Ommwriter – First impressions

So this post is written in Ommwriter.  A minimalistic word processor that is meant to free up the writers creativity by removing the distractions that clutter the screen of a regular word processor.  I’m going to use it now to write my first impressions.

I do like how the screen is taken over by the software.  If you leave your mouse alone (and really you should, you’re here to type, not wriggle around the screen)  the menu bar, and options around the text area fade away leaving nothing but a blank canvas for your words.  Even the borders of the sizable text section fade out, giving no visual limits to your typing space.  In addition, the software prevents you from accessing other windows, masking the taskbar and hiding away the minimize and exit options in the fade-awaymenu and sidebar.  I found this kept me focused on the task in hand (writing this piffle) but did mean I had to scout a bit furtehr to find my screen and research quandries like how much the paid version costs.

Screenshot of Ommwriter with options visible

Ommwriter with options visible - Screenshot added in WordPress NOT Ommwriter

The cursor is a blinking subscript underscore ( _ ) rather than the more normal flashing pipe ( | ), and it turns out that the software writers did this to remove the wall formed by the vertical cursor.  Not sure how much I’ve been stymied by a cursor before but we’ll see.

Now I am using the free version of the software, and it isavailable for both Mac OSx and Windows.  There is a paid for version which includes a few more themes and schemes, but functionally the two versions are identical. The paid version costs a non-threatening $4.11 with the potential to add a larger donation if you so wish, and a request that you end your price with a 1 to bring good fortune.

Oddly this is a word processor that makes noises all of its own, and the free version only has three themes for background music, and three typing sounds.  The typing sounds can be best described as:
1. A faint electric chirp.
2. Soft electric water droplets.
3. A hard clack sound, electric maracas?

The background music breaks down to:
1. Ambient chimes and plucks with a galloping coconut shell horse in the distance.
2. Classical chimes, with more than a passing nod to a temple bell.
3. Deeper and almost discordant electronic organ sounds.  This is sometimes a bit menacing, but then lifts itself out again.

With all the music the variations seem random, which some may find pleasant and I can think of a few musical friends it will drive crazy.  The good news is that both can be turned on or off easily, and I found myself rapidly switching off the typing sounds as I use a plastic Dell keyboard which makes plenty of clatter on its own. When using a near silent membrane keyboard I found the sounds were a reassuring confirmation of a keystrike, but since i find typing on a membrane keyboard a slow affair due to the wobbly nature of the keys and unpredictable pressure requirements I settled for turning off key sounds and enjoying the regular plastic chatter muted by my headphones. If you want the typing sound, definitely use headphones, otherwise the music works well through your usual speakers if your work environment is quiet.

All good things come in threes apparently, and the same is true of the background themes,
1. A gentle shade of grey with wintery trees in a snow scene at the footer.
2. Bright white, which is just a tad hard on the eyes (and also makes me sneeze with my current cold.)
3. A middling grey, which is probably ideal for working later in the evening; the type appears like eInk on a Nook or Kindle screen.

Overall I think I can see myself using Ommwriter every once in a while to jot down ideas in an uncluttered fashion.  It doesn’t have the formattingand publishing options of Microsoft Word or the like, but it does offer a simple space to work and a relatively small footprint.  The lack of spell check seems odd in this modern world, but also gives me the freedom to make mistakes, which is nice in its own right.  You can save your text to their OMM format (it’s a plain text file with a pretty extension), or to TXT.  You can also output directly to PDF but there is no “print” option to go directly to a printer

So if you want to write with something that feels a little more like a typewriter than a desktop publishing behmoth then give it a try.  With a price of FREE where can you go wrong?

Ommwriter can be found at http://www.ommwriter.com

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