1. 30 Apps and Tools I Use Everyday

    Toolbox

    Jan 2013 Edition – A curated list of the applications and tools that I am using in my every-day life.

    Hardware

    • iPhone 5 – Still my favorite phone, and wouldn’t trade it for much else. It integrates with all my other devices and most of my friends, family and work acquaintances have them… why look elsewhere?
    • iPad MiniAmazing. I consume more video and entertainment from this device than I do from my TV now. The size is great, and I use throughout the day for email, Twitter, and GTD.
    • 15″ Macbook Pro Retina – I didn’t think the Retina screen would matter but now I can’t stand looking at my iMac screen after working on this laptop. Amazing machine, and I believe that Apple is creating the future of computers with devices like this.

    Communication

    • Mail, iCal & Contacts – Since Mountain Lion came out, I’ve gone back to the default mail, contacts and calendar apps on my Mac, it fits my work-flow best at this point. In addition, with it syncing to my iPhone and iPad, I don’t see myself switching to other apps anytime soon.
    • SaneBox – In order for me to stay up with the amount of email I receive, I’ve begun using SaneBox — which has become irreplaceable in staying productive. If you get a lot of email, you have got to get this app, it will make your life measurably better.
    • iChat (Messages) – Still use it to communicate with AIM and Google Talk users. Skype has become a heap of junk on anything but Windows products since they were acquired, and now that my Messages can message my iOS friends directly, this has become my go-to app.
    • Highrise – This is our go-to application for for CRM, and sales lead management. Honorable mention: Stride App has recently peaked my interest.
    • Jing – If you want to communicate better with your clients and co-workers, try this app. You can record a screen capture of your voice and computer screen and quickly send a link that can be viewed in your browser.
    • Join Me – I prefer this app for doing a live screen-share with clients over the GoToMeeting product because the viewer doesn’t have to install some application just to view my screen. Super solid, and free.

    Productivity

    • Evernote – It took me awhile to adopt Evernote, even though it’s been for quite a while. However, I’ve fully adopted the application to become my second brain, and collection point for notes and ideas. We’ve even recently signed Avelient up for the Business edition for our whole company.
    • Things – If you read my blog, you know my ups and downs with this application. However, since they’ve added their cloud feature into the application it is back on my iOS home-screen and is my go to application for personal GTD. Worth the money.
    • Basecamp – Right as I started to explore other project management Application, the team at 37Signals rolled out the revamp of Basecamp. Everything in your project is managed from a single-page, making it easier to manage over time. Still my preferred team project management application.
    • Dropbox – It amazes me how many people do not use, or know about this application. Since switching to Dropbox, I am able to travel with less and less hardware, and still have quick and easy access to my personal and business files from anywhere I go.
    • TextExpander – I’ve saved hours and hours of times by using this tool. I have a personal rule that demands that If I am typing something more than once, it needs to go into TextExpander so I don’t need to type it again — you should grab this product!

    Development

    • Coda – As a long-time Textmate user, I was sad to see the horrible 2.0 version arrive, and decided that since most of my work involves “projects” and large groups of files, I’d go back to Coda. Sure, I keep a copy of Sublime Text 2 on the computer, but most of my editing is done in Coda these days — Panic makes amazing software.
    • Codekit – Our internal front-end / responsive framework BaseWeb (created by Sebastian Nitu) is based in Less. I started uses Codekit for compiling our Less into CSS, but have continued to use it for all the other functionality that it provides.
    • MAMP Pro – We’ve tried different solutions over the last few years, but have finally settled on MAMP Pro. It’s the industry standard for local LAMP development and rightly so!
    • GitBox – Over the last 2 years as our company has fully adopted git into our development environment I’ve tried many different apps for managing my git repos, and have finally settled on this app. It is simple, clean, and does a lot of work for me.
    • BitBucket – We moved to BitBucket from Github late this year because they seemed to better fit for our needs. Our company works on many hush-hush projects that cannot be stored in public repos, so BitBucket was more cost effective. However, we’ve stayed because of the amazing service and great uptime they provide.
    • Fireworks / Photoshop – I find less and less use for these apps, as I don’t do much design anymore, but they are still my preferred design and image editing applications on my Mac.

    Social / Reading / Sharing

    • Twitter – I love Twitter. Sure, they are doing stuff with their API that I don’t approve of, but I love to be there, and I love the people I meet and conversations that happen there.
    • LinkedIn – I do a lot of business development these days, and LinkedIn has become fairly valuable to me. Interestingly, if I see a bunch of people from a company have been viewing my profile, I’ve learned to expect a call or email from that company within a week or so. As long as you make quality connections, it is a really valuable tool.
    • Facebook – I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but because my family and close friends use it, I maintain a profile there. Over the last few years I’ve managed to prune my profile down from 600 friends to about 80 — which makes it better, ironically. Don’t try to connect with me there, I’m on Twitter.
    • Feedly – I recently abandoned Reeder app for Feedly and haven’t looked back. It’s like a hybrid of Flipboard and Reeder and integrates with Safari’s reading list and Buffer app for sharing articles.
    • Drafts – The app is kind of ugly, but it’s one of my favorite places for drafting tweets. I like to compose some tweets over time, or store raw ideas in drafts before sharing to Facebook and Twitter.
    • Buffer App – I read a lot, and quite often it’s in spurts, meaning that if I posted all the interesting things that I read in real-time, I would start having volume problems on Twitter. I use buffer to store articles that I found interesting and share them at pre-set times where I think people will able to read / discuss.

