paste in a link (which the app automatically grabs from the frontmost browser window), click the “Post” button, and then I’m back to what I was doing before I had this brilliant idea for a quick post.

The distraction of the WordPress webapp is a problem for me. I can’t count the number of times when I’d intended to just post a link to an interesting article, but then spent an hour writing 2000 words.

Sometimes, I’d read it back and think “Oh, neat…that’ll do for my next column.” But it’s not helping me form, sharpen, and then let go of a thought quickly. I admire and envy the authors of Sixcolors and Daring Fireball and The Loop, I’m proud of my longform stuff but wish I could develop the kind of skills required to maintain a frequently-updated blog. I’ve got the people who like to read long pieces but I’m doing nothing to help people who like to read lots of shorter things, too.

“Envy” isn’t a shameful thing if you remove the “jealousy and anger” component and pack the void they leave behind with Inspiration and Ambition. So I’m grateful to Jason Snell, John Gruber, and Jim Dalrymple for their fine examples.

4 thoughts on “Life On MarsEdit

  1. Tom Lillis IV

    I’m shocked at reading this! No, really, because it was your recommendation in August of 2011 that made me take a look at MarsEdit. Did I imagine it?

    I don’t post to my blog nearly as frequently as I should but that’s despite MarsEdit, not because of it. I can recommend it unreservedly. If you already use it then check out their blog. Not only do they explain what they’ve change but usually there’s a nice explanation of the “why” as well.

  2. Ihnatko Post author

    I did stop using MarsEdit, but not because it ever let me down! I started writing posts in WordPress’ new and excellent webapp and it worked well enough for my needs that I got distracted from the other app. This just illustrates why it’s important to periodically re-examine your tools, habits, and environment. “This is working fine, why look for alternatives?” is a reasonable way to go about your work but as years pass, it means you might be overlooking something that might work better.

  3. Patrick Denny

    I was so bummed to hear that Mars Edit couldn’t access the Squarespace API (the non-existent one). Inspired by your new workflow, I searched for a similar tool to use with SS and came across DESK.PM. It’s a bit of a cludge, but does give me some offline blog mojo. Thanks for the tip, the post and the great writing!


  4. Ihnatko Post author

    These tools developed by a single person (or a very small team) are an interesting window into the dev process. Danial Jalkut has a long list of great feature ideas and user requests. But which ones does he have enough resources to support?

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