Software I'm Using, January 2024 Edition

In the vein of my recent post on the hardware I’m using at the start of 2024, this is a description of the key software I’m using at the moment. There aren’t many changes — except what I use to write on this website. That’s new and might be odd to you. Just a note to say most of these are MacOS-only — but not all.

Generalised, the types of apps I use are:

  • Apps to organise me
  • Apps with which to stay in contact with others
  • Apps with which to read
  • Apps with which to write

There are others, but they are specialised enough or sufficently infrequently–used that I don’t really think about whether I liker them or not.

Apps to organise me

No real changes here in the past year. I’ve tried many many task manager apps over the years but TickTick still is the best on the Mac if you need to collaborate or share a to–do list with others. It unaccountably lacks the ability to defer a task on its Today view: so Today is a list of everything that could be done, rather than a list of what you want to do. I’ll put up with that becuase of the multi-user nature.

I actually prefer Things, but it remains resolutely single-user. If its authors ever add that (and I’ve been waiting for years) then I’ll probably switch back. The main reason I recommend both of these apps is that they understand the concept of task duration properly: a task can have a start date in the future. No other app does this properly.

For data: I’ve been a OneNote fanboy since the day it came out in 2003. In fact it was the reason for me getting in to computers you can write on, but that’s a subject for another post. My entire digital data life goes into it. For a long time it was the only Microsoft product I used.

I still use the Notes app on my Apple devices, but that’s more to grab things before I forget about them. And lists I use regularly, like shopping lists.

For data storage: iCloud works fine for me. I don’t need to carry a huge amount of data. If I need to share with others, then OneDrive from Microsoft is generally the way I go.

Apps to stay in contact with others

There have been two main changes here. Given Twitter’s ludicrous policies towards content moderation, 3rd party apps and hate speech, I’ve stopped using it. So Twitterific is no longer on my devices, which is a shame as it was a great way to use Twitter. Instead, Facebook has taken its place. I tried to avoid using it for years but that’s simply not an option any more. Discord has become an essential way to stay in contact with groups of people with whom I share a common interest.

To replace Twitter I switched to Mastodon, which I got instantly, though I do see that many people don’t. To access it I use Ivory, written by the same people who wrote Twitterific, so its way of working very familiar.

I’ve been dipping my toes into Bluesky but I don’t get the way its app displays messages from the people I’m subscribed to. I don’t believe there are other clients for it yet: we’ll see what I’m using in a year.

Apps with which to read

No changes here. For websites’ RSS feeds, NetNewsWire. It’s alwways been great for organising and consuming websites’ articles. Kindle and Apple’s Books app remain how I read stuff bought from Amazon and everything else, respectively.

For web browsing I see no need to move away from Apple’s Safari with extensions from 1Blocker for ad and nuisance removal. Consent-o-Matic fills in cookie consent forms for me. Vinegar keeps YouTube from being insidious.

Apps with which to write

For general documents I remain pretty ambivalent. Apple’s Pages is good enough for the occasional use I need to make of it, and it’s still more intutuive to me than Word.

The surprising choice here is that I do most of my writing in Visual Studio Code. Why? Becauase most of the words I write these days are for one website or another. And for those, I usually write in Markdown — a simple text markup language that you will be familiar with if you use MS Teams Chat, or Discord. VS Code supports that well.

If it’s for my own websites, via the magic of Github to store this writing, I can keep various copies, keep tests and new writing separate from my aready–published work, and experiment with all sorts of changes. Most useful — I do like to tinker.