One of the most common topics I encounter in any tech-related sector of the internet is personal preferences over apps/software/hardware. It can get very heated when people are discussing anything regarding their closely held preferences. I try my best to be as light-hearted and humorous about my suggestions to others as I can because some people just get very angry over the topic.
My friend Mike (who actually introduced me to the wonderful world of Mastodon, as well as my favourite browser, Vivaldi - you all probably know him, he's a popular guy) posted about his reasons for choosing Vivaldi over the others and that got me thinking about the reason why I use what I use.
Generally, I make my choices on the things that make my life more efficient, more fun, and less stressful.
I am an Apple fan through and through. Even my name is Apple (though that begs the question "Which came first? Apple or Apple?") In my home office, I use an iMac (though my extended monitors are not Apple - one is an HP and one is a Samsung), on the go I have a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro, I have two iPhones (my personal cell is a 12 Pro, and my work cell is an 11 Pro), and I have another MacBook Pro that I use to manage the corporate DropBox, and a Mac Mini that I recently converted to a MintMini by installing Linux on it.
I just love their hardware. I love how it looks (though I will say that I miss the iPhone 4 style of phone - and I'm so glad it returned with the 12), I love how it works, I love that I experience essentially no lag on any of the hardware I use, I don't have to listen to my computer fans running, and my iMac has a very minimal footprint space-wise.
Even for my peripherals, I use Apple's products - for my iMac, I use their mouse, keyboard, and trackpad; for my iPad I use their wireless keyboard.
I've found that Apple hardware lasts. My Mini, which I bought in 2008 (used off of eBay, even) still works flawlessly - the only reason I Linux'd it was because Apple no longer supported it for their OS. While everyone else has gone through computer after computer (Windows users, what can I say?), my Macs keep on givin' 'er.
So, yeah, you can say that I'm definitely an Apple fangirl.
As I mentioned earlier, Mike from Fosstodon introduced me to Vivaldi a couple of years ago, and I've been a die-hard fan ever since. Vivaldi is the most customizable browser that I've ever encountered, and for someone whose tastes and needs change with the blowing of the wind, that means a lot to me.
On my iMac, I run two browser windows per window, but with Vivaldi, I can essentially make it 4 windows with the help of Vivaldi's built-in panels, and split tabs. This increases my efficiency SO much. I know it seems like 3 screens with 2 windows per screen should be enough, but when you're managing so many different companies through different apps/sites/etc., you need to make the most out of your screens.
That's not to say that I don't also use other browsers. I have to, unfortunately, as again - managing multiple companies means having to make things work to the best of your ability. So, I also have Safari, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Brave, and Tor (though my opinion on that browser still hasn't fully formed).
For most everything else, I use native Apple software, except for my office suite, which for me is a mix of Microsoft Office and Google Docs/Sheets, and my music, which for me is Spotify.
For keeping my hardware clean and spiffy, I use CleanMyMac and Gemini. I love how easy the software is to use and how it keeps an eye on things for me.
I'd say that my most frequently used app would be Telegram. Years back, we used to use Whatsapp, but so often the service would go down, and when you're trying to run a company and manage staff in multiple locations, reliable communication is vital. Someone on Twitter actually suggested Telegram to me, and since I love trying out new things, I gave it a shot. I liked it so much, I had my team try it out and they, too, loved it. So, now we are a Telegram-based communication team. Aside from one or two times in the last few years, Telegram has been very reliable. And I'm fond of their customization options.
Ever since I dropped social media from my phone, I don't have a use for the apps, however, prior to dropping it from my phone I used the regular Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter apps. For Mastodon, I had both Amaroq and Toot!, with Toot! being my preferred app (how can you not love that little trumpet notification sound?)
For a browser on my phone, I use Safari. It's not the greatest option, and it doesn't have all the features that I would like, but meh, beggars can't be choosers. You will, however, find me regularly reminding Vivaldi on Twitter to get their iOS app developed.
E-mail... don't get me started on e-mail. Unfortunately, because the majority of the staff in each company are not very technically skilled, and because I like to give them something familiar, we use GSuite for all of our e-mail accounts. It's about efficiency and ease of use.
I've recently had to take over quite a few new e-mail accounts. So, on my iMac and MacBook, I use Spark Mail App, Kiwi Mail, and the native Mail app. On my phones, I use Spark, Gmail, Fastmail, and the native Mail app.
My primary personal e-mail account is through FastMail (I will never leave them, they are amazing), and I also have a domain e-mail through Zoho Mail (I haven't used them long enough to really form an opinion of them yet, but it works for my uses).
I finally succumbed to the need for a password manager a year or so ago when my age (combined with the number of companies I have to manage) finally started affecting my memory. I signed up with Keeper after a negative experience with LastPass, and while it was annoying, I stayed with them for just under a year (up until recently). When they made some changes to their extensions which continuously made it impossible for me to actually sign into some of my key sites, I went looking for another manager. A friend (I believe it was Unicorn Toots?) suggested I check out BitWarden - and I'm so glad I did. It was very easy to set up and it's nowhere near as intrusive as Keeper was. (Please stay awesome, BitWarden!)
For task management, I use Trello. I use Trello for so much more than just that (I'll be sharing a post I wrote about it here soon) and suggest it to anyone and everyone who needs that kind of functionality.
Most of what I use, like I said, is based solely on what is going to make my life easier. As much as I'd like to stick solely to apps that respect my privacy and are open-source (free or not), it just would make my life harder at this point. So, those are my choices. Like 'em or not, that's what they are.
What are your favourites? Do you have some software or an app that you use religiously that you recommend to everyone at the drop of a hat? I'd love your suggestions! Just because I have my favourites doesn't mean that my favourites don't change (as pointed out a few times in this post!) And I'm more than willing to try out new software or apps. In fact, if I could be paid to do it, I'd make it my job.
(This is an updated version of my very first post for #100DaysToOffload.)
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