q10Q10 turns your Windows PC into a typewriter. Gone are the fancy fonts, formats, and fairies at the bottom of the garden. Instead, you are faced with a black screen (okay, it’s a negative typewriter, but think of the battery saving on your laptop) and orange text. I haven’t looked for settings to invert that, just started typing.

It’s neat, uber-minimalist, and definitely distraction free. You are forced to type, there’s no little email flag popping up every few seconds in the system tray to distract you, no taskbar with open browser windows, no tweetdeck alerts, nothing. It’s just you and Q10 and your words. It’s free, but available only for Windows. No Linux or Mac version is planned.

If I’d installed this 20 years ago instead of messing around with all kinds of word-processing applications, Word, Google Docs, notepad++ text editors and the like, spellcheckers, OCR, WYSYWYG, I’m sure I’d have got the same amount of work done in a decade, instead of two and could have been ten years closer to retirement.

As I type, the only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to save the words I’m typing, but I can select all and “cut & copy” and then paste into the WordPress edit box nevertheless…at least once I find my taskbar and a browser window!

There is so much more to Q10 though: live text statistics in a dark bar at the bottom of the screen, portableapps version, timer alarm, spellchecker, autocorrections, target count, and typewriter sound effects (key tapping and carriage return sound). What more could you ask?

One thing the creator of Q10 ought to watch out for though is using the publicity image of Audrey Tautou from the wonderful movie Amelie as his banner, I doubt the producers of that movie will be too keen…

You do miss some of the bells and whistles of Word et al though and it would be just as easy to create a fullscreen toggle command (F11) in Word, for instance.

Author: David Bradley

Freelance science journalist, author of Deceived Wisdom. Photographer and musician.