I saw someone else do one of these posts recently and thought it was a really good idea, so here’s me ripping off that idea… 😈 This post is basically a list of technology-related services/software that I pay for, some of them are fantastic some of them are less good.
I don’t know how I would live without this software, in fact, I do know - with less money. YNAB is a personal budgeting app, it tracks where you want to spend your money and helps drive a mindset away from ‘paycheque-to-paycheque’ living (Where you determine if you can afford something based on the money in your account). It is different from most ‘money management’ tools because it’s primary purpose is budgeting, not reporting- although the reporting is fantastic. Victoria and I have saved more money and paid off more debt that I could ever have believed possible. If you don’t feel like you have a tight handle on your money, get YNAB going, it’ll save you and don’t be put off at the price, it’ll pay for itself over and over again. YNAB is $83.99 a year (I don’t know why they don’t do localised pricing…🙄). Here’s my referral link
By default YNAB doesn’t support automatic import of transactions from UK debit/credit accounts. This solves that by using Truelayer or other systems to get data out of these accounts and in to YNAB. As a couple, we have a lot of transactions, manually entering these into YNAB constantly is a pain in the ass, this solves that and everything works beautifully. If you’re new to YNAB, you’re best off manually entering to start with as you should be checking you have money in your budget before you commit to the transaction. Once you know your budgets well, you can let the automation take over. I signed up early in the launch of the service and pay £2.49 a month, which is very reasonable.
A long time ago I used to use Evernote, well, everyone did, at the time it was fantastic. But the thing with taking notes is that you either want to do it quickly (and not open up a whole massive application), or you want to brainstorm and think (and don’t want to be distracted) and Evernote wasn’t very good for either of those things. When I switched to using an iPhone and Mac on a daily basis one of the first things I did was move to Bear. It’s simple, clean, well designed and supports all of my devices. I can search, store things in markdown, tag and even stack tags. It’s perfect, I love it and I hope it doesn’t change.
I have a love hate relationship with Todoist. When I’m really busy and managing lots of things at the same time, Todoist is an absolute saviour, I can figure out what I need to do first before I just do the thing I want to do. However, when I’m less busy I don’t get the value from having to manage Todoist and find it easier to just use a notepad. Great software though and very happy to pay for it, even if I don’t necessarily use it all the time. There’s no question that it’s the best todo list application available.
This is the newest contender to the list. I recently discovered micro.blog which is basically a middle ground between a full-on blog post (such as this) and a tweet. My blog is hosted on Github Pages and I normally use Atom to publish posts, which is fine, but it’s only really possible to do so from my Mac and to do so take a little while. Micro.blog allows me to quickly post quick thoughts and images using an App on my phone or Mac without all the hassle of Atom, I’ve not tested it when travelling yet, but my hope is that it’ll work really well. Plus, although it’s separate to my blog, I can keep access to the content and even have micro.blog send it to a GitHub repo. Oh, and it’ll post everything to twitter automatically - easy. I have subscribed (but not yet started paying), it’s $5 a month which seems very fair.
Switched from Dashlane a year or so ago after being suckered in by Dashlane’s product design. In the time I was a subscriber I felt like there was zero product development while Lastpass and 1Password were jumping ahead. The interaction Dashlane has (had?) with the autocomplete in a browser was VERY annoying, to the extent that I simply didn’t use the browser extensions. Moving to 1Password was a great decision, the product just works better. I ran both side by side for almost a year while I moved everything over (which was a complete PITA). I especially love the 2FA integration with 1Password, although I believe Dashlane has that too now. 1Password basically does everything I could ask of a password manager and it works very well via the browser extension, doing a good job of knowing what thing I want (new password, password update, etc) at the right time. We have a family account, so we can share certain passwords, etc, it costs $71.82 a year.
This is just a cute little app, it helps connect/disconnect bluetooth devices quickly on Mac. Saves time going into the bluetooth menu and also shows a customisable items on the task bar with battery status. I use it mostly to determine whether my AirPods are connected to my Macbook. It does work with Big Sur, but I van’t confess to having used it quite as much as I did on Catalina. No idea how much I paid, not a lot.
This is an absolutely genius app. You can point Gemini2 at a directory and it will find duplicated or similar files, simple. This is particularly useful for folders of photographs which contain lots of similar photographs - I have a terrible habit of taking a bunch of pictures of the same thing and this helps contain my ever expanding photo library. I recently moved all of my photos from Google to Apple and I ran Gemini2 over all of the photos I moved. I can’t quite remember how much storage I saved, but it was pretty considerable, and of course I have a cleaner photo library too. The website looks shady AF, but the software is the real deal.
I desperately want to routinely journal, but really struggle to do so. I’ve used DayOne on and off for a number of years now but still don’t have a LOT of content in there, but I do have some. I absolutely love being able to read back on old journal entries and see what I was doing on that particular day. The real value with DayOne is that the journals are obviously private and so unlike a blog you can share thoughts and feelings in a way that you wouldn’t in a public blog post. Those thoughts and feelings are REALLY amazing to read back after time has passed, they capture a level of detail that you will have forgotten about. I pay for DayOne, it’s really expensive, but even if I capture a few fleeting thoughts here and there, it’s worth it.
A long time ago I used to do all my backups to AWS using some funky desktop tool, now I’m sensible and let the app developers interact directly with AWS. I still have a few other bits and pieced in AWS, but not a lot. I use Route 53 for hosting my public DNS zone files, I do so because I prefer that they’re separate from the registrar and I’d hope that they are relatively safe in AWS. I also host some static content using S3, mostly images, PDFs. Together this costs next to nothing, although Route53 isn’t the cheapest.
Want to use a custom domain for all your google services? You need Google Apps, also known as G Suite and now known as Workspace. This made sense a while back, for a small fee you got a bunch of controls and benefits. It’s now morphed into a fully fledged thing and it’s becoming more and more of a pain to look after. I plan on migrating everything out of Google, (I’ve already extricated photos) and instead using iCloud and Fastmail. Very much on the roadmap, a job for another day.