Practical Mac: Mac owners, this is for you. Columnist Jeff Carlson explores Apple's new software offerings, hardware upgrades and more.
If you follow the technology market, it’s often hard to keep up with who goes where, particularly among developers. Small companies spring up, get funded and get sold to larger entities like Amazon, Apple or Microsoft — or they make a courageous go of it, but then shut their doors if the company or product fizzles.
Here and there, though, you’ll find stalwarts who keep producing and supporting great work. For a decade, developer Daniel Jalkut has nurtured MarsEdit, a Mac application for writing blog posts. He’s just released MarsEdit 4, which is out now for $49.95; you can try it out as a free trial version for 14 days.
Hold on, did I just type “writing blog posts?” Didn’t I read somewhere that blogging died at some point?
Maybe blogging as a headline-grabbing independent profession, but it’s not dead. Blogging, after all, is just a term coined to describe “publishing content on the internet,” something that happens all the time. Companies use platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace to publish their sites.
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The challenge is that each service has its own content-management system (CMS), and if you’ve just involuntarily flinched at reading that because you’ve been in those trenches, you have my sympathies. I’ve used all sorts of CMSes, and the characteristic they all share is that web-based content entry is too often fraught with difficulty.
Have you written something in a CMS and then had your web browser crash? Or the internet connection drops? Or the CMS itself decides to simply not respond? In too many similar situations, I’ve lost what I’ve written.
With MarsEdit, that’s not a concern. You write the content you want in the MarsEdit application, with a preview of how it appears to make sure the formatting and links are showing up correctly, and then publish to your service when you’re ready.
In addition to an overall design refresh, MarsEdit 4 adds new WordPress capabilities, such as a way to set a featured image and to select the post format — options that would normally require you to send a post in draft form and then clean up using the WordPress online editor.
I also like that MarsEdit is able to filter for markup languages such as Markdown and Multimarkdown, in addition to HTML, and have that content appear correctly on a service’s website. And if you have content that appears in several services, posts can be easily duplicated and sent to them without recreating everything.
And a last enhancement to version 4 is the ability to archive existing content. What happens to blog posts if the service provider goes out of business, or if you decide to switch services? MarsEdit is able to download all posts and pages to your Mac.
An Eero deal
I’ve written in this space about setting up an Eero mesh Wi-Fi network, VPN service by Encrypt.me (formerly Cloak), and managing passwords and other data with 1Password. I use them all daily.
Now I can pay a little less for them. Eero has put together a service bundle that includes Encrypt.me and 1Password, plus Malwarebytes anti-virus protection with its Eero Plus service.
The latter incorporates anti-phishing and anti-malware protection at the router level, content filtering, and a beta ad blocking feature. If you already pay for one or more of those services, as I do, Eero provides instructions for getting them all under one roof.
Looking ahead to 2018
Apple rounded out 2017 by releasing the iMac Pro, which from early reports looks like an amazing machine. But it’s also something of a tease, because Apple told us earlier this year to look for a new, redesigned Mac Pro in 2018. I’m looking forward to seeing if Apple can deliver at the very top end.
In the meantime, from Practical Mac headquarters, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. And going into the new year, let me know if there are topics you’d like to see me cover in this space. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.