I’ve designed a TypeForm survey. So much nicer to use than SurveyMonkey.
Once again, I’m here to blog about my favourite Mac Apps for the year.
The Standard Criteria
For my purposes, to be considered an App of the Year, the software needs to be something I used extensively, value and enjoy. I also must feel I would miss them if they suddenly went away. Of course, it also needs to be a Mac App.
It’s almost to the point where this app needs to be put into the Hall of Fame, and removed from future consideration. OmniFocus continues to provide structure to my life both at a professional and personal level.
Most of this year has been spent using the beta of OmniFocus 4 in tandem with OmniFocus 3. The new version has come a long way and is closing in on release.
While there are elements that continue to frustrate me (please, can we have natural language entry?) there is still no other task manager that can filter, slice and dice tasks like OmniFocus. And of course, defer dates. No task manager can be serious if it doesn’t have the ability to set a start date for a task into the future.
Notes apps are my playground. I bounce between them continuously. Heck, I’m writing this post in iA Writer! This year, however, has seen me give Obsidian another try - after I stuck with Logseq for some time before it.
There are parts of it that I still don’t like, but it’s now rock solid, and the price cannot be beat. I am even putting aside the fact that it is running in Electron! 😱
I wanted to continue to use Agenda, but it’s simply too fiddly. Plain text entry is so straightforward, it is hard to beat.
2023 was the downfall of Twitter. In its place stormed Mastodon and I have enjoyed using Mona. While most of the cool kids seemed to gravitate to Ivory, for me Mona ticks all the boxes I need from a Mastodon client.
Last year, NetNewsWire took over from Reeder as my RSS app of choice. This year, I’ve flipped back to Reeder across macOS and i(Pad)OS. It’s smooth and gorgeous, and rock solid.
What’s even better is that this year has seen somewhat of a renaissance in blogging, and with the help of the App Defaults craze, launched by our own Hemispheric Views 097, I’ve found a bunch of new voices to add to my feed reader.
Last year I used Arc. For whatever reason, this year I’ve retreated to the comfort, energy efficiency, and cross-platform syncing offered by Safari. It also makes me feel good that I’m not supporting the Chromium hegemony.
Apps That Fell Off My List From Last Year
- NetNewsWire: As mentioned above, it’s taken a back seat to Reeder.
- Arc: I’ve moved back to the default choice of Safari.
- MarsEdit: I continue to use it, but I could live without it if it went away. Still a great app.
- Launchbar: This year I trialled RayCast, but I’m back on Launchbar. As much as I like it, given there are other alternatives, it didn’t make the cut this year.
- Agenda: As discussed, Obsidian has trumped Agenda for 2023.
In today’s “I’m an idiot” news, I almost feel victim to a phishing scam. I wasn’t on my A-game and almost got found out. Frightening!
I did it!
Wordle 892 1/6*
I reintroduced my old Raspberry Pi 3B+ to the home network today, and with it, Pi-Hole! I may elect not to renew my NextDNS subscription as a result.
I’ve been building class timetables. Hyper Plan has been a life-saver. I love this app. Timetables have multiple variables (time, day, teacher, skill level) and Hyper Plan has wrangled it all for me in a way that is so much easier and better than Excel Pivot Tables. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A career is an interesting thing.
I’ve never been a “career at all costs” kind of person. Probably why I’ve never made millions of dollars or been a CEO.
At uni, I worked at a pizza shop and a liquor shop. The mop was my friend. Things always needed to be cleaned.
I spent the first part of my “proper” career working to get ahead, to succeed in using my brain and to find new challenges to overcome.
The middle part of my career was spent leveraging my specialist skills to deliver consulting services and support others. There was value in status with this role; being seen to be successful and knowledgable.
Now, in the current (but hopefully not last) part of my career, I’ve got no interest in any of that. I don’t really care what others think of me, or what status is assigned to my job. I’m enjoying the effort of being a good manager. As a manager I have an ethos of never asking somebody to do something that I wouldn’t do myself (if I have the requisite skill and capability).
Mopping. I know this. 30 years later, the mop is still as friendly as ever. I feel no embarrassment about being a manager that mops.
Talking with a friend today. The topic of interest rates came up, as they do in any recent conversation within the Australian context.
