✒ ♪ ♞

The Tidy Tweet

To type a truly tidy tweet,

Is something quite divine;

One-hundred forty characters,

Upon a single line.

But though these songs can sound so sweet,

We hear some sour notes;

The call of shady characters,

Awaiting billygoats.

They fled the dead discussion board,

And YouTube comment thread;

To shout with little character,

On Twitter now instead.

Beware their calloused countenance,

And puppets sewn of sock;

Remember that these characters,

Are less annoying if their blocked.

Universal Harmonics

Christie Stratos, my editor for Harmony’s Song, asked me to write a guest post. I’m very happy with the result, and I hope you will enjoy the piece as well. My thanks to Christie for the opportunity to share a piece of my writing process with her readers.

And, incidentally, if you’re looking for a fantastic editor for a writing project, it’d be tough to do better than Proof Positive. I couldn’t be happier with Christie’s work.

Harmony’s Song — A Dragon’s Brood Tale

Last June, I wrote about the release of Haven Lost, the first volume in my Dragon’s Brood Cycle series of fantasy novels. While I continue writing the second volume, here’s a short story that takes place just before the events in Haven Lost entitled Harmony’s Song.

Life is hard for Daniel and the other kids who struggle to live on the streets of Ravenhold, a seaside city allied with the sorceress Marianne and the kingdom of Seven Skies. There is seldom enough to eat, and the nights are cold, but Daniel finds warmth and friendship when he meets the enigmatic Harmony. Their special bond, coupled with the mystery of Harmony’s past, sends Daniel from his life on the streets to the wider world beyond in this short story prequel to Haven Lost and the Dragon’s Brood Cycle.

You can find it in the Kindle Store, and it can also be viewed here on GoodReads.com.

There’s also a song that is featured in the story which you can listen to in the Media section of the official Dragon’s Brood website, though you might want to make sure you read the story first.

The reception that Haven Lost has enjoyed far exceeded my expectations, and I thank everyone who has come on this journey with me.

Must-Listen Podcasts, Part II

I previously posted about the podcasts I most enjoy. I’d planned to post updates periodically, and this is the first of those.

My original post still stands, but there are a few changes. The first, and saddest, of these is that IRL Talk, which had been my favorite podcast for the last year and a half or so, has ended its run. I’m still mourning the loss of this show, but if you haven’t heard it before, I highly recommend listening to its back catalog; it’s simply marvelous.

Mission Log, a fantastic Star Trek podcast, has also mostly fallen off my radar, but not because I don’t enjoy the show. On the contrary, the show is excellent. I just have a hard time caring much about the TNG era, and that is all the show is about at the moment.

Otherwise, the previous list still mirrors my current listening habits, save for a couple of new series.

Welcome to Night Vale is one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time. It’s very, very hard to describe. Essentially, it is an ongoing story and audio drama set in the fictional desert community of Night Vale. The show’s hero is a host on the local radio station, and each episode largely takes place during his broadcasts. The show is both hilarious and creepy. Many have described it in a variety of ways, but I like to say that it seems like what might’ve been the brain child of Stephen King and the Onion. In fact, there’ve been a few Stephen King reference throughout the series thus far. It’s brilliant!

The new format for the show Inquisitive has also become captivating. It is now produced in an ongoing, documentary-style format. If you’re into tech, especially Apple tech, it is a fantastic listen.

The Incomparable is a show about all things geeky, from Star Trek to Star Wars, Dr. Who to Stephen King, Harry Potter to Disney, and beyond. It’s not intended that yo listen to every episode. Go back through the back catalog and download the episodes that sound like they interest you most and enjoy Jason Snell and company.

Speaking of Mr. Snell, Upgrade is another Apple-centric podcast hosted by him and Mike Hurley. It’s also a great listen.

Really, you could do worse than to subscribe to just about every show on the Relay.fm podcast network. They have assembled an insanely great lineup of shows.

I must give an honorable mention to Welcome to Macintosh, a show which explores the history of Apple Inc. The show hasn’t been around very long yet, but its first few episodes are very well done.

So those are my more recent picks. What are you listening to?

