The Five Software Tools I’m Most Thankful For in 2013


The Thanksgiving holiday is tomorrow in the US, and I thought it made sense to take some time to reflect on some of my favorite tools this year. Most of these are one’s I’ve used for a while and still love intensely. Some are new, but I imagine I’ll use them for years to come.

WordPress

wordpress-logo-notext-rgbThe business we run here does a lot of work with WordPress. This is because we know it well, and it’s very frequently right in the sweet-spot of power, approachability, and fitness for the job. Sometimes we see people using WordPress in puzzling ways, but for the goal of putting content into webpages on the internet, I’d still be hard-pressed to recommend something else.

We love WordPress so much that we bought a site where we write only about that. That’s meant a big drop in the amount of content about WordPress here, but it also means a big rise in the amount of writing we do about WordPress. If you like us and like WordPress, you really should make sure you’re following along over at WPShout.

Reveal.js

Readers of this blog with already be aware, but I’ve given the first two presentations of my professional life this year, and found Reveal.js the perfect tool for me to get the job done. I’ll spare you the rave review, since I already wrote it, but if you love simple, open file formats and are technical enough to deal with it, you really can’t go wrong with Reveal.js.

detURL/PwnYouTube

YouTube-logo-full_colorThis is by far the one I thought most about adding to list. I love it, but it isn’t the most professional of tools. Its name looks like a piracy tool, and that’s because frankly, it kind of is. What PwnYouTube does it make it super easy for you to download and save YouTube video to watch later. I know that YouTube has a “Watch Later” feature, but it only works online, though YouTube’s increasingly ad-filled player interface, and requires you store all that data into your Google(+) account.

PwnYouTube is a small bookmarklet (a bookmark that isn’t a webpage, but rather an action on your current webpage) which doesn’t require Java and makes it easy to download all the tech talks I must watch — or else I won’t be the super knowledgeable developer you’re looking to hire (get in touch!) — in the context and schedule that works for me.

Tweetbot

tweetbot_app_iconTwitter is my social network. Facebook is nice, but Twitter fits my style much better. Random thoughts, profound maxims, links to interesting stuff, all from people who don’t need to know who I am, but might learn if I decide to engage with them, all just jumbled into a mess of small digestible bits. It works for me.

That said, Twitter itself builds interfaces that fit a different vision of the product than I have. Their apps, while functional, don’t really fit my needs. Tweetbot fits my needs like a glove. I love Tweetbot on the Mac, I love Tweetbot on my phone. And now that the new Tweetbot 3 for the iPhone looks all iOS 7-y, it’s even better.

Omnifocus

omnifocus-mac-mediumSpeaking of apps getting all iOS 7-y, Omnifocus 2 for iPhone took some getting used to. It’s, on the whole, a great upgrade and adds some features that I’m entirely sold on now that I’ve adjusted.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I like Omnifocus because I believe in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. And I believe that Omnifocus is the single greatest possible app to implement GTD on a constant basis. While I don’t use it for everything, for better or worse, I’d feel at least a bit crazy without Omnifocus holding, synching, and reminding me of just exactly what one-time and recurring tasks I need to do today. If you use Apple products, love GTD, and don’t use Omnifocus, you really really must check it out.

Image Credits: martha_chapa95

About David Hayes

David likes learning, solving hard problems, and teaching. He bikes a lot, and lives in (and loves) Colorado. You can find him on Twitter as @davidbhayes and check out his latest hobby-project, Quodid, a monument to his love for pithy bits of wisdom.

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