Fans of John Gruber’s Markdown will appreciate HumaneText.service, a system-wide Mac OS X service that translates between Markdown and XHTML with quick key-commands: ++{ and ++}. Simply beautiful!

If you haven’t heard of Markdown, it’s a simple and elegant means of writing plain text that is highly readable “as is”, yet easily converted to HTML. As the author says:

The overriding design goal for Markdown’s formatting syntax is to make it as readable as possible. The idea is that a Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown’s syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters, the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email.