Welcome to the lab.

DaisyDisk is 30% off

[Tweet : nvALT]

I mentioned DaisyDisk as my favorite tool for seeing what’s using up space on my hard drive in yesterday’s roundup, and it happens that there’s a 30% off sale on it right now. Good timing.

DaisyDisk scans any folder (or entire disk), then shows you a circular diagram displaying with segmented rings representing all of your files. Hovering over a segment will show categories of files and folders and their total size. Then you can drill into any part of your drive by clicking a segment to show content details.

You can use the built-in QuickLook preview to see what you might want to get rid of (you can also reveal in Finder to take a closer look). There’s a collection drawer where you can stage files (or entire segments) for trashing. Once you’ve browsed through and collected things you don’t need, one click clears them out.

It’s a great tool, and definitely the most elegant in its category. If you don’t already have it, this sale is a great time to grab it!

Best of 2017: Nerding out on macOS

[Tweet : nvALT]

See all the 2017 roundups!

Welcome to my favorite part of the roundups: nerd stuff. Don’t worry, there’s cool stuff for everyone here, and I saved the real hardcore nerd stuff for the bottom for the truly adventurous.

Standard disclaimer: this is not a complete list of every cool app I use. It’s the highlights from the ones I use the most often. Don’t be offended if your favorite app (or the app you develop) isn’t here, but feel free to add recommendations in the comments!

Apps in this list that are also available on Setapp are marked with the Setapp logo:

Unibrow

My menu bar (well, some of it)

Karabiner Elements
How I remap keys on my keyboard to do awesome things like the Hyper Key and Vim navigation.
TextExpander
Every time I sit down at someone else’s computer, it only takes about 2 minutes to realize how much I miss my TextExpander setup.
Disclosure: PDFpen developer Smile is a long-time supporter of this blog. This in no way affects the fact that I think their products are top notch.
BetterTouchTool
My tool for mapping dozens of gestures to my trackpad, from standard swipes to sequenced finger taps. If I have to move a hand to the trackpad, it should be worth it. Also, makes it nearly impossible to use someone else’s computer without constantly explaining “oh yeah, well that works on my computer.”
Keyboard Maestro
Only really got into Keyboard Maestro in 2017 after a long time thinking I didn’t need it. It can do a lot, and the regex typing triggers alone make it a very cool tool.
Bartender 3
In order to work with High Sierra, Bartender (which helps tame the number of icons in your menu bar for nerds that run a LOT of stuff) had to switch from using the “Bartender Bar” (which drops down below the menu bar) to actually replacing the contents of the menu bar when switching bars. This slowed it down a bit, but it’s still an essential tool and every update (one just came out today) improves performance.
Droplr
I’ve used Droplr for years. It’s my primary way of sharing files and screenshots. They’ve added markup tools, gif reaction capture, and time-limited links in recent updates. I never attach a file over 40k to an email anymore, just drag it to the menu bar and then hit paste (the link is copied immediately, even if the file takes a while to upload).
Dropzone 3
The other place I drag things to in my menu bar. My image editors and optimizers, as well as standalone audio tools and any app I regularly want to drop a file on are in there, as well as a bunch of custom scripts, such as the one that I can drop a @2x image on and it will create formats for various social platforms, the 1x version, optimize all of them, and then copy the Jekyll (Liquid) format tag for it into my clipboard.
Revisions
If you use Dropbox, get Revisions. Full version history and batch or cherry picked restores for every file in your Dropbox. I wrote about it a while back on MacStories.
Moom
Moom is still the best window manager. I can hover over the green fullscreen button in the stoplights at the top of any window and choose from preset window sizes or draw my own dimensions in a little grid that pops up, or I can (and do) assign a bunch of keyboard shortcuts (which I also map to trackpad gestures with BetterTouchTool).
PopClip
PopClip gives you an iOS-ish toolbar popup every time you select text with the mouse/trackpad. You can customize what options show up, and it can show different options based on context and content of the selection. It took me a while to get into PopClip after it came out, but that was years ago. Since then I’ve been creating my own extensions and happily using it everywhere. I even made PopMaker so folks could make their own simple extensions easily.

