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Marked 2 Review

One of the most indispensable pieces of software currently on my Mac is Marked. Paired with TextEdit, I write in plain text and format words in Markdown, letting Marked transform working documents into live previews complete with clickable links and footnotes. At the end of my session, I can convert everything into HTML that I can copy and paste into WordPress. It’s a brilliant little tool that I don’t utilize the full capabilities of, but it makes my life significantly easier when it comes to just writing stuff. For most writers, these few features alone are enough.

For writers willing to put in the work, Marked can display previews that match your website’s style and theme by creating a custom CSS template. There’s handy keyboard shortcuts, like Command-U for viewing source code and Shift-Command-C for saving HTML to the clipboard. You’ll additionally find things like a viewable table of contents built in that let you jump to specific sections for documents with multiple headings. Plus, Marked happily works with the text editor you’re already using.

Yet there’s so much more underneath the hood. For screenwriters, Marked works with apps like Scrivener and markup languages like Fountain. Those who have to write and publish formulas can do so with MathJax. And old Markdown hands can specify their own custom processors… something that’s possibly over my head. Marked is a labor of love, catering to geeks while remaining accessible for writers like me who want easy previews and invaluable features like the ability to process Markdown within source code.

Considering all that Marked already does, Marked 2 is a huge release that adds a ton of new features for editor, bloggers, and people who would rather write in Markdown than open Microsoft Word. Instead of running through every new feature, I’d rather focus on the two that have the greatest impact on me. Keyword highlighting makes self editing much easier, while new searching features let me skip past the results I don’t need to see.

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Half Full Glass

Some people think Apple will eventually “dumb down” OS X and make it a “more casual” platform not suited for power users.

I disagree.

I covered this recurring theme in a section of my Mountain Lion review:

I think the Mac power user will be just fine using Mountain Lion. In practical terms, Mountain Lion’s new features and design choices haven’t hindered my ability to install the apps I want, run macros to automate tedious tasks, or fly through applications using keyboard shortcuts. I prefer Scrivener to Apple’s Notes app, I rely on Keyboard Maestro to be more efficient, and I keep my notes in Dropbox rather than iCloud. On the other hand, I can jot down a quick todo in Reminders knowing instantly that it will “just work”, and I can pick up any conversation I was having on my iPhone thanks to Messages on my Mac. Making the entire operating system more cohesive and refined hasn’t diminished the relevance and utility of third-party software on my Mac; if anything, it’s made the key apps and functionalities I rely on better.

The argument usually goes something like this: iOS is so successful, Apple will eventually make Macs more like it. Plus, Gatekeeper and Sandboxing are signs that this will happen.

Usually, this piece by Rands in Repose is cited as a somewhat obvious confirmation to the fact that Apple is not afraid of “cannibalizing itself”.

This argument needs to be deconstructed on multiple levels. Read more