Welcome to another year of my “best of” lists. I’m throwing it all into one post this year, so the list is a little shorter than years past. I have my reasons.
So here are some of my favorite apps, tools, and physical objects from 2018.
My core productivity/utility set hasn’t changed much, still consisting of ever-useful and always dependable tools like OmniFocus, TaskPaper, BetterTouchTool, PopClip, Dropzone, a bit more Keyboard Maestro than before, Bartender, TextExpander, and a few others that I already talk about all the time. A few new ones worth mentioning:
- Affinity Designer / Affinity Photo
- The design/photo editing solutions from Affinity are my favorite new software of 2018. Complete replacements for Illustrator and Photoshop, available for both desktop and iPad.
- CleanMyMac X
- CleanMyMac1 remains my favorite maintenance app for macOS. This year’s addition of Malware detection and cleanup seals the deal for me.
- I realized that most of my favorite apps for 2018 were coming from Setapp, so I’m going to save a little time and just send you there. For $10/month (with family and team plans available), there’s just too much good stuff on Setapp to ignore it. Here’s an incomplete list of the apps on Setapp that I use regularly:
- CleanMyMac X
- Forecast Bar
- Yummy FTP Pro
Some of my favorites on iPhone and iPad from the last year:
- A powerful camera app. It hasn’t completely replaced the default camera app for me, but when I want more control, it’s top notch.
- A great app for HDR and low-light photography. Uses 60fps capture to quickly gather a range of exposures and automatically composite them.
- Never Alone: Ki Edition on the App Store
- Recommended to me by David Sparks, this game is beautiful, challenging, and even informative. Excellent gameplay and graphics on any iOS device.
- I 100% blame John Voorhees for this one. I had to delete it off my phone because the Screen Time stats were horrifying. But if you’re looking for an addictive game with excellent design and gameplay, and one you can pick up any time, this is it. There’s a fair chance it will ruin your life.
- Apple’s Measure app is nice, but I find TapMeasure a delight to use for AR measuring.
- And along the same lines as TapMeasure, this AR app lets you build floorplans by quickly scanning the corners of rooms and attaching them together. Want to measure the square footage of your entire house? Get this one.
- This app has prevented many missed medication doses for me. Gives me reminders on my watch and my phone, and even notifies a third party if you don’t mark them as taken within half an hour.
- A fantastic way to get your news summarized, with a sense of humor, and without strong bias.
In the Browser
- A Chrome extension for tab (and full session) management. If it were available for Firefox I might switch browsers more permanently, but it’s enough on its own to keep me on Chrome.
- I know, I mention these every year. Seriously great collaborative mind mapping (MindMeister) and project management (MeisterTask). My favorite feature is the ability to instantly turn a mind map into a kanban board…
- Fellow Prismo
- ($25) I wrote a review of this one back in June. It lets your Aeropress make espresso. It’s awesome.
- And if your Aeropress is aging and slipping when you press, do yourself a favor and spend the $8 on a replacement plunger gasket. It’ll make it feel like new again.
- Wobble Wedge
- ($12.49) This is pretty OCD. Little plastic wedges you can carry around to fix any wobbly table. If you work at coffeehouses, these are great. I doubt they’ll impress your date, so maybe wait until they’ve gone to the bathroom. Thanks to Joe Kissel for pointing me to these.
- Oittm Watch Band for Apple Watch Series 4
- ($33.99) A great metal watch band for a Series 4, at a much lower price than you’d pay for one of Apple’s.
- GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 with Lantern and Magnet
- ($12.99) If you want a great work lamp/camping light, this thing is awesome. It’s a super bright flashlight that can slide open to become a lantern. A powerful magnet at the end makes it easy to attach to work surfaces and get light right where you need it.
- And if you’re camping (or dealing with a power outage), GearLight LED Lanterns are $16.99 for a 2-pack. Compact and sturdy.
- Synology 4 bay NAS DiskStation DS418
- ($369.99) I mention this only because it’s the greatest NAS I’ve ever owned. Glad I finally took the plunge.
- The Infinity Mat
- ($88) Currently unavailable, but I have to mention it because it’s my favorite yoga mat yet, and I’ve been through a fair number at this point. Great thickness for me (great padding but not so thick it feels like standing on a pillow) and excellent surface traction. Expected to restock in February.
- Trideer Padded Weight Lifting Gloves with 18” Wrist Wraps Support
- ($19.99) Whenever I post yoga pictures I get questions about the gloves I wear. They’re weight lifting gloves with wrap-around wrist support. Great for traction with sweaty palms and a little support for RSSI wrists. My previous brand was Harbinger, but when the velcro wore out I tried these Trideer and I’m really happy with them.
- Tweezerman Combo Clipper Set
- ($9) Recommended to my by John Gruber years ago, I just replaced my set this year after losing the fingernail clippers somewhere. Best toe/fingernail clippers ever.
- Remington HC4250 Shortcut Pro Self-Haircut Kit
- ($55.53) This is for a select audience, but if you keep your hair short and like to cut it yourself, this clipper is amazing. It fits in your palm and makes it easy to get to your head from all angles, with a rounded blade to handle the curvature of your head. Not bad for a quick beard trim, either.
- Bluetooth Sleep Eye Mask Wireless Headphones
- ($25) Inexpensive bluetooth sleep headphone solution. I reviewed them in October.
- Clearmounts Audi A3/S3/RS3 Magnetic Cell Phone Holder
- ($30) Another one for select audiences, but if you own a compatible Audi, this is the best solution for a magnetic phone mount I’ve found. Also available with Qi charging.
- Ultimate Hacking Keyboard
- ($275) The first mechanical keyboard I’ve ever truly loved. Check out my review to see why.
Well, that’s going to be it for this year. Time and money, you know. Hopefully you find something new in here!
As always, not to be confused in any way with MacKeeper, the devil’s scrotum of Mac apps.↩