Sometimes Little Things are Big

markdownHave you ever heard of Markdown?  No, it has nothing to do with the latest special at Kohls.  It’s a special coding system for typing webpages and documents online

I use it daily, though I never learned all the keystrokes.  Maybe you do too without even knowing you do.  If you’re like me and use 750words.com for your brainstorming sessions or have a WordPress.com blog, you have Markdown either available or build in.

The design counts for a lot of the Word auto-correct options too.  Scrivener calls the pieces it uses as “substitutions”.  It’s why : + – + ) becomes a 🙂

Little things: like *this* is the same as <em>this</em> (which for Blogger people is <i>this</i>) …  and they all equal this.

Most websites allow a certain amount of Markdown or some kind of Markup language to make things easier on their users.

Why would anyone want to do this?  Well, it makes it easy to just…  TYPE.  I  mean, HTML is useful enough, but a lot of the tags (those things between the <> characters) are already being removed from normal use.  Even the ones we use every day in our blog comments…  That <strong> tag to bold your text?  It has been deprecated right along with the simpler <b>.   Granted, basic HTML tags like those are nice because you can just type what you want in web editor and a machine (or person) anywhere around the world can understand the format of your text  (maybe not the words—you are still responsible for those).  That is a handy superpower to have, if you ask me.

Knowing some (even a little) Markdown is the same.  You may not agree, but someday, try doing a webpage on your phone (I have).  Suddenly I can walk again…

If you’d like to learn how WordPress (at least) uses Markdown, here is their quick reference.  A quick Google search will help you elsewhere.

Row80 check-in

Yesterday was the first day of JuNoWriMo, and of course, in all the Kick-off craziness, I ‘chose’ not to post my check-in with my most recent WIPpet as I’d planned on Sunday.  (I say ‘chose’ because I did… at the very last-minute when I looked at the furby pic I’d added to the post and couldn’t bring myself to add in another word.)

ROW80LogocopyThat said…  it was a pretty awesome day.  I closed out my writing with a bit over 3500 words (I posted a smaller tally, but then had inspiration to add just a few more).  I have to update our crew spreadsheet, but how can I complain about that for a day’s progress?  Especially a day that included a trip to DMV*, swimming with the hubby and other happy family time!  I didn’t even stay up super late (I was tired), but I got almost everything done I’d planned for the day.

The almost was this post of course.  It would have been nice to not have this waiting for me this morning.  But…  oh, well.  Not every day turns out perfect.

As for the rest of my goals–they’re moving along (except my imfamous Goal #1).  Yesterday during the trip to DMV, I got some quality reading time in Letters to Alice by Fay Weldon.  It’s a bit of a commentary on creativity and a warning to the aspiring author.  It’s all fun.

It was definitely a nice shift from the madness of Tuesday when I did All The Things JuNoWriMo.  I still have some serious setup to do on the website (*shudders*).  The mainblog page especially, which doesn’t actually show the blog posts, just a blank screen (except for a ticker of recent posts on the side).  Some research will be involved here, since I’ve not dealt with WordPress.org design much.  Nothing I cannot handle, I’m sure—just time I don’t have right now.

And that’s it for me.  Hope you had an awesome couple of days writing.  See you Sunday!

* My father calls them “Damned Motor Vehicles”; I bet a lot of people do.

18 responses to “Sometimes Little Things are Big

  1. I’ve used Markdown for a while; it does a good job of bolding and italicizing, most of the job of setting up link URL’s (the only thing it doesn’t do is “target=_blank” to open linked-to pages in a separate tab/window), and makes nested lists a lot easier. I have some issues with it, but nothing I can’t work around. I have it set up as a text filter in TextWrangler, so what I’ll do is write the post in it, run the Markdown filter to turn everything into HTML, then add in the HTML that I can’t (or don’t want to) do with Markdown and copy/paste it into WordPress. It works really nicely. There’s a Markdown+ tool out there that adds tables and a couple of other things, but it’s a bit klugey and I don’t think it does such a good job.

    One thing I’ve learned is that it messes with ordered lists, so what I do is create unordered lists, convert to HTML, and change the ul and /ul tags to ol and /ol. Works like a charm…

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    • Ooh… so that’s how you get around the ordered list issue with Markdown. I hadn’t tried that. Thanks, John. I’s been wondering if I was doing something wrong and was going to ask the mighty Google the answer, but… well, distraction, time, you name it. It never seemed to be “that important”when I had free time and always “in the way” when I was trying to get something done.

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  2. I can’t say I know much about coding. I can do a little in HTML, but that’s about it. It is nice to have some coding experience today, though. Thanks for an informative post!

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    • It’s amazing how far you can get with a little bit of info on these things. I certainly don’t call myself an expert on anything, but I like knowing enough to get the stuff I need to get done… done.

      Thanks for stopping by, Denise.

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  3. Sounds like a really great start to June!

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  4. It’s nice to learn new things everyday. Technology is ever changing around us. Though at times I’m not too excited about it.
    Speaking of which, I’m not good at coding either, as technological things go, I would just figured out certain items and test them.

