/ August 12, 2020/ Nerdy Geeky

I’m such a geek. There, I said it.

It has been a while since I last gave a list of the software I use to write. I am usually surprised at how many I use. But I shouldn’t be since I only write on my PC.

First off, LibreOffice (LO). It’s an office suite program exactly like MS Word. Word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and even something that has to do with math. It is open source and free. It is based off of the classic OpenOffice which was bought, sold and then abandoned. Frankly, I love it. And the best part is no code is left in a document like Word does. As a result, a document in .odt format is much smaller than the same document (.doc/.docx) typed into Word. If you decide to give it a try, I highly recommend you download the help files. It can help you find things that are slightly different from Word. It can be download from the page that occurs when downloading the program.

WordWeb Pro.I use the purchased version but there is also a free version. With just keyboard shortcut keys or a key/mouse combination, I can find all sorts of information about any word. WordWeb is a thesaurus, dictionary, and research tool all in one. I can use it to look up a word and have access to Chambers Dictionary, Chambers Thesaurus, New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of English, and access to Wikipedia, Wikitionary, and WordWeb Online. It really helps to use this when needing quick word replacement or thought processing.

Filezilla – this is what I use to access files on my websites’ server via FTP. I put active files and files for beta readers in a folder there. That way I can access it wherever I am, in case I forgot to update the one on my tablet or laptop. Filezilla is open source and free. For my Android phone and tablet I use AndFTP Pro.

Cyberduck – this is what I use to access files on the cloud service. It is also open source and also free. My webhost frowns upon using the website as backup storage so I use their cloud service. I am always surprised when I see how much space I am using. I am such a data hoarder and I’m not afraid to admit it. Cyberduck doesn’t have an Android app so I use BucketAnywhere Pro (formerly S3anywhere).

Expandrive – This software “mirrors” my cloud on my desktop by mounting the buckets as if they are virtual drives. I can download, add, delete, etc without opening anything but that virtual drive. I don’t use it as often as I thought I would, though. But it is the best for viewing files. We’ll see if it is still in this list in a year. Cyberduck is better suited for uploading and downloading and isn’t that great at moving files from one bucket to another.

Syncback Pro – Syncback syncs, backups, and mirrors the files on my hard drive to the cloud buckets, FTP, and other drives/computers. It has saved my arse a few times, lemme tell ya! Setting it up can be a pain until you get the hang of it. Set a schedule and done. It does all the work in the background. It also has warning icons that light up in the taskbar should something go wrong. I am, however, looking for something to replace it. The renewal price has reached the wincing point and is approaching “don’t let Lorna find out”.

And last, but certainly not least, is The Brain. It is super expensive but worth it. There is a free version but it is limited. The Brain is as if a mindmap and a flow chart had a kid and exposed it to radiation. Yeah, that’s it. Here, this is the brain I made for redesigning the websites: Repository. Oh, and I have one for my writing. If you notice links that are blank, it is because I have them set to private.

I use a lot of open source for a lot of different things. From viewing my CPAP Data (OSCAR) to listening to music (VLC and Dopamine) to code editing/note taking (Notepad++). But I do donate or purchase the paid version. Open source programs are written by users for users. Some are crap but most are great. Peruse Github (you have to sign up but not a big deal) and Sourceforge.

Oh, and please, whatever you do as a writer, find a backup or sync software and use it. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the feeling of realizing you permanently lost a manuscript. The only thing greater would be the feeling you get on hearing a close friend has died. That drop, you know? So, back it up. Back it up off site. Back it up onsite. Do all of the above.

So what do you use? Scrivener, MS Word, or something else? I’ve tried Scrivener but it just isn’t how I write.

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