Makzan / I share what I learnt


I write in Basecamp

Recently, I write in Basecamp. It helps me to focus on the single piece of document. Basecamp is project management tool that encourages context based communication for teams. I have been using Basecamp solo and enjoying the tools it provides. Recently, I’m using Basecamp to write. There are 2 states when writing a document in […]

Read Post / October 25, 2019

An experiment on writing in iA Writer and sync to Working Copy

This is an experiment on using the Markdown Block in Working Copy with iA Writer. Working Copy supports Markdown Block as well While I can preview a single markdown file in Work Copy previously, the latest Working Copy updates include the support of Markdown content block. Although it is not like iA writer that supports […]

Read Post / May 28, 2019

Using DocRaptor to generate PDF

This is the first post on my journal of using DocRaptor to generate PDF. I will keep posting how I use the PDF generator for my course materials. I write online courses on and would like to generate PDF book from my teaching materials. Previously, I had been using LeanPub to generate the PDFs. I also try generating […]

Read Post / May 18, 2019

Trying PreText

From the latest MacStories newsletter, I learnt a new app called PreText. It is as if the TextEdit app all from macOS migrated into iOS. It does only one thing, text editing with files provider, and that is all we need sometimes. Although this app is not a replacement to my current writing workflow, it […]

Read Post / April 20, 2019

Setting header and footer for DocRaptor and PrinceXML PDF generation

I’m setting the header and footer content while using the DocRaptor and PrinceXML engine. Nothing appears on the header and footer until I give the page some margin. That is my lesson learnt. Originally I configure the @page margin to be 0 and use only page padding. This works until I need to place the […]

Read Post / April 20, 2019

Newsletter #47 Published Here is a excerpt: Why I write newsletter—It’s an archive of myself This newsletter does not have much audiences, To be honest. Despite that my writing may not actually be read, I still want to keep my writing steak every week. To me, this is like an archive of myself. I take this opportunity […]

Read Post / May 13, 2018

Getting Real book is my model of book

The Getting Real book from Basecamp is my model format of a book. The format of Getting Real has a clean structure. Different topic forms a chapter. Different individual post are grouped into topic. In each post, there are 3 parts under the title. They are: 1. One bold line of sentence to conclude the […]

Read Post / May 11, 2018

Writing experience in Paper app is surprisingly great

The FiftyThree Paper app is always advertised as a drawing app. But their text writing experience is indeed very impressive. The left/right swipe to change text format is unique and well suitable for mobile typing. The typography is a little bit like typewriter but still good for reading. The ability to drag a text note […]

Read Post / February 23, 2018

My thought on Freewrite

View this post on Instagram Hello Freewrite. A post shared by Thomas Mak (@makzan) on Feb 8, 2017 at 10:35pm PST It does not become my writing tool. It becomes my thought dump. That’s like a meditation via typing on mechanical keyboard. It is the pleasure and joyful of typing what’s in my mind currently. […]

Read Post / May 6, 2017

My current writing stack (Update)

tl;dr I moved back to Ulysses to write and manage my tasks. I have been writing in different editors. I tried the Bear writer recently. It synced to iCloud with CloudKit managing all the content. No file management needed means no messy around in the finder. Before Bear, I also tried to write directly in […]

Read Post / December 15, 2016

Testing post publishing from Ulysses app

I’m testing the Ulysses’s new WordPress publishing ability. There are some things to test, including the categories/tags setting and embedding images as well as video tag. Here is the screenshot of the minimal writing setup on Ulysses that really forces you to focus on the writing itself. It has a library to store all your […]

Read Post / September 8, 2016

My current writing app stack

Here is my current writing process. 1. Note-taking: iA Writer (iOS) + (Desktop) iA Writer has a convenient left/right button in tool bar. I can type my 1st draft of notes in iPhone very fast. Then I use the left/right button to fix typos. At this stage, I don’t care much about grammar and […]

Read Post / February 11, 2016

10 things worth sharing every week

I start a new email newsletter. It is called “10 Things Worth Sharing”. Every week, I hand-pick the essays / posts / tutorials I read and select 10 of them that worth sharing to my friends. The first issue arrives this Friday. Please sign-up to have them delivered to your inbox every week. I promise, […]

Read Post / February 2, 2016

Introducing—A logger for everything flash in your mind

Yesterday I built a tool to log my every day’s thoughts down. It is called By using this tool. I can quickly jot down my ideas and thoughts from my mind. I can use #tag for later grouping and organizing. It is still a very early stage tool. But this tool already helps me to gain productivity. […]

Read Post / January 14, 2016

Flexbox website guide

I’m creating an email course. It is a guide to use Flexbox in website layout. It’s free. It’s content is based on, but I will have bonus/update content in the email course. p.s. This is my first try of hosting email course on ConvertKit. Don’t know if it fits my usage eventually. But I’ll […]

Read Post / January 11, 2016

Writing in iPad is more focus

I feel more focus when writing in iPad. There are so many distractions when using MacBook to write. I’m getting the section 3 script of my 2nd edition of HTML5 Game Development done.

