List of apps, SaaS and gears that I used on daily basis to learn, create content or consume it.
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Here is how I choose apps in general:
- Available on multi-platform. Since I use many devices with different operating systems, so the apps must be available for all of my devices. If not, at least it has the web version.
- Data portability and interoperability. Since an app’s developer policy may change at any time without user consent, the ability to migrate app data from one app to a similar one is very important for me to avoid being locked-in in the future.
- Apple Mail. Email client app with email tracking protection. Compare to a similar app, it may not be feature-rich, but it works for me on iPhone.
- Airtable. A modern spreadsheet in a nutshell. It helps organize data and information in various views such as grid, list, and gallery. It supports integration with third-party apps and automation. It is free with generous features, but I have already reached the limit of the free plan.
- Lunacy. Design app with built-in design assets and artificial intelligence. No need to back and forth between the app and browser to search for icons, illustrations, or photos. Everything can be done within the app.
- Spendee. App for managing budget and expense tracker. Can be connected to a bank account or more, so no need to do manual input.
- Pocket Cast. Podcast player with playback speed adjustment, silence trimmer, and vocal boost. Feed management work well for me who subs to many podcast.
- TickTick. The most complete productivity app. Task management, multi-view calendar, habit tracker, focus timer with built-in white noise. Everything I need to be more productive available in one app.
- Amazon Kindle. I use it to read my collection of books while I’m on the go.
- Hews. An Android app, a third-party client, to read, comment, or simply follow what is currently trending on Hacker News.
- Octal. An iOS app to read, comment, and follow discussions on Hacker News.
- OneFootball. The best app for keeping up with my favorite football team. It provides me with transfer rumors, club and player news, match schedules, league tables, and even live ticker updates during live matches. Never miss any football-related news, all from one app.
- Pocket. Despite the fact that there are newer, more capable read-later apps with more features, I stay with Pocket because its typography is so pleasing that I can’t help but enjoy reading on it.
- Raindrop. A cross-platform bookmark manager app to collect and manage interesting links I find online. It’s free and offers generous features.
- Unread. A beautiful RSS reader app for iPhone and iPad. The well crafted typography make me read more. And gesture-based navigation makes it easy to sort through thousands of articles. Free with limited features.
- 1Password. Beyond password manager. Securely store your ID, bank account, credit card details, medical record, driving permit, app licenses, API, SSH, and many more. Feature-rich and well-designed.
- Raycast. A must-have Mac app and a free Spotlight replacement. With it, I can do almost anything on my Mac: open an app, perform web searches, calculate, check time zones, manage clipboard, manage app windows, check my schedule, search for files, shut down or restart Mac, and more. It’s even more powerful now with AI capabilities.
- Velja. A free, small Mac app that helps me choose a browser when I try to open a link. It displays a list of browsers I have set up, making it a useful tool for people who use multiple browsers, like me.
- Skitch. A free app to add annotations to screenshots, which is very handy for someone creating tutorials or technical documentation.
- Craft. Fast and reliable note-taking app. Making list, setting alignment, creating a table, inserting an image, and everything you need to take to format your document can easily be achieved by pressing /.
- DeepL Translator. A free app that helps me translate foreign languages into my native language and easily find definitions for unfamiliar words and phrases.
- Notion. For managing and organizing longform notes. I mainly used the desktop version since the mobile app is slow and the offline experience is unreliable.
Software as A Services
The things that I consider before committing to subscribe to a SaaS include:
- Refund policy. The first thing I do before subscribing to a SaaS is checking their refund policy to see if they have a fair policy.
- Reliability. I choose a service based on its reliability. I can’t tolerate any errors when using the apps or services.
- IFTTT. A simple service to automate some of the apps I use daily, making life easier. It’s free for 2 applets with no limits on runs.
- Adguard DNS. A DNS provider that protects you against malicious, phishing, and scam domains. It also blocks ads and tracking. Free for up to 300K requests per month for up to five devices.
- NextDNS. Offers similar capabilities to Adguard DNS, such as protection against security threats, blocking ads and trackers. I use both to compare performance. Free for up to 300K queries per month and supports unlimited devices.
- Proton Mail. I have been a Proton Mail user since it was in closed beta in 2014. It is an encrypted email service based in Switzerland. Free with limited features.
- Feedly. Cloud-based RSS aggregator to stay up-to-date with the bloggers I follow and get news without the noise and no algorithm. Combined with Unread, reading is more enjoyable. It’s free for up to 100 feeds, which is too few.
- Proton VPN. A no-log VPN based in Switzerland. I like its streaming support, which allows me to watch geo-restricted content. It also has NetShield to block tracker, ads, and malware. It is free with limited features, allowing you to connect to servers in 3 countries.
Things I consider when choosing hardware in general:
- Long-term use. When acquiring a new device, what I expect is to use it on a daily basis for years.
- Value for money. I prefer to spend a little bit more to get a better outcome, in accordance with the first point.
- Audient EVO 4. A small, feature-packed audio interface with two inputs and two outputs, plus Smartgain technology. It’s perfect for accompanying the Rode Procaster to record voice-overs or podcasting.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x BT. These are good for listening to music, podcasts, or videos when at home. They support both Bluetooth and wired connections. The sound is good, although the bass can be a bit dominant. The earpad material is prone to wearing out.
- Rode Procaster. A great sounding, broadcast-quality dynamic microphone with a high-quality, all-metal construction. Its sound quality and build make it an ideal choice for my audio production needs.
- Xiaomi Redmi Buds 3 Pro. These are great for listening to music, podcasts, and videos on the go. They can be connected to 2 devices at once. I like the active noise cancellation, although it can be hit or miss.
- Aukey PA-T11 60W Desktop Charger. A powerful charger that can charge 6 devices at once. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and Ai Power, which makes charging faster.
- Ugreen 100W GaN Charger. This is a travel charger. With GaN technology, it is able to charge 4 devices at once. It supports multiple fast charging protocols.
- Keychron K1. This is a solid mechanical keyboard. It supports connections to both Windows and Mac. It can be connected through a wired USB-C port or wirelessly through Bluetooth. I use the blue switch, which can be a little noisy for those who are not used to mechanical keyboards.
- Logitech MX Master 3. I never expected to like the scroll wheel, but it is very helpful for navigating long documents. The thumb wheel provides an alternative way to navigate on the computer.
- Logitech M240. A mouse I use when working on-the-go. It’s not as advanced as the MX Series, but it gets the job done. And I like the removable battery.
- Elgato Facecam. Just plug it in and you’re good to go! The quality of your video call is instantly upgraded.
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