Mac Apps I Can’t Live Without

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I use many of the apps that comes with OS X, such as Calendar (I have it hooked into a Google Calendar I share with my wife), Reminders, Messages, and Notes. Although other apps may be more full-featured, they’re not integrated with Siri and not as simple to use. I find it best, generally speaking, to live in the ecosystem as intended by Apple. It’s great to be able to tell my phone, “Remind me tomorrow at 10 to send an invoice to John Doe.” It’s great to be able to text and message (they’re different) from Messages now.  My favorite tech reviewer David Pogue is so right: it’s best to buy into a tech ecosystem nowadays, whether Windows or Mac. Few people can yet live well in Android—but that time is coming. (A major exception to the general rule of using Apple apps is Gmail: I’ve been using it for too long; I can’t switch to Mail.)

But among the apps that don’t come with OS X, I’ve listed below the ones I use most often right now. I try not to multiply “time-saving” apps; I discovered years ago that the search for them took too much time. I try to let a genuine need arise and then go in search of a way to meet it.

  • Alfred: awesome application launcher and extensible workflow manager. Create bitly links and tinyPNGs, generate lorem ipsum text, and paste my e-mail address with a keyboard shortcut.
  • QuickCal: Very quickly add calendar events and reminder items to specific reminder lists, all from the keyboard.
  • Dropbox: the most rock-solid, feature-rich (but not complicated) cloud storage service I’ve tried. OneDrive is nice with its Office integration, but it’s Mac client leaves out some key features I rely on (same with Box). Google Drive is nice, too (and I have a $2/mo. subscription with them), but Dropbox has never failed me. After many years of using it for free, I finally took the plunge and got on their $99/yr., 1 TB plan. I keep all my major files in Dropbox, except my Music, which I sync for free with Google Play.
  • Droplr: The very best way to share files. I absolutely adore this app.
  • 1Password: I tried and even paid for several other major password-keeping solutions, but 1Password is clearly in a league above them. If you absolutely require online access to your passwords, LastPass is a respectable second place finisher.
  • Evernote Chrome Web Clipper: The very best way to save and organize articles on the web. I wish OneNote had a web clipper this nice.
  • Readability: A quick keyboard shortcut saves an article for later reading on my iPad or iPhone.
  • aText: “New Testament,” “international,” “ἀγάπη” and many other words I type frequently now have shortcuts for use with aText.
  • Blipshot: Just found this. I’ve been needing it for years. It’s probably more of a web developer thing, but if you ever need to send an image of an entire webpage to someone, this is your tool.
  • AppCleaner: great for uninstalling apps that failed to prove themselves useful. =)

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Logos, BibleWorks, Accordance, Keynote, Google Play Music, OneNote, Evernote, Photoshop, Illustrator, TextWrangler, Espresso, CyberDuck, Word, and the other apps I rely on regularly for writing, web-design, etc.

Best Ting Deal I’ve Seen


unnamedTing is offering it’s best deal ever—I know, because I’ve had Ting from its earliest days. Get $100 credit on a phone or $100 off service by clicking this referral link—and I get $50 of service credit.

Plus, Ting has the best website and the best customer service with real people who speak English. Like American English.

Our Ting bill for two iPhones, both purchased used for under $200, has averaged $54.01 over almost two years. (And with a little more self-discipline we could’ve dropped that number lower.) That doesn’t include the $25 credits I’ve received for referring Ting to others on occasion.

This means you could get an iPhone 4S for thirty bucks and start saving immediately over Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile. Consumer reports says small carriers like Ting are the way to go.


Kindle Aping Oyster?

thWow! This could be extremely cool—Amazon opening a subscription service like Oyster Books.

Or, like Oyster, it could be extremely cool and ultimately not conducive to my personal and financial purposes. I really liked Oyster and signed up immediately, but I let my subscription lapse pretty quickly after I realized that I just didn’t want to have the pressure of having to read my Oyster books to get my money’s worth. I wanted to read whatever I wanted to read at the moment (I agree with Alan Jacobs’ advice to follow one’s reading whims—it’s the only way for me to get through worthwhile stuff; I have to strike while my iron of interest is hot).

I also like the Kindle ecosystem, the ability to retain highlights and use a convenient e-reading device that doesn’t distract me like a tablet or phone. And that, too, led me away from Oyster. So if the Kindle service lets me stay in the ecosystem, as I expect it must; and if it includes Christian books aside from Amish romance novels, I may be very interested.