Eight Questions for Donald Brown

Welcome to another edition of Eight Questions For ..., where I pick the brains of plain text enthusiasts from around the world and around the web.

This time around, I talk to ebook author and huge fan of plain text Donald Brown. Although he probably wouldn't describe himself as such, Donald is something of a plain text minimalist. He doesn't use a feature-packed text editor, complex tools, or even a markup language. He sticks to the basics and is productive. And isn't that what using plain text is all about?

Let's hear from Donald:

When Did You Start Using Plain Text?

I have always used plain text. I absolutely hate Microsoft Word with a passion! Word is just too big, too buggy and it crashes. I have always used plain text ever since I had learned how to use computers. I taught myself how to use computers back in the days of MS-DOS which is the operating system before Windows.

Why Did You Start Using Plain Text?

I use plain text because it is the most useful, portable form of digital written communication around. It doesn't require any special software in order to use it and it can be edited and read on every single device available today.

I hate proprietary file formats and plain text just works.

What Do You Use Plain Text For?

I use it for everything that I do. Because I use a screen reader, plain text works best. I even write ebooks in plain text and I plan to publish them in plain text.

By publishing my books in that way, they will be future proof. Everyone else who uses all those fancier file formats will someday have their books locked up in those formats because they won't be able to be read when newer proprietary file formats will suddenly take their place. However, when I publish in plain text, my work will be able to be read far into the foreseeable future.

What Keeps You Using Plain Text?

Its overall simplicity. That and the fact that it isn't proprietary and that it can be viewed and edited on any platform and device.

It is simple, straight to the point and it doesn't carry along with it any extra baggage like proprietary file formats do such as Word documents. I believe that everyone should use plain text all of the time.

Do You Use Any Markup or Formatting Languages? If So, Which Ones And Why?

No not really. However, when I create web pages, I use very basic HTML because that's all that is really needed.

What are Your Favourite Plain Text Tools or Applications?

I don't really have a favourite but I do use Windows Notepad, and I do have a number of other plain text editors that I may use from time to time.

Is There One Tool That You Can't Do Without?

Yes, my screen reader. I can't use my computer without it. In relation to plain text, I don't really have any particular tool that I can't live without.

Is There Anything You Can't Do With Plain Text?

No not really because if it can be written then it can be handled with plain text.

You can find more about Donald on Facebook, where you can read the many posts that he's published. Or, you can get in touch with him via email at dbrwn@aol.com.