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Favorite Everyday Apps & Utilities


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#1 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 05:09 PM

Wall o' Text Time! So, unless you have an interest in this stuff (feel free to just skim and comment), are very bored or are goofing off at work and this beats working you might want to just skip it and share what stuff you like to use without wasting your time hearing about what I do and complaints of mine besides!

I am still pursuing the Holy Grail of a complete suite of apps and utilities that I am completely satisfied with. This will probably never happen but the search continues just the same. I am relatively happy with things here overall but there are some I see as being more lacking than others and stuff OS X really doesn't include or make simple enough that I look at various utilities to fill in or improve things there. So here's the stuff I use most commonly and a few notes about each. I am very curious about what you guys prefer for the same basic tasks and if you have any favorites addressing things I simply haven't thought of.

Database App - TapForms. This is an excellent home & small business user database app the does a great job of not only picking up where Bento left off but improving on it in some substantial ways. The companion iOS app works very well and syncing via iCloud has been trouble free.

Notes App - This one has been tough. Nobody seems to really get this right in my opinion although some come closer than others. EverNote is pretty nice and I like that it is multi-platform which is handy when I want to see certain notes in Windows. However, I am not paying for a subscription to a notes app and the ads in it. I also consider the UI to be ugly. I looked at others like Notability but it seems to have issues in its OS X version that are inexcusable, like crashing on searches. Apparently people love the iOS version but the OS X version has been a letdown thus far. Before Microsoft made OneNote available and for free on the App Store, I bought an app called Growly Notes made by a guy who as I recall had worked for Microsoft on Mac software projects. It is similar to OneNote and a pretty decent app but it has two modes which look very different and do not share the exact same functionality. It was only 5 bucks and I've been using it a long time but it is not cross platform and there is no companion iOS app. One mode has a nice professional look to it and the other is an overly colorful playskool kind of thing but had organizational functionality I wanted which the better looking mode lacked. I downloaded OneNote and took a very brief look and then felt too lazy to learn yet another notes app. I am sick of it even though I want a good one which ideally shares data with a Windows version and offers a companion iOS app.

Still on the notes thing, Apple's improved notes app does not cut the mustard for me. It is simple to a fault but I see that a plus for certain uses where i enter stuff on the Mac and access it with the iPhone elsewhere. Unfortunately, the best use of this for me would be food shopping lists but if there is some way to lock a note so it cannot be edited or the whole app better still, I don't know what it is. I gave up recently after deleting half my shopping list accidentally before I'd gotten those things. Holding the phone in my hand while shopping i keep hitting the glass and turning this thing and that on and screwing up the document I want to refer to. There must be a better way but currently I do not know what it is. It's enough to make me go back to a pen and paper because that works flawlessly every time but it is more time consuming and I cannot reuse what I write easily with edits each week, etc. Sucks to shop for me and probably with me but sister is nice and never complains.

Personal Finance - I use YNAB to budget and a Numbers spreadsheet to forecast and that's worked very nicely for me. Unfortunately, YNAB has transitioned in its latest version to a web app with a subscription which really pisses me off as the approximate cost to use it over a 10 year period is easily double what buying the thing four times over without any upgrade discount would be over that same time period. I wrote to them about that and I got back a big thank you form letter with all kinds or irritating enthusiasm about customer feedback. Yeah. Too bad because by all accounts Quicken Mac sucks and Intuit is looking to unload it anyway so the future isn't looking too bright there for a $75. app everyone complains about but keeps right on buying. I looked at Moneydance and for a moment i thought I had gone back in time and was using a text based app running on MS-DOS 3.3. I was overcome with anxiety and it wasn't long before i trashed that 50 dollar bit of ugliness. Poking around it was confusing as hell too. I give it the "Wicked Bad UI of the Year Award" personally. So maybe the folks at YNAB got me here because I don't like anything else I see for Mac. iBank (forget the new name) didn't look all that hot either but I forget why. I think they wanted a sub for something too.

Don't you love the trend towards a subscription model for applications? They must think we are all made of money or something. I am not myself.

Office apps - Numbers and Pages are good enough for my simple needs. I find them a little annoying to use sometimes but not enough to buy the bloat that is Office 365 and yet another subscription.

To-Do List - Things works for me. I need look no further. It could be better in some ways but I'll stick to a classic design that stays focused on doing one thing well without trying to toss in too many features and getting bloated and ugly in the process. People seem to love Wunderlist but there is another one wanting a sub as an in-app purchase.

Here's another gripe about apps just in general: everybody in Mac App land has this thing lately for rolling their own cloud. I hate that. I just want one place to worry about with everything there but no. Gotta go their own way, standards be damned. It's not that big of a deal really but I would prefer less logins in my life.

Journal - Day One - the new one just had to go with their own cloud service which has resulted in a 2 star rating and tons of complaints about an otherwise substantially upgraded app that many already liked a lot in its previous version which supported iCloud and I think DropBox too for those wanting that. I give up on the cloud thing. If was to stick to my guns there I wouldn't be using Things anymore who also did this recently. I like the new Day One a lot. It's great for it's purpose in my opinion and the new features are very welcome. It was worth the cost to upgrade to the new one. It syncs very nicely with the iOS version once both are setup so I'll give them that.

Calendar - Apple's is good enough for me. I am not blowing money on a calendar given my needs which are very simple.

Mail - Oh, mail.... Does anyone make a great Mail client for OS X? I don't hate Apple Mail. I use it and unlike many stories I've read my experience has been fairly trouble free. There are some annoying issues with using it and Gmail but I think some of this confusion for me has to do with how Gmail flags things rather than acts on them giving the illusion of various mailboxes that do not really exist and making the maintenance and permanent deletion of stuff I want gone a hassle for dumbbell here. When I trash something, I do not want it archived anywhere. I want it gone. But no! Why is this hard? I know I am not really stupid or too stupid I hope and yet this baffles me. I check prefs, I try to set things to do what I want them to but I get no joy. Outlook mail (exchange) throws connect and other errors randomly. I could go on but while the issues are minor in total they get to me. I want something that "just works" and is simple. I want something my mom and dad could use because the older I get the closer I get to being them. So it's still Apple Mail for now. I peeked at the hot seller, Airmail 2 I think it is and despite selling well the users don't like it much and I can see why. Looked at a couple others with a search and they looked so bad I just gave up. I wonder if having MS Office with Outlook mail is actually worth the sub for what it offers sometimes. Maybe it is. Well, assuming Outlook works well. I have no idea. It used to in Windows when I used it years ago at work.

