My everyday apps

This may be one of those posts that no one other than me cares about, but I've been meaning to take a snapshot of the software tools I use on a daily basis right now, and how they're useful to me. (This comes at a time when I'm considering a major OS change in my life -- more on that later -- so as a part of that I need to inventory these tools anyway.)

So every day when I get up and stretch my arms in front of my energy inefficient, eye-strain-causing big blue wall screen with a cloud in the middle, grumbling to myself that we now call things "apps" instead of programs or software or really any other name, I see:

Airmail 3 - my main tool for reading, sorting, sending and finding email across a few different accounts. Replaced Thunderbird with it a few years back, really good choice.

Chrome - on the desktop, my daily browser of choice. I tried the new Firefox recently and liked it, but not enough to switch. I have lots of extensions installed but some favorites are Adblock Plus, JSONView and XML Tree, Momentum, Pinboard Tools, Postman, Signal Private Messenger, Vanilla Cookie Manager, Xdebug helper and Web Developer. On mobile I use iOS Safari.

macOS and iOS Calendar and Contacts - works with all of the various online calendars and address books I sync to, have stayed pretty intelligent and user-friendly without getting too cluttered.

Todoist - for task management and keeping my brain clear of things I care about but don't want to have to remember.

Slack - for communicating with my co-workers and others. I have accounts on 11 different Slack instances, and only stay logged in to about 4 of those at once.

1Password - for password management, still wonderful after all these years.

iTerm2 - for all my command line stuff. Really flexible and customizable, regular upgrades, open source. On iOS I use Termius.

PhpStorm - for day to day software development. Despite the name it handles PHP, Perl, Javascript, HTML, CSS, Bash/shell and a wide variety of other languages quite well. The IDE's code formatting and syntax checking tools are great, and I add PHPCS in to make sure I'm adhering to WordPress standards. The Xdebug tools are amazing. I don't do much with source control management in it yet, but plan to look at that more soon.

BBEdit - even with the power of PhpStorm, sometimes I want something a little more simple to edit one text file at a time. I often use BBEdit to keep my project notes files up to date, do bulk find/replace/regex operations, and to troubleshoot weird characters or line breaks in a file someone sends me.

Varying Vagrant Vagrants - for local WordPress theme and plugin software development.

Docker - for other kinds of local development work.

Feedly - especially the iOS mobile app, but also their website. For reading RSS feeds, considering moving everything to a Tiny Tiny RSS instance or similar soon.

Alfred - multipurpose productivity tool. I'm guessing it saves me several hours a month.

WordPress - for publishing, and changing the world.

iTunes - despite the name, I mostly use this for syncing and updating software on other devices. I strongly dislike that Apple removed the ability to manage iOS apps in iTunes without providing another desktop-based solutions, so I'm camping out in denial with iTunes 12.6.3.6 for now.

macOS and iOS Photos app - not that great for photo management, but I don't need anything too special for my daily use (sync photos from devices, organize things into folders, occasionally export or turn them into a movie).

Toggl - for tracking how I spend my time.

Pixelmator - for image manipulation now that I've moved beyond any kind of Adobe Creative Suite license.

Bartender 2 - for keeping my Mac's menu bar organized.

Gitify - for making sure I see GitHub activity when I'm ready without having to get email messages about each thing.

Hazel - for automatically sorting my files and folders, especially in my attempts at being paperless.

Oversight - to make sure my microphones and cameras aren't activated when I'm not expecting them to be.

Encrypt.me VPN - for securing my Internet traffic on potentially hostile wireless networks.

Dropbox - for sharing files. (PSA: Please do not attach large files to email messages.)

CrashPlan: for off-site backups, probably going to move to Backblaze very soon.

Podcasts on iOS: consistently doesn't do what I want or how I want it, but I've been too lazy to move to another option. And I listen to a lot of podcasts. What is wrong with me, I should just switch.

Pushover - for many different kinds of custom push notifications.

Zoom - for audio and video conferencing.

AutoSleep - to tell me how well I slept. I should write a more in-depth review of this soon, it's pretty amazing.

Are there any software tools I haven't listed that you depend on daily?

Published by

Chris Hardie

Chris Hardie is an Internet tech geek, problem solver, community-builder and amicable cynic.

2 thoughts on “My everyday apps”

  1. Have you tried Overcast.fm for podcasts? I checked the app settings on my iPhone, and "Smart Speed has saved [me] an extra 96 hours beyond speed adjustments alone."

    For Google Chrome extensions, Lazarus (form recovery), Linkclump, and Tampermonkey are handy.

    Signal also released a dedicated desktop app. Seems to work well so far.

    PopClip displays a menu after you select text, kind of like iOS. You can also install extensions. I leave PopClip off, then activate it with an Alfred hotkey/workflow. PopClip extensions are neat.

    Flux is changes the display temperature according to the time of day.

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