State of the Apps – 2018

Here’s state of the apps! this is a list of software I actively use to this day (december 2017), together with a brief explanation on the how and why I use it. fyi, I am an undergraduate student in the social sciences.

Writing

iA Writer — for everyday use, assignments, short papers

I know, I know. There’s a trillion text editors. The thing is, they all have their strenghts and weaknesses, and iA strikes a perfect balance, at least for me. Its focus mode allows me to, ehum, focus on what I am writing at the time, something that’s crucial when drafting that paper you need done, like, quick.

Then, it allows for granular file managing without leaving the app, and lets you export beautifully-formatted documents easily from only a pure, simple, markdown file. Its UI is sublimely minimal, but not too bare that’s hard to get things done.

It’s good.

Texpad — for fancier, longer papers

For when I need or want to create something fancier, in LaTeX (obviously), I’ll jump onto Texpad. It’s a very minimal, two-pane app: on the left side, your .tex file, and on the right side, live-reloading, your output .pdf. It doesn’t get much better than that. I am aware that Vim + vimtex does something very similar, but live previewing on macOS is not quite there yet, and although you don’t strictly need it, it’s nice to have. Texpad also supports .bib files, and that’s pretty crucial when writing papers with a trillion sources (or even just three).

CotEditor — for code, technical stuff

Well, that’s the one I am using right now. I have sung its praises earlier here on my blog so I won’t repeat myself on that front. It’s really lightweight, I just love it (for code).

Reading

Reeder — the RSS catcher

I can only really speak for the mac version of the app, which is the one I use. Reeder is a RSS reader, as simple as that. It displays articles in a very readable and customisable way, has great keyboard shortcut support and is just overall a very lean mac RSS app. If you don’t have RSS in your life, you need it. Go and get it.

Organising

Things 3 — the to-do app

I have long been searching for a well-designed to-do app and, well here it is! It’s functional and does what it promises to do very, very well. It’s also packed with features for the power user, but they are not so in your face that it’s bloated. It syncs seamlessly across my devices and it’s (partially) designed to work with David Allan’s GTD methodology, which I use. And, perhaps most important of all, it does not have a subscription model! It’s a good old pay-up-front thing, which for me is just the best. 10$ and the app is yours to use for however long you want, including its cloud sync thingie across devices. That’s pretty good if you ask me.

Miscellaneous

SelfControl — the resist distractions app

This macOS app is pretty nifty: you create a blacklist of websites (domain names), give it a set amount of time, and it will block those websites on your machine. Like, they won’t even load at all. What sets SelfControl apart from other similar apps is that it’s fully open source, and once the timer is set, not even a system reboot will stop it. It is literally unstoppable and it saved me so many times from the “come on, just for this once…

Safari

Same as with text editors, it’s hard to talk about browsers on the internet without getting a lot of flamey comments. Still, all I really care about is battery life, and Safari gives me plenty of that. Also, it is actually pretty fast. Only real downside for me is the lackluster extension gallery, but other than that, it’s more than ok for me.

Mail.app, Calendar.app, Preview.app

I am as basic as they come. These default apps do more than well for me.

Spotify

Apple Music just isn’t there yet with the recommendations. Also, it doesn’t have a PS3/4 app, and it’s more expensive. Neh neh.