Thanks to my issues with stuff not getting deleted (or even marked as read sometimes) my Gmail archive is huge from years of not attending to the mess and loaded with junk I meant to delete when I got it. Buried in there is stuff I care about, primarily family correspondence, receipts and some other info. The vast majority of the thousands of messages are junk. Even using search to help me on the Gmail webpage to work on this was overwhelming and I stopped after a while despite the massive amount of stuff I think I deleted for real that time.

Weather - This is a fun one. I love the ever changing weather and especially storms although I have a fear of tornados since moving down here. Currently I use Clear Day running in my menu bar for a quick peek at current temps and forecast info. I mostly keep it around for the alerts it posts to notification center and which I can get the full national weather service alert text for within the app. Unfortunately, I don't know who's fault it is but most alerts are not near me despite the app knowing exactly where I am so most are not relevant at all. The weather map in it is not very good and what is also annoying is the app is too stupid to use my location to center its display on. Instead it picks a random place in town and is always zoomed in a way that causes me to have to fiddle with it to get an initially useful view. Knowing what is happening near the Ford dealer on the other side of town is not really all that helpful compared to a view of the county at least that i can the zoom out or in from. Oh, well. Nobody seems to get these right either. Each one has some cool thing about it while blowing other stuff in a big way. So I got a few of them but presently just use Clear Day and for decent maps I use Radar Live Pro which does show weekly forecast info broken down by day for a week with sunrise and sunset times so that's alright for what it is. The way it works is kinda stupid though. You start the thing and it does not display itself. You have to click the icon again after it is running for it to do that. The developer thinks this is good for some reason I forget and is not changing it. For lack of anything else that does this inexpensively, I keep it for now. For laughs and basic info I am considering the new Carrot weather app to be my resident weather smartass. I still like Dark Sky on my iPhone the best for its hyperlocal weather as they call it. Someone here recently pointed out to me that i can access that on the web too and I did bookmark it but I forget to go there which is my own fault and problem. I am not big on web pages functioning as apps personally even though some do a very nice job of it.

Web Browser - I like Safari's features. I do not like Safari's performance and bugginess. Still, I stick with it as my main browser for now. I want to use all Apple stuff and damned Apple won't make good enough stuff. It's too bad Steve Jobs isn't still around kicking ass. It seems to me like maybe Tim Cook is too nice or something. Maybe I am completely wrong but I wonder about that. Anyway, I tried Firefox. I was put off by the regular intrusions with info about their own little agenda, etc. I think their browser would be better and have more market share if they stopped messing around making stuff nobody wants which then fails. I have mixed feelings about Google and their practices but then I don't really care that much about it. I'll leave that to other people. So, I installed that as it is very handy in sharing bookmarks with the one I installed in winders because there ain't no way I will ever use Internet Exploiter. Nope. That ain't happening. Chrome seems pretty darned good actually. I also have to come clean and confess that while I removed Flash from my Mac and won't install it in Windows either, I have fired up Chrome to watch something only available in Flash or to access some stupid website that requires it. It's rare but I admit I've liked having it sandboxed in Chrome until it is finally dead. I am toying with the idea of ditching Safari for Chrome since running two browsers when I really do not need to here is dumb. I am better off with one size fits all that is also faster and less trouble in my experience so far. I just had to clean out all data in Safari to get it to become responsive again when it was beachball city here just a few minutes ago. It all began on Verizon's site looking at phone upgrades and went downhill from there. I don't need stuff like that happening. I remember Opera used to be cool ages ago but I forget why aside of they were supposedly the fastest browser once upon a time. I read just the other day something, I think in Computer World, about them trying to sell off to some company in China. It sounds like things might not be going so well in Opera Land I guess.

Music - Some would disagree with me here I suspect but while I can see room for various improvements I do like iTunes quite a bit and have no desire to look at anything else to replace it. I prefer to buy digital media there. I tried Amazon for some music for a while until I ran into a few obviously inferior recordings at less than 256 Kbps and was irked they even sold that now. I have this funny feeling they do some home brew encoding there from CDs they sell which often include the mp3 download album with them. Of course, for all I know Apple does too with licensing but at least the quality there in my experience is decent. I realize lossless is ideal but I neither have room for that nor the ears and gear to notice it enough for it to be a big deal to me whereas I most certainly do notice lesser bitrate encodings, lousy mixes, etc. I liked Apple Music when I did the trial too. I might pick that up again at some point until I own everything I care about which will be a while.

Special Note - I love using Messages to text my sister because I can type on a real keyboard. I love that. I like to spam her with volumes of stuff typed at high speed when she texts me. I try to make her sorry she didn't call instead but it never seems to work. Still, I like it anyway. I hate typing on a phone, absolutely hate it.

Photos - Photos works for me and i need to investigate plug-ins to enhance it to meet my very simple needs. For now instead I use the free Fotor for a few touch ups, etc. and good enough. I might get a separate low cost app for this at some point but a photoshop guy I am not and I find The GIMP frightening, despite it being free. No thank you.

Misc Apps - Sleep Pillow so I can pretend I am on an airplane while falling asleep or in various other soothing sounding environments. It's quite nice but does repeat too soon and it's noticeable to varying degrees depending on which sound you are listening to. The jet plane one is cool though. Makes me sleepy. BitTorrent, Handbrake, Audacity and VLC are handy on the rare occasions I need them. Actually, I haven't even used Handbrake yet but I figure i will want it at some point. Paprika Recipe Manager which I have been too lazy to stick my favorite recipes in and I have also wondered if I shouldn't just roll my own now with Tapforms. We shall see. Maybe. Maybe not. The best laid plans, etc. Text Wrangler because sometimes all I want is just the text and nothing but the text. Meme Generator that I am too lazy to use despite macdude's demands for more memes around here. Kindle Reader which sucks for some free classic books which I can probably also get for iBooks which I hope doesn't suck. I need to look into but have yet to do so. Being lazy, I like audiobooks and have Amazon's Audible app for that on my iPhone which is very nice.

