I have been using Notational Velocity (nVALT) for a couple of years. It’s a note-taking app (Mac only), built by Brett Terpstra that describes itself as:
… a way to take notes quickly and effortlessly using just your keyboard. You press a shortcut to bring up the window and just start typing. It will begin searching existing notes, filtering them as you type.
A couple of things I like about it are that it saves work automatically, and any URLs that I type in are kept as live links. There’s more, including the ability to type using Markdown markup language.
I could use nVLT to format drafts of blog posts – but the Markdown keystrokes are not second nature to me, so I don’t use them. *
MacUser – my favourite Mac magazine – has a feature this month on note-taking apps, including nVALT and a similar app named Nottingham.
I’ve had a Simplenote account for a while (probably a couple of years or more) but just don’t use it. It’s web-based and there are also iPhone and iPad app versions.
Simplenote can be used as a standalone web-based note-taking service.
Here’s the thing though. It can also be used to backup or sync your other note-taking apps.
In other words, if you want to back up the stuff on the note-taking app on your computer, you can back it by syncing to Simplenote.
And/or if you have a home machine and a travel machine – you can sync your note-taking app on both machines via Simplenote.
Enter Automattic – The Makers Of WordPress
What I didn’t know until I took another look at Simplenote today is that it is now owned by Automattic – the makers of WordPress.
Here’s an extract from the Simplenote blog post of Jan 24th this year:
Simplenote has a new home! Our company, Simperium, has been acquired by Automattic, makers of WordPress.com. We think this’ll be great for everyone, especially you, our beloved fans
So there you have it: Use Simplenote as a web-based note-taking app, or use it to sync or backup your machine-based note-taking app.
* If You Are Interested In Knowing A Bit More About Markdown
Markdown is both ‘plain text markup syntax’ and a software tool that converts plain text markup to HTML.
In plain English, it is a simple way of writing an article that contains the code to make text that displays with formatting and that can also be displayed as a web page.
For example, it can make bold text and italic text, as well as headings and links. It was invented by Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball fame and you can read about it on Daring Fireball.
There is more than one flavour of version of Markdown, and the one we use on Quillcards is slightly different from Jon Gruber’s original version. The reason is that when people are writing text in ecards, they expect that the return key will start a new paragraph – except that in the original Markdown it doesn’t. With Jon’s version, it requires two returns keystrokes to start a new paragraph – one keystroke just makes a line break.
So the version we use is the Github-Flavored Markdown.
I am slowly learning the Markdown keystrokes almost by default because, as I say, our own site at Quillcards uses Markdown markup language.
The MadMimi email service that I use also uses Markdown, and as does Google+, and as does Marsedit, which I do use for writing blog posts.
Here are a few examples Of Markdown Syntax
## Put two hash marks at the beginning of a line to make larger size text.
*Put an asterisk either side of the text to make italics.* ( works with underscores as well _ )
**Put double asterisks either side of the text to make bold text.**