The first thing ommwriter says is "better with headphones".  Since I work late at night I keep the sound off lest I disturb the sleeping ones but I couldn't resist this invitation so I closed the app and scurried around in the dark looking for one of the many pairs of white earbuds squirreled away in our house.  Seven minutes later I once again made myself comfortable at the keyboard, found the headphone jack and fired up ommwriter again.

<p>Ommwriter from Herraiz Soto on Vimeo.</p>

I've used exactly one other Mac application like this before called Write Room.  I loved the idea of Write Room and used it a few times but for some reason never find myself spending as much time with it as I thought I would.  Maybe I just don't write that much…

ommwriter is similar to Write Room in that it takes over the entire screen and forces/allows you to concentrate on writing.  There are significant differences, Write Room is terminal-like with its green-on-black color scheme and nothing else, if there are menus I haven't seen them.  ommwriter on the other hand provides a simple but attractive background, mostly white and a few basic menus; most of which can be guessed as to their function without coaching.

There was however one that I couldn't decipher visually or through trial-and-error and that was the "keyboard sound" menu, indicated by a keyboard-like icon but with numerical options.  I tried switching this a few times, using selected and new text but ultimately had to refer to the (brief) instructional video to determine the effect of the selections.  Once I was aware that it allowed you to select one of several sounds to accompany keystrokes I was excited as for some reason I've always enjoyed typing more on a keyboard that sounds good.

The first thing that I thought I'd want to add to ommwriter was a spellcheck, however now that I am on my fifth paragraph I feel like that would just be another source of interruption and I can see why it was left out.  You should proofread your writing before you publish it anyway, so why disrupt the creative process with spelling checks along the way?  If you misspell a word so much that you can't recognize it later, you probably should have used another word anyway.

When ommwriter suggests that it is better with headphones it is certainly correct.  Between the key-click sounds and the ambient sound/music (I'm digging on track #2 at the moment) the whole experience feels much more "immersive" than Write Room (or any other editor, obviously).

You can re-size the "textbox" that your words fall into and I'm pretty sure this is unnecessary.  I'm certain that someone might request such a feature but features seem to run across the grain of the purpose of an application such as this.  In this vein, my greatest fear is that, once released, the developers of ommwriter will feel the need to satisfy user requests for additional features.  I see from their blog that the ability to save files as .rtf is a popular request, although I have no idea why.

Ever since reading "The Humane Interface" I've been attracted to the idea of an entire operating system designed around a clean, modern text-based interface and using tools like ommwriter and teux deux is resurrecting this interest.  Really this is somewhat related to my attraction to the Litl computer, with its concept of "channels" allowing each task or application to consume the entire screen, one at a time.  

Tonight when I'm trying to fall asleep I think I'll close my eyes and imagine such a system, attempting to include only useful, pleasant functionality to the exclusion of all else.  If I get time in the near future to spend in this lovely writing environment perhaps I'll even share my thoughts; we shall see.
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