Tools to complement SLOWLY Web Client?
Software tools that could add power, flexibility, functions
I have written in the past on how we can use the outstanding DeepL translation software. The post first appeared on Reddit, and is currently one of the most viewed pages in my slowly and pen pals related blog.
Today I would like to write and suggest some other tools we can look at, consider and use if desired.
A list of possible 'helpers'
All of those are intended for desktop/laptop users, as I personally believe that is the most productive and natural platform for the work we intend to do. The process of reading and writing letters is Content Creation, and we need the best tools we can find to ease the task.
The Slowly team seems to be more focused on mobile clients, which I somewhat understand (possibly since these allow them place mobile ads via Google Advertising, etc).
Honestly, I find it weird the project being 'mobile first' focused, as the Web client is where we can best perform the tasks which the platform is all about.
There are various auxiliary tools we can use, all complement Slowly well.
1. An external editor?
This used to be de rigueur, as the slowly clients did not offer basic features we needed – for example, a Word Count function. In the past here in our subreddit we discussed people's favourite editors, and I have a post in the blog with a suggested list.
The screenshot in the post banner above shows FocusWriter, an excellent one.
The Slowly Web client has improved, and the word count was added, maybe after a year of us power users requesting and arguing for it. Before that, we resorted to using WordCounter.net or the counter in some external editor.
The addition of this feature fixed a major missing point in the web client's new letter editor. Since it has full integration with the stamp collection, adding image attachments, it is a productive tool by itself – and there are less reasons to use an external editor now.
2. A text translation tool?
I have used various ones, including Bing and Google Translators, plus the DeepL one. DeepL has a smaller list of 'target languages' available, it can work with less languages than Google, but the results are better, imo.
A blog post mentioned above is popular and details how DeepL can integrate really well with a browser plugin and the Slowly Web Client. Recommended reading for those who write in various languages.
3. A text checker tool?
This could be a simple spell checking, which most modern browsers handle natively. Despite using the Brave browser for most of my web activity, I recognize that Microsoft Edge works smoother with this – and can support multiple languages spell and correction for those who need them.
While both browsers are part of the Chromium family, they are not controlled by Google itself.
Some Slowly users employed Grammarly, a browser extension which connects to an external site, and can monitor, suggest spelling and grammar revisions to your draft text in real time. I looked at it, but do not to use it; the reason being there's some lag, as the text is sent to their site for processing.
Ideally this should be done in the web browser for minimum lag in text input, but that is not how Grammarly works. It also appears to have some Google investment , which for some users could be a red flag for privacy reasons.
Recently I found a new alternative, the Microsoft Editor, which does spelling, grammar and optionally styling checks on any text you type in a website. It also uses external processing as disclosed :
Editor connects to a Microsoft online service that offers spelling, grammar and style suggestions for your writing on most websites.”
While this is still using an external 3rd party site for processing, it is not a Google service, and for me that is attractive. (I do not use Grammarly for that reason)
WordTune is similar and also could be considered.
Famous Last Words
This post is dedicated to my friend, Russian Cousin, who has kept in touch and incentivated my writing activities, supplying reports of new version releases, bugs, etc. Thanks, friend. 🙂👍
Special Thank You to the folks behind this wonderful app — all the hard working people at Slowly Communications.
Letters we share, with pen pals all over the World, via the magic of the Slowly App. A modern day take in the traditional penpal experience.
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