Default Apps 2023

November 26, 2023 4 min read

Apps I’ve been using regularly this year.

Blogging is fun! I noticed this post from Marc Amos, in a format borrowed from Chris Coyier, Matt Cool, Tracy Durnell, and a whole bunch of people catalogued by Robb Knight.

So here’s me taking a turn, in a year where I’ve been transitioning back to my own solo work again fresh off an attempt to wean myself off Google.

📨 Mail Client: + SpamSieve + GPG Suite
📮 Mail Server:
📝 Notes: Obsidian
✅ To-Do: Obsidian
📷 Photo Shooting: iPhone, Lumix GH5
🎨 Photo Editing: ON1 Photo Raw, Affinity Photo, Pixelmator Pro
📆 Calendar: Apple Calendar
📁 Cloud File Storage: iCloud + Sync
📖 RSS: Reeder
🙍🏻‍♂️ Contacts: Apple Contacts
🌐 Browser: Safari
💬 Chat: Apple Messages, Discord, Slack
🔖 Bookmarks: DEVONthink
📑 Read It Later: Obsidian, DEVONthink
📜 Word Processing: Apple Pages
📈 Spreadsheets: Apple Numbers
📊 Presentations: Apple Keynote
🛒 Shopping Lists: Apple Reminders
🍴 Meal Planning: Mela (replacing Paprika)
💰 Budgeting and Personal Finance: Soulver
📰 News: Morning Brew, The Atlantic
🎵 Music: Apple Music
🎤 Podcasts: Apple Podcasts
🔐 Password Management: 1Password
🧑‍💻 Code Editor: VS Code, PhpStorm, Sublime Text, Zed
✈️ VPN: NordVPN

Bonus Items

Important enough to include here, ordered roughly by how often I rely on each.

🚀 Launcher: Raycast
🚫 Ad Blocking: Vinegar, 1Blocker, StopTheMadness
🐚 Terminal: iTerm 2
🔎 Search Engine: Kagi
🗂️ Version Control: Tower
🖼️ Screenshots: CleanShot X
🐘 Mastodon Client: Ivory
👨‍💻 Local Development: DDEV
🗄️ Code Repositories: GitHub
🛌 Sleep Tracking: AutoSleep
💽 Database Manager: TablePlus
📖 Reading: Kindle, Apple Books
✍️ Writing: Obsidian, VS Code, Sublime Text, Scrivener
🧾 Invoicing and Time Tracking: Harvest
👨‍🎨 Design: Figma
🕹️ Games: BattleBit Remastered, Hell Let Loose, Star Citizen
📓 Journaling: Day One
📊 Web Analytics: Plausible
🗓️ Schedule Booking:
🤖 Server Provisioning: Ploi
🩺 App + Server Monitoring: HetrixTools + Sentry
📦 Package Tracking: Parcel (RIP Deliveries 😢)
🧠 Brainstorming: iThoughtsX, Obsidian, reMarkable
☎️ Video Calls:, Zoom
📋 Snippet Sharing: HedgeDoc
🎛️ 3D Modeling and Slicing: Autodesk Fusion 360, PrusaSlicer
🍱 Project Management: Linear
🗺️ Maps + Driving Directions: Apple Maps + CarPlay
🔥 Wildfire + Air Quality Tracking: Watch Duty
🎬 Filmography Reference: Callsheet
📽️ Video Editing: DaVinci Resolve
🐎 Motion Graphics: Apple Motion
🎹 DAW: GarageBand
👀 Editor Analytics: WakaTime

Bonus Commentary

I’ve been using Obsidian for a lot and loving it. (The speed, relative simplicity, vibrant community, and underlying product philosophy all help.) I upgraded to their sync offering, which has been much more reliable than iCloud but still bumpy on iOS.

Abandoning Alfred for Raycast was hard, and it even took me two tries because it felt unthinkable, but Raycast is really good and wonderfully connected to other things I use. has been great for email—clunky web UI from another era, but privacy-conscious with a nice feature set and reliable service. Still happy with that choice and fine using, but the search in Google Apps was way, way better and Mimestream was an ideal email client.

I’m still looking for a client-facing project management tool I like. I adore Notion and haven’t been using it with all my solo Obsidian notes, but it’s ideal for shared documentation. Linear’s lovely for project and task management, but more suitable for teams building software than client work.

ON1 was the best photo manager I could find that’d work with Synology NAS storage, but it’s still slow and painful. Contemplating a leap to all Photos + iCloud but not eager to migrate everything.

Post-Adobe life is still working out just fine. I’m productive enough with Figma and Affinity apps, though I was never so advanced that I had Adobe apps down to muscle memory.