My friend asked a poignant and sensible question, “why doesn’t the Government adjust the rate of the Goods & Services Tax (GST)?” It is a broad-based consumption tax. If consumption is getting out of hand and creating an inflationary spike, then why not add a disincentive to consumers by raising the price of consumption?
With interest rates variations it’s the mortgage belt who carry all the pain. They represent about 25% of households. Yet rising interest rates enrich those with existing savings, enabling greater consumption. Wouldn’t it be better to share the load equitably across any and all of those who spend?
The downside to this strategy is that the GST is regressive. It hits everybody with the same cost. For those with lesser incomes, the proportion of income the tax takes is greater. It’s not an equitable solution, because now low income earners are bearing a greater proportion of the pain.
From a political point of view, it’s easier to blame the independent Reserve Bank for pain and suffering. Why place the crosshairs on your own government by changing fiscal policy? “Monetary policy delivered by the independent Reserve Bank, that’s who to blame!”, is the relieving Government cry!
Whether it’s the GST, or a more equitable adjustment to the broader taxation platform, the Australian Government needs to do something. Since its election, the Albanese Labor Government seems content to sit on the sidelines, apart from some modest targeted tinkering. It withdrew funding for some capital works projects, that at least in WA have now been funded by the State Government, so that attempt at withdrawing money and inflationary pressure from the system didn’t work. Some modest efforts to encourage growth in housing supply have been delivered.
Small target strategy, however, seems to remain the prevailing preference in Canberra.
I would like to see the Government take some real, tangible action. Let’s look at negative gearing. Let’s look at tax breaks that make no sense. Let’s recalibrate towards equality and away from the neo-liberalist agenda.
I elect a government to do things: not to watch the RBA use its only blunt instrument.
Get to work, Labor.
In December of 2017, I put together a list of my Mac Apps of the Year.
For this issue of Hemispheric News, I thought it would be interesting to revisit this article to see what, if anything, has changed. Given our collective consternation about Electron, the average capabilities of Swift-based apps, and the sad state in general that Mac development seems to be in against the influx of web apps, has the Mac App of the Year category shown improvement?
In 2017 I defined the apps on the list as those I used extensively, value and enjoy. I also noted them as those I would most miss if they suddenly went away.
Given that criteria, my nominations for Mac Apps of 2022 are:
NetNewsWire has taken the job of feed reading away from Reeder. NNW doesn’t do a lot, but it does what is needed. The app works fast, never crashes, and plays nicely on macOS.
Still in beta, this browser is efficient in our modern web world. I don’t use a number of its more esoteric features such as Boosts (site based code injection) or Easels (weird pinterest-like pages), but its ability to manage multiple independent spaces/containers that let me stay logged in to multiple Microsoft accounts - while keeping me spatially aware of which is which, is better than any other implementation I’ve found.
The only downside I feel is that it isn’t as battery-efficient as Safari, and I feel a bit guilty about that. It’s built on Chrome though, so at least every single website out there renders correctly.
I continue to rely on OmniFocus to steer my work and my life. Having said that, after being on the v4 beta train on macOS for some time, I don’t love it. OmniFocus have taken a gamble and built the new app in Swift, and it seems they are really an excellent edge-case for the language. They are asking a lot of it.
I stick with OmniFocus at this point because I know it inside-out, I have workflows built around it, and it keeps me on track. I don’t love it nearly as much as I used to. This is unfortunate.
A rekindling of my enjoyment for blogging has coincided with the enjoyment of using MarsEdit and the new version 5 has made it even better. There are still some weird things about the way it uses Markdown (I wish it had more affordances and keyboard shortcuts), and it intermingles HTML with Markdown too much in my view, but it is solid. Lots of other apps can push to my micro.blog host, but only MarsEdit offers a seamless editing experience.
I also love its browser extension, but I wish it was available for Arc.
MarsEdit remains an honest-to-goodness Mac app.
Without Launchbar I’m inefficient, and I don’t even remember to use half of its available features. I’ve tried to replace it with Alfred, and Raycast, but I always come back to Launchbar. It works how my mind thinks - or at least it has trained my mind to think like Launchbar. I wish development was faster and that third-party support was greater. But it works and I can’t be rid of it.
