Hey, it’s Matthew, the editor here and on Web.AppStorm. Ever wondered which apps I use to get my work done each day?
For the past few weeks, we’ve been running a series of articles about the Apps We Use, letting you get a peek into the workflow of each of the writers on our team. I’m up this week, and here’s the apps that are most important to me — the apps I require to get work done, productively, on my Mac.
If you’ve ever written or edited code from your iPhone or iPad, chances are you’ve used Textastic, or at the very least heard of it. Textastic is a popular text editor for iOS that brings the best of code editing to Apple’s mobile platform in an app that is reminiscent of TextMate. With its built-in FTP integration, it’s one of the best ways to write or edit code on the go, and is the way I personally publish to my Kirby-powered blog from my iPhone.
Alexander Blach, the developer behind Textastic, has now brought the venerable code editor to the Mac, and it’s currently in the App Store for the low price of $2.99. I knew I had to try it out as soon as I saw it available, and I’ve come away impressed. Here’s why.
Spotlight is one of your Mac’s best built-in tools, letting you find apps, files, emails, and more in seconds. Once you try to dig deeper, though, you’ll quickly find Spotlight’s interface to be limiting. That’s where Disklens, our sponsor this week, comes in. Disklens builds on Spotlight’s powerful search engine, adding a convenient user interface on top that’s aimed at maximum efficiency in the daily routine of locating information on your Mac.
At first glance, Disklens looks and feels very similar to Spotlight. Disklens performs a much more extensive search, however, delivering several thousand search results in a matter of seconds. You can dig through them all by selecting search categories, if you’re looking for items of a specific kind. Then, mouse-over an item to get more info about it, including file size, creation date, and a link to it in Finder, or tap space to see a Quick Look preview of the file. Then, you can drag-and-drop search results anywhere so you can use what you find.
Disklens includes all of the Spotlight features you love, but makes them even better. If you’ve looked for a search alternate but didn’t want anything too different, then this is the app for you. You’ll feel at home, this time, though, with more power at your fingertips. Disklens doesn’t try to get too fancy feature-wise. It just focuses on providing a simple, convenient, and streamlined approach to locating information on your Mac.
Go Get It!
Ready to get more out of searching on your Mac? Disklens is a great way to do it without spending much at all. You can download a free trial of Disklens to make sure it does everything you need, then get your own copy for just $3.99 from their online store. If it’ll make you even a bit more productive, that’s a small price to pay for the time you’ll save!
Ever need to work with Microsoft Office files, but don’t want to pay for a full copy of Office? Or do you use iWork by default, but want to make sure your converted documents will look fine on your boss’ Windows computer?
Microsoft has just the thing for you: the Office Web Apps. We’ve just tried out the latest Office Web Apps over at Web.AppStorm, and it turns out, they work quite good.
So what’s the catch? Nothing, really. You get stripped-down versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote that run in your browser, and you can sync the real files back to your Mac using the SkyDrive for Mac app. And you could then continue using those files on your Mac, say in iWork, just fine.
Sound like just what you need for a basic Office solution? Then head over to Web.AppStorm for the full scoop on the Office Web Apps.
Imagine you’re walking out of the Apple Store with a brand new MacBook under your arm, or perhaps you’re carting out one of the brand-new wall mounted iMacs (yes, we’re wishing we had one of those — say, the top-speced 27″ one — too). You plug in your Mac, savor the familiar-yet-new startup ding, then connect to the internet. You’re ready to start loading up your Mac with the best apps, and you can’t wait to get it feeling like a productive machine.
Only this time, there’s a twist: you can only install 5 apps. That’s right: you can install anything you want from the net or the App Store, but you’re limited to using the built-in apps and up to 5 more apps you install. What apps would make the cut?
The past few weeks, we’ve been featuring roundups of our team’s favorite apps in the Apps We Use series, and we’ve got a ton more workflows to feature over the upcoming weeks. Some of us have extremely streamlined workflows consisting of only a few apps, while others have a ton of apps they use to get their work done.
If I could only install 5 apps on my Mac, I’d install:
- Dropbox, since all my files live in it
- 1Password, since I wouldn’t be able to login to almost any site without it
- OmniFocus, which holds almost everything I need to do
- Sublime Text for writing, since it’s great for plain-text writing as well as coding
- Transmit for FTP, to publish articles to my site (which uses the flat-file CMS Kirby)
There’s a ton more apps I use daily and that I’d want to use, but these would be the minimum I’d need to keep working. Now, how about you? What 5 apps would you install if you could only have 5 apps on your Mac? Let us know in the comments below!
Do you find yourself looking for calming music or background sounds to make your day at work less stressful? Magic Mind, our sponsor this week, is an app that can help you out. It’s designed to help anyone who undergoes stressful situations at work, has trouble falling asleep, or wants to meditate.
No matter if you are looking for a lunch brake relax or a deep stress relief, this application has you covered. You can choose from 28 background sounds, including thunder, crickets, birds and more, to help you relax while tuning out other background noises. You can custom mix sounds and adjust the volume of each individual sound to get it sounding just like you want. Then, there’s 40 unique sessions with a predefined music track, which can be changed to any of 48 available different melodies.
