Maybe it is not the best but it is FREE. I really like the idea of “Open Source” software and “Freeware.” I have a few lists here of some things that can be very helpful. That said, not all FREE software is great…just FREE. Here is a well organized layout of open source downloads. Some of this is better than stuff you pay for but sometimes you get what you pay for…
In my web travels I have come across a much talked about writing app called “Scrivener” and writers seem to love it. Literature & Latte (the creators of the app) describe Scrivener as “a powerful content-generation tool for writers designed for composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on getting you to the end of that awkward first draft.” I have been using Scrivener off and on for about 5 months and cannot get a rhythm with it. This is probably due the fact that I am a burst writer, I am writing 400 word column and blog posts. Check out the video below, it gives a great visual rundown of the app.
However I have found a very practical use for “Scrivener” in combination with “Index Card” an iPad app. I have been using note cards to teach tech from. When I am talking to a youth ministry class, a group of youth workers, or my SYMC workshops I am knee deep in hand written notes. I know, lame right, the tech guy speaking from paper…it might as well be the year 2004! The cool thing here is that these two apps play together nicely. If I am in Index Card creating digital notecards I can backup from my iPad to DropBox and restore from DropBox in Scrivener on my Mac (Scrivener is available for Mac and PC). The Index Card app is a great purchase, it makes Scrivener a better tool but you do not need Scrivener if you are jsut looking for a solid digital notecard app. These apps are a great find for any writer!
Recently when downloading several large files my router would crash. I am a tech guy, I write tech articles, tech blogs so I figured I can fix this no problem. I reset my router and was on my way but my home network kept crashing. I was in the process of downloading several video podcasts and this network failure was driving me crazy! I would use the download manager that came with Firefox and every time the network went down the files needed to be redownloaded from the beginning (Yes, if I have 500MB of a 600MB file downloaded it would have to start all over again). To remedy the issue I tried a Firefox extension that would download multiple files at once and when the system went down this extension would pick up downloading where it left off…but I would need to be at the computer to “resume” the download…Annoying.
Then I came across yazsoft.com. I do not remember how I found this site, probably in a Google search, but I found the silver bullet! Their product “Speed Download” worked in every way I needed. It downloads multiple files and will pick up downloading where it left off, even if I need to close up shop and leave my wifi connection or I experience a network failure. “Speed Download” is pretty quick too. I like that if I am downloading several large files overnight they will be on my computer, complete, when I wake up, not an error screen saying “Download Failed.”