Making Your Own Fancy Writing Program for Legacy Systems
When my friends talked about the wonders of Liquid Notebook or the other programs to organize their writing, I suffered software envy. Problem is, these programs only work in the latest ops systems because they use mini-programs built into the OS in order to work their wonders.
Me, I work on legacy machines.
“Legacy” = the old system the big software companies have orphaned but people love working in, especially since it would cost them half their annual income to replace the hardware and their software collection for it. Also, one of the lacks of the old systems is all the big security loopholes in the newer ones. But, hey, people who do banking on their Android phones aren’t wasting any neurons on security thoughts.
The legacy community is pretty active supporting themselves: look at the ongoing quality of Ten Four Fox. As they say, there’s no reason you can’t do everything on the Web with your older machine. It just won’t play interactive games as quickly. If that isn’t your major criteria for using the Web, or a computer, then there’s no reason otherwise than sales conspiracy for companies to have abandoned us. (See, they got spoiled by the gold-rush levels of sales when everyone jumped onto home computers back in iMac days. They’re trying to maintain that even now that everyone has a computer, and most don’t actually need a speed demon. They figure if they push the system into ongoing incompatibility, you’ll just have to break down and buy the new stuff.)
So I researched these programs, for both platforms (because I have both and could choose one to run on). I figured I might pick up a new machine just for my writing, if they gave me enough.
Now, as far as I can see, the primary features of these “writer’s programs” are:
a. Dark screen backgrounds. They look sophisticated.
b, Gorgeous graphics. Not necessarily in interfaces or control panels, but they load the graphics albums full of beautiful stuff. Folks, it’s like posing the beautiful girl next to the car to sell the car. You don’t get the girl or those pictures, but in your reptile brain they become inextricably attached. I finally realized this was a lot of the drool factor for me.
c. Finding everything in one place.
d. Being able to look at a bunch of different kinds of files and jump between them.
e. Being able to transfer information between different files.
f. Being able to track wordage automatically.
g. Being able to outline in various ways.
Dear friend, the ability to do most of this, requiring only a tiny bit of thought from us, has been ours since the 1980s. Excepting B, I was running an “integrated library” of software that did all this on my Color Computer 3.
In fact, once I pulled the advertising leeches out of my brain, I realized I really didn’t need these programs. What they were doing, I had been doing for years, yea, decades.
The fact remains, especially after spending the best of your brains at work or school or both (and don’t forget childcare and housework), most people don’t have synapses to spare for working out logical organization. I also suspect the young whippersnappers also never really absorbed the ideas of folders and other tricks of organization. I see way too many computers with the screen filled with files, with one folder for “All Pau” which has no sub-organization for finished work.
Modern programs encourage this. Even the one I’m working on right now no longer lets me put a file in any folder or sub-folder I wish. It restricts me to the last few used, and a few standards. The stupid thing insists that I just pile everything together. Some days, this isn’t legacy enough for me. The systems and programs used to do what I wanted them to, not try to tell me what to do, which annoys the snot out of me.
So let’s go get these abilities out of what we have or can get for free, especially on our legacy machines.