The question: What’s an app that you’ve started using in the past year and are digging a lot? Below, answers from the 37signals team.
Michael Berger: “I like Cardstar, It’s great because you don’t need to carry around your preferred cards for all the places you shop (like CVS, Dominick’s, etc.) And sometimes you get weird looks from the sales clerks, which is fun.”
Jason Rehmus: “I’ve been using Jumpcut lately, a simple clipboard manager for OS X. I copy and paste email and web addresses all day and Jumpcut lets me easily navigate through most everything I’ve copied using keyboard shortcuts.”
Jason Zimdars: “Surprisingly this is one of my most-used iPhone apps. It’s lets you copy/paste both directions between your Mac and your iPhone or iPad. Very handy for getting things like addresses, map links, passwords and anything else it sucks to type onto your phone. You can even copy/paste images—so it’s faster than syncing if you need to get a photo or screenshot off of your phone in a hurry.”
John Williams: “Our family has been using the envelope budget system for quite a while. We found Mvelopes’ flash interface to be difficult to use and it has no mobile support. BucketWise [created by 37signals’ Jamis Buck] is easy to use and has all the features we need.”
Jason Zimdars: “Soulver replaced the built-in calculator on my iPhone. What’s cool about Soulver is the way keeps all of your previous calculations and even lets you reference previous values by line number. You can even write equations in English like. “50% of 3,100” or ”$25 a month for 6 months” and it’ll solve them. It’s especially great for figuring out scale or proportion ratios which are common in design.”
Jason Fried: “Been using Divvy to keep windows organized and nicely tiled.”
Opera Mini (left)
Ann Goliak: “I use Opera Mini on my iPhone. It’s a faster browser than Safari and it’s much easier to navigate web pages. One tap zooms you in, and the Back button zooms back out to the full view. You can set favorites for quick linking when you launch. I don’t do a whole lot of web browsing on my phone (because I’m usually playing Angry Birds), but Opera is my go-to.”
Michael Berger: “I love Mailplane which is like a wrapper for the Gmail web client. I like archiving messages and using labels, which isn’t really supported in Mac Mail. You can use either the Gmail or Mac Mail keyboard shortcuts with Mailplane, and it can be easily configured to access several different Gmail (or Google apps) email accounts. Since it’s a standalone app it can be configured as your default email client to automatically handle ‘mailto’ links. It also support Growl notifications (and a handy ‘do not disturb’ mode to temporary disable the alerts).”
NYTimes app for the Chrome Web Store (right)
Scott Upton: “I’ve started using the Chrome ‘app’ for the NY Times as a replacement for reading their normal site. It seems much easier to scan and works in Safari as well as Chrome.”
Sam Stephenson: “One new app I’ve been using is PeepOpen. It’s an improved version of TextMate’s ⌘T window for quickly jumping between files in a project, with two big advantages: it works in other editors (I’m using it with Emacs), and it lets you scope your search by directory, not just filename.”
Ryan Singer: “I started using OmniFocus this year to keep track of all my personal projects and tasks. It’s been a big help. I use the iPhone client too.”
Scott Upton: “A vote for Dropbox. I hadn’t used until this year but am already finding it invaluable.” [Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.]
Will Jessop: “1password (OS X, iPad, iPhone) with dropbox syncing across all platforms. I have hundreds of passwords and being able to securely store a really long random password for each app is invaluable.”
Matt Linderman: “Tweetie is great for managing multiple Twitter accounts. I like how you can set different alerts for different accounts. Lots of nifty, subtle UI stuff in it too.”
The apps we don’t use
It’s also worth noting what apps we’re NOT using. Scott Upton comments:
This has also been a year of trying new apps and reverting back to what I had before. I wanted to use Coda instead of the aging TextMate, but couldn’t be as productive with that newer editor. I’ve also attempted to use Adium several times because iChat seems so flaky—no dice there, either. I keep drifting back toward the simplest option.
Sam Stephenson says:
I got rid of a couple of apps this year. I uninstalled Knox, because you can just drop disk image files onto the Login Items preference pane instead. I also uninstalled LaunchBar, an app I’ve used since 2001, because Spotlight works well enough with an SSD.
After looking at the submissions, Jeremy Kemper summed it up well:
People are curious about how we work, often in a looking-for-the-special-sauce way. “If only I had that Nordic Track machine, I would be able to get in shape.”
We should slay this “if-only” thinking about tools. Especially considering our new favorites are all utilities/helpers, not core work apps.
In other words: look at all the apps we’re not using!