Pocket Protector

Never too many backups, I say. In addition to Time Machine running on a local Mac mini server and a Drobo, I also use:

Arq
Arq is my cloud backup tool of choice. I switched from using a remote SFTP server to Backblaze’s B2 storage, which has been excellent thus far.
SuperDuper!
SuperDuper! continues to reign as my drive cloning software. It runs on a schedule every night. With the release of High Sierra (and after a short period of growing pains) it now supports APFS snapshots, meaning you can restore your entire drive from different times. Time Machine for cloned drives!
1Password
Backup for your passwords. I have not written a password down on a piece of paper since at least 2003. When 1Passwd (as it used to be known) came along, everything changed. Unique and complex passwords for every site, and these days entering these 20-character passwords is even easier than typing a simpler password. On Mac and iOS (and a handy watch app) with full, secure sync.

Thick Glasses

Ok, a weird lumping of utility types under a vague header, but you might see how I put them together. Or not. My brain is weird.

Capto Setapp
I’m loving Capto as an all-purpose screen capture app. Great screenshot management and full markup tools, and I love the capture options (repeat captures, delayed captures, etc.). It can export to just about anywhere.
I’ll also point out Annotate, which is the app formerly known as Glui and the one that Capto replaced for me. If Capto seems like overkill, check it out.
ScreenFloat
If you’re taking screenshots that serve as sticky notes, ScreenFloat is the handiest utility you’ll ever find. Instead of switching between two apps to grab info you can’t just copy and paste, snap a picture and float it above other windows. It’s amazingly useful.
Wallpaper Wizard Setapp
I like wallpapers. Mine change frequently. Wallpaper Wizard is an excellent source of quality backgrounds and plenty of tools to make using them as simple as I could imagine.
Unsplash Wallpaper is also a great tool overall, and I love the desktops that Unsplash collects.
Fileloupe
If you have a bunch of files you want to browse quickly and even compare to each other, Fileloupe is a simple tool that works kind of like using Finder with Previews and the Info palette open, only better.
I’ll also point to Videoloupe from the same developer, a complete set of tools for analyzing and even editing videos.
HoudahSpot
Spotlight is how I organize my system. I’m a follower of the Metadata Way1, thus tools like HoudahSpot that boost the power of Spotlight are essential parts of my system.
Screens Setapp
For a long time I preferred using Apple’s Remote Desktop app, especially with its shared clipboard and cross-system file drag and drop, but Screens has caught up with all of that and generally provides me with sharper, more responsive remote desktop views.
Monity
I’ve been using Monity for system monitoring in my Today view (Notification Center). It’s been solid.

Overfull Pockets and Potentially a Fanny Pack

All the stuff that makes using a Mac really fun and keeps it Just Working. And a few for people who get bored when everything Just Works.

DaisyDisk
The best tool for seeing what’s taking up space on your drive (and cleaning it up).
Gemini 2 Setapp
The best tool for finding duplicate files. It’s like, really smart.
LaunchControl
The best tool for managing launchd jobs (the tools that run in the background of your system).
Fluid
Still the best tool for making single site browsers. I keep one around for MindMeister, one for Facebook Messenger, and I use it for tools like Cheaters.
CleanMyMac 3 Setapp
My top pick for system cleanup. Clear your caches, remove unused language files, clear out iTunes, Photos, and Mail junk, and keep your system lean and mean. These days it also includes a full suite of tools for disk repair and maintenance. It’s the one 3rd-party app that earned a spot in Volume 2 of 60 Mac Tips.
LaunchBar
Ok, a lot of people ask me “LaunchBar or Alfred?” I use LaunchBar. I need to make it clear, though, that my primary reason is that I used LaunchBar before Alfred existed, and I’ve never seen a need to switch. The triggering is slightly different between the two, and every time I try Alfred, I wish for my already-ingrained LaunchBar habits. The newish action editor and API isn’t as pretty as Alfred’s node-based workflow editor, but it’s just as powerful for my needs.
ForkLift Setapp
Forklift surpassed Path Finder for me this year. Top shelf folder syncing, a full array of remote drive mounting capabilities, tons of keyboard shortcuts and customizability. Its FTP capabilities even surpass those of many standalone FTP apps. It even has Git support, showing you the changed/staged state of files you’re viewing.
WALTR 2
If you transfer videos to iOS devices, just get WALTR 2. I wrote about it in late 2016.
TinkerTool
There aren’t a ton of good tools around these days for performing all the hidden tweaks in macOS that usually require a trip to Terminal. TinkerTool is free and has the most complete set of tools I know of.
Feeder
If you publish an RSS feed, whether for a Sparkle appcast, a podcast, or a blog of any kind, Feeder is the best tool for managing it.