Utilities - Do we need them? Yes, we do! I had Norton's back in the day when he coded them all by himself in assembly language to do stuff Microsoft was too lazy to do. Well, fast forward to today we need stuff to do stuff Apple is too lazy to do. Having said that I can see lots of opinions about what is worthwhile, what is not, etc. but here's some stuff I like:

EasyFind to easily find stuff and visualize right away exactly where it is. Finder thinks I am too stupid to handle all this information so I need EasyFind because I ain't that stupid yet. Owly to make sure my Mac will not sleep when I do not want it to. I know there is an API for this apps can use but I do not trust them. I am paranoid and I must know that nothing can go wrong at certain times. So maybe i am a little stupid after all but I don't care. Temperature Gauge because every Mac user should get a visual once in a while reminding them that maybe they should clean the dust out of the air vents before the machine melts and fails. Actually, I wanted it to have a peek at how hot it was getting under load and it was handy for that. I never use it now but it's around if I want it. Pimp Your Screen because I am too lazy to go find cool wallpaper at Deviant Art or wherever when I can get sorta cool wallpaper served up to me monthly and easily browse them and set one to my desktop whenever I feel like it. I like how they serve up seasonal stuff too. It's pretty good for cheap money and lazy folks like me who still have at least a little sense of style. Malwarebytes because I like to do brief scans looking for stuff that is never there. Dr. Cleaner because i like to obsess about 1 or 2 gigs of wasted space on a 1 TB hard drive and also with a little luck screw myself sometimes deleting that stuff such that Apple Maps gets screwed up and my Weather Map app along with it that relies on Apple Maps and Clear Sky too while i am at it. I never learn it seems. I want my Mac to be tidy despite my house not being especially tidy. Some things defy explanation I guess. AppCleaner. This wonderful little free app does a decent although not always a complete job of removing apps and other files they leave behind. It does not always get of everything and it probably never really matters but I do it anyway.

DaisyDisk. This is nice. I am not ashamed of this one. You get this functionality for free in other ugly apps but this one is slick and works well. It's also fast which is real nice as freebies I tried were slow as molasses. It was handy in finding and trashing a bunch of stuff that was wasting space here, a lot of space. I still need a decent duplicates finder that is smart enough to deal with Photos libraries despite Apple not providing any API for this yet which I guess iPhoto did have. I have found one app that does this, actually two by the same company who makes Diskdoctor (FIPLAB) and it has decent reviews and is cheap so I might pick that up. I think it was like 3 bucks for it. Meantime Gemini which looks very slick and does the same thing with a cool UI is 10 bucks and does not attempt to do anything with Photos libraries I don't think.

Games - Who has time for games with all the screwing around I talk about above? That's what lesser operating systems like winders are for. At least they are good for something. I feel guilty now. Special mention for Feral and Aspyr needs to be made here even if I am mad about Black OPS crashing and maybe not ever getting fixed. The other issues Aspyr is wrestling with are apparently Apple's fault and related to GameCenter so I give them a pass there. Black OPS makes me want to whine though because I put it off and now I am in trouble and I am not fond of taking personal responsibility for stuff like this if there any possible way to blame somebody else.
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#2 the Battle Cat

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 06:43 PM

I quit using TextEdit when they started forcing saving one's changes.  I do a lot of different things with a text file, sometimes intentionally buggering something up that I don't want to save.  Sorry peon user, Apple has decided to save everything and let TimeMachine sort it all out.  I don't use time machine, I do my own backups incrementally using Super Duper.

TextEdit has been replaced by TextWrangler.  Screw you Apple, stop micromanaging my work habits.
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#3 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:24 PM

Notes: OneNote - I've tried many notes apps and never really had a problem with any of them, but it seems like OneNote has won the day as I've started doing 100% of my notes with it.

Personal Finance: I'll be honest I don't use one, but I really should. I own YNAB, just need to start using it :P Me and the wife are at a point in our lives where we are paying off a lot of student debt (only a few months to go!) so virtually 100% of our money is spoken for, but when the debt payments are finished I'll have to start budgeting, since there will be a lot more 'extra' money each month

Office: I use MS Office a ton for work, but for my personal office needs I use Google Docs 90% of the time.

To-Do-List: "Clear" app for iOS. They have an OS X version as well, but I'm not paying for it

Journal: I'm curious - what is the main benefit of using a journal app versus a note app like OneNote or Evernote?

Calendar: I think the built in Calendar in OS X is kind of garbage, but I never use any calendar apps in OS X, it's all done on my phone using Fantasical (which is available for OS X, but it is forty fraking dollars)

Mail: gmail web app

Weather: google/siri

Web Browser: Flip flop between Chrome and Firefox. I would use Safari, except for I'm using Windows much of the day at work, and I want a consistent browsing experience between OS X and Windows.

Music: Spotify Premium via the web app. I also pay for Apple Music, but I think Apple Music's UI is terrible

Photos: I just browse my photos from my Google Drive, but if I need to edit something I'll use Pixelmator or the new Photos app in OS X
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#4 macdude22

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 09:35 PM


Notes - I use One Note extensively at work the Mac and iPad apps are very functional and the sharepoint sync across devices is very nice. I have lots of notebooks for current cases open with vendors, current projects,  system documentation, and other day to day tasks. I use this in conjunction with TaskPaper for tracking things I need to do for the day. At home I really don’t use note software that often so Apple’s bare bones notes syncing over iCloud works fine. Occasionally use Reminders at home as well. Usually shopping list.


In college I used Scrivener extensively for research projects. Still have my license, if I had a huge research project to do again I would go back to it.


Task Paper - This is my task application at work. I looked at other tools and I really just needed a simple running tab of things I need todo. Most everything else is overkill, though many products like Evernote or DevonThink could probably take the place of TaskPaper and OneNote. I run this with 3 sections.


Need to Do

This is 2-5 things that should get accomplished today.


Aim to do

This is a rolling tab of things that should get done within the next week.


Long Term

This is a rolling tab of things that need to get done anytime past a week. Could be within a  month, could be long term projects.


