Markdown the Internet Wordprocessor

Posted: March 20, 2014 by lesliesrussell in Notes

What is Markdown

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML).
John Gruber

Markdown can be written in a basic text editor (don’t use Word) like TextEdit for Mac (save as plain-text) or Notepad on Windows. It’s an easy way to write text that easily translates into HTML. The web is written in HTML, so think of it like quick-start web development tool for content editors. When you write in Markdown, you save the document with the file extension .md. More often than not, you’ll never need to save a Markdown document, because you’ll be using an online tool.
What is Markdown

Markdown is just plain text with Syntax tags that signify styles such as headers, footnotes, links, bold, italics, and paragraphs. It isn’t WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), it is more WYTIWYM (what you type is what you mean). Your plain text, marked up, document is run through a processor (of which there are many, I’m using Pandoc), which generates the finished document, be it .html, .docx, .pdf or whatever other document type you want.

This is great because you can share the content in so many different formats with so little effort. And that is so important, that Markdown will be ubiquitous in just a few years–if it isn’t already.

Why Learn Markdown

if you write for the Web, or you work with people who do, you just have to try it.
Why Learn Markdown

Aside from the fact that you don’t have much choice, and it makes content production so easy, markdown is easy to learn. In fact, everything you need to know to write great markdown, fits on one Cheat Sheet. It just takes a few weeks of steady use to become second nature. It is almost second nature already for most people that do a lot of texting. Think about all those emojois and other shorthand you already use, and that is basically markdown.

Markdown will invade every website, and every piece of software you use right now, because they guys and gals who write and develop those websites and that software are already head over heals for markdown. It really just makes sense, and follows some of the founding principles of the internet namely write-once-display-anywhere.

Not learning and using markdown, is like sticking with pencil and paper. Your handwritten documents are encapsulated in amber. Of sure, you can convert them to other formats, but not without a good bit of work. Markdown is just source code. It can be converted and distributed in a multitude of different formats at the push of a button. Your content is never locked into one format or software, and it never goes stale.

Where to Learn Markdown

The best place to start is with where it all started, John Gruber‘s website, where you will find some history and some basic how to info. TutsPlus has a great tutorial. For some handy Syntax Examples check out this WikiPedia article. Finally, take a look at Design Shack‘s list of 30 resources which includes more examples and cheat sheets.

Software Resources

Eventually you might want a piece of software to help, although you don’t need it as any plain text editor is perfectly capable. You can check this list of software at AlternativeTo, or try DownMarker, or get a copy of Pandoc to help convert your markdown source to other formats.

NaNoWriMo Starts Now

Posted: November 2, 2013 by lesliesrussell in Notes

For those that don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started a little over 24 hours ago. NaNoWriMo is the book geek national holiday. All book geeks want one day to be author geeks, and I am no exception. So every year I log back in to the NaNoWriMo site, set up my novel, give it a title and a name, and then start typing. Most years I get nowhere. 1500 maybe 3000 words. But I try. I am trying again this year. The result so far is pasted below. 

The point of NaNoWriMo is writing, not editing, and that is my biggest problem. I am always going back and editing while I write. That is why I get frustrated. I have determined this year not to edit. So I am using a minimalist text editor called WriteMonkey. No spell check, no squiggly underlines, no nothing except a blank screen and me. Maybe that will help.




Anyway, so here is what I have so far. Oh By the way, You can find my NaNoWriMo profile here, it has all the stats for what I am working on this year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ernest Hemingway

Posted: June 23, 2013 by lesliesrussell in Notes

The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

COME ON! It really took a scientific study to determine something that a visit to the DMV would have confirmed? How much did this study cost? And how much of that money was via federal grants? More than $15k I’ll bet.

The idiots conclude that reforms in federal pay would save tax payers billions. I’ve got another way to save billions…stop shelling out tax payer money to fund studies that tell us shit we already know!

New study: Federal workers are overpaid | J.P. Freire | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner

Uberdouche to Get Current.

Posted: February 8, 2011 by lesliesrussell in Notes


Current TV is the perfect place for the Olbermonster to finish his days as a self-proclaimed journalist. It’s a match made in heaven, or at least it’s a match made on They’ve got low viewership, he’s got low viewership. He can slip out of his straight jacket every evening, slip into his comfy sweater, down a handful of haldol, swig of the finest cognac , and rant to to choir.

Olbermann Said to Be Going to Current TV –

Facebook Founder Has a Girlfriend! Oh and Something About a Stalker

Posted: February 8, 2011 by lesliesrussell in Notes

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has a couple of things the rest of the neck/b/eards will never have: 1 billion dollars, a personal stalker, and a girlfriend named Chan. Not zunechan or anything but still….

The stalker presumably exploited Facebook’s weakass security to collect all Zuckerberg’s personal info, and then tried to Google map a route right into his pocketbook, or man purse, or whatever. 

Mark Zuckerberg — I Fear My Facebook Stalker |

Cock Kills Dickhead

Posted: February 8, 2011 by lesliesrussell in Notes


Good news everyone! The animals, who have suffered cruelty at the hands of scumbags with more time than sense, have finally begun their revolt. Thirty-five year old Jose Luis Ochoa smelled what the cock was cookin’ after the bird shanked him in the leg with a with one of the metal spurs attached to its leg. Two hours later the cock died. The article doesn’t say what became of the bird.


Rooster Kills Man Attending Cockfight « CBS Los Angeles