    Entertainment

    • Netflix – I love Netflix so much. I spend hours browsing their library and adding old movies and shows to my queue, and I never seem to run out of things to watch. The fact that it works on my Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, and computer makes it my go-to for video entertainment.
    • Rdio – I love subscription music services like this and wish that Apple could adopt it faster. Rdio has great apps, and good music selection and the community features are fantastic.

    There are of course other apps that I use throughout the day, but these represent the core suite of what I use just about every-day. When I have a moment, I plan to produce a blog post that talks about the apps and services that did not make it onto this list (and why they didn’t make it).

    If you want to discuss these apps, or suggest alternatives, hit me up on Twitter!

  2. Creativity

    To me, there is nothing as exhilarating as when you take an idea and create something tangible and of value to someone else.

    The look on his face when he says “Angelo, that’s Twin Peaks” is just great — it’s bliss.

  3. 5 Guns Every American Should Own [Video]

    “Last but not least, everybody needs some kind of combat weapon.”

    I am a gun owner. I love them. I have become skilled with them over the years, and I keep them for personal defense in my home. That said, I think part of the disconnect in the national conversation about guns and gun safety roots from comments like the ones made in this video.

    “You could buy a crate of these things [Mosin–Nagant rifles] and about five cases of ammo for about $2,000. That’s a real good, cheap way to arm about 10 men. You all get your technique down, and train properly on this gun and you’ll be very deadly in large numbers.

    This gun will kill just about anything in North America… two legged game of all sorts.”

    Really, so, you’re not actually all about hunting. No, you have an interest in arming people with guns so they can create their own little nut-bag militias. This statement, and many more parts of this video are simply enraging to me.

    It is harder to get a drivers license than it is to get a gun in America and when you start suggesting that Americans need combat weapons, and that they need silencers on their guns, you are treading down an irresponsible — frankly idiotic — path.

  4. “Yes” on Ref-74

    There is only one thing that I truly care about in this election and that is that Washington’s Ref 74 passes.

    It would be a shame to deny people that I truly care about the equal rights that the rest of us enjoy because we don’t identify with their sexual orientation.

    Passing this law is the right thing to do, and helps guarantee both the rights of same-sex couples and the freedoms of religious groups.

    In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter who wins the White House. Good and bad things will happen — no matter who is in elected — and we’ll keep moving forward. However, no matter how jaded you are with the political system, Ref 74 has a chance to bring real, meaningful changes to the lives of people around you. It’s something that you do have the power to change.

    Hopefully those of you who haven’t voted, or who are on the fence on this issue can find the moral fortitude to make the right choice on Tuesday.

  5. Why I Exercise

    Each week-day, at 2:50pm I switch my status to “Away”, switch my iPhone to “Do Not Disturb”, change my clothes, and head off to my gym.

    It’s sometimes hard to leave, especially when I have multiple “fires” to put out, but I rarely break this routine and I’ve discovered huge benefits to doing it:

    Confidence — Over time, as you exercise you begin to lose weight, gain muscle and develop a sense of confidence about yourself. This confidence can translate to other areas of your life, including decision making skills and leadership ability.

    Reset your Brain — By doing my gym time during prime day-light hours, I am making my work-out as important as any other task I perform during the day. By allowing myself to re-focus on a activity that honestly requires very little brain function, I am giving myself a chance to reset my brain. I’ve found that one of the best ways to improve your problem solving skills is to simply “do something else” and the gym has proven to be a fantastic place to come up with ideas to solve the problems of the day.

    Sex Life — One of the biggest benefits of regular exercise is a marked improvement in your sex-life. A good cardio workout improves your blood flow, and can help you build physical endurance. This can help translate to better sexual performance.

    Live Longer — Let’s face it, most of us sit at a desk for well over 8 hours a day. There are credible studies that suggest that this can shorten your life span and increase your likelihood of developing certain heart diseases. I view my time in the gym as an effort to stay physically healthy for myself and family.

    Obviously, there are many other benefits to exercise, but the 4 above, are the core reasons for my workout regime.

    Getting Into the Routine

    Many people who know my work/gym-ethic have commented that they want to do something like that, but they never can get into the habit. I’ve never really had a hard time establishing routines for myself, but I have found that there are some tools that can help you get started.

    Due – I use an iOS app called Due to remind me when it’s time to go to the gym. Sure, it’s on my calendar, but on those days when I don’t feel like going to the gym, calendar warnings are too easy to ignore. I’ve found that Due’s reminders and alarms are harder to ignore..

    Motivation – I thrive on negative motivation. My Due alarm for the gym is an alert that says, “Go to the gym you fat bastard, don’t you dare ignore this alarm!” Others may want to go with a more positive tone to their alerts.

    I really doubt that there is any aspect of this post that is ground-breaking for anyone, but I do hope that this provides some catalyst for you to get out there and start establishing a healthy workout routine.

    If anything, your sexy-time friend will thank you.