Also use an app called Tyme to track time worked on tasks/projects. My time is non billable vs. desktop staff but I figure I have a running log if some C level decides to take note of the Mac guy and ask what he does all day.


Personal Finance - Again I am a simpleton. I have been using a simple bankbook application from Splasm software since the beginning of time. Checkbook be the name.  I also keep a running monthly bill spreadsheet in Numbers. Probably should use a more advanced budgeting app but I have been using Checkbook since college and lazy to learn something new. I also used to use Audiobook Builder from Splasm back when we still got those things crazy things on disk.


Office Apps - We are a microsoft shop at work. Would be bad form for me to use something else. And all things considered Office 2016 is A LOT BETTER than 2011 and the associated iOS apps are pretty good too. Have access to desktop and iOS apps through work. Typically use Pages and Numbers at home. Don’t have a lot of word processing or spreadsheet needs vs. work. Use Keynote at work. I wouldn't touch PP with a 10 foot pole.


Calendar - Apple Calendar at home. Outlook at work.


Sensing a theme. I tend to keep my work and personal stuff in separate apps. I get broader exposure to applications users are using in our environment and it’s just easier to keep them separate for legal and regulatory reasons (even if we don’t enforce it).


Mail - Outlook at work. Mail.app at home. I was using Postbox 3, mail has had a lot of performance issues in the past but when Mail.app 9 came out I gave it another whirl and it ran a lot better. I think Postbox is probably still the superior client but I didn’t feel like buying an upgrade. On my phone I have my personal mail in the built in app and I use CloudMagic for my work mail. I see Cloud Magic has a mac client out now I may give that a whirl.


Weather - Bit of a weather junky. Iowa weather and all. I have Forecast Bar installed on all machines. Use Dark Sky on iOS. Click boom. Weather for the next hour. The precipitation predictions tend to be pretty good. Also have Meteogram for iPhone which gives great graphs for expected temps and precipitation. On my main desktop at home I have some additional apps WX is sort of an old school meat and potatoes weather app with some interesting aggregations and a lot of NWS radars in one place. Also have WeatherSnoop (always intended to setup a weather station and have never got around to it). Usually during a storm I’ll fire up WeatherSnoop and point it at the airport feed for realtime information. And of course I pony up my 10 bucks for ad-free weather underground. Also have weather nation on my roku so I can feel like and old person and watch live weather tv in a storm.


Browser - Safari. Used Firefox for a while. Used chrome for a while and it got real bloated. Safari 9 had very much increased performance over previous versions so went back to that. Plus it’s our supported OS X browser at work (along with Firefox).


Music - since iCloud backup and Spotify I don’t think I’ve fired up iTunes in years. You could probably nuke my library and I wouldn’t notice.


Podcasts - I drive an hour each way for work plus I have an innate desire to ignore anyone and everything at work. I listen to a lot of podcasts. Used iTunes way back in the day for this until they split off the podcasts in that atrocious Podcast app. Switched to Downcast. Never looked back. The iCloud sync between my phone and work desktop is great and I have bluetooth headphones so I can just wander the medical wasteland in peace. IMO developer doesn't charge enough for Downcast but people don't like to pay for apps.


Delicious Library - Keep a tab on all my physical media. Actually keep other stuff in here too. Figure if my house burns down i can give it to insurance.


iClip - I could not survive at home or work without a clipboard manager.


Photos - I long outgrew iPhoto’s ability to handle large amounts of files and used Aperture for a long time. Not really any of the pro features, it just didn’t crash with 20k photos. Have migrated to Photos.app. Is very simple and unimpressive. Apple went overboard on the simplification here.


CameraBag 2 - photo touchup app. Comes in handy for touching up photos of the kids and kats.


GraphicConverter - I assume no mac user worth his salt doesn’t at least keep the trial of this on hand.


Have MacPaw Gemini for clearing off duplicates. Mostly use this at work because I am an IRL and digital packrat and will have 12 directories with the literal same package of acrobat updates or stuff like that.


In high school and college I did a lot of stuff with video and used to use iStopMotion a lot. Still have it installed but haven’t touched it in years.


MacTracker. Who doesn’t have MacTracker installed. Also Appears iWeb is still installed on my desktop here lol. But then AppleWorks is still on here so you know how often I clean up my machine. Never. The answer is never.


OmniDisk Sweeper - Free. Finds files. Daisy disk is probably nicer but I’m an old school omni fanboi.


OmniGraffle - Use this for sketching things around the house and at work.


Toast 8 - 14 are installed. I am dum and keep updating this. Might need to burn a disk for one of the macs in the basement someday. I am dumb. Do not buy toast.


I am very old and still use newsgroups. Legit text newsgroups not them new fangled .nzb binaries. Back in my day if you wanted a binary you needed to watch your groups like a hawk and hope you had a good backup server to grab partials. Anyway I used Panic Unison for a very long time but they stopped development but Asar brought back Hogwasher in the vacuum so I have been using Hogwasher.


Textual - Again I am old and use IRC. How else will I talk to all my arien conspiracy coast friends but on IRC.


Utilities - I am old and dum and still keep a 1TB USB Repair Drive with various tools on it. Tech Tool 8. Data Rescue 4. Drive DX. Disk Drill. File Salvage. Super Duper. TBH I use this quite a bit at work and the desktop staff occasionally accuses me of being a witch when a FV encrypted Mac that would appear to be dead and unrecoverable to them ends up on my desk and I get all the user data back.


Carbon Copy Cloner - Use this to backup my home desktop (and attached drives) and laptop to my home Synology NAS. Prefer CCC's scheduling for backup. Prefer Super Duper's ease of use for general cloning.


EasyFind - everyone should have this.

Coca - keep my mac from screen saver when needed.

iStat Menus - So much delicious information about my mac in one place. I love it so much I was an honest joe and bought the 5 back because I have it on all muh boxes home and work.

MacPilot - general unix maintenance and all around good guy app.

AppBolish - another app from Koingo Software. In my experience this identifies files that need to be removed better than AppCleaner. Which is odd, they both should be looking at the same .pkg receipt but who knows what their special sauce is.

AirRadar - Again from koingio, mostly use at work for AP testing.