Apples to Oranges — Why the Platform Wars No Longer Matter

Over the years, an individual’s choice of which operating system to use for their computing needs has become increasingly personal. In general, most modern platforms are extremely capable, and with the ubiquity of the Internet and standardized file formats, it is far easier to share data between otherwise wholly different systems. Mac versus Windows, either versus Ubuntu, and so on, are battles that have lost much of their relevance, and as a result, I’ve somewhat lost interest in the debate. I still believe Mac OS X, and by extension iOS, are superior platforms for my needs, and I still encourage people to try them for themselves, but ultimately, each individual user’s personal preference for a computing solution is their own, and that is how it should be.

Comparing platforms, too, has become increasingly difficult, both because the number of tasks that we all perform on our computers has continued to grow, and because the ways that the various systems, particularly OS X and Windows, handle these tasks have diverged in fundamental ways. And that, of course, does not even begin to address the inevitable human differences in the way we all think, respond, or retain information. An artist may be especially talented at producing beautiful masterpieces with oil paints, while another may be hopeless with paints but is adept with charcoal. The difference in tools between them does not make either more or less of an artist; nor does it inherently devalue either’s work. Each is using their talents with the tools that suit them best as unique human beings.

Objective comparisons between operating systems are virtually meaningless, because while the systems themselves behave in primarily predictable and consistent ways, human beings do not. To even begin to make a perfectly objective comparison, a single individual would have to be equally proficient and accustomed to working in the platforms being compared. This is a problem right out of the gate, since platforms themselves will vary, to some degree, in order to appeal to different sorts of people, and whether or not someone is equally competent and comfortable in two significantly different systems cannot be objectively measured for tools as complex as computing platforms.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that one could find such a person. What then? How do you objectively compare systems with such differing feature sets? You might be able to compare a small number of specific features common to both, but would that truly be helpful? The answer is that of course it isn’t, at least not in terms of the bigger picture of comparing the platforms to one another.

For a simplistic example, you could compare the length of time it takes to open a web browser and access a particular website. Let’s say that this task takes ten seconds to perform on platform A, and only five seconds to perform on platform B, assuming that the network connection speed variable is constant. One could extrapolate from this that, if our imaginary user opens twelve sites in an hour, they will save themselves one minute of time on platform B over platform A, and thus be more productive.

But what if, completely unrelated to this task, platform B has a bug that causes the system to hang and need to be rebooted once an hour? And what if the total time spent restarting the machine and logging in takes one minute? Now, with this new piece of the puzzle added to the equation, the results of our test, as far as productivity goes, are a wash.

Operating systems have thousands of these tiny variables. The example above is simple and extreme in order to illustrate the basic point. Even if one could objectively account for every, or even most, of the countless variables and make an objective, measurable comparison, the results would only apply to the single individual and those who are most like them.

This is, too, why Mac survived at all during Apple’s dark years. Windows, by many technical measures, surpassed Mac OS during that time, and yet many users still chose to use it, because for them, the system was more intuitive or a better fit for their own specific way of working.

Someone recently made the point to me that it was an unassailable conclusion that the number of keystrokes to perform a task with a screen reader was the only, or at least the primary, measure of productivity for a visually impaired computer user. This is, to most critical eyes I believe, an absurd statement. What if the user isn’t using keystrokes at all to perform a task and is instead relying on something like VoiceOver’s Trackpad Commander? What if one user has written scripts on one system but not the other? What if those scripts have been developed to behave differently? What if a user of one system is better at memorizing and recalling key commands than is the user of the other? What if one is a better or faster typist? The number of variables and their combinations is significant and virtually limitless.

My advice to users is to try out different platforms, if they can, and decide which is best for them and the way in which they work. OS X, Windows, Ubuntu, and some other platforms are all modern operating systems with unique strengths and characteristics to offer. They are all legitimate choices, regardless of how strongly you feel about your own.

Most people, at least I like to think it is most, don’t go around belittling or harassing others for their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Those who do, are frequently looked down upon by those of us who are more enlightened and/or tolerant. Why should it be any different for our computing choices?

Music of the Masters of the Universe

As many of you know, I’m a long time fan of Masters of the Universe. The franchise has had its ups and downs, but it has always had a special place in my heart.

I would argue that few animated series, if any, especially in the 1980s, had a musical score as memorable as Filmation’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The melodies used were lyrical and powerful, and they worked wonders to invoke an atmosphere of mystery and magic.

So I was very excited when it was announced that a two CD, remastered, limited edition sound track for the series was being released by LalaLandRecords.

A few days ago, I ran across this fan-made version of the main theme, arranged for a full orchestra. Enjoy!

Accessibility and NFBCS

Chris Hofstader writes:

Last week, Curtis Chong, the seemingly permanent president of The NFB in Computer Science (NFBCS) published an article in Braille Monitor highly critical of accessibility at Microsoft, especially of the accessibility on its Windows platform. Chong presents a number of indisputable facts with which I agree entirely, there are many things regarding accessibility to people with vision impairment that Microsoft does very poorly. Chong is also correct that accessibility across the Microsoft catalogue is highly inconsistent with some programs providing excellent coverage and others providing none at all. I applaud Curtis for the shedding light on the problems he describes and hope Microsoft will take action to remedy them as quickly as possible.

I also felt that Chong’s article was misleading, that it contained statements that were either inaccurate or unverifiable but, worst of all, it lacks detail in the historical context, an elephant sized hole in the story.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been exploring the concept of leadership in the blindness and technology space. I’ve talked about the changing leadership paradigm in, “Anarchy, Leadership and NVDA,” I’ve discussed leadership in innovation through traditional paths in my CSUN 2015 report and, in my article about Be My Eyes, I discussed another path a team had taken to lead a project of significant value. This article will, in the context of Chong’s piece, explore leadership in technology from NFB and how it, in my opinion, has been a failure for decades.

Hofstadter’s blogs are hit and miss for me, as I imagine they are for many people. Frequently, I disagree with him vehemently. But sometimes, to me at least, he hits the nail squarely on the head. This is one of those times.

Harry Harrison and Science Fiction

I’m a fan of both science fiction and fantasy. These days, I end up reading a lot more fantasy than scifi though. There are two reasons for this. The first, and simplest, is that I’ve always leaned more toward the fantasy and supernatural side of things, and that tendency only grew once I discovered Stephen King.

The second, and probably more significant, reason is that a great deal of modern science fiction, in an effort to be scientifically accurate and/or interesting, tends to lose sight of the story that its trying to tell. Additionally, it frequently results in two dimensional characters, or at least ones that don’t feel very real or relatable. Sometimes, compounding this problem, the prose itself is weak or outright poor. The ideas might be wonderfully compelling, but without a strong story, characters, and at least competent narrative voice, a work of any kind of fiction is not going to hold my interest. Examples of popular science fiction authors who have failed one or more of these categories for me are Robert J. Sawyer, William Gibson, and Michael Crichton.

Scifi was always in the mix for me growing up, whether it was in whole or in part. I don’t remember a time before I knew Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise. (I had a paper model, the kind you cut out and fold into a 3D object, of that venerable starship hanging from my ceiling as a very small child.) I remember watching the original Star Trek series and, later, series like Blake’s 7. Blends of scifi/fantasy were huge, too, such as Masters of the Universe and Star Wars.

Among the very first novels I ever read that were intended for an adult audience were the works of Harry Harrison.1 He has remained among my very favorite science fiction authors for the last thirty years. He was born out of the golden age of science fiction, and though his work features much that is scientifically accurate (or what was accurate for the time), it never fails to keep the story moving and to treat its characters as more than automatons. In short, his books and stories were full of heart, humor, and wit, that, at least to me, feels sorely lacking in modern science fiction.2 Perhaps the best way to describe the difference is that his stories feel more human.3

I was thrilled over the last couple of months to find that Audible.com has been releasing a huge number of Harry Harrison’s back catalog on audio. I’ve been hoping for this to happen for quite some time. And, as a bonus, in addition to all his wonderful science fiction stories, they’ve also released his memoir.

So many classics are there, including The Stainless Steel Rat series, the Death World trilogy, the West of Eden trilogy, the To the Stars trilogy, and so on. If you are a science fiction fan, particularly a fan of the golden age writers, you owe it to yourself to experience his work. Some of his novels are lighthearted science fiction adventures, while others delve much deeper into scientific and philosophical quandaries. If you are a fan of the genre, there is almost certainly something you will enjoy in his body of work.

  1. The first novels I read growing up were The Hardy Boys, which I started reading at around age six. By the time I was eight, I’d begun enjoying Harry Harrison’s work, Sherlock Holmes, and the works of Mark Twain. I read my first Stephen Kin novel at age eleven. 

  2. While writing this piece, I started to wonder if this is partially the disconnect for me where regards Star Trek: the Next Generation. I’ve long maintained that TNG is the weakest Star Trek series, mostly because the characters feel very flat and lifeless to me. It occurs to me now that this may be due, in part at least, to the show taking a more modernistic approach to scifi in comparison to the other branches of the Trek franchise. 

  3. A more modern science fiction author who has never forgotten the human element in his work, and who is a damn good writer besides, is Spider Robinson

Feeling Ducky

I’ve documented my experiences switching away from Google services over the last few years. I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I feel like the combination of services from a variety of companies that I am now using are, on the whole, superior to what I had with Google.

Recently, two tech bloggers/podcast personalities that I greatly admire have written about their experiences switching to DuckDuckGo for web search. The first of these was Casey Liss. Casey is best known for co-hosting the Accidental Tech Podcast and Analogue (spelled the correct way.) The second was Marco Arment, Casey’s co-host on ATP and developer of Overcast, my podcast client of choice. (Marco also wrote the blogging engine that powers this site.)

These are two of the highest profile tech voices that I’ve seen talk about making the switch away from Google for search. Undoubtedly, part of why this is just happening now is that until Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8.0, making the switch required a bit of fiddling and too much thought by the end user. I wonder if, now that Apple is including DuckDuckGo as a default search option, we will see more users, high profile or otherwise, making the leap. I hope so. I’ve been using it almost exclusively for a couple of years now, and have never looked back.

So here’s to seeing more folks start to migrate with the ducks.

“You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel ducky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”“”

(I offer no apology for the terrible joke above. Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.)

Dr. Seuss on Apple

I do not want this new iPhone,

My Razr’s fine; it’s what I own.

“But you can browse the Internet,

And play games you haven’t heard of yet!”

My Dell’s all right for the Internet,

My Gameboy’s fine for the games I get.

I don’t want to play with Angry Birds,

I won’t annoy my friends with words.

I do not want a new iPhone,

My Razr’s fine;; it’s what I own.

“But it will guide you down the street,

And suggest great places to stop and eat!”

I can just use my Thomas Guide,

And look for signs inside my ride.

My Dell’s all right for the Internet,

My Gameboy’s fine for the games I get.

I don’t want to play with Angry Birds,

I won’t annoy my friends with words.

I don’t want the new iPhone,

My Razr’s fine; it’s what I own.

“The Music app plays MP3s,

Be they Bach’s, the Beatles’, or Kenny G’s!”

Who needs that? I have CD’s,

And on the air’s good old Rick Dees.

A Thomas Guide to tell me left or right,

A Mickey D’s at every light.

My Dell’s all right for the Internet,

My Gameboy’s fine for the games I get.

I don’t want to play with Angry Birds,

I won’t annoy my friends with words.

I don’t want the new iPhone,

My Razr’s fine; it’s what I own.

“It’s a camera everywhere you go,

For shots of kids or dogs or snow!”

I can get my pics taken at the mall,

No selfies mucking up my Facebook wall.

I have my Carpenters LPs,

And a strange soft spot for good old Rick Dees.

An atlas to the interstate,

All night diners when it’s late.

My Dell’s all I need for the Internet,

My Gameboy’s fine for the games I get.

I don’t want to play with Angry Birds,

I won’t annoy my friends with words.

I do not want the new iPhone,

My Razr’s fine; it’s what I own.

“But now with a contract, the iPhone’s free!

Try it! Try it! Please? For me?”

My Razr at last gave up the ghost,

So sad; it was the phone I’d loved the most.

I guess I’ll get the free 5C,

But it will only be a phone to me.

Oh, but I suppose I’ll take pictures of my dog,

Just to post on my Tumblr blog.

That’s it. No more … oh, wait … but damn …

I kinda like this Instagram.

iTunes has the Best of Gladys Knight and the Pips?!

You know, my vinyl copy always skips.

Siri will talk me down the street?

Huh … you know … that’s kind of neat.

My iPhone helped me win that bet,

When I looked up Rick Dees’s age on the Internet.

