Setapp - One Month In
ChronoSync Express: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ($25)
I made one big discovery in the last month, in the form of ChronoSync Express.
To be honest I've always been more lackadaisical about backups than I should be. Most of my programming work is version controlled and on Github, so I don't worry about it much. But that could come back to bite me someday, so I'm glad that I discovered ChronoSync.
ChronoSync has a cryptic interface, with many problems and difficult to understand features. However, once you figure out how to set it up the first time, you can essentially just set it and forget it. It gives you tons of configuration options, so you can backup some folders more frequently than other folders if you choose. You can also archive any deletions, so no matter what happens to your project, you can always find any file that has ever existed in there.
It's definitely a power-user app, and has all the good and the bad that goes along with that. But after a couple of hours of working with it, I now have all my most important projects backing up to multiple sources on a weekly schedule, and that makes me happy.
Marked 2: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ($14)
Marked 2 is an app I never knew I needed.
I tried a few Markdown previewers back in the day, but none of them sold me on the idea. Why would I use an app to view my markdown files, when I can just spin up a local copy of my own website?
Marked has convinced me otherwise. It comes with a whole host of tools, tools that help me to refine my writing, and make me a better writer. Marked is no ordinary previewer. It is a teacher, an editor, and an exporter. It helps me to be a better writer, and for that it deserves my gratitude.
It also reminds me to remove “clutter” words, such as “very”, “absolutely”, “actually”, “obviously”, that sort of thing. I don't think it makes a huge difference, but every little bit helps!
The app also just works with no fuss, and I always appreciate an app like that.
iStat Menus (take two): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ($12)
I am upgrading iStat to five stars, and I'll tell you why.
A month ago I was paranoid about cooling: today I couldn't be less concerned. This is because I discovered that iStat will help you with this, you can set up your own custom logic for your fans. This has allowed me to spin my fans up once my laptop starts to get hot.
This seems like something that MacOS should be doing anyway, but it doesn't do it well enough for my purposes. So I have a couple of custom rules in there to spin the fans up when certain components get too hot, and now my laptop stays nice and cool most (if not all) of the time.
Calling that a win!
MindNode: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ($40)
I've never been sure about Mind Mapping, to be honest. I've never found myself needing it before. I've sketched things out on paper, or written outlines in a word document, but mind mapping has always been a bit of an enigma to me. So you can take my review of MindNode with a grain of salt.
As far as mind mapping tools go though, I think MindNode is one of the best I've seen. It looks simple on the surface, sporting an interface with only six buttons and two dropdowns. But if you dig in, there's plenty of complexity to create even the most complicated of mind maps. Since installing MindNode I've used it twice, for two drastically different projects, and I've been pretty happy with the results. It has even helped me brainstorm for this blog.
I can't say that it significantly improved or sped up my process, but it did help me organize my thoughts, which is always helpful. A friend of mine once told me that “the greatest human motivator is task clarity”, and MindNode can certainly help with that, so I would say it's definitely worth trying. If you're a big fan of the mind mapping style of working, this app is definitely worth a try.
Diarly: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ($18)
Diarly is a great app. A journal is a personal thing, and it deserves to be treated with respect. Diarly gives it that respect.
I like Diarly so much because it's simple, and it does what it says on the tin. It is a journaling app, a great journaling app, but nothing more. It has all the text authoring options you could want, but without the frills. It uses Markdown, or you can use traditional keyboard shortcuts. It imports and exports to numerous different formats. And it keeps your data encrypted and secure. It also has an "on this day" feature that will tell you what you were doing today throughout your entire history using the app. It's a great app, and if you want to journal on your Mac, I would highly recommend it.
Mosaic (take two): ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ($13)
Two things that have improved Mosaic for me over the last month:
- I discovered that you can “preprogram” layouts for each app, and trigger them with a keyboard shortcut. So if you want terminal to always show up in the top right corner of your screen, you can program that, and execute it with a keyboard shortcut. Nice.
- By default Mosaic pops up a “layout configuration” window whenever you drag a window around. That used to get in my way all the time, until I realized you can set it up to only show up when you hold down the option key. So much better.
Those may seem like minor changes, but they make a world of difference for me. I don't even notice that the app anymore, I simply trigger it with a keystroke when I need it, and I like it much better this way.
I think there's probably a simple reason why I never clicked with a window manager before now: they're all too intrusive. It doesn't save you time if it's always in your way. Now that I've discovered this, I've modified Mosaic to get out of my way, and I can finally make my peace with one window manager out of the dozens that I've tried.
It's still entirely possible that I'll ditch it in another month, but for the moment at least, all is well.
Setapp just continues to prove its worth to me. I continue to find more apps that I can use, apps that save me time and consistently solve problems for me on a day-to-day basis. I may still be in the honeymoon period, but as far as I can tell at this juncture, Setapp is definitely here to stay.
They've also added 4 or 5 new apps since I signed up, which is a good sign. They're still growing and changing, and I think the future is bright.