Keyboard With Home Row Letters Rubbed Off

If you don’t know who this section is for, you probably go to a lot of social functions.

iTerm 2
I can’t remember the last time this wasn’t my terminal of choice. And it keeps getting better. The tmux functionality and session restore are delightful, and capabilities like inline image viewing in Terminal are frivolous but fun.
Sublime Text
Yeah, I’ve tried to like Atom. I do like BBEdit and still love TextMate, but despite having to write all my plugins in Python, I can’t quit Sublime.
Dash
Ignoring any impropriety that may or may not have happened, Dash is the ultimate reference tool for developers in any language. Plus cheat sheets.
Tower
You might like running every git command from the command line. You might get a kick out of doing complex merges and cherry picks by typing out hashes. I do not, I love Tower.
Also, I know I mentioned Tower in the Working on macOS section. I should not have. It should have been here. I made a mistake, but I know that’s no excuse. I have fired my editor and will work to earn back your trust.
Kaleidoscope
It didn’t get any major upgrades this year, but it did get a maintenance release for High Sierra that restored my faith and renewed my love of this diff app. Please don’t make me switch to FileMerge.
Bee
A client for JIRA, JIRA Agile, GitHub Issues, and FogBugz. See and respond to all your tickets in one place. Plus a Markdown editor, nvALT-style notes, and built in time tracking features.
CodeRunner 2 Setapp
If you want a REPL for any major programming language with a solid editor and code highlighting, you should probably get CodeRunner.
Paw
I work with a lot of APIs, creating and consuming2. If you ever need to debug REST calls, this is the tool.
Touché
Daniel Jalkut made you a thingy that simulates the MacBook Pro touch bar on your screen. Given that I don’t have a Touch Bar MacBook, I greatly appreciate being able to easily develop for one.
RegExRX
There are a ton of good RegEx testers out there. I’ll mention Patterns, Oyster, and Expressions (Setapp) right off the bat. That said, RegExRx is the only one that covers all of the bases for me.

I once again have that sinking feeling that I’ve been looking at this page too long and am missing some obvious apps that I’ll regret not mentioning later. There will probably (almost definitely) be a catchall post at the end of this. But next up is hardware and physical tools, and I’m excited about all the cool ones I found this last year.

See all the 2017 roundups!

  1. A file-based religion that does not exist.

  2. Don’t get me started on how that’s a stupid way to develop products. But it is. I will eventually learn from the mistake of creating things that rely on other things.

Best of 2017: Creating on macOS

[Tweet : nvALT]

See all the 2017 roundups!

For many of us, creating is the same as working, but I’ll make a distinction for the sake of categorization.

Apps in this list that are also available on Setapp are marked with the Setapp logo:

Standard disclaimer: this is not a complete list of every cool app I use. It’s the highlights from the ones I use the most often. Don’t be offended if your favorite app (or the app you develop) isn’t here, but feel free to add recommendations in the comments!

Pretty Pictures

Pochade 2
Pochade is still the ideal color picker for me in most cases. Simple eyedropper and color adjustments, and it’s really easy to export a color specification in hex, rgb, hsa, or even Cocoa colors (NSColor, CGColor, UIColor).

Via Ashley Bischoff, Pochade is officially not being updated anymore. She pointed out ColorSnapper 2, which looks pretty great1.

