I always perk up when a brand new text editor appears for the Mac.

I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every single last text editor, and a fair few lightweight word processors, available on the platform since I first gave up fountain pens for a keyboard in 1995. I’ve even cobbled together a risibly basic editor of my own (thanks, NSTextView!).

When it comes to writing words, as opposed to HTML or CSS, here’s what I look for in a text editor:

  • Saving to plain text files
  • A live word count

That’s it, really. Bean and WriteRoom do me nicely.

And so to Ommwriter. It’s billed as an aide to concentration, a means by which we users might ‘be at one with ourselves and our ideas’. A bit drippy-sounding, maybe, but it’s hard to resist a new text editor, particularly one that touts its simplicity. So I downloaded Ommwriter, and I fired it up.

The thing plays ambient fucking music. It makes tippety-fucking-tappity typewriter noises. And it has a picture of a fucking tree where the background should be.

The cumulative effect is like trying to write while watching a Borrower take tap dancing lessons on a frozen lake, with RJDJ cranked up on its tiny fucking iPhone.

I am not joking, just look:

I’d like to think that the developers are joking. I’d just love it if Ommwriter turned out to be a masterful piece of trolling, aimed squarely at the productivity fetishists, or those ostentatious, missing-the-point minimalists who drool over screenshots of their icon-free menu bars, functionality-be-damned. They require an email address before you download, and I honestly would not care a jot if mine ended up listed on a page full of fellow suckers under a ginormous blinking FAIL sign and a 960px-wide facepalm.gif.

I could believe that, if the only evidence of Ommwriter were the video above. But the thing works, it’s nicely polished–especially for a beta–and it’s very good indeed at the horrible things it does. In fact, if you turn everything off and drill down to the core of the application, I’m happy to admit that it’s a thoroughly decent piece of writing software.

But those defaults? Lord, no. Here’s what a text editor that lets you ‘be at one’ with what you’re writing looks (and sounds) like:

A TextEdit window