Have other more work specific apps at work. Casper Suite management tools. Plist edit pro. Xcode. White box Packages.Text Wrangler. Parallels Desktop (don’t know how I packaged software before linked clones) AutoPkgr.  Lync…..by the rising star Lync……

Have Hero Lab on my MacBook. This is pretty niche tabletop RPG character management software, ugly as sin but gets the job done for my lazy arse. And it’s not like there are many prettier competitors let alone ones with Mac Apps.


Pretty much I got a lotta Apps. I don't even want to look at my phone to tell you all the garbage I have on there.

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#5 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 10:33 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 17 February 2016 - 09:24 PM, said:

Office: I use MS Office a ton for work, but for my personal office needs I use Google Docs 90% of the time.

Journal: I'm curious - what is the main benefit of using a journal app versus a note app like OneNote or Evernote?

Calendar: I think the built in Calendar in OS X is kind of garbage, but I never use any calendar apps in OS X, it's all done on my phone using Fantasical (which is available for OS X, but it is forty fraking dollars)

Web Browser: Flip flop between Chrome and Firefox. I would use Safari, except for I'm using Windows much of the day at work, and I want a consistent browsing experience between OS X and Windows.

Music: Spotify Premium via the web app. I also pay for Apple Music, but I think Apple Music's UI is terrible

Photos: I just browse my photos from my Google Drive, but if I need to edit something I'll use Pixelmator or the new Photos app in OS X

I tried and used Google Docs when that was a pretty new thing. I hadn't looked at any of that in forever and did just recently to find all that stuff still there. Early on naturally Google Docs was pretty crude and I imagine the apps have come a long way since then. I should probably mess with the docs I already have which are a bunch of word-processing and spreadsheet documents and see how things are now. It is kind of cool that this same kind of thing is now available with iCloud and Pages and Numbers but I've only taken a cursory look at that. Since that can be installed in Windows it might be useful and already familiar to me.

While you can certainly keep a journal in anything you want from any word processor or notes app to even a custom database the nice thing I find about a well made app which focuses only on this one task is just that. It just does this one thing with zero other unrelated features to get in the way. That alone to me is a plus, particularly for something I will be writing this kind of stuff with. I have reason to want to keep multiple journals related to certain things in my life and this supports that in a very convenient and accessible way and it is simple to create links between them if I should want to. I am sure other general purpose apps do this too but it's nice they included that. It supports dropping in up to 10 photos per individual entry if desired which again, is something most other notes apps, etc. can do but is occasionally useful to me here. It runs in the menu bar optionally (I have it set to do this) and will remind me at a set interval to remember to write in it. When it does this it drops a window I can begin typing a short entry into immediately which is nice if I want to jot a note to expand upon later when I have more time, feel like it or whatever. Otherwise, popping the full app open then is also simple and fast. Each entry is nicely formatted automatically as a journal entry with date, time (when you finish it, not when you started it), location, weather, and whatever music you might be playing if you are as I recall. You can change what happens here I believe with preferences but I like it the way it is. Again, I am sure I could set this up with a template or something in another app but here it's just automatic and the formatting is attractive as is the app itself. There are some other nice little features specific to keeping a journal I am forgetting now I think but overall I just like that it does just this and does it really well and looks nice doing it. I like it has a companion app for iOS so I can use it away from home and I have reason for that to be very useful to me and the sync works well. The presentation of entries when you open it is nice too making it easy to see the basic gist of what each is about with a title and the first few sentences displayed for each in a list one the left and a large numeral indicating the date with the day in light grey above it and the month of the group of them above that. You can tag and favorite entries as desired for whatever purposes. On the right where your write, it initially displays a little summary of how many entries, photos and tags are in that particular journal. It supports multiple windows if you for some reason want multiple journals open at the same time. It'll open a nice distraction free window just for writing your entry too if you like. It's just a nice bunch of little touches all wrapped together which are all about keeping a journal and nothing else. That to me is what apps are supposed to be a lot of the time. I know there's a place for general purpose functionality and use stuff like that too but for some things I really appreciate something that is designed for and limits itself to a very specific task. So that's the benefit in my mind of using a journal app like Day One vs something else to write in. Oh, it has a nice calendar view too that lets you see what days you wrote something and what days you did not and if you click on any particular one it opens the relevant entry which is cool sometimes I find.

I have looked at Fantastical and thought that is really nice. I like that. I did not like the price at all for a calendar however nice a calendar it is. So I stick with the admittedly clunky at times Apple Calendar and good enough. I'd agree though it is not an app to write home to mom about.

I tried Spotify at one point but it was an app. I recall hating it but I forget why. I think I didn't like the app for some reason. I have heard Spotify is very good and a lot of people like it. I should probably look again sometime. I'd agree Apple Music needs improvement in both UI and features. For example, something that Amazon does much better than they do with their music app that is just for their music and supports something like Apple Music if you have Amazon Prime but is more limited in selection, is it will let you add stuff to your library just as a pointer to the music online and not actually mess with your library at all. I think that is a very good idea. It is risk and trouble free. I forget if it let you download the stuff or if you have to stream it every time but I'm fine streaming it personally. Unfortunately, Amazon Prime is pretty lacking or better put is half-baked in their support of Apple devices on the whole so after shipping some presents for free to my grandson which was what spurred me to try it I canceled. It would be cool I think for somebody with one of their tablets and set top boxes or anything but an Apple set top box since they support everybody else under the sun but for me it's pretty useless. Thanks for the free shipping Amazon and a month of streaming music! That was cool. I did take the time to write to them about their failings here for whatever that is worth, in a nice way encouraging them to make it worthwhile.

I think a move to Chrome is my future. I just don't feel like doing the initial organization of bookmarks, etc. at the moment.

As for Photos, I have never really been very fond of the idea of dumping them all into a database of some sort the way Apple does things. Ages ago I had some app from Google on PC that lived on my PC and just displayed stuff without messing with the folder organization I had set up. I think it created its own database of where stuff was but it did not mess with my data directly which I liked. I found that a lot easier to manage. I find Photos to be a bit of a pain in the ass, importing stuff, organizing stuff, not bothering to organize stuff, stuff being a mess because of that, etc. It's not terrible but it's not great either in my opinion. It's another thing I mean to look into and don't get around to. If they made working with the photos simpler I might not care how they organized them out of my sight but so far they don't to suit me anyway. It is nice how well it works with the iPhone though. I do like that. It is nice too how simple it is to share something overall. I supposed if I invested a little more effort and checked into the new plugins feature and stuff I might become more satisfied with it.