If you want something with palette management, though, Sip (Setapp) is a top notch app and often runs alongside Pochade when I’m coding.
Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer
These 2 apps blew me away this year. I love Acorn (and its automation capabilities), and Pixelmator has always been pretty cool, but nothing has ever been a true Photoshop replacement for me. Affinity Photo takes the cake if you’re looking for a vast feature set, a list of capabilities I haven’t even come close to exploring all of yet, and a pretty easy learning curve coming from Photoshop principles (and keyboard shortcuts).
Affinity Designer is the replacement for Adobe Illustrator. It works perfectly for round-tripping vectors to Affinity Photo, too. I was never as good at Illustrator as I was at Photoshop, and I’m not as good at Affinity Designer as I am at Affinity Photo, but I do not regret purchasing both of them.
Sketch
While Affinity Designer is a complete vector solution, I still prefer Sketch when it comes to designing icons and wireframes, mostly because of its amazing plugin architecture (and the array of available plugins), and its superb batch export capabilities. It makes updating a full icon set in Xcode a one-click process, and simultaneously outputting 1x, 2x, 3x, and PDF versions of a single image a breeze.
Permute Setapp
I use a variety of video conversion apps, most based on ffmpeg, which I also use from the command line. Among these, Permute has become my app of choice for quickly converting both video and audio files without a lot of fuss. It also integrates well with Downie, automatically converting downloaded videos for iPad/iPhone/Apple TV.
Gifox Setapp
I hadn’t heard of Gifox until recently, and only discovered it because of Setapp. It’s quite easily the best tool I’ve seen for recording screen GIFs. At this point it’s completely replaced all of my other solutions, except for…
ScreenFlow
For full screen recording and editing, ScreenFlow has been my favorite for years. The latest release (version 7) adds a 60fps timeline, text effects, Audio Unit support and more. David Sparks and I created the every screencast in the 60 Mac Tips series with it.
Also worth mentioning that ScreenFlow can export animated GIFs these days, too, and does a great job with optimization.

Clever Words

TableFlip
Possibly the coolest Markdown utilities to come out in 2016, I’m still using it plenty in 2017. TableFlip gives you spreadsheet-like editing capabilities for (Multi)Markdown tables, and can live update documents as your table changes.
Bear
As the purveyor of nvALT and someone hard at work on a new note-taking app, it’s harder for me to admit than most, but Bear is just really damn good.
Marked 2 Setapp
I can wholeheartedly endorse Marked when working with Markdown documents. I use it every day. Dev is a great guy, too, super responsive and good looking.
Deckset
I went to the CMD-D conference as a volunteer, but ended up taking the spot for Andy Ithnako’s talk when he had to cancel. I whipped up a slide deck in Markdown over a lunch break and presented it from my laptop. Deckset is awesome.
Quip
Quip has entirely replaced Google Docs for me. I only use Gdocs when someone else makes me. Quip is simple, fairly friendly to Markdown users, and has an API that’s far more accessible and usable than Google’s. Great change tracking, commenting, and these days it also has spreadsheets and a host of integrations you can stick into documents (like Kanban boards and polls). My only complaint is that the iOS version disables my 3rd party keyboards, but other than that, I’m a Quip lover2.
MultiMarkdown Composer
MultiMarkdown Composer is what I’m editing this in right now, and really the only editor I use for Markdown other than Sublime Text. The public release version is great, and the beta is always even cooler. The iOS version is back in development, too, definitely worth watching for.

Most of my writing workflow is built around my own scripts and services, but I think I’ll do a final post in this series with my own favorite projects of the year. Exciting, right? Hearing someone recap all of the favorite things he or she did last year. I’ll make slideshow, too. Old school, with a carousel, and you’ll all have to sit around and smile while I describe in detail what I was doing in each photo. I feel like I’ve gotten off track.

Lovely Sounds

SteadyTune
I record and edit music (and podcasts) in Logic. Logic has a guitar tuner. I like SteadyTune better. That’s it.
Shush
I podcasted a lot in 2017. I used different mics and different recording platforms. I even tried different editing apps. The one thing that’s remained constant, always, is Shush: the perfect cough button for any USB microphone.
iZotope plugins for Logic
I picked up iZotope RX Elements on a tip from Aaron Dowd (@thepodcastdude) and loved it. I went on to purchase Nectar and Ozone as well, and I regret nothing.
Airfoil
I suppose Airfoil should be included in the nerdy utilities edition of this series, but it’s so specifically for music that I’m sticking it in here. Airfoil (now updated for High Sierra) lets me use my computer to run Spotify and Airplay (or Bluetooth) the sound out to one or more external speakers. I can actually send it to my nice Phillips speakers attached to a DAC and Airport Express and my Apple TV with a big soundbar connected to it at the same time and play music through both with perfect sync. That’s a lot of sound coverage for someone who doesn’t own a Sonos.