Magic Mind includes:
- 48 Music Tracks, all of which work as endless loops
- 28 Background Sounds that you can custom mix
- Custom Timer settings to control fade-out time and more
- SoundScapes to save your favorite sound combinations
Go Get It!
If you’ve been wanting a way to get some calming background noise to help your workday be a bit more peaceful, Magic Mind might be just what you’ve been looking for. You can get your own copy of Magic Mind for $4.99 from the App Store. At half the price of a music album, it’s a cheap way to get your own calming soundtrack for your work life.
If you’re subscribing to Mac.AppStorm or any other sites via RSS, chances are you’re using Google Reader. Even if you’re using a Mac app like NetNewsWire, Reeder, or any of the newer news apps that have popped up in recent years, you’re likely using Google Reader to do the heavy lifting of syncing your RSS feeds. That’s all going to come to an end this July, as Google just announced that they’re shutting down Google Reader.
There’s a few options you’ve got. First, NetNewsWire can sync RSS feeds standalone already, so it can work without Google Reader integration, only you’ll lose the syncing options. Then, the Reeder team has announced on Twitter that Reeder won’t die, though it’s yet to be seen how it will continue syncing RSS feeds. On the Mac, Reeder only works with Google Reader, though on the iPhone it already works with Fever, a self-hosted online feed reader.
Then, if you used Google Reader online, you’ll just need to find a new app to subscribe to RSS feeds. Plus, you’ll need to export your Google Reader data, no matter what app you’re switching to. Over on Web.AppStorm, we’ve put together the tips and apps you need to make the leap from Google Reader. I personally switched to Fever, but there’s a number of options that’ll work no matter what your needs.
Now, would anyone like to predict what app Google will shutdown next?
If you love reading online articles, but don’t usually have time to read them in full when you’re using your browser, then you’re like a heavy user of a reading later service. There’s three popular web apps to help you save articles to read anytime: Pocket, Readability, and Instapaper. While all these services have native apps for your iPhone and more, only Pocket has a native Mac app (one that used to be the best Instapaper app for the Mac).
So what’s an Instapaper or Readability user to do, if they want to read their articles on the Mac? There’s two new apps that are great options: ReadKit and Words App. We’d looked at Words before, but found its interface rather lacking for a full reading app. Their dev team went back to the drawing board, though, and their newly released Words 2 is easily one of the nicest ways to read longform articles on your Mac. If you didn’t try it out the first time around, you should definitely take a look at Words 2.
You know you shouldn’t use the same simple password on every site online, but password managers can be so complex to setup, not to mention expensive. Perhaps you should try out PassLocker, our sponsor this week, which is a new take on a password management app.
PassLocker is a nicely designed menubar app that makes it dead-simple to generate random passwords for your online accounts and save your account info in one place. You won’t have to install any browser plugins to use it, and there’s no extra features or settings to make it complex. It’s just a simple way to manage your passwords. We called PassLocker “the simplest password app” in our recent review, and found it to live up to its claims as an easy-to-use password app.
Best of all, PassLocker works great on the iPhone as well, so your passwords will be with you wherever you go. And you won’t have to worry about staying in sync, either, since PassLocker will automatically sync all of your info over iCloud. PassLocker is a promising alternative for those who are tired of complexity of other apps, or who don’t want to pay a fortune for managing passwords.
Go Get It!
Ready to get your passwords organized in a simple way on your Mac and iPhone? Then go download PassLocker today from the App Store. At just $4.99 on the Mac and $1.99 on the iPhone, it won’t break the bank, and it’s so quick and easy to use that you’ll have your accounts more secure without much trouble at all.
If there’s one enduring set of apps that’s practically a requirement to use in most business and education settings, it’s Microsoft Office. Love it or hate it, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are the de facto standards for their categories.
On a Mac, you’ve got a ton of options these days. You could obviously use Office for Mac, though it’s often a bit behind its Windows counterparts despite coming out for the Mac before Windows was even around (though sometimes it does seem ahead of the Windows versions — see the Publishing layout options in Word for Mac). Then, there’s Apple’s iWork apps, though you might end up with some compatibility issues if you have to regularly share heavily formatted documents (but, for most purposes, iWork really is fine, while being nicer to use than Office. Really). There’s also OpenOffice and its new counterpart LibreOffice, though they come with their own slew of issues. You could also use web apps for free these days instead, from Google, Zoho, or even Microsoft itself.
Or, you could use Office for Windows on your Mac, either in Bootcamp or in a virtual machine. That way, you could use Office 2013 today on your Mac, or stick to an older-and-trusted version of Office in an old XP virtual machine. I personally have Office 2010 in a Windows 7 virtual machine, as well as an Office 2013 trial in a Windows 8 virtual machine for testing and more. We’d love to know if you use Office for Windows on your Mac. If so, we’d love to hear how you use it, and what version you’re using in the comments below!