Read Post / January 11, 2016

My flow to record video explanation solely on iPhone

I’m doing an experiment to see if I can create some of my video tutorials by using solely iPhone. 1. First, I prepare the slides in ExplainEverything app. It could be hand-drawn video or keynotes. The killer feature of this app is to record my drawings. 2. Then I edit the video in Clips app. The […]

Read Post / January 3, 2016

Trying Voice theme

I moved the site to WordPress to try several themes, mainly iA and NADA theme. I thought I would be happy with those minimal themes. But I figured out my site needs a theme that supports better category browsing. My essays have a wide range of categories that’s not a linear reading experience. That’s why […]

Read Post / December 16, 2015

Trying iA Theme

I’m trying the minimal iA wordpress theme to see how it works. Ideally, I’ll be able to focus on writing only.

Read Post / December 1, 2015

How I write everyday

Here is how I write everyday. I use Drafts to write on iPhone. I share every writings to Day One, which syncs to my Mac. I collect the writings into Scrivener. I write and edit in Scrivener when I am using Mac. I export them as AsciiDoctor format and deploy to static hosting service, such as

Read Post / November 7, 2015

Writing in Scrivener

I purchased the writing application Scrivener for years. But I didn’t really get used to it. I switched to use others writing apps, namely Editorial, iA Writer, Ulysses. Recently I’m exploring the workflow to write my books and blog posts in AsciiDoc format, which is in plain text that gives me much more control than Markdown. I was […]

Read Post / October 29, 2015

Jason Fried on Writing

Two quotes from Jason Fried on writing, from issue 12 of Offscreen Magazine. I guess I’ve grown to love it [writing] because it forces me to think and consolidate my thoughts. It forces me to be clear, to be able to explain what’s in my head to someone else. — Jason Fried The “bait for knowledge”: […]

Read Post / October 16, 2015

Writing book in code editor

I recently changed my writing tool from those distraction-free text editors[1] to code editor.[2] It’s mainly because I focus on writing technical books with code examples and tutorials. Writing code tutorials don’t need a distraction writing environment. Instead, I need to code my code examples, make it works and refractor into a elegant minimal code base. […]

Read Post / October 15, 2015

Practical CreateJS

I wrote a half-done book, Practical CreateJS, in early 2015. I’m exploring a new approach to write my book in AsciiDoc. I restart the writing process of the Practical CreateJS book and used a weekend to convert the book from Markua into AsciiDoc. I open source the book source and you can read the book online in the following URL: […]

Read Post / October 14, 2015

Setup Textastic app to write AsciiDoc on iOS

I’m writing my next technical book and course material with AsciiDoc. In Mac, there is plenty of options to write the AsciiDoc with syntax highlight. In iOS, I’ve searched many text editor until I find Textastic app to supports the syntax highlight with plugin. I followed this Textastic forum post to install syntax plugin on the iPhone. Here is […]

Read Post / October 7, 2015

AsciiDoc Book Starter

I keep exploring different ways to write my next book. I’ve tried using Markdown, Markua, Pollen. They are all good at certain area, but none of them really fits my need on writing long technical book. Markua is the closest one, but the toolchain doesn’t work well for me. Recently I came across AsciiDoc and it’s implementation AsciiDoctor. It looks promising […]

Read Post / October 6, 2015

The first draft is always perfect

Link: The first draft is always perfect That’s right. The first draft is always perfect. perfect. Its only job is to exist. Like minerals. Like dirt. Like air. It just needs to be. All a first draft need be is an idea borne into reality. A first draft is something made tangible from nothing – its […]

Read Post / September 29, 2015

New in beta

I’ve been thinking not to use the blog style in my personal website— I think I can put all my tutorial here and keep the essays updated when they need to. In such case, I don’t need to make it a blog, I just need to keep putting content there without timestamp. I was wrong. […]

Read Post / September 18, 2015

How writer pro fits my writing

This is not a normal app review. This is about how I am using iA’s Writer Pro. How I think it fits my usage. Table of Content Background First impression Research Trying it myself     How the workflow really works     The typefaces     The file stack     The Apple’s NSLinguisticTagger     How about the lack of Dropbox sync?     How about […]

Read Post / April 1, 2014