Edit: I forgot to mention also that importantly Day One features password protection for your journals and the upcoming point release will include private key encryption of the data to secure it fully. I'm not real worried about that personally but it is an important feature to many for this application. It also supports the use of templates for different types of journals. You can customize how they look and users have come up with some cool stuff for this. It also has command line tools that do I have no idea what but some people use them for workflows in various ways I guess. This goes beyond what I care about personally. I kind of like how that's a completely separate thing that is installable from a menu but otherwise if you don't care about it you never see or need to bother to learn about it. Maybe I will sometime just out of curiosity but for now I couldn't be bothered.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#6 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 17 February 2016 - 11:46 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 17 February 2016 - 09:35 PM, said:


/snip all kinds of cool stuff and entertaining commentary...


You made me laugh out loud with the comment about never, the answer is never concerning how often you clean up your machine. I also got a kick out of the fact you're still on usenet and IRC. It's been ages since I've been in either world. You aren't running a secret BBS down in the basement too are you?

Maybe I will spend the extra for Gemini which does look really nice. I am a little concerned about somebody monkeying with that database sans API from Apple to do so. Maybe it's not a big deal but I don't like finding out the hard way something got screwed up, etc. and you know how utilities with best of intentions sometimes have a way of doing this.

I'll have to check out some of those weather apps you mention. I love that stuff myself, including watching on TV being old and all as well. I just hope I never reach the point where i think watching bowling on television is entertaining. At that point it's time for a little trip out behind my sister's barn, a one way trip for me that is.

I didn't think to mention MacTracker but yeah, must have, standard equipment. Also, I was using OmniDisk Sweeper and that is a good app but I'm a sucker for pretty apps so long as they work well too and on my old slow disk the speed of DaisyDisk is a very noticeable thing so I like that.

I'd looked at Delicious Library a long time ago and maybe I will again vs rolling my own for what it does. I do need a home inventory myself for insurance purposes, etc.

I guess I'm not worth my salt. I can't remember the last time I wanted to convert a graphic from one format to another but then you're dealing with a guy who won't bother to make a meme with a simple app that already has the graphics so... I am graphically challenged. Actually, I have made a few lately teasing my father about some stuff for fun.

I don't know why I don't have iStatMenus. I've heard of it and I like stuff like that. Maybe it cost money and I was feeling cheap that day. That's possible.

I don't know why I don't get into podcasts yet anyway. Many moons ago I used to love tuning in old radio shows on AM Radio. It's pretty funny but my high school sweetheart and I used to often go parking somewhere and she liked them too so we'd tune in and do the stuff kids do parking while listening to them. Of course, this is different than podcasts but it kinda reminded me of that. I guess podcasts probably tend to be more like tuning in customized news of interest than drama but anyway, it still reminded me of that nice memory. I wonder if you can get old radio shows like that to listen to. There was so much good stuff.

It's been fun reading about the stuff you guys use and I'll check out certain things that sound interesting.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#7 macdude22

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 07:28 AM

Now that I am at work I realize I forgot some Apps I use frequently at work. Most of these are specialized tools that no normgadally person would use.

Snagit - Screenshot/Screencast application. I use this a lot for documentation or providing instructions to desktop staff. Or just snipping out a meme from the inter webs here and there. I used Snapz for many many many years but then ambrosia all but shut down and it wasn't updated forever. It has been recently updated, in so far as it's properly signed on 10.11 anyway. It appears to be some sort of shell outsourced to some indian development staff. I got Snagit v2 in one of them bundles and was impressed and have recently upgraded to v3.

Transmit - I don't really ever use FTP at home anymore, just isn't a need for the general joe it seems. Still use FTP at work sometimes (would you believe I actually use this to get MS packages faster than they are posted on the VL console?!). Also use it to connect to webdav shares sometimes.

Commander One - Dual Pane file manager. OS X's tabbed windows suck. Who was asking for tabbed Finder windows. Nobody that's who. I need dual pane. I demoed Pathfinder and I really liked it but Commander One pretty much does everything I need for free (there is a Pro Pack I am thinking of buying just because I like the software, I don't really need the features).

muCommander - Don't personally use this but have it in SS for 10.6 clients to be able to connect to DFS shares. Policy says you should be running 10.9 or higher. *cough* I think frigidman secretly works in ophthalmology *cough*.

Disk maker X 5 - Create OS X USB boot sticks.

MailSteward Lite - My fine employer gives a whopping 750MB of email space. I archive my mail with this.

Pacifist - Lets you peer into .pkgs.

Packet Peeper - Lets you peer into packets.

Two Canoes Push Diagnostics - Tests connectivity to APNS

Apple Remote Desktop - For doing remote things. Don't really use this except it has some tools to generate certain things like kickstart commands easily.

Apache Directory Studio - Used for testing LDAP functionality

Maybe over lunch I'll do a pass at my phone to really blow DirtyHarry50's mind.
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#8 Frigidman™

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 08:05 AM

I use:

BBedit (for everything code related, yes)

PS CS3 (the last good version before the kindergarten fat 'precise cursors' were introduced)

Interachy (because it looks like finder windows, not some huge footprint of a gaudy overworked app for 'something simple')

Adium (cause too many people use all kinds of services, so I just want ONE app to talk to them all in)

Excel (rarely, for making export files for other people to use/read)

Chrome (cause safari sucks)

Then the obvious: Mail, Keychain, Calculator, Preview

That is my life.

View Postmacdude22, on 18 February 2016 - 07:28 AM, said:

Snagit - Screenshot/Screencast application. I use this a lot for documentation or providing instructions to desktop staff. Or just snipping out a meme from the inter webs here and there.

Why is cmd-shift-4 not enough?

