Apps and Tools I Can't Live Without

Here is a list of the apps, tools and combos of both that I am hooked on, and the reasons why.

TL;DR - here’s the collection on Product Hunt.

Google Calendar + iCal

The ability to share calendars as public, read-only and multiple owner makes this essential.  I use iCal on my mac to view all my google calendars (about 10) and exchange calendar (for work) and Google Calendar (android) on my phone to do the same.  The latter is getting smarter about locations, themes and suggestions.


I am an email junkie.  I have several accounts combined in my main accounts with aggressive filtering, processing and a constant 0 inbox.  I use Inbox purely for my commerical mail (promos, transactions, and non-essential “alerts”) the stuff that should never get to 0. Custom bundles are an awesome feature, as is only “sending” types of email at certain times but based on the nature of what I put in this account I don’t bother. Out of sight, out of mind.  


Kanban boards for everything.  I’m constantly tweaking my GTD systems but right now it consists of a few boards that all have the columns: “Backlog", "Must get done today" and “Done”. I also have a few specialty ones like books I am/want to read and a similar one for restaurants. The android app is fantastic and I should really use it more.


Manage your smartphone alerts, send texts and push items back and forth between devices.  I use this between the chrome app and my Moto X.  Extremely useful for texting during the workday and use custom alerts to only show push notifications that are urgent.  There is a new mac app I have been meaning to try.


Password manager.  Lets me set and forget complex passwords for anything I sign up for.  Very useful on smartphone as well whenever I have to download a new app or re-login to an updated one.  Combined with maskmyemail by Abine or 10 minute mail I can sign up for new apps and services without giving up my email address and still have the login saved somewhere.  Very useful for doing Craigslisty things or trying out new products that you’re unsure if you’ll ever use again.

Zapier / IFFFT

Platforms for automating actions between apps.  IFFFT has great location recipes, like “Turn on wi-fi when I get home” and simple social automations: “Saved my liked instagram pictures to dropbox”.  Zapier is paid and is far more extensive.  This is better for business automations like capturing leads, messaging followers, etc.  My latest recipe is a Pushbullet push for any tweet from @airfarewatchdog containing “NYC”.

Paste in torrent files and stream immediately.  The chrome extension with search is fantastic.  Web player can be kind of wonky, and I actually use the unofficial android app + chromecast whenever I want to use this.  Chromecast generally seems to work better with Android than Chrome, which in the long run I prefer.  


The best for saving articles.  I have been using this app for years and cannot imagine not having it.  Combined with things like Nuzzel, Feedly, Medium and email digests this keeps my queue robust.  I save articles throughout the day and read them on the subway, during lunch or at night.  When something is no longer interesting or urgent, it gets deleted instead of read.


Since the unbundling Foursquare/Swarm has gotten a lot of heat.  I find Foursquare to be incredibly useful for food and travel recommendations.  There is obviously a different type of consumer on here than Yelp, so I use them for different things.  Most recently I have been planning a trip to Europe and finding all the places that are highly ranked and/or my friends have been to.  The search gets very interesting when you change location from “my location” to Berlin for instance.


Oldy but a goody.  Keeps your screen from dimming/turning off.  Have been using forever on my mac for presentations and screen sharing.  Recently added the android app which is very useful for things like cooking and exercising to keep recipes and timers in view.

Google Drive / Sheets / Docs 

I keep all my personal (work related or not) documents here. Not sure how people managed or continue to collaborate on documents without these tools.  Google scripts make your documents very extensible, turning them into databases, mini-apps and email alerts, for example, but that may be for another time.


And embarrassingly, I still use RSS.  I keep my social streams very full and use this for real time conversation and news.  For the blogs and longer form journalism (long is relative these days) I am much more selective about who and what I read.  Using Feedly I bundle these and check them out when I have the time, rather than keeping up during the workday.


Still the best for all kinds of notes.  Mostly for work, recipes and projects.  Time based reminders are very useful for automatically pulling up meeting notes or grocery lists the second you need them.  Excellent android app and I end up using the chrome capture extension very frequently.  This used to be where I’d write, but now its more where I keep.

iA Writer

Beautifully simple markdown editor.  I do most of my writing here.  Good example of how specialized apps (or devices like the Kindle) can create a really great experience specifically by lacking features.

What am I missing?