Now I have a plushy of a disgruntled yellow bird,

And four days left to think up a word.

It’s been two days, and with a groan,

I must admit, I love iPhone.

But wait, what’s that I hear you say?

Another gadget’s on the way?

I do not want an Apple Watch,

I’m quite contented with my Swatch …

Audio Content Speed Adjustments

Marco Arment writes:

Enjoying the full experience of all media and preserving “what the artist intends” is a romantic ideal, but it’s both overrated and unrealistic in reality. Not everything is that good, not everyone cares that much, and not all media produced is perfect and immutable.

I don’t entirely disagree with Marco’s points here, but I do believe there needs to be some nuance in the conversation. Marco is talking primarily about podcasts, but this debate goes on for other mediums as well.

In as far as podcasts are concerned, he’s right. For the vast majority of shows, it really doesn’t matter how you listen to them. Even with that being the case, i always found that increasing the speed on shows was so painfully unnatural that it distracted from the content. The brilliance of Marco’s Smart Speed feature in Overcast is that it is virtually transparent, for all practical purposes, to the listener. It is the sort of time saving functionality I have long hoped for in a podcast client. However you decide to speed up your podcast audio, the crucial point is that podcasting, in the majority of cases, is not a performance art; it’s a conversation.

That being said, I have had lengthy debates with friends about the merits of speeding up audio books. People don’t tend to speed up movies, television, or music. You certainly could do so, but there would be elements of the entertainment you’d be missing out on, such as drama, emotional impact, and the nuances of a performance. It is my belief that this holds true for audio books as well, as part of the experience is the narrator’s performance. Some will disagree, most vehemently. I can even hear a few of my friends groaning right now as they read this. (Sorry, guys.)

In the end, it isn’t a matter of whether one way is right or wrong. It’s about being aware of the trade off you are making. If you choose to listen to something at a faster speed, that is fine. The benefit you are receiving is more time to consume more content. But don’t try to kid yourself that there isn’t a price to pay. Sometimes, the price is worth it, and sometimes, it isn’t. That threshold will be different for everyone. As for me, I’m happy to use Smart Speed to shorten podcast running times. I would not be willing to do the same with audio books. The price of losing some of the experience of the performance is just not worth it.

Make the decision for yourself, fully aware of the cost to benefit ratio. There is one. It may not matter to you, but never forget that it is there. One day, you might find that it suddenly does.

Great Reads of 2014

I’ve always been an avid reader, and the flipping of the calendar is as good an excuse as any to take a look back at the titles I enjoyed most over the previous twelve months. This list is limited to just those books that I especially enjoyed.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read and/or enjoyed any of these titles, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter; discussing novels is always a ton of fun.

Links provided are for the Audible.com editions.

The Bloody Jack Series

The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer begins (surprise surprise) with Bloody Jack. That link will take you to the audio book edition on Audible.com, which I highly recommend. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, provides one of the finest audio book narration performances I have ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of them.

The series follows the adventures of Jacky Faber, a young orphan girl living as a beggar on the streets of 19th century London. Jacky disguises herself as a boy and joins the Royal Navy as a ship’s boy. The entire series, consisting of twelve fantastic volumes, is pure fun. It ranks, personally, as one of my all time favorite literary series, which is really saying something, since my taste skews decidedly toward fantasy and science-fiction.

I truly cannot say enough good things about this entire series, nor the breathtaking performance of Katherine Kellgren. It’s fun, heartwarming, suspenseful, terrifying, hilarious, and endlessly entertaining.

Prince Lestat

It’s been a decade since Anne Rice offered up an installment in the Vampire Chronicles. Prince Lestat does not disappoint. It is refreshingly new, taking our beloved characters to new places and experiences that we have not seen hitherto. Judging by a few reviews online, some long-time fans of the series have found this chapter in the saga disappointing because it didn’t retread the old familiar ground, but I loved it precisely because it was new. Not only is it new, but it feels absolutely right. It’s a natural, authentic progression of the universe Rice created, far more so than 2004’s Blood Canticle.


It’s hard to go wrong with Stephen King, and Revival is classic King.

At its core, Revival is King’s take on the mad scientist trope from classic horror tales stretching all the way back to Mary Shelly. Its sprawling timeline, spanning from the early 1960s to present day, feels genuine, with King masterfully capturing the sense and flavor of each era he includes.

