Default Apps 2023


I stole this idea from Luke, who seemingly stole it from some other people, so it's more chain-mail than theft. Blogging needs more of this kind of thing, and I can't resist a good list!

I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff so I'll probably come back and update this later.

You can see a list of other people's apps here, if you're into that kind of thing.

Browser: Chrome

I don't love it, but I can't leave its developer tools behind. I'm so used to them now, there'd have to be a huge reason for me to move.

Email: Mimestream

Recently started using this and it's the only native desktop email client I've ever used and stuck with for more than a day.

Spotlight: Launchbar

Some days, this is the only app that keeps me on MacOS. I've tried so many other launchers since Quicksilver, but I keep coming back.

Calendar: Fantastical

I had a brief foray into iCal when Fantastical announced subscription pricing, but I eventually came back. The speed that you can enter new events, and see today's events, is worth the annual sub apparently.

Notes: iA Writer

I use iA Writer for everything. I'm writing this in it right now. I have a Scratchpad note for things people mention in conversations and I don't want to forget, and I have a note for every meeting I've been in for the last 5 years. I tried using Drafts (before that went to subscription pricing) and that's a brilliant piece of software but you spend almost as much time configuring it as you do using it.

Music: Plexamp, Spotify

I hate Spotify, and only use it to try new things to see if I like them enough to buy them and put them in Plex. I'm not sure of the direction that Plex has been going with recent functionality, but they haven't closed off anything I was using in favour of this new direction. Yet.

Messaging: iMessage, WhatsApp, Discord, Slack, Signal, Facebook Messenger, Instagram

Ugh, messaging. I have a whole folder on my iOS dock for just messaging apps. I think I'm the only person who likes iMessage but I do really like it. And not just blue-bubble snobbery. Although if bubbles go green, let's just use WhatsApp. It's not that bad, and Facebook hasn't started planting ads in it. Yet.

Todos: Things

It's not hyperbole to say that Things has revolutionised my self-organisation. If I tell someone I'll do something, it immediately goes into Things. If I tell them I'll do it by a date, that date gets added as a deadline. If I tell them it'll cost something, that goes in the notes. If the source was a URL like a Gitlab issue or Slack message or Basecamp post, it goes in the description. I use it to break down big tasks like features into todo lists so I don't forget things. It really has helped me to annoy people less with forgetting things, so I can focus more on annoying them with my personality.

Code: neovim

I recently switched to neovim for the LSP stuff and I almost don't prefer it to Supertab. It's one of those things that, if you spend 6 months configuring it it'll be amazing, but Supertab is mostly fine and zero configuration.

That being said, though, if you use something like TypeScript, having a good LSP is a must. I just wish I didn't have to have node_modules on my host to be able to use it properly.

Terminal: iTerm 2

I refuse to have a terminal emulator that is written in nodejs.

Multiplexer: tmux

There's not a lot of options here, last time I checked, but this with tmuxinator is essential for me, with the amount of projects we have.


Used to be called Paw. Super useful for mocking HTTP requests and replaying them over and over. I need to look up and see if there's a terminal integration so I can fire them straight from Vimux.

Database: TablePlus

Considering the number of different database vendors we run, having one app that connects to MySQL, Maria, Postgres, SQL Server, is not optional. Charlie still uses the CLI for everything and that blows my mind. I need saved queries, connections, and history.

Git GUI: There is no such thing as a Git GUI. CLI all the way

Backups: Time Machine, Dropbox, iCloud

This is something I'm really bad at, but all my essential stuff is backed-up by design (git, photos, documents)

S3/SFTP: Transmit

The only option

Colour Picker: ColorSnapper 2

I don't need this often, and when I do it's never running. I didn't even realise there was multiple options here so I'm going to look into ColorSlurp because Snapper not being native Apple silicon annoys me.

Local Dev: Docker Desktop

Not many options here, and this seems to get worse with every release, and they never fix old bugs, but it's still not quite rubbish enough to abandon. Yet.

Video Calling: Zoom

Teams can suck it. Zoom keeps getting loads of pointless new features, but it's still the one that works best for me.

Photos: Lightroom and Photoshop

Do I enjoy being tethered to a monthly Adobe sub? No I do not. Do I wish Affinity had things like a library and content aware fill? Yes I do. Do I enjoy asking myself rhetorical questions and then answering them? Again, the answer is yes.

RSS backend: FreshRSS

I'm still annoyed that Google Reader went away, but being able to self-host FreshRSS and hook it up with a frontend of my choice is about as good a compromise as I could hope for. Actually with all the configuration it offers, it's probably better overall.

RSS frontend: Reeder

I've used Reeder for ages and I love it. I use it every day.

Leipzig 2023 Long time, no see