Ok, I’m feeling like I forgot a bunch of stuff on this one. I was really hoping to avoid doing a catchall “Stuff I forgot from 2017” post, but I might have to.

See all the 2017 roundups!

  1. Just purchased it to see if it makes the 2018 list…

  2. Idea for a Quip user group: “Quivers”

Best of 2017: working on macOS

[Tweet : nvALT]

See all the 2017 roundups!

As usual, I’ve found myself unable to write up the complete 2017 macOS list in any reasonable timeframe, so I’m once again splitting it into parts. This year’s categories will be “Working,” “Creating,” and “Nerding Out.” Welcome to the Working edition.

As I note in every Yearly Top Apps List, this is not a complete list of every cool app I use. It’s the highlights from the ones I use the most often. Don’t be offended if your favorite app (or the app you develop) isn’t here, but feel free to add recommendations in the comments!

Setapp
I’ll mention Setapp right off the bat. While its acceptance hasn’t been what many of us hoped, the idea of a single monthly subscription to cover all of the apps you use is still an excellent middle ground between the “old” way and the new subscription-based model that many developers are feeling the need to adopt. I highly recommend jumping on board. Apps in this list that are also available on Setapp are marked with the Setapp logo:

Working

The apps I use for planning, executing, and tracking my workload.

Productivity

Tower
Still the best GUI for working with Git. I seriously love this app. It now supports git-flow, which is just plain awesome.
iThoughtsX Setapp
iThoughtsX continues to be my top choice for mind mapping on the Mac (and iOS). 2017 saw the addition of support for MindMeister formats, which for me brings it full circle. I use MindMeister’s excellent API to quickly round trip my maps for sharing.
It would be a grave omission to neglect mentioning MindNode 5. It’s a beautiful upgrade to an already-solid app and it still holds a place in my regular workflow.
Billings Pro
Billings has been my method of invoicing and collecting for all of my freelance work for years. Billings Pro has been a boon, especially with the iOS/watchOS versions.
MailMate
Yes, MailMate is still my email app of choice. There are so many great options lately, but none of them scratch ALL of the itches that MailMate (combined with SaneBox and Spark on iOS) do.
TaskPaper Setapp
TaskPaper is my jam. I love the ability to use plain text files synced through Dropbox (and Git, see Task Management for Coders). Simplicity in the format, but scriptable power in the app.
OmniFocus
I used to switch task managers far too often. I’ve stuck happily with OmniFocus for years now. I have great things to say about Things 3 and 2do Setapp, but I’m not switching again unless I have to.
NotePlan Setapp
So I don’t switch task managers, but I do dilute my system a bit when something is just too useful to avoid. Noteplan is one of those. It uses the TaskPaper format to collect notes and todo lists, synced over iCloud with the companion iOS app. I wrote this up for MacStories last year.
Timing Setapp
When I want to know how I’m spending my time on my computer, whether out of curiosity or for billing, Timing is the easiest and coolest way to do it. Automatic tracking with the ability to tag and build projects based on what documents you opened, websites you visited, etc..
There’s also a new tool called Break that looks highly intriguing. Might make it into next year’s roundup.
Banktivity
I’ve been using Banktivity for finances for the last few years (since it was called iBank), It does an excellent job of automatically pulling in all of my transactions from all of my accounts and allowing me to categorize them. Regex pattern matching allows automatic categorization (and a simple GUI interface to make it painless), and the charts and breakdowns are excellent.
Cardhop
This is the coolest thing to happen to contact management in years. If you like the instant calendar access that Fantastical provides, Cardhop brings the same power to your contacts. See my writeup for more info.
Curio
I continue to be a big fan of Curio, and 2017 saw the release of Curio 11. It keeps getting better. Integrated mind maps, lists, tables, index cards, albums, pinboards, and stacks, along with awesome features like dragging in an OPML file and converting it to an outline or a mind map instantly.
PDFpenPro
If you do any serious work with PDFs, PDFpen Pro is a must-have. Multi-lingual OCR, complete annotation and editing tools, and a full suite of apps across all Apple platforms.
Disclosure: PDFpen developer Smile is a long-time supporter of this blog. This in no way affects the fact that I think their products are top notch.
Paprika Recipe Manager
I’m going to go ahead and include Paprika in my productivity section because it makes my kitchen so much more… productive. It’s the best recipe manager, and the latest version further improves the shopping list and pantry management.
Deliveries
I mentioned Deliveries in my best of iOS list. I found out via Twitter that you can forward shipping notification emails to Deliveries and have your stuff automatically added for easy tracking right from Notification Center (Today view).