Mr. Mercedes

The first entry in a projected trilogy by Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes is a mystery/thriller that is one of the most suspenseful stories King has produced in years. It will keep you at the edge of your seat, frantically turning pages, be they of the virtual or paper varieties. The second installment should be released in 2015. Only Stephen King could release two fantastic novels with less than six months betwixed them.

The Silkworm

The Silkworm is the second installment in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, better known as J.K. Rowling. The series takes the very classic detective fiction genre, a class of stories most purely embodied by the indomitable Sherlock HOlmes, and places it squarely in 21st century London. Full of Rowling’s trademark wit and clever storytelling, this volume is every bit as good as the first, if not better.

The Etymologicon

The Etymologicon is a self-proclaimed “”Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language”” by Mark Forsyth. Told with a light and extremely humorous and entertaining style, Mr. Forsyth explores the origins of everyday words in the English language.

Understanding Net Neutrality

The concept of net neutrality is one of those things that makes a lot of sense to tech savvy nerds, but which can be difficult for those same tech savvy nerds to explain to their friends and family who may not have a good grasp of the nuances of how the Internet works. This piece in the New York Times does a good job of breaking it down to the simplest possible terms. The only explanation for anyone in office to be against net neutrality is willful ignorance or, more likely, a desire to keep their pockets lined with lobby money. Enjoy, and pass it along to those who may benefit from it.

Snow, Tea, and Dreams

It’s the final day of the Haven Lost virtual book tour today. The first stop is at Straight From the Library, which includes an interview. The second and final stop of the tour is over at Welcome to My World of Dreams and includes a short essay on how I write. Thanks for following the tour, and I hope you will read and enjoy Haven Lost.

Skeletor Is Selling Cars

This is the best holiday commercial I’ve seen in years. Just watch it.

Wizards, Aliens, or the Undead

It’s day three of the Haven Lost virtual book tour today. Inspector Clouzot, Stephen King, Harry Potter, and George Michael all manage to make an appearance. Check it out!

Meet Emily Haven

It’s day two of the Haven Lost virtual book tour today. There will be two stops on the tour, the first of which is at Long and Short Reviews. Check it out for a special glimpse into Emily Haven’s character in a piece that has not previously appeared anywhere.

Today’s second stop is at Deal Sharing Aunt and includes an interview and an excerpt from Haven Lost.


Good Journey

Day one of the Haven Lost virtual book tour is today, and the first stop is at Indy Authors. There’s an excerpt from the book as well as a short essay that I wrote specifically for this stop. Enjoy!

Standard Markdown Controversy

This is one of the better blogs I’ve read summarizing the recent Markdown controversy. I pretty much agree with all of it, but I wanted to emphasize a few points.

Jeff Atwood has, as a coder, completely missed, an din fact tried to subvert, the purpose of Markdown, in my opinion. Markdown is intended to be a tool for writers. It is not, as originally conceived, a tool for developers. In fact, its very nature makes the lives of those writing conversion tools difficult specifically because it is intended to make writers’ lives easier. It moves the burden of composition, mainly for the web, off the shoulders of writers and puts it squarely on implementers.

The creation of “Standard Markdown”, now dubbed “Common Markdown” following the uproar, sought to transfer that burden back to writers, and it did this by attempting to redefine what canonical Markdown is, as well as its intended purpose.

As someone who enjoys both writing prose and developing software, I can be sympathetic to the difficulties that developers face when writing tools to convert Markdown to other formats, but I’m also strongly in the camp that, generally speaking, it is a developer’s job to make life easier for the end user, even if that means more work for the developer.

Markdown, in a real sense, is a platform to build upon. It is a solid foundation for plain text prose that happens to be very useful for converting to more complex formats. Building new or expanded variations on top of it is an extraordinarily useful endeavor; subverting it into something less useful and extensible is harmful to the community that has sprung up around Markdown. By choosing the name “Standard Markdown”, Atwood was clearly attempting to accomplish the latter.

Accessible Alternatives to Google Services

I’ve added this page to document the various services I’m currently using as alternatives to Google’s current and past offerings as part of my ongoing campaign to go Google free. As things change, I’ll update the page.