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#9 macdude22

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 08:30 AM

The auto snap to window feature is worth the price of admission alone. There is a scrolling web page capture function that I use occasionally. Mostly its ultra easy to annotate and highlight within the snagit tool. Which is of use to sending instructions to desktop staff.

Plus there is no built in screencast tool. I frequently take video of issues to send to Apple. It is often easier to send them a video than 12 pages documenting abcd needed to replicate a bug.

It's just generally nice to have screenshots, video, and editing in the same place. Instead of save to desktop and open in preview or graphicconverter or whatever.
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#10 Tibur

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:32 AM

f.lux - cuts the amount of blue light on your screen when the sun goes down so your circadian rhythm doesn't get messed up and you can get to sleep more quickly when you finally tear yourself away from the computer.  Next iOS is supposed to have something similar built-in (Nightshift. I think).  Only problem is that sometimes gaming can be a little more difficult, like in LFR in WoW (Raid leader: "Everybody clump on blue first then purple!" Me: "Uhhhh, can you use symbols instead of colors please"), but you can always turn it off if it inhibits your gaming or if you really need to see colors for work or something.  I've found I get much better sleep now than I did before. Two (opposable) thumbs up.

#11 macdude22

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 10:45 AM

iOS. I got a lot of stuff on here, lot of it I don't use. I'm gunna split these out if I have folders on my device.

In the iOS docky area I have
Phone
Mail
Safari
Downcast

Pics HD - I needs muh cat pictures from reddit
Alien Blue - for when you need more than cat pictures from reddit
SMS Faces - for when you need to quickly respond to the wife in meme form

Weather
WUnderground - Weather Underground app
Meteogram - temperature and precipitation graphs
Authentic Weather - Uhhhhhhhhhh have you ever wanted the weather told like it is? This app tells you like it is.
Storm - Weather Underground radar specific app
WX - meat and potatoes NWS data app

News
Apple News App - This is pretty good. I browse this in the morning before leaving to work
BBC News - BBC news feeds
Iowa 511 - Iowa road conditions
EN World - WebClip to EN world
Wikipedia - I dunno why I stick it in here but I have the app

Camera+ - Legit best camera app for iOS

Radio
Audible - audiobooks
TuneIn Radio - Radio feeds and other audio feeds (like vault radio)
C2C AM - Coast 2 Coast AM companion app. So I know whats on tonight.
iHeartRadio - Radio feeds and other audio feeds
NPR News - NPR feeds and text news
5-0 Radio - scanner feeds
OTR Stream - Old Time Radio shows (dirtyharry50 you might be interested in this, you mentioned you like the AM radio)
VaultRadio - VaultRadio stream app that never works right, I just listen to the stream in TuneIn not sure why I keep it on here

Music
Apple Music
NPR Music
iTunes Store
Rdio - Dis don't work anymore but I liked Rdio. Can't bring myself to delete it.
Spotify

TomTom U.S.A. I am known to go off the cellular grid from time to time. I have a really old TomTom that they wanted 120 bucks to update maps on. App was on sale one day for 24 dolans so I grabbed it to have offline maps when needed.
LastPass - Password manager
Wallet

Video
Netflix
Videos
YouTube
Vimeo
Flixter
VUDU
FaceTime

I have lots of dum games installed I'll list some notable ones
Star Trek: Wrath of Gems - the best gem matching game since Puzzle Quest
HeroEmblems - Another gem matching RPG. Costs a couple bucks. No BS IAP.
Pocket Mortys - Gotta collect em all
Angry Birds - everyone has this.
Fargoal - old school rougelike
LootTheWorld - Borderlands 2 barcode scanning app
Final Fantasy 1
Final Fantasy Dimensions

Game Utilities
Glyph Authenticator
Blizzard Authenticator
Steam
ExplorerPro - Minecraft recipe app
Xbox 360 SmartGlass
Xbox One SmartGlass
Fallout Pip-Poy (this one is better on iPad)
cOS mobile - Watch Dogs dum companion app

Health
Apple Health
MyFitnessPal
MapMyRide+
Walkr - sort of a walking F2P game but instead of money for IAP it uses steps
Charity Miles
Pill Reminder
IntelliDrink - Tells me how many whiskeys until floor

Board Game Utilities
PFRPG rd - pathfinder reference
TheCrawler - DCC utility
MLC - Munchkin tracker

Finance
Capital One - bank account
Chase - mortgage account
Tiaa-cref - retirement account
Acorns - piddly investing account

Ham Radio
PSKer - psk31 app for iOS
SWBC Sked - shortwave schedules
Morse Mania - Morse Code trainer
Ham Extra - Extra class training app
ISS Spotter - ISS location app

You Doodle - for all your doodling needs
Geocaching - for finding geocaches
Delicious library companion app

Automatic - connects to a doodle in my car to tell me popsnizzle about my driving habits
Note - a Mac OS 6 styled note taking app
Scan - QR Code Reader
Glympse - Send people my location (usually if i'm meeting someone for lunch)

Microsoft
Skype for Business
Skype
OneNote
Excel
Word

Mac Tracker
Guidebook - some conventions use this
Lowe's - this app is pretty slick for finding popsnizzle in store

Personal Productivity
Pages
Keynote
Numbers

Eventbrite - For tracking events from eventbrite
DuoMobile - 2FA authenticator

Entire page of kids apps.
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#12 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 03:24 PM

What a whole lotta' apps... What a whole lotta' apps...


It's so painful having an iPhone 4s with 8 gigs that is really about 5 left for me. I've been tempted to forgo having a smartphone at all but when I started thinking about it I started feeling I would miss all kinds of cool stuff I could use one for that I don't now largely because mine is so gimp. Nothing is easy though including trying to upgrade using Verizon's website. I need to call and talk to a human about that and see what it really will cost me after all is said and done. If I do this, I want a 6s Plus with max storage on the thing. I'm sure that's not gonna be cheap.

There's some stuff of great interest to me on the iOS list there. Thanks for that. I absolutely will be checking out the old time radio thing along with other stuff.

