Vintage computing, old video games

I put this together some years ago out of a need for a “flow-based writing” tool when I needed to get something done and kept getting stuck.

I’m referring to a kind of computer program that gives you this well-known technique: you specify how many words you want to write, and start inputting text. For this part, you mostly are getting a typical text editor. There’s one twist, though: you can not save until you have written the specified word count. The program won’t let you. As harsh as this sounds, it works. You will get into the flow of writing more and not get hung up on making things perfect or dwelling a lot on what’s already been written. The writing might value quantity over quality but hey, if it gets you unblocked, great and it’s nothing a good edit can’t fix. For some of them, the program won’t even let you see what’s already been written until you reach the target word count.

You’re probably thinking, “but there is already {insert web app name} with this functionality. Why make something like this?” Totally I found a lot of already-made applications with the functionality I described above. The thing is, the majority of them want to charge you a subscription. While I’m all for paying for software, I have trouble getting my head around buying a subscription for software that is literally so simple you could throw it together in a couple dozen lines of a high-level language of your choice.
And another thing- I’m a bit suspicious of web apps. What if they don’t respect your privacy (e.g., they send everything you write to the author’s inbox?) After all, they’re easily geared up with the infrastructure and privileges to do just that since they’re… you know, on the internet. Or, what if they shut down and then you’re out of luck? If it were a typical local program (i.e., doesn’t phone home) at least you can keep it locally and use it. And then there’s a final reason: just because.

Sytool is written in C# with Windows Forms and runs locally, no installer. Since it’s based on just what I wanted it to do it’s pretty minimalistic.

The original version of this program was called “ystool”, but when I went back to the code recently to clean it up, it occurred to me it’s ambiguous how to pronounce it. So I switched around the first two letters. Now that leads to a question, “why was it originally called ystool”. Since the original version was from around 5 years ago I have to say I have no idea what I was thinking back then, maybe I was playing a lot of Ys.

Link to GitHub here: https://github.com/clandrew/sytool

Direct-link to the release (.exe): https://github.com/clandrew/sytool/releases

June 4th, 2020 at 9:18 pm