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    • My husband was just watching… well, listening to a(nother) cool Joe Rogan podcast with Sam Harris on it that brought up a few things technology is bringing us that I’m not too excited about. I mean, it’s going to come… things like a real AI, things like deciphering a lot of how we process thoughts… enough to almost read them.

      I mean who wouldn’t want to be able to send their thoughts directly to the page or the computer? Ummm, anyone who gave serious thought to who designed the software/hardware for this process… who considered who might actually be the real benefactor of the service…

      Then again, most people don’t seem to care that they are the products being sold on platforms like Facebook, G+, etc. If you aren’t paying for a service (and sometimes if you are and it’s a ‘bargain’) then someone else is paying for access to you.

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      • I’m not too fond in having my mind read by a machine. I sometimes still joke about on how a word processor that can read one’s mind.

        I think it could another form data gathering, I wouldn’t put it past them, who knows what other technology progressed.

        There was an AI who gone from mellow to genocidal aka wishing to murder everyone, they pulled the plug on her, thankfully. Spooky stuff indeed.

        Privacy is almost non-existent, a printer can betray its owner. Technology is a wonderful thing, but its a two-edged sword.

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        • It’s a paradox… the more obsessed with get with privacy, the less of it we seem to have. And you’re SO right that it would be used as another form of data gathering. Right now the companies don’t have to try too hard–people are giving away swathes of personal info all the time in social media. But eventually they’re going to want more… and science is opening the door for them. You’ve seen the advancements they’ve made in deciphering the electronic signals of the brain to make artificial limbs work, right?

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          • Indeed I have. I am reminded about an article where rabid man hating lesbians were eager to do away with men, after cloning of dolly the sheep was made public.
            I’m guilty in that department, aka posting tidbits of info on little things I do on social media.Yeah, we’re living in interesting times, like an old chinese curse. Right now things are spooky as it is. With lunatics and narcissists about. Not to mention people wanting to upgrade via merging man and machine and animal genetics. From transhumanism to post-humanism

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            • There are always going to be people (and good reasons) for either side of the situation. Usually there needs to be balance, not an either/or choice. Right now we have a fair number of cyborgs walking around–people with prosthetic limbs, implants to help them hear or deal with Parkinson’s, dialysis… you name it. Is this bad? No. It doesn’t mean it’s all good either. It’s just like the expectation that some students/athletes will (sometime should) use performance-enhancing drugs to help them get ahead, get more money, awards, into better schools, etc.

              The question I always have is… if they only were enhanced for the duration of their use, are they -really- enhanced or better off? People with the prosthetics/implants etc clearly ARE. Some of them can walk or hear where there couldn’t before. Some are alive when years ago would be dead. But if you can’t perform without the push, and each hit is killing you in other ways… does the short-term gain really help?

              That said, someday there WILL be more chimeras out there. There will be other cyborg adaptations. It’s going to happen. I just mistrust most of the big companies that will be doing the production.

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  5. I’ve never heard of Markdown. But then I don’t use WordPress and don’t have any inkling to try Scrivener. I’m clinging to Microsoft Word like a lifeline. My kids are forcing me to use Google documents for the nonprofit organization we run, but I do that kicking and screaming. Some days I long for an electric typewriter! Until I realize that I really don’t want to retype everything!
    I’ll probably stick with Markdown at Kohl’s.

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    • LOL. The cool thing is, you could actually use Markdown on an old typewriter, then have the page scanned and show up as a fully-formatted webpage (you could do the same with HTML too, but you’d have to learn more codes).

      I kind of like Google Docs… except that it’s Google. I don’t quite love them enough to cheer them on. I don’t like Word, but I suffer with it. Wordperfect for DOS… that was king. 😀

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  6. I’ve got one word for this bit of coding info – fascinating! I think I can almost understand it, and now I might actually want to learn more about this Markdown thing….slowly….

    Great job on the goals, too… and I’m still shuddering at that terrify of Furbys!

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    • The nice thing about Markdown is how easy it is to just use a piece here and there as it suits you. And when (and if) you ever wish, it’s just the matter of clicking a check-box in your WordPress settings to fully activate it for your blogging. I play with it mostly in 750words. It doesn’t show up AS you type, but if you click on one of the past day boxes the text will show up as bolded, italicized, etc. if you add in Markdown tags. Which, if you are like me and tend to create there, you can just copy and paste a previous day’s piece into Word/Libre Office fully formatted that way.

      It’s just another tool in the toolbox.

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      • I haven’t used 750 words for a while. But I can still see ways I can use it, and I may be looking into learning more once the creative surge lightens up.

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        • I go through binges of 750words. Sometimes it’s The place to write. Sometimes I ignore it for months. If you do start using Markdown on it, don’t use the FAQ linked to by 750’s creator. I mean, it’s in depth, but it’s hard to read, VERY detailed… I couldn’t process it, and I know some of the stuff! The mini-one that WordPress offers will probably be enough for you.

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