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Productivity

Minimalist text editors burst on to the Mac app scene a few years back (actually the Soulmen were pioneers of this field back in 2002, but the truly minimalist apps came out years later). Since that time, there has been a proliferation of minimalist text editors—some would even say the category is too crowded. Many of these editors incorporate Markdown or MultiMarkdown syntax for formatting, with some even providing a live preview and standard keyboard shortcuts for applying syntax (see Byword).

I was searching for an app that would easily create HTML, but display the text as rich text, and stumbled upon Texts. I was in for a big surprise when I discovered just how powerful this “minimalist” text editor is. Read on to find out what I mean. (more…)

I went for years not even knowing what a text insertion or text expansion app was, and when I finally did learn, I was so put off by the high prices of some of the big names on the market that it took awhile before I even found out what the big deal was. Once you’ve started using a text insertion app, though, it’s hard to imagine those days of yore, when you used to actually type things. The memories still haunt me.

But man, are those apps expensive, right? Not necessarily, and today we’re going to take a look at aText, a great text insertion app with a tiny price tag. But does that mean it’s also going to be small on features? We’ll check it out! (more…)

Working on your computer can be of huge help or hugely distracting. It’s very easy to get anything done on it, but it becomes less likely that you’ll get things out of the way when you’ve got a world of entertaining distractions one click away.

Some people might be mentally strong enough to keep interferences out of their way on their own, but for the rest of us weaklings, it might be a little harder to keep procrastinations out, and that’s why productivity methods like Pomodoro are so popular. We’ve already looked at one Pomodoro technique app this week – Tadam – which is a nice but minimal app, so let’s look at another app that’s more full-featured. It’s called Tomatoes.
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In the past few years, plain text has come back as a popular format. Instead of using full-featured word processing and notes apps, many of us are sticking to plain text for everything. It’s simple, works everywhere, and an increasing number of new apps are using plain text instead of their own proprietary formats, which makes it even easier to keep your data in sync.

From note-taking to task managers, most of the writing in our lives can be easily formatted from plain text files, with a system of simple syntax instead of proprietary formatting. TaskAgent for Dropbox enters the plain-text app market as a new way to manage your tasks in plain text.

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Sometimes it feels like a day doesn’t go by without the release of another app in the over-saturated to-do list category. I’ve used Things to organize my life since it was first introduced, and I’ve stuck with it through the years, even despite the developers’ embarrassingly long delay for proper cloud syncing. My loyalty to Things has always been shaky, which has kept me experimenting with it’s many competitors.

I recently tried out Cheddar to see if it could replace Things as my go-to organization tool on my Mac. Here’s how that worked out.

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In this day and age, we find ourselves surrounded by constant distractions, making focusing on a single task at any given time an increasingly difficult endeavour. Often times, we have to resort to mental hacks and gimmicks to focus on the task at hand… I know I do.

One method I’ve found helps me focus is The Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro apps are dime a dozen in the App Store, some more complex and feature rich, others such as Tadam, more minimal. I recently took it for a spin. Read on to find out how it faired.

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When I first discovered Markdown and shortly thereafter MultiMarkdown, I instantly fell in love. Almost overnight writing workflows and tools were transfigured. They became more streamlined and ubiquitous.

Therefore, when news surfaced that Fletcher Penny was readying the release of MultiMarkdown Composer 2, I was antsy to get my hands on it. The wait was a long one… but well worth it!
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There’s two kinds of Mac users: the ones who love the iOS-style simplification that’s come to OS X in recent years, and the older-school Mac users who love the keyboard shortcuts, automation, scripting, terminal, and more that make OS X one of the most powerful – and productive – operating systems on the market. These two camps seldom find common ground.

When PopClip first came out, I tried it out, but decided I vastly preferred tried-and-true keyboard shortcuts, and uninstalled the trial. It just wasn’t for me, and felt like iOS eye candy compared to what I was used to.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that PopClip is quite the productivity tool these days, one that geeks and everyone else can love. What made the difference? Extensions.

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So you’re focused working on something, when suddenly you come up with an amazing idea, or think of something that you’d like to remember for later. If you’re anything like me, you feel the need to write it down right then and there before it goes away forever. But, if you follow any sort of productivity discipline, you also don’t want to lose focus on your main task, or get involved with other intricate apps that could take your precious attention.

A simple piece of paper next to your computer might do the trick, but since you’re already working on your computer, why not do it there? Why not have a simple, small note taking app that runs in your menu bar? We’ve got one of those for you today. It’s good, it’s free, and it’s called Noteworthy+. Why don’t we get deeper into it?

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It can be a bit of a nightmare trying to manage a Kindle with a large ebook collection. You can organize them into categories on the device, but that’s frustratingly slow. You could use the official Kindle app, but that’ll only cover you for Amazon-purchased ebooks.

Enter Scida, a new app for organizing your ebooks and putting them on your Kindle(s). It makes managing Kindle ebooks a breeze, but this initial release is a bit light on features. Let’s take a look.
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