Writer’s Workshop: My Five Favorite Apps

So the prompt is “List your top five favorite apps.” I’m not much of a phone/tablet person, but there are some apps that I use a lot, most of which are not especially fun, but very useful.

  1. Evernote. If you use Evernote, you probably can’t get along without it. Things printed on paper get lost. I scan them into Evernote, and they’re always around. It’s especially useful with product manuals, because the minute you need to look at it you can’t find it. I find the manual online and attach the PDF to a note. When I pay a bill, I put the payment confirmation in there. I pay the money to have ten gigabytes of uploads per month, and the ability to email things into it. If I’m looking for something, I can do a search on it, and if it’s in a note Evernote can find it. Best of all, I can use it on my desktop, my phone, my Kindle Fire, and on my laptop via the browser.
  2. Feedly. I read a lot of blogs and follow a lot of YouTube channels. Every blog has an RSS feed, as does every YouTube channel. Whether the blog is on WordPress.com, self-hosted WordPress, Blogger, or anything else with an RSS feed, I can get it through Feedly. I can save articles to read later, tag them by adding them to a knowledge board, or save them to any number of apps, including…
  3. Pocket. I can go through Feedly, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anything that generates a URL, and save it in Pocket. Pocket used to be called Read It Later, and that’s just what it’s good for: saving things to read later. You can tag articles and archive them, and share your curated list with other users. You can, but I don’t. For me, if I want to save an article or webpage, I save it in Evernote. It’s useful to hold on to web pages I find when I’m doing research.
  4. Dropbox. I might find a picture or file that I want to save to use later, so I save it in Dropbox. It’s a virtual directory where the items you save are kept on the cloud and available on all your devices. (Yes, I could also save the stuff in Evernote; maybe one of these days I’ll migrate everything there.) Where it’s most useful is where I take a picture or create a file on my phone, and I want it available on my desktop. I’ve got Dropbox set up to automatically back up the pictures on my phone, so after getting the pictures, I open Dropbox and all the pictures are copied there. No messing with USB cables!
  5. Retype. This is an iPhone and iPad-only app. Most of the badges I use on my blog were created in Retype. As Sumoing, the creator of Retype and a few other apps, says on their page for the app, “Retype is perfect for creating posters, invitations, banners or if you just want to say something in style.” Since I’m not especially artsy, it really helps when I need to create a badge, and it allows me to save into Dropbox.

So, those are my five. What are yours?

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

32 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: My Five Favorite Apps”

  1. I use Box instead of Dropbox but that’s just because they gave me more free space. I also like Trello for managing projects and blog series, especially Thursday Doors.

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    1. I use Trello to hang on to the videos I might want to embed in blog posts. It’s quite useful, because you can decide how you want to use it. I have both Box and Dropbox, mostly because I can…

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      1. We use OneNote at work. I really like it, but I’ve been burned by it several times when trying to use cloud-based storage. It works well with OneDrive, now, but I don’t need another cloud storage option.

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        1. Oh yes, Microsoft. Say no more. Companies love Microsoft Office and decide everyone must use all of it despite there being better options. I tried OneNote and ended up unable to access anything I put in it. Not a good sign…

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  2. ProCamera (allows choice of contrast, shadow brightening, exposure control, focus point)
    Tablo (view and record broadcast TV via Tablo settop box hardware)
    Drafts (for quick drafts of blog content – also converts Markdown to formatted text)
    Cubasis (multitrack MIDI DAW on your iPad – Dropbox-compatible strorage)
    Arturia iSEM (Oberheim 8-voice OB-X synthesizer in an iPad)
    I use Arturia’s iMini as well – an 8-voice Mini Moog in an iPad.

    And a bonus –
    * Yahoo News Digest (News summary – lots of AP-based reporting. Read with other sources for a balanced view.)

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    1. Dropbox has eliminated the need for flash drives, hasn’t it? Wish I had it when I was working. I’ll look at Drafts, because I think Markdown is great; have you tried MultiMarkdown?

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  3. Correction – the bonus app is Yahoo News Digest. And it’s Dropbox compatible storage.

    Gotta watch that ham-handed typing.

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    1. Retype is useful for those occasions where you need to throw together an image quote or badge. I have my issues with it (you really have to dig to get a good font or format), but it’s good enough for what it does.

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  4. Uh, I’m not app-savvy. I like Instagram and the photo a day thing I follow, which I think is called Little Moments. I’m not on my phone much — she says as the phone rings!

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  5. I have to write things on paper so I don’t use Evernote. I do use PicCollage for putting some of my pictures together and Ticketmaster/Live Nation to help me get my tickets. I use Ringtone to put special rings on my phone.
    Janet
    K is for Kihncert

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        1. Try it for a while, and if you want to start using it go with the Premium plan. It’s $69 a year but you can store 10 GB of stuff (including zip files) per month. Paper is such a pain in the neck these days, and the premium plan makes any document you put in it searchable.

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          1. It may be worth it he is a person who writes on little bits of paper here and there and loses them. It causes him stress. I am going to play with it a bit and figure it out and then teach my old guy new tricks ❀ Wish me luck LOL.

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  6. You’ve chosen some great practical apps. I’m not much of a gamer either, I would much rather read or watch the occasional Netflix.

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    1. Mary had Netflix for a while, watched a couple of things on it (“Midsomer Murders” and “Murdock Mysteries”) then got rid of it. We might get it again at some point, but we still have a dumb TV (picture tube, digital-to-analog converter box, the works) and don’t see ourselves gathered around the computer or her iPad to watch anything.

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  7. You are miles ahead of me on Ap savvy. The only aps I really use are a basic photo editor and Prisma for more dramatic and fun photo editing.

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  8. I haven’t heard of Retype, I’ll have to check that out. I like the Kindle and Bloglovin’ app to read when I’m waiting somewhere, and the Words With Friends app. I really need to make better use of Evernote though. I used it for a while, then got out of the habit of it. I can see where it can really help keep notes and things organized.

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  9. Dropbox would be in my top 5 too. Since my phone fills up so fast I”m constantly moving photos and videos to dropbox in order to free up that storage!

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    1. There’s another cloud-based storage called Box that’s a little more generous with the free space (I think you get ten gigabytes for free), but Dropbox is my go-to. You can use Dropbox to embed pictures, in the event you run out of space in WordPress. (I don’t know how generous WP is with space for pictures in the self-installed one; I know there’s a 3 GB limit with WordPress.com)

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