Apps of 2018

I don’t normally do roundups on here but this year I thought I’d start a new tradition. As you know I switch apps quite a lot through the course of a year and I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get things done on my iOS devices.

So here we go my first apps of the year round up. Note these aren’t apps that came out in 2018 but my most used ones.

Productivity

OmniFocus

I’ve been a user of OmniFocus on and off for many years but with the latest version that supported tags it’s actually stuck. It may seem complicated from the outside but with OmniFocus you can really make it your own. I’ve gotten into a workflow with it now and don’t see me switching again anytime soon. The functionality that got me was the ability to show a specific tag in the ‘today’ (called Forecast) view. This shows all of the calendar events and any tasks with a due date of today. With the addition of tags I can now show anything I want. So I have a ‘today’ tag that I show in my forecast view. This gives me a less formal way to organise things I want to get done today without adding a due date. The Apple Watch app is also solid and the sync works well between all of my devices.

Apple Notes

This is easily my favourite Apple app, it had a big update a few iOS versions ago and has stuck with me. I use it for recipes, mind maps using Apple Pencil, storing important documents and project planning. It’s sync works great and it’s always with me no matter what device I’m on. I might be in the minority but I actually want an Apple Watch version as I store codes in there and would like quick access, but that’s probably just me.

iA Writer

If you’ve been following me for a while this app choice shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve used iA since it was launched and it continues to keep being updated and just works for me. I use iCloud to sync my documents and the app is great across all of my devices.

Shortcuts

I have to admit I didn’t get shortcuts right away but now it’s a massive time saver for me. Aside from quickly adding health information being able to create images for the blog is worth the time investment in learning it alone. I’m nowhere near the level of some shortcut devotees but steadily finding ways that it suits me and can improve how I use my devices.

Email and Calendar

Just wanted to mention it as we’re talking productivity, I use the Apple apps for both email and calendar. They both work fine for my needs and although I’ve tried several third party options none of them have stuck.

Creativity

Ferrite

One of my finds of the year, I love this app. It took me a little bit to get my head around it but now I know the workflow I use it for recording iOS Only. It allows me to use only my iOS devices to record and produce a podcast.

LumaFusion

Another standout and allowed me to produce YouTube videos on my iOS devices. I actually prefer this experience to anything I’ve done on macOS, it’s great. I used to do everything on iMovie but LumaFusion has replaced the need to even have it installed.

WordPress

Since moving my blog from squarespace to WordPress I haven’t looked back. The iOS app gets constant updates and I feel more in control of my site. I can write posts like this one, check my stats, reply to comments and even change my theme via the iOS app. As an iOS Only user this is especially important as the experience in Safari on iPad isn’t the greatest. My only wish is for a dark mode.

Photography

Halide

This year with the camera improvements in the X and then the XS I’ve tried to replace my DSLR for those smaller family day trips and shots for the blog and social. One of the ways to get the most of out this is to shoot in RAW so I gave Halide a go. Out of the box it was intuitive to use and I’ve found that especially in low light I’ve gotten shots that I wouldn’t have been able to rescue if I’d used the stock camera app. I don’t use it for every shot when I’m out but if I’m doing a landscape or something I’ll want to share I’ll use Halide.

Darkroom

Darkroom has slowly become my go to photo editing app of choice. I find it intuitive to use, has a tonne of options and is tightly integrated with Halide.

Wellbeing

DayOne

I’ve been using DayOne since 2011, it’s become a long standing habit to journal my thoughts and keep a log of photos. I use it without a premium account and still use sync with iCloud via export and import of backups. It’s not I don’t trust DayOne with my data but why pay when my workflow already does the job. I just have to remind myself to do a weekly backup.

Calm

Calm has slowly become my meditation app of choice. I find it intuitive to use and I like the voice of the teacher. I don’t always use it everyday but do my best when I’m feeling particularly anxious. The music addition is nice and I find myself using it whilst I’m working, it seems to help my focus.

Sleep++

I’ve swapped between a few sleep tracking apps but find that Sleep++ is the most reliable.

Consumption

Marvel Unlimited

I got back into reading comic books this year and being more into Marvel I naturally went for the Marvel Unlimited app. I’m paying my monthly subscription and have access to everything I’m after. It’s intuitive to use and the only downside is that you can only store 12 comics for offline viewing.

Apple Music

I’ve been a subscriber to Apple Music from the beginning and I’ve become particularly keen on the for you tab to see what I’ve recently played and what my friends are listening to.

