Sunday, July 9, 2006

Dark Room

A free new tool for anyone interested in distraction-free writing on a Windows computer: Dark Room, a Windows version of the free Mac program WriteRoom. Dark Room allows for distraction-free writing with minimal editing capabilities — cut, copy, paste, undo, redo. (WriteRoom has more options.)

What makes Dark Room different from a text-editor: the full-screen mode removes access to the desktop, so that there's nothing but a blank "page" — no titlebar, no taskbar, nothing to pull you away from writing. And full-screen mode keeps the "page" in the middle of the screen (very different from writing in a text-editor with a maximized window, with text running the width of the screen). DarkRoom's defaults are old school — green text with a black page and black background, but colors and margin settings (along with font style and size) can be changed to your liking. And you can toggle between fullscreen mode and a smaller, conventional window with F11.

I love the idea of a computer program emulating a typewriter (the Mac program Blockwriter, in development, goes further, removing cut and paste.) And I find it interesting that as Microsoft Office is on the verge of becoming even more visually complicated, people are creating alternatives for writing that function with extreme simplicity.

Related blog post
» My version of "Amish computing"

» Dark Room (requires .NET Framework 2.0)
» WriteRoom
» Blockwriter
» Microsoft Office 2007 (Wikipedia article with screenshots)

comments: 2

Crritic! said...

Thanks Michael. One thing though. Do you know the rationale behind the black screen with green text? I can understand the Courier font, but why would it not be black text on a white screen? Any ideas?

Michael Leddy said...

It's to have a desktop that looks like a screen from days of yore (mid-80s, I guess — "old school"). There's even a Mac program — GLTerminal — that simulates the curve in the screen of an old monitor. That's little too whimsical for me (not that I have a Mac).