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Favorite Everyday Apps & Utilities


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#21 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 07:48 AM

I figured I ought to come back and report in after trying and buying some of the recommended apps above. So here I am.

I did move to Microsoft's OneNote and I'm very happy with it. They really got that one right on the Mac. I have not looked at other office apps which are overkill for me. The iWork stuff is just fine for my purposes at home. On and off I've given thought to a book I'd like to write but then I consider what that would involve, feel overwhelmed and take a nap. Then I am over the idea again for a while. Anyway, if I ever find the motivation I suppose I'd want Word and either Ulysses or Scrivener then.

For personal finance, I've transitioned to CheckBook Pro. I like it. It's simple and does what I need without a lot of fluff I do not need.

I picked up iA writer for basic writing without distraction and I like it very much. I like the iCloud support and built in library that makes it easy to find stuff quickly.

I'd already mentioned getting Day One (the new version) I think. I use it often and the improvements they made to it are goodness.

I went with Daisy Disk and Gemini for cleaning up the disk from time to time. I like them both, easy to use, slick interfaces, makes the mundane almost fun.

I picked up both Fluid and Fluid Browser (MAS) which are cool for different things. Fluid Browser basically lets you set up a picture-in-picture display of video or even other stuff like PDF content while you are doing other stuff. So, you could have some video playing while you are doing whatever. The opacity of the display is adjustable and it offers other customization I forget now.

I'm sticking with iCloud Keychain for passwords even though it is occasionally annoying to use with sites that don't like its default length passwords or characters. Overall though it does a good job and the price is right. I like that whatever I do in OS X carries over to iOS with it. As for access to certain sites (like this one!) with passwords in Winders which I did put back on this system (yet again), I am using Google there and Google in OS X for sandboxed flash as well as copy/paste of iCloud Keychain passwords that are then synced to the Windows installed Chrome. They've improved that such that the synced data is encrypted now which I believe is something relatively new.

As for Windows in bootcamp, I installed Win7 SP1 and then immediately upgraded it to Win10 without wasting time letting it patch itself further. Once up and running with the latest bootcamp version 6, I had Windows 10 delete all the Win7 files it backed up. So that's all set. If something won't run in Win10, the hell with it. Time marches on. I wanted that setup for eventual XBox One streaming as well as some stuff I'd like to play there or would rather play there.

For Weather, I wasted 12 bucks on the Carrot Weather app that most give 5 stars to for some odd reason. I posted a review giving it one star. It sucks. It is buggy as hell, crashes often, I can crash it at will in one easily reproducible case and humor is groan inspiring most of the time and even offended me once. On a bright note, Forecast Bar rocks and I am glad I picked that up. That's a keeper for the long term. I need look no further between that and my NOAA weather map app.

I also took a cue from my favorite Mac sysadmin and bought iStat Menus which is just absolutely awesome. If anyone reading this does not have it, visit their site and check out the free trial. Fabulous informative utility with so much system info it makes me all happy inside every time I look at it. All kinds of customization to have it display what you want, how you want, history, so much goodness. Love it.

Because I am paranoid although I probably don't need to be, I also installed the updated Sophos Antivirus app they are calling Sophos Home now which is free. They changed it a lot, made the UI much simpler and friendlier than it was before. This means it is less flexible also but I don't care. I did one scan that came up clean and that's it for scanning. I just let it run in memory now and hope it helps me if I need it sometime. It also has a feature where it installs a browser extension I think. I forget now but it did stop me from going someplace with a dire warning about some malware the site had been known to be a source of. So, I directed my search for whatever it was elsewhere. I don't recall the site off the top of my head. I sense a trend here. I don't seem to recall a lot of stuff lately. I just had another birthday a couple days ago. Perhaps the end is nigh! I hope not. I just got these cool apps.

I think that's everything thus far that came out of the conversation above that old forgetful here can remember. I appreciate the suggestions you guys took the time to share and wanted to let you know I was really listening, etc. I'm very happy with the new stuff. All the old data is in the new apps now.

I also increased my iCloud storage to 200 GB and copied up everything I care about most. For 3 bucks a month that's well worth it to me for the peace of mind. I really don't need more space than that for now although I did use most of it. I ran into some issues with it uploading certain stuff but was able to resolve them on my own which was a good thing as second tier Apple support was clueless and admitted as much to me ultimately. He was a nice kid but they don't train them for this apparently.
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#22 macdude22

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 11:55 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 20 March 2016 - 07:48 AM, said:

I also increased my iCloud storage to 200 GB and copied up everything I care about most. For 3 bucks a month that's well worth it to me for the peace of mind. I really don't need more space than that for now although I did use most of it. I ran into some issues with it uploading certain stuff but was able to resolve them on my own which was a good thing as second tier Apple support was clueless and admitted as much to me ultimately. He was a nice kid but they don't train them for this apparently.

FWIW a lot of applecare is outsourced now. Xerox runs a popsnizzle tone of applecare callcenters. That are about as quality as you would expect. I'm not sure if it is a cost savings measure or it's just that difficult to find quality in house support staff (at least for what they are willing to pay). I suppose the truth lies somewhere in the middle. At any rate unless you can get an escalation to a real applecare technician your on phone script jockey is going to be less knowledgable than most of you.
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#23 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 07:30 PM

Yeah, that was what I found. A "Senior Support Tech" was enthusiastically telling me how he was learning new things from me about how iCloud worked. As you might imagine, I knew I was completely on my own then. I asked for further escalation politely and tried to be insistent about that but he could not do that and had to provide various logs before that could happen. Of course, he did not know what logs or how to get them so he was going to research that a week ago I think it was and call me back within 24 hours. I guess he lost my number of something. I hope he is still alive and doing alright for himself. For him I was what I used to term a "hell call" once upon a time. Well, not really because I am always nice to them even when they frustrate me. I know it isn't their fault they haven't been adequately prepared.

In other news, I forgot to mention that while it has promise the initial release of CloudMagic for OS X leaves a lot to be desired primarily due to bugs in the app. I documented a number of them in detail and became tired of playing QA Engineer for free for those guys and told them so. It was not ready for release just yet. Some very basic functionality which is not at all in conflict with its design goal of simplicity and an uncluttered UI is not yet implemented although they agree it should be. Some email comes though with no content such as junk from my Microsoft account. This is not a big deal but shouldn't be happening either. Scaling of inline graphics to tiny sizes happens randomly with no ability for the user to exercise any control over it. There's more I am forgetting now but as i said to them, it's very promising and I like it but for now I'll have Appshopper inform me of updates and when I see the things I know about have been fixed I will take another look at it. For now, it's back to Apple Mail which while ugly does actually work reliably here although with a few irritating minor quirks.

I did like CloudMagic's approach in terms of just leaving everything on the servers. I also liked the iOS app and there it is a real plus that it doesn't download any of the mail too. So hopefully I can go back to those when they get their act together. It is their very first OS X release as far as I know. To his credit the guy running the show there was very nice and responsive to my emails, always returning them pretty quick and taking time to offer detailed replies. He was also gracious about my various suggestions and criticisms which I did emphasize were well intended as I like the app overall a lot.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell