The Apps We Use: Phillip Gruneich


I’m a brand-new Mac user, so to speak, as my MacBook Pro found its home barely 2 years ago. I’ve quickly grown quite an addiction to Mac apps. In the real world, I’m a born and raised in Brazil copywriter for an advertisement agency, so I’m always surrounded by creative people.

So, here’s the apps I use to get my work done on the Mac in my day-to-day work. Remember, this is not a magical workflow: my belief is that productivity comes from the person, not from the apps they use to achieve it. These applications help with my workflow, and I hope they can help you out to reach your goals as they do mine.

Ulysses III / Byword

It would be unfair to only list one application for my writing tasks, like this one. I’ve been using Byword  for quite a while and I love it. I’m not as adept to using iA Writer  as I often flinch with applications that give you no Preferences, yet I admire it for its Focus Mode and blue cursor.

Partially for the hype, but maybe also for its features, I’ve been using Ulysses  for my most recent articles. I still can’t decide if I’ll stick to it or return to Byword; only time will tell that and it would be unreal to tell you a verdict at the moment.


ReadKit / Reeder

Every thursday, I publish the This Week in Mac Apps News and Deals and to collect the best selection of articles, news and deals, I must keep track of many RSS feeds. I’m on the praying team, hoping that Reeder  finds a reasonable solution to the Google Reader dilemma as they’ve promised. There’s no better RSS reader out there in my opinion.

ReadKit  is a great client if you use more than one service to read articles later. Mostly, I use Pocket  to filter the most interesting articles I find on the Web for later reference when curating what goes on the weekly news post, and then read them later inside ReadKit.

LittleSnapper / Preview

I love LittleSnapper . It is not just a storage place for screenshots, but also a fantastic way to organize all sorts of images. I won’t deny that I often use it for its well-known features for screen-shoting. Don’t miss its embed web browser, either: it saves my life when I write for Web.AppStorm.

As I’ve pointed out in LittleSnapper’s review, its biggest flaw is the absence of a direct tool for resizing your screenshots. Preview covers that and, actually, is probably the best application that comes with your Mac. If you don’t already love Preview, you should dig a bit deeper and see how useful it can be.


If I could choose only a single application to include in this list, it would be Launchbar. I use it to append text, save ideas, navigate through everything, check my Pinboard bookmarks, and so much more. If I listed everything I do with Launchbar, our editor would chop this whole paragraph off.

The truth is that I miss Launchbar. I’ve been using Alfred 2  since its release for an upcoming article also featuring Pedro Lobo, an experienced Alfred user, where we exchange launchers and try to adapt to our workflows. Alfred 2 is a beautiful application, but Launchbar has the place in my heart.


You only notice how necessary a utility is when it becomes such a strong habit that working without it is simply uncomfortable. This is my experience with Moom . When I’m on a different computer, I certainly miss Launchbar, but I mostly miss how Moom makes it easy to manage my windows with my carefully selection of hotkeys.


I’m not a ‘Getting Things Done’ kind of guy, I’m more of a ‘Just Do The Damn Thing’ one, so the relevancy of a task manager is dubious in my workflow. Yet, I love how 2Do  manages everything I need, from the articles for AppStorm to my expired bills. I even have an recurrent alarm to take the garbage out at 7 pm.

With so many options, why did I pick 2Do? Because it has most of the features the most well-known task managers have for almost half the price. The funny part is that I’ve bought it on productivity week, as it was the first task manager to go on sale, if I had waited a few more hours I could have gotten Things  or The Hit List . Still, I don’t regret for a single moment on choosing 2Do, as it works for my needs.


I have a particular interest in finding solutions to problems, which draws me towards applications since each one is created to fill a gap, to fix something. One of my hobbies is designing app concepts, mainily aiming to improve user interfaces in ways that could solve my virtual issues.

My tool of choice for that is Sketch , being a feature-rich vector editor with only the things you need for this kind of activity. It still crashes a lot, bugs a lot, drives me crazy and you may not be very happy with it at the moment. However, its potential and usefulness makes me keep hanging there, dedicated to an application that has still a lot to move forward. And I’ll be following.

What else?

I try to keep a minimal amount of applications on my Mac, so I’m regularly deleting stuff I find no further use for. A few of the following applications are brand-new into my workflow or old veterans that found their places into my hall of fame, though, and they’re not getting deleted anytime soon.

  •  CloudApp – After a quarrel with Droplr, I’ve simply moved across the street. It’s a great way to share files, even though I’m still adapting to it.
  • 1Password – I’m another fan of the “confidential information manager”, because calling it a “password manager” is kind of incorrect, considering all the features of this application.
  • Dropbox – I’m no fan of iCloud, and still believe that it is a service with a lot of improvements left to be added before it’s usable. That makes Dropbox the home of my most important files.
  •  Transmit – Brand-new to this FTP world (just got my own domain, yippie!), this application has already left a great impression on me.

Basically, this is what keeps me working on the Mac. Is that the best I could use? Definitely not, but it works. Should I change anything? What is missing in my workflow? That’s up to you to comment.


Add Yours
  • LOL @ GTD comment. That made me laugh. It is always a pleasure to read your articles. Great stuff.

    It is great to see that you keep things simple. Apps are oriented at what you actually do and if it works well there is no need to change it.

    Ulysses III got a lot of attention and much praise. I was actually surprised when I read a review on another site where a guy really digg into it and smacked it for certain things or lack there of. The developer replied that some things will be fixed in upcoming releases while other things are under consideration. I suggest you use what you feel most comfortable. Ulysses III should get updates and fixes so keep an eye on it. One option is nvAlt if you have not tried it already. Honestly, if you know your way around Byword and can use it and work with it without much thinkering, stick to it. I am not a writer, I rather use a text editor for writing and other needs. I tried iA Writer and found it way to simplistic. However, I am not a target audience so it is not well suited for my needs.

    I know you reviewed LittleSnapper recently, and since then I have tired and sticked to Voila. It works in a similar manner. It does have a few additional things which I find useful.

    Did not go into depth with Launchbar. I am using Alfred and love it. Workflows are great and I am using cca 20. One useful thing for you might be this:

    Since Alfred is a such a multipurpose utility it has replaced a few separate apps – clipboard manager, rename utility, weather, uploading to Droplr, Cloud, optimising images for web (TinyPNG)…

    Moom is wondeful. Love it. Tired a few other options… There is even an Alfred workflow. I don’t know, but it did not work for me. Tested it, it resized a window…but would not work anymore nor resize things back, lol. A script probably needs some work, or it could be just me.

    If you are new to FTP, Transmit is as good as it gets. There are some free options (Cyberduck) or commercial ones such as ForkLift but none is as good, IMO. Coda and Transmit are great if you have to do anything web related.

    Thanks for the tip on Sketch. I heard about it before and I forgot about it. I used CorelDRAW on Windows and Illustrator can be too much. It seems like a nice and simple alternative.

    • This is the kind of comment that makes me want to wake up everyday and write another article. Thank you.

      Today I had a really awful experience with Ulysses and I’ll be going back to Byword until everything is settled down. Ulysses is really great to write for AppStorm though, as I can define the page width and preview at the editor how every article will look on the site, plus, WYSIWYG for links on Markdown is something I’ve been wishing for a while. However, today Ulysses corrupted a few of my articles, including the one that will be up tomorrow here at AppStorm. It was an awful experience.

      I use nvALT as well, most of the time to check my appended texts from Launchbar or write down a list (:

      I’m yet to check Voila, even though i’ve read some exciting reviews about it. Launchbar is part of my life, its look and feel is only part of what makes me prefer it over Alfred 2, which is another outstanding application. It’s up to that point where both contesters are so awesome that it is only a matter of personal opinion.

      I use Windows at work and I often catch myself pressing the shortcuts for Moom. I really love it.

      Transmit is so gorgeous and fully featured that I’ve purchased it after 1 day of trial. Seriously. Next for the list is Coda, maybe if the price drops a bit, since $75 for an application that I’ll use for non-profitable purposes is not the kind of deal you do every day.

      Sketch is great, but may piss you off here and there. I’ve lost a whole project once and I’m still to rebuild it. Still, opposed to the experience with Ulysses, i enjoy drawing in Sketch.

      Again, thanks for your comment.

      • Definitely pick up Coda as soon as you’re able to! I’ve used a LOT of different code editors (Dreamweaver and Sublime Text, just to name a couple), but I keep going back to Coda. For me, it’s just the perfect code editor. :)

        Sketch seems like a great app, too. I’m still trying to learn all of its in’s and out’s.

        Great article, and great read! :)

        • A rule of thumb for Sketch that helped me out in the beginning when you combine objects:

          “Sometimes it is screwed up because you must flat it”

          99% of the time there’s a chance you have a way to make the combination just as you want.

  • Transmit is my choice for FTP, too. :)

  • Hehe… I won’t reveal too much since mine should be up soon, but it’s good to see we share a few apps in common as well as our GTD methodology…

    • Haha, the GTD methodology is getting some buzz, we should write a book about it.

      • Yep, we should call it… Just do the damn thing already! ;)

  • referring to Moom i can only recommend Divvy, which is kinda the same thing but better if you use it through shortcuts.

    i noticed that half screen sizes are not really that great. with divvy you can set up custom grids and execute them through keyboard shortcuts.

    • In Moom you can split your screen in a 16×16 grid and assign shortcuts to whatever position you select :)

      • D’Oh… forgot to mention Moom in my article. There are a few apps that are already so transparent that I forget I’m using them. Moom is one of those apps. Love flinging windows to the next screen ;)

      • Same in Divvy, it’s there since 1.0.