A Writing Experiment (Hello World)

Ever since I started MacStories in 2009 – it’s going to be the third anniversary soon, in April – I’ve always wanted to have another place to share ideas, brief comments on things that happen online, links, and elaborate on topics that don’t fit MacStories’ editorial line. I have thought about having a “personal blog”. With time, however, I came to the realization that MacStories is personal, after all, in a way that allows me and my team to write about Apple-related news as well as have opinion pieces, software reviews, tutorials, and really just about anything about iPhones and iPads and Macs and everything else in between tech and the Apple community. To the readers that have been following us until today: Thank you.

To those of you who, for some reason, happen to be interested in the things I write about, you’ll still be able to find me 24/7 on MacStories. In fact, I’m more dedicated than ever to making MacStories a great resource for top-notch Apple-related writing, and we have some big plans for 2012. But I’ve also created this little place over here to share some of the material mentioned above: smaller editorials, links (and lots of them), brief commentary on topics that I care about.

I don’t know how often I’ll write here.

I can’t even tell you what this weblog will turn out to be, because while I have some ideas, I don’t know what this thing is yet, exactly.

I can tell you what this weblog won’t be though. It won’t be a rehash of MacStories, because it doesn’t need to be. It won’t have advertising, because I don’t plan to make a living out of it – fortunately, I have MacStories for that. It won’t have any sort of analytics system: this space is a secure zone for me to express thoughts and share cool stuff that would remain silent in Evernote otherwise, and I don’t need to count how many people will read it. Getting to check yet another analytics report will simply become yet another chore, giving me the necessity to check it every day, every hour, and start to depend on it. I don’t want that. I just want to write more, on MacStories and here, as much as humanly possible. This is my goal: to write. Analytics won’t help me achieve this.

And now the geekery. As you can see, this thing runs on Calepin. Currently free and based on Dropbox, Calepin is a blogging system that works with Markdown text files and allows you to publish articles with literally one click. Once set up, you just save text files in a folder inside your Dropbox, head over your personal Calepin page and hit Publish. Calepin will read the Markdown and the metadata written as plain text alongside the article, and create a blog post. Done. It’s super simple. And I can’t tell you how excited I am to learn that the developer plans to charge for this simple thing in the future. If it works, I will start paying right away. In the meantime, I’m happy to learn Calepin and I share a common vision:

Calepin currently has no plans for custom themes. Think of it like submitting a short story to a newspaper: the writer’s identity isn’t portrayed through a look and feel — it’s portrayed through their words.

And that’s it.

What’s cool about this system is that I get to write in Markdown and choose the app for the job. If I feel like I’m in a Notesy mood, I can use that. Need versioning? I’ll just fire up WriteUp. Or maybe the article requires some deeper research, so I’ll use Writing Kit. The best thing about plain text is that I control the file format, not the opposite. I pick the apps – and you know how curious I am to try new things – so once written it’s all a matter of saving as .md and syncing Dropbox.

Last, this weblog will be written primarily from an iPad. I’ve talked about this on Twitter a couple of weeks ago – I’ve been working from my iPad a lot lately, especially thanks to this little guy from Logitech, and I feel like my workflow is going through some fantastic changes in terms of focus, speed, and overall willingness to break old schemes and try new things.

Such as this site.


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