Tech I Couldn't Live Without in 2013

As part of my annual tradition, here is a list of my favorite apps, services, and tech products that I used throughout 2013.

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Tech I Couldn't Live Without in 2012

  • Mac mini with 1TB Fusion Drive — For a $1,100 Mac, this baby is FAST. It gives me all the performance I need to open large Photoshop files while coding sites, and plenty of space for my massive iPhoto library.

  • iPhone 4S — My iPhone is my communications hub where all of my notifications are pushed to. And the outstanding 8 megapixel camera lets me capture precious moments that I want to carry with me for the rest of my life.

  • iPad mini — For a few months, I was iPadless because I sold my first-gen iPad in anticipation of the mini. What happened? I compensated by overusing my 4S, which had a significant affect on battery life. I see my iPad mini as my primary mobile consumption device, and a way to "extend" the battery life of my iPhone.

  • Google — Chrome has the right balance of feature robustness and simplicity. Gmail is still king of email. Google Reader is an absolute must-have (I don't care if bloggers say Twitter is the new RSS). Google Voice development has been extremely stagnant for the past couple years but having web access to all of my text messages has saved my ass countless times.

  • Flipboard for iPad/iPhone — still, by far, the best way to stay up-to-date with Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Tumblr.

  • Instagram — If I had to give up all social networks except one, I would keep Instagram. It's by far the most personal social network out there because everyone post things that make them happy, unlike Twitter/Facebook where some people only use for passive-aggression, bitching and whining.

  • Tweetbot for iPad — the best Twitter app out there. For me, the killer features are cross-device placeholder syncing (i.e. Tweet Marker) and being able to retweet as a different Twitter account.

  • ProCamera for iPhone — This is my secret weapon for taking great photos. Specifically, I love how I can lock exposure and enable image stabilization with one hand for close-up shots (e.g. food, lol).

  • Facebook — Simply because all of my friends are on it. Most of my friends don't have Twitter so Facebook is still the best way for me to reach everyone in my life.

  • Pinboard — This has become a big part of my consumption workflow. When I find an interesting link on Tweetbot or Chrome, I'll save it to Pinboard, which will push to my Google Reader via RSS to read for later.

  • Instapaper — While Google Reader is my inbox, Instapaper is my "Save for Later" bin where I'll dump long articles that aren't time-sensitive. Recently, it's been filled out with a lot of How To's and Quora posts.

  • Dropbox — I always need a way to share large files across people and devices. Been a loyal user since 2006.

  • Drafts App — This summer, I retired my iOS app experiment, PostMate for iPhone. Drafts shares the same workflow as PostMate for quickly drafting and sharing text, but supports a lot more external apps/services.

  • Backblaze — online backup solution. This thing has saved my ass a few times this year.

  • Bitcasa — infinite online storage. It's still in beta but I've been dumping a TON of stuff on here. I don't put anything mission critical on here because it hasn't earned that much of my trust yet, but for now, I use it to store things like movies, TV shows, etc.

  • Imgur — Tumblr used to be a very important source of entertainment for me but I figured out that 90% of viral posts on Tumblr come from Imgur. Now I just go straight to the source.

Honorable Mentions: ForkLift for Mac, DayOne, Slingbox, Siri, iTunes Match, Skype

Heating Up for 2013: 1Password, Pinterest, App.Net, New Myspace, GitHub

Cooling Down: Tumblr, Trillian, Voxer

Dismissed: Path, because none of my actual close friends are on it.

Day One - Now with Photos, Foursquare Places →

For the longest time, I used my blog as my personal diary (saving my diary posts as private, of course).

And then I started to get lazy and just wrote everything on an endless, totally insecure, text file. I would tell myself, "at the end of the month, I will paste my entries onto my blog."

Two things sucked about this process:

  • There were a couple times when I accidentally published a diary post as public.
  • For a solid 2 years, I stopped moving my diary entries from the text file to my blog.

When Day One for iOS/OSX came out, I debated for weeks on whether it was worth the money. Ever since I bought it, I've wished I had this thing 10 years ago.

One thing I love about Day One is its more in-tune with my journaling habits:

  • I tend to write diary entries in short, tweet-like bullet points.
  • Lots of times I want to write something private on the spot, not when I get home.

And now, with today's update, Day One supports photos and Foursquare places.

Photos is a really, really awesome feature because a photo really is worth a thousand words. And sometimes all you really need for a diary entry is a good photo of that precious moment. As a bonus, when you attach a photo to Day One, it'll automagically time- and geo-stamp the information to that diary entry. I just added a photo from this past weekend of my friend dancing with his mom at his wedding, and BAM, Day One already sets the date, time and location for it

If there's one thing I wish Day One had, it would be the importing of all my social networking activities. I still have this iPhone app called Momento which imports data from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Foursquare and more...but the developers of Momento don't show nearly as much dedication as the Day One guys.

Download from iTunes