Other apps

Apple Maps

Now I’m using CarPlay I’ve become used to using Apple Maps and to be fair it’s not sent me to the wrong location once. As privacy becomes more important it’s my only option so thankfully it’s been great so far.

DuckDuckGo

I’ve completely switched to the DuckDuckGo app as my browser of choice. It blocks all of the ads and lets me browse as privately as I can.

Apollo

A big change is getting into Reddit, it’s replaced my use of Apple News. I avoid what’s popular and just view my favourites.

Night Sky

Myself and my daughter have really gotten into astronomy this year and I find Night Sky to be a great reference for both information and where in the Sky stuff is, like our daily viewings of the ISS.

Tweetbot

I have to use the official app to check notifications but that’s maybe a few times a day but every other time it’s Tweetbot. I love the themes, lack of ads and a clean (in time order) timeline.

Which apps have you been using this year?

Notes

  • This article was completely done on iOS
  • Thanks to MacStories for their shortcut to add frames to images

Capsicum, an app that combines productivity, notes and habits

Capsicum has launched today and brings with it an app that reminds me of a paper journal and is a remarkably relaxing way to manage your life.

It combines a to do, calendar, habit tracking and notes into one place and in my experience so far has been a more relaxed place to organise myself than a more traditional to do app.

Check it out, it’s got a free trial so you can’t go wrong to at least give it a go and try something different.

Bandai Boba Fett 1/12 scale

I imported this model a while ago and it’s taken me at least 8 months to get around to it but thanks to being off work I managed to complete it finally.

It’s all snap together and took me about 2 hours all in all.

Next up I’ll be trying my hand at painting before getting a few decals applied.

Done with my painting now, I’m happy with it.

Juggling Apple Cases

Over the holidays I’m juggling the XS with no case, the Otterbox and the Apple Leather case. After using the Otterbox constantly then going back to no case and back to leather I think the leather one offers me the best grip and size compromises of using a case.

Two things that are downside of the Otterbox, slippery back so it spins around on tables, buttons are stiff and the lower part of the case restricts the up swipe for multitasking.

The leather case offers a smaller footprint, is grippy and no restrictions on the bottom of the case.

How to create a custom watch face on your Apple Watch

I’ve only really just gotten into creating my own watch faces and wanted to share how I’m doing it.

  1. Head into photos and pick the image you want to use
  2. Tap the share sheet icon
  3. Tap create watch face
  4. Tap which of the two watch faces you want to use
  1. Tap add

I’ve created a few different ones that I’m switching in and out of. At the moment you can only add a couple of complications but hopefully in the future we’ll see more options.

How to reorder projects in OmniFocus

I’ve started to use OmniFocus folders as my areas of focus, such as career and financial. Within these I have projects such as podcast and blog. They are building up and seem to stay in the same order they are created in. Well the good news is that you can reorder these.

To do this simply tap on one and hold. You’ll then be able to order them by moving around.

I’d like to see a sort order added to the app, if anyone knows a better way please let me know.

LJPUK Stats 2018 roundup

Although I’m not setting the world alight with my content I’ve seen a steady increase in traffic since launching the new site on WordPress. I’m not talking hundreds of thousands but I’m in the tens of thousands now, which I’m pleased with. I’ve not marketed at all really just put out content that I’ve wanted to share.

So, my top post:

This won by a considerable margin and shows writing how to’s for small creators is a good way to bring some traffic your way.

Next up the top ten countries that visit my site.

Not a surprise given I’m based in the UK and write mainly about technology. I’m surprised that Switzerland made it in there, thanks to whoever is visiting my site from there.

Lastly here are my top referrers.

Surprise for me is seeing a lot of readers coming from other WordPress users. I have a steady number of them being added every week and something I didn’t expect. If you have a WordPress site consider using the reader to follow sites within the app.

So, good to see an upward trend on my viewers and hopefully blogging makes a comeback in this age of toxic social media.

Thanks to everyone that’s contributed to these stats this year.

Thanks

Hi everyone, as we get to the end of the year I wanted to just say thanks to everyone that has read, engaged with me and shared my content this year. As an independent content creator it’s sometimes hard to maintain the motivation to keep going, especially when you have a demanding day job.

Even though blogging isn’t exactly fashionable in 2018 I enjoy writing and even though I’m not able to support myself doing this it’s been a fun project over the last few years.

I’m going to maintain this going forward and will be adding a few new things into the mix like some focus on video and maybe a new podcast but with a family and day job we’ll have to see how it all pans out.

Thanks again and Merry Christmas.

Cheers

Lee.