Apps and services I like and use
When it comes to apps, you can say that I am a nerd. I like to find the perfect app for a specific task, and I don’t mind buying a few just to try them out. I often juggle between “all-web-apps” and “all-native-apps” but lately, I tend to privilege the latter.
These are the apps I use today; three months from now, there will be changes. I am not mentioning the obvious apps that I use (Safari, Facebook, YouTube, music apps, etc.), I am only listing those that you might not know, or forgot about. If there is no mention of a particular kind of app, assume that I use the basic stuff (Apple Mail for email to name one).
- Notes – Even if Apple has been receiving some critics recently regarding the quality of their software, it is worth mentioning that Notes has greatly improved over the past few years, both on Mac and on iOS. It has become my main software for to-dos, lists, casual text imput, and of course: note taking.
- Byword – This one is the latest added to the list. Before Byword I used respectively iA Writer, Haven, Desk MD and Hemingway Editor. As much as I loved all of these apps, I came back to using Byword: like iA Writer, the app is straight-forward, simple, beautiful and handles Markdown perfectly.
- Tweetbot – For me, it is way better than the official Twitter app on the Mac (not hard to do) and the lack of some features (Polls, Moments) is not that important. It gives you the feel of the pure Twitter timeline from the old days, no bells and whistle, no ads. Only true problem with it: Search sucks, for that I need to go to the Twitter website.
- Reeder – RSS made an unexpected comeback last year for me, and I found everything I wanted in the Feedbin service. On mobile the best experience is Reeder, but I used Safari to access Feedbin for a long time. The OS X app is a bit much (10€) but if you use RSS as much as I do, it is a very good investment: the app is reliable, beautifully designed and very light on the machine, I would even say lighter than a pinned tab on Safari.
- Copied – Made the whole copy-and-paste experience truly good. When you think about it, the default copy-and-paste feature is probably one of the most ancient thing we do dozen times a day. Copied really takes this to 2016.
- Itsycal – This one is a keeper: Allows you to access your calendar from the menu bar, have your next meetings displayed efficiently and you can very quickly enter a new entry without having to launch the Calendar app. Not very pretty, but extremely efficient.
- f.lux – This easy-on-the-eyes-at-night feature will soon be included in OS X (as it now included in the latest iOS beta software). Once you get used to it, it is very hard to use your computer at night without it.
- Caffeine – When activated, forbids your PC to go on sleep mode. Useful when you want a backup to finish, or an update to download completely.
- Bartender – Once you have all these apps running, the menu bar can get a little crowded: This creates a “folder” to hide some of the icons there. I find it particularly useful when it comes to hiding the f.lux icon, that looks too much like the analog clock icon I chose to display time on my machine.
- Tonality – I tried this app to check out the new Extensions feature on the Photos app and I am not disappointed. There is still a lot of room to grow and improve, but this makes me hope for a VSCO Extension feature in the near future.
- Notes – I used to be satisfied with Vesper, but it is still lacking an OS X app. If I had to recommend another great app, I would mention Thingslist.
- Byword – Since I switched back to Byword on the PC, I also switched on the phone/iPod. Scratch is of course still highly recommended and, if you like Markdown, 1Writer is also really good.
- The New York Times – For news I obviously use more than one app, but the NYT is the best I could find: nothing fancy, but the push notifications are great and the content of course is more than enough. I also subscribed to The New Yorker and I really like France 24 for France news. Apple News is still a bit slow for me and the new Quartz app, besides being extremely fun and innovative, just doesn’t work for me. Wildcard is very interesting too: if I had only one spot on my homescreen for news, that should probably be the one I would use.
- Reeder – for the RSS needs; I tend to find the desktop app better than the mobile app though.
- Timepage – Coming from a brand I love, Moleskine, this Agenda app is surprisingly good coming from a company manufacturing mostly paper products. Unsurprisingly from Moleskine, it looks and sounds beautiful. By far one of my favorite apps.
- Motiv – I recently bought the Shure MV88 microphone, and this is the companion app. Instantly replaced the Voice Memos app for me.
- Copied – goes with the desktop app and allows you to save a lot of time on iOS
- Tweetbot – obviously: The official Twitter app always makes me follow random people just by scrolling their full-of-buttons timeline. This and liking tweets while I just wanted to scroll.
- Obscura – Of all the camera apps I’ve tried, this is probably the most elegant and full of features. There is a bit of a learning curve, but this is the kind of app that makes the difference between a good iPhone shot and a great iPhone shot.
- LastPass – All my passwords are there, my credit card information and some other backup recovery codes. I’ve been using LastPass for six years and I’ve never had to remember another password besides iCloud. All my passwords are highly secure and every password is different. I am a little bit of a security nerd, so I of course use the two-factors authentication whenever it’s possibe (as you should), so Google Authenticator never leaves my phone.
Web & browser extensions
- Noisli (pinned tab) – I also use the iOS app but not as often as I use the website, which is almost everyday at work. Besides being a great sound generator, it doubles as a nice text entry web app, and it supports Markdown.
- ZenPen (pinned tab) – My go-to text entry app when I want fast and no hassle editing: It is pretty, it has dark mode, I like the font, and it loads in a second.
- Stack Edit – When you need that powerful Markdown editor and you don’t have your computer.
- Slack – We recently started using Slack at work and yeah: it deserves all the press it has. Fast, easy-to-use, it saves you from a lot of endless email conversations. If you still have doubts about it (or worse, if your company is still using Yammer), this comes highly recommended, but you already knew that. Flow looks interesting too.
- Hemingway Editor – This is an interesting tool. They recently launched an OS X app (which I use) but I think the website is enough since I don’t use it that often. The app makes you write better (I obviously did not use it for this very article, but give it a try!)
- Poolside FM – They recently launched an OS X app, but I think the website is better: it has these fullscreen videos from the 90s, that go well with the dance music. Not always recommended at work, but this is a good radio. I still listen to a lot of Mixcloud and Soundcloud, but Poolside FM is just more fun.
- LastPass (extension) – Must-have (otherwise I cannot really log anywhere)
- Fontface Ninja (extension) – If you, like me, are always curious about what font is used on a particular website, but are too lazy to look into the code of the webpage, here comes the classic what-font extension.
- Todokyo – When you have that busy day and that your usual to-do list is too busy, Todokyo enters. This is a minimal to-do list that just lasts 24 hours: When you want to focus on the most urgent things, this is the (pretty) way to go.
- Feedbin – Both a great RSS service and a great web app: Since I use Reeder, I don’t use it much anymore, but this is clean, fast and bug free.
Let me know if you think you use better apps, always eager to upgrade and change.