Thanks to the additional shortcuts from friend of Hemispheric Views, Scotty Jackson, Agenda has become an important cog in my macOS arsenal. I use it to take day notes and meeting notes.
I don’t love its in-built text editor, so sometimes notes might start elsewhere (Drafts, iA Writer, Tot…) but then I can dump them into Agenda. It’s helpful to be able to find notes either by project/client or by meeting/date.
Agenda has seen a lot of development over the past year and it continues to scratch an itch.
Apps that are no longer on my list from 2017:
I use this app, but I do feel that if push came to shove, iCloud Keychain is probably good enough that I could move into that. 1Password has a few niceties that keep me using it, plus inertia. Also my mother-in-law is part of my Family account and
I dare not disrupt that workflow.
It is interesting to note that 1Password 8 uses an Electron front-end and a Rust backend. Not very macOS-like at all.
I have fun using this app, but I could just as easily move its content into any number of other apps and go on just fine.
Logseq is another Electron-powered application and its current sync system makes me nervous.
I haven’t used Bear for years. Also for years, they were promising a new text engine. Agenda has taken over the role Bear once played.
I sometimes use Ulysses for work-related writing, but that’s about it. Any Markdown writing is done somewhere else, such as Drafts or iA Writer.
It’s like infrastructure in my system. I keep things in there. But I don’t enjoy using it. It has the capability to do almost everything that I use a whole bunch of other apps for. But it can be confusing, even after I’ve been using it for more than a decade.
I continue using the old version 4, despite version 5 being out for a few years. I like v4 more, plus its not a subscription. I don’t need much, and SME4 does enough.
Update: As of a couple of weeks ago, StockMarketEye has closed down.
NetNewsWire took the crown.
Wow, I haven’t used this for ages.
I’ve been on a Fantastical subscription for a couple of years, but don’t worry BusyCal because I’m coming back. The Fantastical price increases were too much, and I get BusyCal through Setapp, so come March I will be back as a full-time user.
Apps that came close in 2022:
- Day One
This iPhone 15 Pronis my first one with an OLED screen and I love it.
I keep getting older. Not even an iPhone 15 camera can change that.
Finished Loki Season 2 and loved it. I wish it had a longer season but then it might have overstayed its welcome? 📺
The RBA slugs the economy with another 0.25% interest rate rise. What a terrible decision. Monetary policy is a blunt instrument that smashes those who can least afford it, and benefits those who already have it.
On Episode 097 of my podcast Hemispheric Views we held a Duel of the Defaults! competition. Jason and Martin fought head-to-head to see who used the most default apps on macOS. As I was the compere and judge of the competition, it wasn’t for me to speak of my choices during the show.
- Mail Client: Apple Mail & Fastmail Web App (plus MailMate)
- Mail Server: Fastmail & Apple Mail
- Notes: Obsidian (plus Agenda & Apple Notes)
- To-Do: OmniFocus
- iPhone Photo Shooting: Camera.app
- Photo Management: Photos.app
- Calendar: BusyCal (plus Calendar.app)
- Cloud file storage: iCloud (plus OneDrive)
- RSS: Reeder with FreshRSS
- Contacts: Contacts.app
- Browser: Safari (plus Arc)
- Chat: Signal
- Bookmarks: GoodLinks
- Read It Later: Readwise Reader (will be moving back to Omnivore)
- Word Processing: Pages
- Spreadsheets: Numbers (plus Excel)
- Presentations: Keynote
- Shopping Lists: AnyList
- Meal Planning: AnyList
- Budgeting & Personal Finance: YNAB
- News: Apple News (plus ABC RSS feed)
- Music: Apple Music
- Podcasts: Overcast
- Password Management: 1Password
I encourage you to join in the fun, both by blogging your defaults and listening to our show.
2023-11-05 Update with Score
On Mastodon, Jarrod Blundy asked about my score.
I’ve calculated it to be 38!
I’m having fun editing @HemisphericViews this week for E097. It’s a different and fun episode coming up!
Four months ago I took an opportunity for a career change. A move from consulting to managing two Centres of not-for-profit WA Police & Community Youth Centres. It’s been an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. What I love most is working for my staff. The people at Rockingham and Fremantle Centres are first-class. As their manager it’s my job to make their work days better. When employees are happy, customers win. Culture is king.