Social

Sharing is part of working, whether it’s sharing your work or hanging out at the water cooler, so I think it’s fair to include the social apps in this section.

Flume Setapp
I only got into Instagram in any serious fashion this last year. I find the lack of decent 3rd-party apps for it frustrating, especially on iOS, but Flume has been a delight on macOS.
MarsEdit
If you’re writing for the web, MarsEdit has long been the standard for managing WordPress, Tumblr, and other blogs with APIs. 2017 saw the release of version 4, a big update that added myriad features and integrations.
Spillo
Pinboard is my only web bookmarking platform. I don’t even bookmark in my browsers under most circumstances. Spillo is the best Pinboard interface on macOS right now.
Tweetbot
I used the native Twitter app for a while, but then there was an update that ruined the experience for me. Switched back to Tweetbot on both Mac and iOS and I have no reason to go back. I mean, regex mute filters…
Brave
The Brave web browser is a bold step for web browsing security and privacy. It boasts complete blocking of ads and trackers, but you can also set up automatic monthly donations that are automatically distributed to the sites you visit most (or have pinned to get the lion’s share).

Stay tuned for the “Creating on macOS” edition with all of the best design, writing, and music tools!

See all the 2017 roundups!

Marked 2 holiday sale ends tomorrow

[Tweet : nvALT]

Hey there. I just wanted to remind you that the Holiday sale on Marked 2 ends tomorrow. Right now, you can pick up Marked for $9.99. I would like it if you did that.

Love, Brett

P.S. I’m actually mostly done with the Marked 2 update with Scrivener 3 and MindNode 5 support. And halfway done with the Best of 2017 macOS edition. And editing Systematic for tomorrow. And a video project you’ll like. Just in case you were also looking for a status report.

P.P.S. I also updated mdless with a few bugfixes and minor improvements. Nothing to write home about, but improvements nonetheless.

Best of 2017: iOS Apps

[Tweet : nvALT]

See all the 2017 roundups!

Can you feel the nervous excitement? It’s that time of year again. You know, time for Brett’s Yearly Top Apps Lists. Here’s the first list of apps I loved using in 2017, starting on iOS. You’d think I’d start writing these sooner and have them already to go by now, but no. I didn’t. I’ll be working on the Mac edition next.

As always, these are highlights, not complete lists. Of course I had to leave many out. There are hundreds of apps on my phone. Nobody has time to talk about all of them, no matter how good they are.

Staying Fit and Sane

Exist.io
I have now completed enough “quantified self” data entry in Exist to really start seeing correlations. With the addition of custom tags, it’s become a great insight into my daily habits.
Momento Diary/Journal
I’ve switched entirely to short journal entries in Exist, but I love the Slogger-esque way that Momento pulls in all of my social media and gives me a calendar format of it. For me, my social media activity is the best journal of a day.
MySleepButton
Still my favorite sleep app, works every time. Unless I drink caffeine too late in the day. Then there’s no helping me. New voice packs and sleep modes were added this year.
Insight Timer
The best meditation timer, and flexible enough to be useful for all kinds of sequenced, timed events. Also see TimeGlass, an excellent timer utility with multiple timers and a lot of flexibility.

Making Music

Tab Pro
I miss the older guitar tab apps I used that have since disappeared, but Tab Pro offers a pretty good set of tools for finding and playing tabs. Best I’ve found so far.
Tonebridge
Tonebridge interfaces with Tab Pro, generating a set of guitar effects to match the original recording of a song. Use it with any guitar interface to practice some Guns N’ Roses with appropriate Slash effects (or whatever you’re into).
GuitarTuna
This is the best guitar (and any stringed instrument) tuner I’ve found.
Pro Metronome
This has been my favorite metronome app for some time, and the addition of an Apple Watch app and even an Apple TV app have made it my go-to. The TV app is more useful than you might think, by the way.

Keeping Up

Nuzzel
I’ve found Nuzzle to be extremely good at gathering content I want to see. It’s not great for breaking out of my bubble, but I’ve been heading to AllSides to even things out.
theSkimm
I love Skimm for catching up on news in a hurry. My daily breakfast reading.
Highly
Highlight and save text in any web article you read. I especially like the social aspect of seeing highlights from other users.

Noting and Prosing

Keyboards

Gboard
Google’s iOS keyboard kind of changed my iOS typing game. I’d used a bunch of 3rd party keyboards, some really good, but Gboard connected more dots that any other keyboard has for me. It does cause you to miss out on some basic iOS features like snippet completions and dictation1, so I do find myself switching back and forth, but the swipe typing is pretty amazing. And the GIF search and inline emoji suggestions while you type…
Grammarly
If you have a preference for proper grammar and spelling, this one’s worth checking out. Also see Hemingway.

Notes

Drafts
Still my go-to for quick notes. A force press on the app icon gives me instant access to type or dictate a note on the go, with extensive options for filing it elsewhere when I have time to sit and sort.
1Writer
1Writer has been my nvALT companion of choice since 2015.

Text Editing

Editorial
You still can’t beat Editorial in the realm of advanced, extensible iOS text editors. Not that there aren’t enough to choose from…

Mind Mapping

I find it tough to pick a single mind map editor. I use all three of these for varying types of work:

Nerdier Stuff

Screens VNC
The best screen sharing app on iOS (and Mac, too).
Prompt
The best SSH client on iOS.
Clone
My current favorite Git/GitHub client on iOS (there are a few great ones, including Working Copy.)
Duet
I love using my iPad as a second display for my MacBook Pro. Even on my aging iPad Air 2, it’s snappy.
WhatTheFont
Shazam for fonts. No more snapping a picture, editing it for contrast, and uploading it to MyFonts. Just point your iPhone camera and get font guesses.
Night Sky
Shazam for stars. Point your phone at the sky and find out what star/planet/constellation you’re looking at.

Capturing and Editing

Halide
A camera app that gives you full control over focus, exposure, white balance, ISO and image format.
Annotable
Even with iOS 11 screen annotation features, I still find this tool great for quickly marking up and editing screens/photos for people.
Momento Gif Maker
Not to be confused with the journaling app (see the “Staying Fit and Sane” section), this one detects Live Photos and short videos in your camera roll and generates GIFs. Speed, direction, photo filters, and other effects are available when editing. I also like the “1 Year Ago Today” feature that surfaces older photos automatically and sends a notification.
Pixelmator
I’ve used a lot of photo editors on my iPad, but Pixelmator has been the best one yet for complex, layer-based image editing. Enlight Photofox is a close second for image compositing, and I’m eager to try Affinity Photo but haven’t taken the plunge on the iOS version yet.

Goofing Off

I generally prefer puzzle games, but this year saw me get into a few really great story-based games as well.

Story

Never Alone: Ki Edition
This story-based game is gorgeous and the gameplay is unique and fantastic to maneuver.
Severed
My other favorite story-based game this year. A girl on a mission with a blend of quest and battle.

Puzzle

Mini Metro
A puzzle game, but one with multiple solutions to every problem as you build transit systems for various cities.
KAMI 2
This puzzle game has a perfect blend of relaxed discovery and frustrating challenge.

Arcade

Leap On
An arcade style game, and one that’s great for quick “waiting room” play.
Duet
This one is tough, but not so tough you can’t obsess over beating level after level. Plus, daily challenges to keep things fresh.

Passive Entertainment

Plex
Not much to say on Plex other than it’s solid and I love it on iOS and my Apple TV.
StreamToMe
I’ve been using this one for years. It streams video to your device over WiFi, handling all of the encoding on the Mac that its server is running on. It’s fast, uses minimal battery on your device, and it can handle a ton of video formats.

Augmenting Reality

I’m including a mix of apps from utilities to games here, separate because they not only use AR, the only work because of AR. I’m really excited about this future.

