Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tech Time ::: My Top (Desktop) Apps/Sites

I am consistently asked for a "top 5" and "top 10" of various things I use everyday. Be it apps, gadgets, skincare, haircare, makeup, whatever. I thought I'd start answering those requests with a tech related post about mobile apps I am a regular user of.

Today, I am focusing on desktop-friendly/specific versions of apps and websites, some of which have mobile siblings that sync together nicely and also fell on my Top 10 for Mobile Apps.


Both App/Site:::


Tweetbot for Mac
1Password4 for Mac

I'll start with Websites:::

I started reading iMore several years back before they rebranded themselves from "TiPB" (The iPhone Blog), and have read sister sites for years prior, under the Smartphone Experts, now MobileNations, brand. The parent brand covers Blackberry (Crackberry), Android (Android Central), WindowsPhone (WP Central) and WebOS (WebOS Nation), as well, and have become an authority in what's going on with each platform. Besides having breaking and in-depth news and reviews, each has it's own very active community full of eager, helpful folks sharing input on the best apps, devices and accessories within each platform.  There are also companion apps for their communities and news sites.

In the same vein, BGR is also a go-to for tech related news. They cover all platforms, all types, all tech. They are a very reliable source, especially for new devices, and provide incredible hands-on reviews. They don't tend to rumor-monger which I appreciate, but if there's a pretty reliable source for a leak, they will report on their findings. 

Being a big shopper, I check out Racked pretty frequently. Their "Working It" column, showing what office attire is big in some pretty big name offices around the country, is one of my favorites.  Racked always has the most up to date news about stores, brands and designers and the most updates about sales going on around the web. There are also a few regional sites as well, that pack more specific news to those regions in. 

I have been a SiriusXM Subscriber for well over a decade now, and in that time, the change in technology has been remarkable, especially since the merger.  I have a receiver built into my car and another for work, but also had the online option, which I listen to regularly at home, and just recently shut off my work receiver to stream at work as well.  I also occasionally use the iOS app when I sit out in the yard reading magazines on nice days, connecting my phone to our wifi network to stream through my phone. The range of music available is just astounding, and I love the additional channels available in the online-streaming option and sometimes find myself missing them in the car!  

Then there are the apps-slash-websites for desktop:::

Dropbox has various platforms, and it's Mac version is simply integrated right into the OS pretty seamlessly. Connect your iPhone/Android phone camera roll to backup to it, save print files to it and send them to vendors, share files and photos with clients or family and friends. It's free to use, but if you want more than the free allotment of space (which is still pretty good!), you can upgrade for more.  Just like the website, the apps are all linked and keep everything securely backed up.  You can connect your 1Password to it as well, to keep that data securely backed up, too, which I do. 

Evernote was a site-slash-app system I didn't immediately "get" but now that I have been using it, I really like it. I like that it aggregates thoughts, lists and snippets so well, and that I can access them online, through the desktop app and through my iOS app. I have been maintaining my shopping list for this holiday season, and I keep my main packing lists inside as well. I have also started keeping my recipe lists and ideas inside as well, between it and the Evernote Food app. 

I have waxed on about my love of Mint a few times now, but it's really just a fantastic service. And for free? Seriously? Yes. And secure for free? Yes!  The website remains, to me, the best place to see it all, but the apps have really been improved significantly to give more data and more of the budgeting tools from the site. But when you only have a minute and just want a quick checkin? The apps have it. Beautifully designed and incredibly easy to navigate, and again, FREE, the mobile and desktop apps are incredible. 

And then the desktop versions of apps:::

1Password4 for Mac is the desktop variant of app that coincides and syncs with the iOS/Android app. 1Password4 syncs all of the data between both the desktop and mobile platforms, and backs it all up to Dropbox in the event I need to restore either my Mac app (new machine or otherwise) or iPhone app (new phone or otherwise).  This app, just like the iOS app, became a fast favorite and I can't believe it took me so long to find and use it.  

They're not cheap apps, but they're worth every single penny since every site has a log in, and maintaining secure logins is a big deal. Keeping them organized is not easy but this app will help with that. 1Password keeps track of my constant changes to logins, passcodes, etc., and allows secure logins and secure browsing through the app.  When I got my new iPhone this year, it was the second app I downloaded (seriously!) after Dropbox, and since they interplay, the two of them obviously are on this list, just like they were on my mobile app list.  

Tweetbot is a beautifully designed and very easy to navigate Twitter client that has both a desktop and an iOS version. I use both, but I love the desktop version most. I am not a big tweeter, but this app has made it a lot more palatable. I love that I can toggle between multiple accounts easily, and that I can look back on any exchanges and email conversations to myself for later review with just one click. I love that I can create lists, mute overly obnoxious folks that I don't want to entirely unfollow, and double-click at the top to get back up without scrolling. I haven't done a ton of digging into this app, surprisingly but I know this stuff is just the tip of the iceberg!

I couldn't do my job without Adobe CreativeCloud/CreativeSuite. No artist could, really. I was hesitant to jump to the subscription model Adobe switched to in place of the hard copies of software, but after having done so, and getting the consistent updates and newest versions available of the software titles I use and rely on, plus a few more I wanted to get versed in, I am glad I did. Sure there are parts of it that are irritating, like being bound to a subscription. But there are also positives, like consistent updates and new versions, and not having to worry about misplacing an install disk.  

What are your top 10 most used sites/desktop apps?

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