MarsEdit 3 vs Windows Live Writer

I’m not the biggest Microsoft fan generally speaking. I don’t like Internet Explorer at all and I’m not a fan of how they brand their products in a nonsensical way. For example bing doesn’t really have anything to do with any other product. Windows Live Search made more sense to me.

However, I can say that I very much like Windows 7 and another lesser known product called Windows Live Writer. This application is a free downloadable publishing tool for a variety of blogging platforms from wordpress to blogger and more. It comes as one part of Microsoft’s Windows Live Essentials package of apps. Of course I’d love for it to be on Mac too but you can’t have everything.

On Mac I’ve used Marsedit for quite a long time. It works well but until version 3 it was purely an HTML editor and compared to the features live writer offers, it’ feels a bit bare especially for a paid app. Version 3 now has a rich text editor but it still feels very basic and you can hardly tell the difference between the versions until you actually insert an image and see the image itself instead of the html code. There is no format bar like you would expect in a publishing app like Word or Live Writer, so you can’t change the font or do any other simple formatting without digging through a drop down menu which doesn’t feel right.

I think when you consider that because of ventures like Google Chrome OS, the future is going to be more browser based than ever, I find myself wondering if I really need a local app for blog publishing. Of course, I enjoy using live writer at the moment. I’m writing this post on it, but I feel that in the end there’s going to be only a stable of a few core standalone apps that you’ll use apart from the browser, on the desktop at least.

On the mobile front, things appear to be going in the opposite direction towards more apps than web content, but I think there will always be room for some apps on the desktop. Whether they will primarily consist of games, movie, photo or audio editing software or more isn’t clear right now, but apps in the traditional sense aren’t going to go away completely any time soon.

Going back to the point of this article in comparing the best windows blog publishing app to the best on the mac, it’s clear that live writer is a more complete experience that feels well made. Marsedit does too but I think for a paid app, it’s just not quite there and I would probably prefer to just use the wordpress dashboard editor itself to create my posts when I’m away from my PC. I think it has a lot to do with being a one man developer. Covering costs is an important aspect, and of course everyone needs to make a living. The issue is that when you’re competing against one of the biggest companies around who are making a free product, it’s hard to match up.

If you’re on a Mac and want a well made stand alone app, then I do recommend marsedit. If you’re not bothered, then the wordpress browser editor should be fine for you. If you’re on windows, the same can be said. If you’re happy with the browser, then that will be adequate, but considering live writer is free anyway, it won’t hurt to give it a try regardless of if you prefer standalone apps or not.


The Evolution of Steam: Mac Version and More

I’ve been a big fan of Steam, the game download and community service from Valve for a long time now. Not only do they have a great selection of games and a great online infrastructure, but they prove that you don’t have to rip people off and be an “evil corporation” in order to be successful in the games industry.

Valve show that you can give people legitimately great deals, be nice and make money at the same time, all the while increasing brand loyalty with their customers. Valve show that downloadable games can make sense, and that they can be lower priced than their retail counterparts where Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have yet to grasp this notion.

As far as recent events, Valve have just launched Steam for Mac, and I have to say I’m very impressed with it. As far as the application itself is concerned, it is essentially exactly the same as the PC version we all know and love, but that’s probably the best thing they could have done. The integration of Mac software into the existing storefront shows a huge amount of care was taken in trying to make Mac users feel welcome and not confused by not distinguishing between Mac and PC games.

Not only can you sort by operating system, but you can also Play Mac games with PC players of the same title online using SteamWorks. On top of this, and perhaps coolest of all, for certain titles marked with the Steam Play logo, you are eligible to download these particular games to both your Mac and PC for no additional charge. Shockingly, PopCap games are included in this, so I could download BookWorm, Peggle Deluxe and Peggle Nights to my MacBook for free, when on PopCap’s own site they charge separately for Mac and PC versions, so this is a fantastic offer for Steam gamers.

Not only this, but Valve are offering one of their well known and popular games, Portal, which is one part of the hugely successful Orange Box for free for a limited time. This is yet another piece of evidence of Valve’s commitment to customer satisfaction and increasing brand loyalty.

So what have we learned? Steam on Mac is fantastic and a must-download for Mac whatever kind of gamer you are. We’ve also learned that it is possible to be a successful game developer and publisher and make a lot of money, while also treating your fans well and giving away content, as opposed to charging for every single thing you release after the launch of a game.

Activision and EA among others, take note.