Conduct AR!
A game of model railroads. I love that it requires physically moving around to see what’s happening on the other side of the tracks.
TapMeasure
This one blew me away. It’s a tool for measuring rooms. You point it at the floor, then draw out the floor plan by tapping the screen as you look at each corner. Then drag the outline up to the ceiling, and you get dimensions for every plane in the room. Export a wireframe and start planning out furniture (or writing off home office space on your taxes).
AirMeasure
Similar to TapMeasure but even better for objects. I measured the underside of some cabinets in about 30 seconds and went to the hardware store with accurate measurements for every section.
IKEA Place
Look at your room and drop any IKEA product into it. You can see how it will fit, and even walk around to see it from different angles. Every store in the world should do this.

Someone needs to make an AR tea party app for kids. Sit at a table and drop characters into the other seats and actually be able to interact with them. Kids and lonely adults, I suppose.

Other Stuff

When you don’t have enough related apps to make a category for it…

Paprika 3
Paprika recently updated to version 3 and I upgraded immediately. It’s my absolute favorite recipe management app. I’ve probably mentioned it before.
Amazon
Sure, there are some interface elements I would love to see moved around, but I can’t deny that I love shopping with Amazon’s app. It’s so easy…
Deliveries
I tried Slice for package tracking for a while and loved the convenience. Then I found out about their privacy policies after it shifted hands, and it was immediately deleted from my phone. Deliveries requires a little more manual entry, but it’s a great way to track packages from my Today view on both Mac and iOS.
Brave
A brilliant, secure, ad-blocking browser.
Background and Vellum Wallpapers
Two exceptional Unsplash clients. If you’re looking to expand your iOS wallpaper selection, these will do the trick.

Stay tuned for the Mac apps!

See all the 2017 roundups!

  1. Yes, you can use Google’s dictation, but it’s inconvenient compared to the built-in tools.

30% off CleanMyMac (and every MacPaw app) for the next 3 days

[Tweet : nvALT]

For the next 3 days, MacPaw is offering a 30% off sale on every app in their suite, including CleanMyMac 3, Gemini, MacHider, and CleanMyPC.

I’ve talked a lot about CleanMyMac 3, (even included it in my last e-book, 60 Mac Tips: Volume 2), and I use it regularly for keeping my system lean and mean, as well as maintenance tasks and secure file deletion (among other things). I also use Gemini, and it’s especially handy for locating duplicate files taking up space. Honestly, it’s the best out of the multiple apps I’ve tried for that purpose, matching files with minor variations that others wouldn’t pick up on and determining their level of difference.

So if you’re looking for some end of year savings on some best-in-class apps, take advantage of the great deals on CleanMyMac 3, Gemini, MacHider, CleanMyPC at the MacPaw Store.

Happy Holidays: Marked 2 25% off

[Tweet : nvALT]

As we hit the end of the year, I’m offering Marked 2 for $9.99 (normally $13.99), on both the direct version and in the Mac App Store.

I know that not everybody has friends and family that are as interested (or in need of) Markdown tools as they are, but feel free to pass the news on to anyone you think could use it. Put it on a hand-drawn coupon. It makes a way better gift than a “1 free hug” coupon, which is never as well-received as you think.

Happy Holidays!

12StarApps - Discounts on apps from EU indie devs

[Tweet : nvALT]

After posting about App Santa 2017, Daniel Alm (developer of Timing) let me know about 12★Apps, a sale on apps from indie developers in the European Union.

Until January 2nd, some great apps are 25%–70% off their normal prices. I’ve used almost every app on this list and it’s an amazing collection of quality tools:

  • Notebooks (71% off)
  • Notebooks for Mac (52% off)
  • Working Copy (30% off)
  • GIF’ted (25% off)
  • Submerge (25% off)
  • iStopMotion for iPad (50% off)
  • mimoLive Reporter (50% off)
  • QuickScale (68% off)
  • Carbo (39% off)
  • Prizmo for iOS (27% off)
  • Prizmo for Mac (30% off)
  • PocketCAS for iOS (50% off)
  • PocketCAS for Mac (50% off)
  • Timing (25% off)
  • VideoGrade (35% off)
  • Where To? (71% off)
  • Remote Buddy (20% off)
  • Money for iOS (58% off)
  • Money for Mac (50% off)
  • ColorSnapper 2 (30% off)
  • Byword for iOS (50% off)
  • Byword for Mac (46% off)
  • Linky (44% off)

Head over to 12★Apps for more details!

You might also want to check out Eltima’s gamified holiday sale on all of their apps, including Folx PRO, Commander One, and Elmedia Player.