I've been looking at different apps mentioned here since i last visited. A bunch of different ones and of course I then wandered around following related ones, etc. but CameraBag 2 looks very cool. I visited their site and they offer a 30 day free trial which is nice. I also noted while there they are doing a companion product in beta now to apply that same magic to video with a UI that seems very much like the photo app. The demo video I watched which is very short was impressive. I snagged the latest beta build to have a peek at that. I like that mail app too from what little I could see of it, Cloudmagic. It's such a nice visually uncluttered departure from Mail. The devil may or may not be in the details of using it for me. I gotta go see if they offer a trial or not so I can mess with it. If not, for 20 bucks I might go for it anyway. I looked at iPulse which seems to be popular for system info but the graphic wheel thingy seems bizarre to me and yet people love it and love skins for it. I look at it and think, what does that mess even tell you until you hover over it to get text that does tell you something. Maybe if you memorize all the colorful parts of it then it has meaning to look at. I couldn't tell if it would give me system load and temps over time. I'd really like that. I'd like to monitor what a demanding game does beyond hearing the fans spin up and thinking to myself hmm, I guess this one runs hot. Not that it matters much if it isn't shutting itself off but I am still curious about it.

I forget now all the other stuff I was looking at mostly in the Mac App Store. The reviews are pretty terrible there a lot of time. Sells great, everybody hates it. Nobody buys it but a few swear by it. I laughed out loud when some kid wrote how some app of no consequence changed his life forever and he meant it. I thought wow, you ain't seen nothing yet kiddo. The vast majority of complaints make obvious that the user never attempted to contact support for the product so was it them, was it the software, is support responsive or useless, who knows? Ratings from those folks by and large tell me almost nothing. Some reviewers shine through with useful info so I still check them out. Some are helpful. When you see a few liking something and then 634 single star ratings, you know it's time to leave that page.

It's fun window shopping for software.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#13 macdude22

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 03:34 PM

Mac App Store reviews seem exceptionally bad. Had slight problem. Didn't contact support -5 stars.
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#14 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 04:48 PM

Yeah. I read one about the new Day One release where a user talked about how much they really liked the app and why. They felt bad about having to give the app one star for not supporting iCloud anymore. More than one user went on about the terrible trouble of liking it and wanting to use it but they just couldn't because of no iCloud ruining their life, etc. Crazy. Kinda makes me feel better about myself in a way, sort of like when I go to Walmart for something. I come out of there thinking, I guess I am not doing too bad after all.
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#15 Matt Diamond

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:55 AM

Liking these lists. I don't have time to pitch in right now (and there's a lot of overlap with other people's lists) but here are a couple I didn't see mentioned (might have overlooked them though):

Divvy: using keyboard shortcuts I can place windows into the 4 quadrants of the screen, or to cover half the screen, with a margin at the top so I can still see my iTunes mini player. Of course you can come up with your own layouts.

Display Menu: free utility that puts up a menu for controlling screen res (like Apple used to do).

Flycut: free smart clipboard, lets you paste from a stack of all recently cut/copied text. The only problem is it makes cutting and pasting passwords insecure. I should write to the author, seems like that is a solvable problem.

Dash (Mac version): download man pages, javadocs, popular JS libraries, Unity3d, some cheat sheets, etc. Offline documentation viewer basically. I much prefer it to googling and hoping I end up on the right page of the right version of the API I'm trying to use.
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#16 nick68k

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 12:44 PM

Interesting thread.

There's a lot of overlap with my list and everyone else's also, but some of the more niche stuff I rely upon is Intaglio for vector graphics and Kaleidagraph for data analysis and curve-fitting (I've been using the former program for over a decade, and the latter for twice as long). TextWrangler is my go-to text editor.

If there are any life scientists reading this thread, I use VMD for my molecular graphics work, Papers3 as a PDF repository and organiser. I've found AmplifX a useful PCR simulator. I use EndNote too, but I don't recommend it to anyone.
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#17 Matt Diamond

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 11:37 AM

Pixelmator is a great Photoshop alternative. Not as powerful obviously but it gives you quick-masks, layers, lots of filters, and so on.

Art Text: editor for turning text or vectors into icons and logos with drop shadows, glassy overlays, borders and so on. Lots of fun to play with. Some decent templates if you are artistically challenged.
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#18 Matt Diamond

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 06:10 PM

Cyberduck - I used to use Interarchy for FTP, but Cyberduck does everything I used Interarchy for, and its free.

SpamSieve - I won a license to this a long time ago, and its been exceptionally good at spam filtering in Apple Mail. I still get upgrades, and I've had it for many years.

VueScan - Scanner software. I bought this when OS X first came out because vendors were slow to put out drivers for legacy scanners. Now I use it because it HP's software was giving me trouble. This is another one that delivers lifetime updates without ever charging me, and they patch it once every week or two. Your license now lets you use Windows and Linux versions as well. Free trial. Highly recommended!
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#19 the Battle Cat

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 07:49 PM

I used VueScan with an all in one I once had, came in the package.  I miss some of the fine tuning you could do with it to remove artifacts from magazine and newspaper scans.  I had no complaints about it during a time I was doing a lot of scanning for word recognition programs, photos, album covers and the printing of said was very well instrumented for the varied print tasks need to do.

Got something else in the new all in one package so I forgot about it.  I give it a thumbs up.  Great product at the time.
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#20 DirtyHarry50

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  • Steam ID:dirtyharry2
  • Location:North Carolina, USA

Posted 21 February 2016 - 11:36 PM

I've got an all-in-one printer by Epson that I bought when I got the 2011 iMac. It's nice and works well. I actually had use for scanning a few times but just using Apple's Preview I think it was? I forget now but I just use some Apple thing to scan with and good enough. It was just some documents I needed copies of, nothing fancy or that needed to be of particularly good quality although they did come out fine. When I moved here in November just past, I didn't feel like hooking it up. It is wireless but I just didn't feel like bothering to find a home for it. So it's in the closet in its box. I have not missed it.

I looked for Checkbook on the app store and found Checkbook Pro which looks fine for my purposes. It offers more and better options for viewing my data in various ways and simple looking but good enough reports. It's bare bones still for anything related to planning or in some cases tracking but that's no loss to me really. I already do that stuff with an elaborate set of linked spreadsheets in a single Numbers document that has a sheet for each year up until I am age 65. If I get that far, I'll add another 5 years then and so on until I don't need to anymore 'cause I ain't here no more.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell