Tag: apps

Mac Apps 2015

A recent post from Gordon on his current Mac App’s spurred me to look back at my last post on this in 2012. Has much changed?

Well Safari is now my browser of choice, iTunes still where my music is but podcasts are now in Instacast. A couple of smaller app’s have been eaten by Mavericks and Yosemite but I still look to third party app’s for most of my day to day needs. When Yosemite came out I nuked the iMac and dropped a few app’s so there are a few changes in the list. Hopefully there are one or two gems in the list that are new to you.

Alfred
http://www.alfredapp.com/
Free, PowerPack for £15

For a longtime I used Quicksilver and then Launchbar as a keyboard launcher but around three years ago I moved to Alfred and I just can’t let it go despite Spotlight catching up in Yosemite. Alfred allows you to drive your Mac fully from the keyboard – launch app’s, search the web etc. Buy the PowerPack and you can extend via scripts from the Alfred community or ones you write yourself, control iTunes and access a full clipboard history and also snippet library. A lovely app that will become your most used app if you let it. With Alfred Remote now out for iOS you can launch apps, scripts, URL’s etc from your iPad or iPhone. Already I have a podcast tab setup in remote so I can quickly setup or jump to app’s I need while podcasting. Despite having two screens, launching app’s quickly via touch is very useful.

Dropbox
http://www.dropbox.com
Free with paid options

I think everyone has a Dropbox account so there’s not too much to say with this one. I store all my documents in Dropbox so I can get them anywhere – Mac, iOS or on the web. Its great for sharing podcasts and files with the folk I work remotely with. Although there is only 2GB free, you can earn up to 18GB free and with so many app’s plugged into Dropbox via it’s API’s it’s a great way of sharing between desktop and mobile. It’s also reliable unlike iCloud.

SuperDuper!
http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper
$27.95

Still my goto app for backups. What do you mean you don’t backup? Criminal. SuperDuper! creates a fully bootable backup on a drive of your choosing that should your drive or computer fail allows you to fully restore from that point in time. As it’s a bootable backup you can also boot from it should you find yourself in trouble. I’ve certainly needed it a couple of times and it’s never let me down. Backups can be scheduled and once the first backup is complete daily/weekly incrementals take no time at all.

backblazeBackblaze
https://www.backblaze.com
$5 a month

I use Backblaze for online backup of my computers. Unlike the other online services I tried, Backblaze is quick and reliable to upload data and supports unlimited amount of data. You can easily retrieve individual files and if the worst happens and you need everything you can download it all slowly or send of a disk to get your data more quickly.

evernoteEvernote
http://evernote.com/
Free, Premium account £35 per year

Evernote is my digital filing cabinet. Notes, images, pdf’s, web pages, receipts, bills, contacts, recipes, lists etc etc etc all go into Evernote. The client allows for rich enough text editing, images are OCR’d to allow for some great searching and there are good options for notebooks and folders. The web clipper works really well too. I upgraded to Premium which allows for 1GB of uploads per month, secure notes, collaborative notes and also a history of changes. One niggle – exporting from Evernote still not great so I’m tied into the service more than I’d like. The iOS apps are excellent too so my digital stuff is available everywhere.
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On My iPhone

Because I liked this post on Gordon’s blog and I know of three people that have picked up iPhones this week I thought it was time to go through the app’s I use on my iPhone. The App Store is packed with app’s but with so much choice comes so much duplication, so many paid app’s where free app’s are just as good if not better. I’ve spent far too much on app’s so hopefully this will be a good pointer as to what’s worth buying…and not. In fact I’ve bought so many that I now have seven pages of app’s. Oops.

Doing this review has actually been useful for me. I’ve removed duplicate app’s and moved app’s around to more useful spots. I’ve also found some app’s that I really must try – Stanza, AllRecipies, WiFinder to name three. Oh, and pacman. Anyway, lets get cracking – this is a long one! If you want to jump to games then head down to Home Page 6. If you want a quick games recommendation without reading through the post then Fieldrunners, Warfare Inc, Wurdle, Virtual Pool and Rolando would top my list. Right – Home Page 1.

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2009 – Products I Can’t Live Without

Read this post on Techcrunch describing the app’s that Mike Arrington uses day to day and would be less productive without them. Thought it would be fun to do my own and revisit every year to see what changes. So without further ado and in no particular order:

  • Google Reader – all my regular website/blog reading is done in Google Reader. Quick, feature packed and a great iPhone interface make this a winner.
  • iPhone – it’s become the essential gadget for me. A web browser that works well on a mobile, a touch interface that makes the phone and it’s app’s easy to use and a suite of app’s that extend the usefulness of the phone beyond any other I’ve used before. The positives far out way the negatives and it’s by far the best phone, maybe even the best gadget I’ve yet owned.
  • Firefox – use it at work and at home. Great browser on PC’s and Mac’s and combined with Foxmarks it’s currently unbeatable. Chrome once released on the Mac supporting plugins could change that in the future.
  • Remember The Milk – use it all the time to manage my to-do lists. Great web interface now supplemented by a wonderful app on the iPhone.
  • WordPress – used on this blog, newly updated and still hard to beat due to the large plugin library and community that surrounds it.
  • Toad – used every day at work for SQL Development. Essential, too many features to mention although UI isn’t the best with powerful features often lost or hidden within a multitude of menu’s and forms.
  • Notepad++ – I finally found this great Windows text editor this year. Great features and free.
  • Evernote – Note management on steroids. Windows client at work, Mac client at home on desktop and laptop, web based interface and iPhone client all in sync with ability to add and edit notes on any of these platforms. Smartest feature is OCR of any image uploaded to server. Can also store PDF’s and files attached to notes. I use the free option and can’t recommend it highly enough.
  • Twitter – can be seen as frivolous but more and more it’s becoming a great platform for communicating and also watching/responding to real world events far quicker than blogs/websites/traditional media can.
  • Tweetie – makes the most of Twitter on the iPhone. Could be my most used iPhone app and is certainly the best iPhone client by quite a margin.
  • iTunes – it has it critics but it works well for me, and it gives me great access to my local content, podcasts and also app’s and music via the store.
  • Mac OS X – while I can happily live without Windows I would be far less productive at home with Mac OS X. Windows 7 looks to be an interesting future release that offers a viable alternative to Mac OS X, something that can’t be said for XP or Vista.
  • Flickr – where I post all my images and where most of my friends post to as well. Still like the look and feel of the site, the features it offers and the community aspects that are hard to find elsewhere.
  • Textmate – used almost daily on the Mac. Similar feature set to Notepad ++ although slightly better laid out and for me quicker in operation.
  • Google Search – used every day. Can’t see anything breaking Google’s hold on the search market.

I use lot’s of other app’s and websites but they could easily be replaced whereas with this list I would be far less productive or have struggled to find a product as good as these. Anything missing – I do use Gmail but to backup my websites. It’s blocked at work so limits it’s use. I could access it on the iPhone but it’s own e-mail client is good enough. I do feel I may be missing some good tricks with Gmail though. I’ve also dabbled with Google Docs and Zoho but yet to settle on one. I’d like to move a few more docs onto these platforms in the coming year.

I’d love to see what others use day to day to see if I’m missing out on anything. Feel free to comment or link to your blog posting.

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