OmmWriter Dana Review

What is serenity? According to the dictionary it is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. That is how I feel when I use OmmWriter Dana. It is easily one of the most polished, albeit simple, “word processors” I’ve ever used. Giving it the classification of word processor probably isn’t fair to the likes of Microsoft Word or even Apple’s Pages app. It is order of magnitude less featured that either of those programs (especially Word) but I think there is a certain beauty to that. If you read the product description on the Mac App Store, it becomes clear that the developers really wanted to get back to writing. I’m going to take a quick screen shot now so you can see everything on my screen as I type this short article.

Do you see that? The resolution is high so there’s more of it than what would be on most displays. LOTS of white space, a few serene trees in the middle of winter and my text. There is some nice, relaxing music playing in the background, which is the main reason that the program encourages you to use headphones when you first start it up. Headphones help to further eliminate distractions and stay focused on getting your content down. The key to focus is removing as much outside stimuli as possible. With Dana II and a good set of headphones, you can accomplish that pretty easily. I could see myself sitting at a library or research desk going over all of my data and inputting things down for hours. On top of all of that, I feel really good as I write. I live in a world, or at least a culture, that seems to be focused entirely on the tangible. If it has more features, it seems to be automatically declared better. I used to think this way, but I’ve realized there is a better school of thought on how you define value. If value is defined exclusively as how many tangible things you get for your dollar, then simply stuffing any product full of features should automatically make it the best value. However, even the die-hard “feature hunters” will complain (and rightly so) about a feature poorly executed or implemented. That’s because there’s more to products than simply giving us lots of things to use. If a product has 1,050 features but I only use 50 of them, then the value of that product to me is really the price in light of those 50 features. You might be thinking, “But those extra features might be needed down the line.” Yes they could be, but making purchases based on something you might use isn’t really a good way to shop. First and foremost, you shop according to need. I admit, I bought Dana II because it went on sale and I had been curious. However, I’ve done more casual writing, putting thoughts down, and getting to projects I’ve been meaning to, more than I have in the past 3 years. Not kidding. Why? Because it’s the intangible concepts in Dana II that remind me of why I want to write, not simply what I need to write. There is something about the design that makes me feel like Dana II is saying, “Remember those projects you’ve been meaning to do? Let’s get started on some right now. I’ll help you get focused.” It may sound ridiculous, but no other writing tool I’ve used thus far helps me to do that at all.

In summary, I highly recommend Dana II as a writing tool. I can almost guarantee that you’ll love it. As a word processor, you may want to look elsewhere. Or, even better, do what I do. Do your typing in Dana II and, should the need arise, use a greater featured word processor to format it to your liking or needs.

Dana II as a writing tool: 5/5
Dana II as a word processor: 3/5

What does “better” mean anyway?

So I’ve been reading a few reviews over the past several of weeks about the newest smartphones that have either come out or are coming out.  Among them are the Samsung Galaxy S II and, of course, the iPhone 4S.  I was misfortunate enough to stumble upon a review/comparison where the reviewer essentially declared the Galaxy S II the “better” phone because it had “better” specs.  This puzzled me for a moment and I had to process why that conclusion bothered me as it did.  The two primary reasons, I discovered, are these:

  1. Better specs are only one part of a much bigger equation.  User experience is a critical point and is completely relative to each individual user.  Not to mention how the accessibility to tools and programs that will enhance your work and digital life (also completely subjective to each individual user).  One person may prefer a smartphone with at least a 4″ screen, a minimum screen resolution, HDMI out port, micro-USB port, and stereo speakers (media buff most likely).  Now if you’re not entirely sure what I just said, that’s exactly my point.  If you don’t really know (or care) what most of those specs are, then they aren’t truly that important to you.  The best consumer first asks, “What are my needs?”  Then they ask “What are my wants?”  Once they’ve established this they can ask the question that is really at the heart of the issue, “Which device meets all of my needs, most/all of my wants, and I think I’ll enjoy using?”  Simply asking “What’s the best deal?” isn’t good enough because it uses that silly subjective word, which leads me to my second point.
  2. The word “better” is a great word.  It can be used is so many effective ways.  Reviews are rarely one of them.  What’s the better deal?  That depends on your criteria for “better.”  I don’t like bulky things in my pockets.  Scratch that, I really don’t like bulky things in my pockets.  My brother-in-law is the same way.  As a result, you most likely won’t see us sporting a Galaxy Nexus with a 4.65″ screen.  I like something that will have minimum impact in my pocket.  The result?  An iPhone 4/S. because they are thin and narrow compared to most other phones out there.  You aren’t me, so you have different needs, wants, pet peeves, etc.  When you see reviews that say that one device is better than another because of specs, my suggestion is to take it with a pretty big grain of salt.  What are the “better” specs? The specs that give the device the best ability to satisfy your needs/wants/peeves (in that order).
In short, don’t fall for the “better” trap.  Any device that fits your needs, wants, and personality isn’t just the better device, it’s the best device for you.  After all, it’s your money so picking what suits you is the better way to go.