Notational Velocity Alt (nvALT) is an incredible fork of one of my favorite Mac applications. If you are unfamiliar with the original Notational Velocity, it is essentially a simple note taking application. The beauty of the program is in the workflow. Start typing in the search bar to either find a previous note or begin a new one. That's it. There's no need to worry about saving or file structure organization. The files sync with Simplenote for iOS and for a little extra backup/syncing action I save it all to my Dropbox account (it's not recommended to use both Simplenote & Dropbox, but I have yet to have a problem). This ease of use has made Notational Velocity my main "brain dumping" software.
The nvALT fork really distinguishes itself by adding some simple, but really excellent functionality.
- Markdown/Multimarkdown support and preview. This is huge as nearly everything I write starts out in Markdown format so that it can easily be converted to whatever final format I may need.
- A "view source" option that converts the Markdown formatted text to HTML. This essentially eliminates my need to swap between a multiple apps (my old method of writing) or using plugins to generate the HTML of a page.
- Keyboard shortcut to collapse the notes panel. This turns Notational Velocity into a fully functional text editor as I can quickly hide the notes list and get down to business.
- Replaces the hideous Notational Velocity icon with a much more aesthetically pleasing one. It might sound silly, but that red/yellow/silver file folder really bugged me.
So, What's in My Notes?
- Gift ideas. Anytime someone mentions something they'd like to have, I add it to the note and file away for Christmas/birthdays/anniversaries/etc.
- List of books I'd like to read, so that I'm never stuck with a blank mind at the library or bookstore.
- List of kids books, again as reference at the library.
- Kid quotes – funny quotes my kids have said with dates and context
- A list of beers I've tasted including the date, where I was, who I was with, and a letter grade
- A list of beers I'd like to try
- Music mix ideas/tracklists
- Rainy day inspiration – nice things students have said to me, to use as a little pick me up on a rough day
- The name of my wife's favorite bottle of wine (because I can never remember it)
- Potential topics to write about
- An essay by Jonathan Harris
- Codes/contacts for work
- And lots of other random tidbits of information