Markdown and Nerd Drama
For you non-nerds, Markdown is a way of marking things up (which you may already be doing in your plain-text e-mails) that was semi-formalized into a pseudolanguage and Perl translator by Internet celebrity John Gruber.
Because the spec was loose, and because there are a million different implementations of Markdown (Assign It To Me even supports it.. a little), Jeff Atwood (of Stack Overflow fame) got a bunch of people from major sites that use Markdown (Github, Stack Overflow, etc.) to come up with a unified standard so that we can see broader, more standardized support for Markdown.
In a nutshell, everyone was adding their own quirks to Markdown on their own sites, and it was beginning to get confusing about what you could do on each site that said it supported Markdown.
The ever-cantankerous Gruber didn’t give the project his blessing, as is his right, and objected to the name “Standard Markdown”, also his right.
To be honest, the markup I’ve always done in plaintext e-mails before I ever heard of Markdown — *asterisks* to emphasize text, a series of hyphens after a line to identify a heading and an asterisk to start a line to indicate a bullet — are really the most useful parts of Markdown. I don’t really think Gruber should get credit for coming up with that approach to markup (although he gets all the credit for coming up with the idea of turning that markup style into HTML and making the translation popular) — like me, I’m sure millions of other people used those techniques before Markdown “became a thing”. On a side note, I’m similarly annoyed by how Twitter got credit in the mainstream media for creating @replies, when I swear I remember people using @replies on IRC years before Twitter “became a thing”.
In terms of what I think about this nerd drama — a standardized markup language is a good thing. Markdown is Gruber’s name for his implementation, and this ad-hoc “Standard Markdown” group should call it something else. Hijacking the name from Gruber is *not cool*, and is only going to confuse the matter for everyone. Right now, it’s only really nerds who know what Markdown is, so calling the project something else is *not* nearly as big a deal as some might think.
Thanks for the Memory
I’m more than a little astounded how good Windows 8.1 is with memory compared to the Mac.
Even with memory compression on 16GB of RAM, my Macbook Pro regularly writes to swap. On the other hand, I don’t even think I’ve really pushed Windows that hard even though I’m basically running the same set of apps. Windows has clearly come a long way since XP (the last Windows I used regularly). In fairness, however, I don’t know if it’s the apps that are less efficient with memory on Mac, or the OS itself. I tend to think the real culprit might be the apps.
I’m really starting to think I should be running Windows on my Macbook Pro as the main operating system.
Since I switched a little over a week and a half ago, I’ve found that I don’t miss the Mac at all. Yes, the applications on Windows tend to be more rough around the edges than on Mac, but the transition hasn’t been nearly as jarring as I thought it would be.
The thing I hate the most so far about Windows 8.1 is how messy the system settings are between the Desktop settings and the Modern/Metro settings. On the plus side, Windows is a set it and forget it affair, so once you turn off all the annoyances, it’s a pretty smooth ride.