Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Greatest Evil

Just finished listening to last week’s episode of This American Life, “The Fix is In.” The episode is mostly a replay of a story from 2000 — a story that inspired the new movie The Informant!.  Great storytelling, as usual from This American Life, and a great story, too.  Now I want to see the movie.

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

“The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.” – C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Preface)

iPhone Text Editor Solution

I think I have tweeted once or twice about my frustration with the lack of a useful text editor, with syncing, on the iPhone.  This particular feature is important to me, because on my laptop I keep a directory full of text files filled with various miscellaneous information.  (I just moved my Projects list to a text file.  I keep my Waiting For and Someday/Maybe lists there, too.  Outside of GTD, I keep a list of possible gifts to buy for Becky, a list of frequent flyer and hotel frequent guest program numbers, a list of fund numbers for my VT accounts, and a tracking log of items that belong on my faculty annual report.  And much, much more.)  Sortof my own little Evernote/Yojimbo/DevonThink.  But I’ve resisted the “Everything/Anything Bucket” app craze, because a directory of text files always seemed more foolproof to me.

In any case, a few months ago John Gruber raved about Simplenote.  At the time, I wasn’t impressed.  While I took Gruber’s points, and the text editor sounded good, Simplenote only synced to its own web app.  This seemed useless to me, as I wanted to sync with my text file directory, and use my favorite text editor when on my Mac.  Syncing to a random web app was not useful to me.

At some point, though, the makers of Simplenote released the Simplenote API (now in beta).  And Fletcher Penney, of MultiMarkdown fame, created a Perl script, called SimplenoteSync that can sync a directory of text files with the Simplenote API.  Ah, perfect!  I set it up this morning, and it seems to work great.