Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Auditioning Win32 text editors

I have been looking for a new text editor.


  • Runs under Win32.
  • Lots of levels of Undo/Redo
  • Can automatically back up files on save, either *.bak or (preferably) incremental
  • Can edit plain text files in a clean interface
  • Freeware (but I'm flexible)
  • I do little programming, and don't need lots of source code editing type features (keyword highlighting, automatic indentation, etc.)

I write prose, not much code. I prefer to work in a text editor rather than cluttered environment of a word processor. I have used EditPad Lite for years. But yesterday I did something boneheaded and lost about 300 words off the end of a story. No prob, I had set EditPad to do automatic *.bak files. I looked, and no *.bak file. WTF? I had updated Editpad a month or so ago, and it seems that this capability has been silently taken out of EditPad in its most recent revision. *&^%$#@. My guess is that the author is trying to get people to buy his $$ version, EditPad Pro.

I dunno, I have no problem in paying for a good product, but I've never bought EditPad Pro because I didn't need its features. And somehow, it just seems wrong to me to remove existing features from a product because you're trying to sell another product. Oh, it's not unethical or anything, it's just not nice. It's unfriendly. I'd feel differently if the feature had never been there to begin with... but it was part of the product, and he took it out.


So now I feel insulted, and I'm even more reluctant to buy the commercial version.

In the last day I have auditioned:

  • CrimsonEditor: nice source editor, with lots of stuff for code monkeys, and it does all of what I want, but if you have word-wrapping turned on you can't put a tab at the beginning of a paragraph without the editor indenting the rest of the paragraph to the depth of the tab. No, using spaces doesn't help, produces same result. This may be fine for code, but it's lousy for English prose. Damn. Otherwise, it's a wonderful little product.
  • NoteTab: comes in three versions, bottom one is free, others cost, though less than EditPad. Problem here is that only the $19.95  product has multiple levels of undo/redo. I don't mind paying, but I don't like to pay for a pig in a poke. I really want to use a product and get a feel for it before I plunk down money for it.
  • RoughDraft: this isn't actually a text editor, but a lightweight word processor made for writers. Can use proportional fonts, pretty print,  (editor-type pretty printing, not programmer-type pretty printing), and saves as rtf files. Interesting features for scriptwriters/playwrights, which I don't need. I like it, but it won't make automatic *.bak files. It has an interesting feature where you can back up to both your regular directory and your floppy drive with one key, but that's not quite the same thing. And unfortunately, you can't select your 'floppy' drive to be a Zip drive or your second HDD, or somewhere on your network. Hard coded to the floppy. And you also can't load multiple files at once from a shortcut, you get an error message. I keep stories in individual directories, and I like to set up a shortcut so that the editor just loads up every *.txt file in that directory, usually the story and some background notes. But RoughDraft won't do this. It has another way of loading frequently used files that is more awkward. RoughDraft also uses some non-standard keyboard shortcuts, like Ctrl-Q to close a file, rather than Ctrl-F4, like the rest of the Win32 world, and doesn't seem to be configurable this way. That's just annoying, plays hell with your motor skills, I know I'd be constantly hitting Ctrl-F4 and wondering why nothing happened. I'm maundering on about this program because I really want to like it, but it's got so many lacunae and misfeatures.

And the winner is...

  • TextPad. This one seems to do it all, with the exception of incremental backups, which I'm not really sure I want anyway. (I can just see me around December 2003 with a directory full of files named Spirit Road.001 to Spirit Road.624. I have a hard enough time throwing out things anyway.) TextPad also has the feature of being able to create workspaces, which can be shortcutted to the desktop, to provide easy access to whatever story I'm working on at the moment. This does away with the hassle of editing shortcut properties. It has other nice features like spellchecking, the ability to record macros, and use regular expressions in searches. The software is shareware, US$27.00 to buy. So far, looks very promising. My plan is to use it for a week or two, and if I still like it, buy it.

chi(ru), chi(rasu)
meaning: scatter
散文 == sanpun == prose
四散 == shisan == scattering in all directions

Left radical was once a doubling of 'wood/shrub' (木), right is 'strike with stick'. This character originally referred to hemp, and the process of beating it with a stick to extract the fiber for rope or fabric scored to you from the sky-blue waters of that beautiful bay, and picked by naked little froggy native boys in their tight leather aprons running through the fields by the sea and the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the fig trees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rose gardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The meanings of  'break' and 'pulverize' eventually broadened into 'break into little pieces' and thus to 'scatter'. The lower left radical is derived from 'meat' (肉). Henshall suggests remembering the top left radical as two 'tens' (十), and one (一) and as a mnemonic: 'Hand strikes meat, scattering 21 pieces.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database

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