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I have been looking at Markdown and MultiMarkdown recently because I heard Merlin Mann saying that when he writes he always writes in Markdown. I like his way of thinking and so thought I should look into it more. Then Katie Floyd and David Sparks have done a Podcast about it recently, with the MacPower Users Podcast. Don’t worry it is not a podcast for power users really, not nerdy or in depth enough. You want Mac Geek Gab for that.

The NosillaCast mantra

Now the thing is that you have to have a problem to solve first as per the mantra of Allison on from the NosillaCast. Then I am wondering why on earth you might use Markdown and MultiMarkdown. Seems the inventor of it wanted it as a way to write in text format in a way that was a bit more readable by using things like asterisks, hashs, caret symbols , and so on to make it more readable yet still be in plain ASCI text. As well as making it more readable Markdown and MultiMarkdown would also export out to html format.So that then is the problem to be solved then.

What about WYSYWG

But it depends on what sort of thing you do in terms of writing and also where you do it. If you use Pages or another word processor the in rich text mode you get the readability in the formatting a la WYSIWYG. So why use Markdown and MultiMarkdown? Also if you are doing it to put out HTML then why not just use an app that will do that for you. I write in Mars Edit to make my web posts and I could do it completely WYSIWYG but I prefer to see the HTML. I don’t need many HTML tags in there and I have that covered by TextExpander and the built in snippets. I select the paragraph and hit CMD Option P and the tags are put in front and behind – Job done.

For getting an image into it I drag and drop it into Marsedit and leave the app to work out the uploading and putting in the url to the image. Then if I want the image to be set to the left with the text flowing around. I place the curser in the right place and use TextExpander to put in the HTML code for me. The only other thing left is the Headers and again select the text, hit CMD Option – followed by a number for the level of the header and it is done.

So you can see I have more reasons not to use Markdown and MultiMarkdown than I do to use it. Starting to think that it is just something for the total nerdy geek man, or woman. Then I find a use for it. When I am writing on the iPad and I want HTML I think the simpler way to do it in Simple Note is Markdown. Or better still is to use Edito which is a text editor that gives an extra row of keys with all you need to put in the asterisk and hashs and so on. You get to save a lot of key presses and Edito also has a cheat sheet which is good for learners of Markdown.

Nerdy Geek man

I must be a bit of a nerd because I find it difficult to understand how anyone can be intimidated by the basic html that most people who are not web developers will get to see. The other thing is that it is a bit weird is to be going the markdown route which is nerdy and has to be learned when all you have to do is to use a WYSYG editor of some sort and there are plenty of those about.

At the end of this discourse about Markdown and MultiMarkdown I am more of the opinion that its best use is when you want to use it on the iPad with Edito to produce html code really easily. That is when html code is what you are looking for as a final result.

Magic Mouse

Apple Magic MouseI have the Magic Mouse for a couple of weeks now and I have to say it is thumbs up all the way. I was listening to the Mac Geek Gab podcast this morning and Dave was going into huge detail about his experience with the mouse. One of thing he said was about the size of the mouse. It is not very high or thick, or tall and seems small, built for small hands. The comment was that Steve Jobs must have small hands. Well my hands are not that small but for me the mouse is a good size. I had suffered with some RSI pain for about a month prior to getting this mouse and now after using the Magic Mouse for a couple of weeks I now can shake hands with people when we meet without wincing. Definitely a big plus for me there.

Another problem that other people have reported is the tracking speed of the mouse, and perhaps needing to run a third party utility to get to work fast enough. Strangely I have not had that problem. I installed 10.6.2 before I started using the mouse, which could have been a factor with this, and the tracking has been good. I adjusted it to the speed I wanted in System Preferences and that was that. I am working with 2 screens on my iMac also and I can easily track the whole width no hassle whatsoever.

So if you have not had a chance to try one of these Magic Mouse rodents from Apple then I would say you should definitely jump in there and have a play at your local Apple Store.

FinalCut Express

I have been learning how to do things in FinalCut Express during the week and using to teach myself. It is taking some practice time to get my head around the roll, ripple, slip and slide tools but I am getting there. The training videos in Lynda are very good and makes the learning much quicker and in depth. Reading the PDF manual is painful in comparison. So far I have been working on one video with footage I took while at a friends’ horse riding school. I had some good shots in there and I managed to make a short movie with FinalCut Express without too much bother. I struggled with moving clips on the timeline and I still need to learn how to make the audio fade where I want it too. In this case I looked at the length of the audio required and opened up AmadeusPro to do the job for me, but it can be done in FinalCut Express.

Apple - Final Cut Express

In the Lynda training videos there are details on how to set up the preferences to work better. It seems the standard prefs are not the best for working with. If I had not got to work with I would never have found this out. There is always a gap it seems between the designers of software and the users, the lessons are from people that know the application inside out and that is a huge benefit. As part of my learning I have been watching the videos for Final Cut Pro also and there is a separate series that deals with LiveType, the application that deals with titling. I am quite impressed with that application.

I have noticed that there are some small differences between the Express application compared to the Pro but for the most part you can do all that you need in FinalCut Express. For instance one difference is the speed controls. I see that in Pro it is possible to have easing in and out of the speed of a clip or a selection of a clip, so that when ramping the speed you can do it with more finesse. There is no 3 way colour corrector in FinalCut Express, which I saw being used in tutorials on the FinalCut King site. So nothing major anyway and watching the tutorials for the Pro application are also helpful and not potentially confusing.

The first video I sent out of FinalCut Express is now on my , if you would like to have a look,