I enjoy writing. For me, putting word to virtual paper can be as relaxing as a hot bath and cold dark chocolate. (Yes, I am a man and enjoy dark chocolate. Let's move on.)
There was a time I thought I could make a go of writing short fiction and I spent many winter nights sitting in front of my Mac, tapping keys and pouring out what bubbled up from my imagination and memory. There are a few stories that I'm rather proud of, but as a whole my fiction is not that good. That hasn't stopped me from writing. I do it because I love it. It would be nice if what I produce was something people outside my circle of friends would want to read (and I wonder about them sometimes), but that may come in time.
Most of us have more mundane writing tasks. There are grocery lists, reminders, notes to friends, quickly jotted phone numbers, and on it goes. Our mobile devices can help a lot with these tasks. In the iOS world there are gazillion note and writing apps, some intimately social, others isolate themselves from distraction, social or otherwise, to allow you to concentrate on the task of writing. I use both types.
Recently I found that my default writing app on my iPad, WriteRoom, is no longer supported on that platform. That's a shame because I truly enjoyed the clean interface and disruption free writing experience. So, I was on the lookout for another writing app to fill that void. It didn't take me long to find one. And while I was at it I found a note app that's bound to be a niche filling favorite of mine. That's the topic of this week's Free on iTunes, so let get to it.
Matcha [15.5 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: InterAre PT]
Matcha supports basic file types
I'm writing this article on an app named after powered green tea. At first that may seem like an odd choice for a name, but the creators of Matcha believe the name is appropriate.
Matcha (the tea) is used in Japanese tea ceremonies which tend to be somber and highly ritualized affairs. Green tea is thought to impart numerous health benefits. At this point I'm still not sure why the creators picked the name, but as writing apps go, Matcha is one of the best I've found so far because it focuses on the basics.
You get a clean writing environment devoid of distractions and unwanted features. It's a text processor that produces standards based text files, opting for the lowest common denominators such as HTML, RTF, Plain Text, and PDF. With these files types you can do pretty much do any type of writing. Matcha shares what you write using the same basic philosophy. Cloud storage is through iCloud or DropBox, but you can send to other apps and other people just as easily using the usual list of apps, except for text. I'm not sure why that is.
Doc info is a tap away
Info about what you are writing, like word count, and last modified time, are a tap away, as is adjustment like line density, font size and so on. And file management in your cloud is easy too. Create folders, the store your doc. The app will autosave to that location.
Another nicety is that Matcha plays well with bluetooth keyboards. With WriteRoom I had to put in extra lines at the bottom of the screen to keep the text I was writing visible (a bug I was hoping would get fixed). No such problem with Matcha. As your text approaches the bottom of the screen everything shifts up like it should.
There's also extended keys displayed at the bottom of the screen that gives you access to common punctuation and other tools.
And file management is easy too
I could write enough about this app to fill this article, but I need to move on. Matcha is currently free without in-app purchases or ads. Grab it while you can.
FetchNotes [2.3 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: FetchNotes LLC]
This could be good
Lets say you wanted to write a note to yourself and your significant other reminding you both to pick up some hummus and floor wax. You could text the note, create a calendar event and share it, get Siri to remind you to remind the other, or you could write a shared note in FetchNotes.
This cool app lets you automagically share notes and reminders as you write them, you just tag the name of a person you want to share the note with and write it out in plain english. FetchNotes figures out the names, times, and dates and creates events that both of you can see and get reminded of.
What's also cool is that you can hash tag key words so you can find related notes easily. Creating notes are easy, just start typing.
You do have to have an account, and to share notes the app will ask for access to your contacts. Still, the concept and execution may be worth yet another account. Check it out.
That's a wrap for this week. Be sure to check out the Free App of the Week, Atom Run, a side scrolling platform games that's getting great reviews. Also get George Ezra's Budapest, This weeks Free Single.