Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Write on the Dark Side

For anyone out there looking for an alternative to Microsoft Word, I recently found out about a cool word-processing app from Lifehacker. The program is called Darkroom, and it's perfect for those who are easily distracted by the menus, toolbars, flashing IM buttons, and other features of modern computing that are both multifunctional and aggravating. Darkroom is a throwback to the old days of computing, with green Courier text on a black screen. Darkroom is configured for full-screen, so there are no menus or toolbars to get in the way. But there is still enough functionality to do basic tasks like scrolling up and down quickly, perform word counts, change font color, and so on.

I was in a slump with my novel when I discovered Darkroom, and it really helped me stay focused and hit my daily word counts. And it's a very small download, so it doesn't consume the system resources many other word processors do--and you can run it even on an old system. There is also a version for Mac OS called WriteRoom and even an online version called DarkCopy, which you can use anywhere you can get Internet access without downloading and installing the app. In the breakneck pace at which technology moves, it's nice to see a throwback program that reminds us of the old days when computers actually increased productivity.