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10 best reading and productivity apps

#15 User is offline   BobDeGrande 

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  Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:50 AM

A very good more complex note taking app is Underscore Notify, which allows typing, drawing, adding shapes, voice, and even (with a $3 in-app purchase) handwriting recognition.

2Do is the best to do list I have seen, very pretty user interface.
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#16 User is offline   Trevor 

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 04:49 PM

View Postleicaman, on 14 December 2010 - 08:41 AM, said:

OmniFocus is the best app of the year. Period. It doesn't fit into the categories mentioned above, but I find it vastly more usable and productive than any of the above mentioned apps (some of which I use regularly). Maybe you need a roundup of GTD apps, or "self actualization apps" (he said tongue-in-cheek) or something like that. :rolleyes:

And by OmniFocus, I'm talking about all versions, but in particular the iPad version. Which I hope is the template for how the Mac version will evolve.



Agreed! OmniFocus is an amazing application for personal task productivity. I've been using it on my MacBook Pro for over a year. Highly recommended.
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#17 User is offline   leicaman 

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 07:06 PM

View Postbettercitizens, on 14 December 2010 - 07:13 PM, said:

View Postleicaman, on 14 December 2010 - 08:41 AM, said:

OmniFocus is the best app of the year. Period. It doesn't fit into the categories mentioned above, but I find it vastly more usable and productive than any of the above mentioned apps (some of which I use regularly). Maybe you need a roundup of GTD apps, or "self actualization apps" (he said tongue-in-cheek) or something like that. :rolleyes:

And by OmniFocus, I'm talking about all versions, but in particular the iPad version. Which I hope is the template for how the Mac version will evolve.



How does OmniFocus compare to Cultured Codes "Things"

Thanks,

A better citizen

P.S. I recommend that you say something like "In my opinion OmniFocus is the..." Having not used OmniFocus I have no comment. Perhaps others will not agree with your opinion.


Sorry, I haven't tried Things. But I've used OmniFocus for a long time, so it was a no-brainer for me.

Funny, I don't often think about saying "In my opinion." Since I kind of assume what we share here is just that. I guess I shouldn't assume, he?

Jason Snell points out OmniFocus didn't have much support from the Macworld staff. That I find interesting. And I have to wonder how many of them have tried it. I don't remember exactly how it was rated when they reviewed it, guess I'll have to look it up.

That's fine, I'm sure GTD is not a terribly popular category in the iPad - like iFart applications. But I think the price has a lot to do it it too. And that's kind of a weakness for developers who choose to charge more than a couple bucks for an app. People aren't used to paying that much.

This post has been edited by leicaman: 15 December 2010 - 07:10 PM

Eric

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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#18 User is offline   rlav 

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 10:18 PM

View Post6555, on 14 December 2010 - 10:57 PM, said:

Oh, and as for PDF reading, iAnnotate is the best way to go.


It's a bit "busy". I prefer Noterize.
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#19 User is offline   sterlingz 

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:30 AM

View Postleicaman, on 14 December 2010 - 08:41 AM, said:

OmniFocus is the best app of the year. Period. It doesn't fit into the categories mentioned above, but I find it vastly more usable and productive than any of the above mentioned apps (some of which I use regularly). Maybe you need a roundup of GTD apps, or "self actualization apps" (he said tongue-in-cheek) or something like that. :rolleyes:

And by OmniFocus, I'm talking about all versions, but in particular the iPad version. Which I hope is the template for how the Mac version will evolve.


While I agree in spirit (and I use all versions of OF, and especially like the iPad version launched this year), the combined total of $60 for the iOS apps is a major strike against them being included in a list like this. I think the team at Macworld put together a great list. These are pretty much all awesome apps that I use regularly.
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#20 User is offline   sterlingz 

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:33 AM

View PostDan Frakes, on 14 December 2010 - 09:38 PM, said:

View PostWayneWilliams, on 14 December 2010 - 06:45 PM, said:

I knew Reeder would get the top spot before even opening the article. It's a great app, don't get me wrong. But you can't manage your feeds using it. You should have reviewed MobileRSS Pro/HD. Hands down the best one. And I have about 10 or 12 of them.


True, Reeder doesn't let you manage feeds on the device. But as an RSS reader, I think it's the best by a fair margin. Personally, I'm willing to occasionally go to the Google Reader site (or use a GR-syncing Mac RSS reader) to add or delete a feed in order to get the Reeder UI on my iPhone and iPad.


Totally agree. Reeder is one of those apps I use every day. It's in my dock. I don't mind dealing with the Google Reader site or NNW to manage feeds. When I'm on my iPad, I generally want to read, not manage, and Reeder handles that beautifully.

I'm glad you split out regular vs. visual RSS readers. They both have uses and strengths. The most recent update to Flipboard yesterday is pretty amazing.
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#21 User is offline   sterlingz 

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:38 AM

View PostBoxOfSnoo, on 14 December 2010 - 10:11 AM, said:

View Postmb01915, on 14 December 2010 - 08:27 AM, said:

If you have Simplenote, you do not need Elements.


Unless you want Dropbox support or want to use Markdown.


Yes, and Simplenote's "upgrades" earlier this year to include things like tags introduced all kinds of syncing bugs that basically made the app unusable for me. I gave up on it, and switched to Elements. I haven't looked back - the UI customization and subfolders are killer features. I like having notes in my Dropbox rather than on yet another service, and I use Notational Velocity on the desktop to point to one subfolder of my Elements folder, so I can quickly edit and add to notes on my Mac. That said, it would be amazing if Second Gear releases a Mac version of Elements in the Mac App Store!

Elements is a fine piece of work that had numerous revisions and showed a great deal of improvement throughout the year. The acclaim is well deserved.
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#22 User is offline   sterlingz 

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:40 AM

View PostSigil, on 14 December 2010 - 06:41 PM, said:

View PostBoxOfSnoo, on 14 December 2010 - 10:11 AM, said:

View Postmb01915, on 14 December 2010 - 08:27 AM, said:

If you have Simplenote, you do not need Elements.


Unless you want Dropbox support or want to use Markdown.


Yeah, but Simplenote syncs with Scrivener! Oh, there are Mac clients that support it e.g. just notes.


Scrivener can also sync with Dropbox-based editors like Elements or PlainText. You just point it to the folder on Dropbox where your notes are. In fact, it's even a little better because you can point to different subfolders for different Scrivener projects. Simplenote only uses one single directory, so it doesn't have this flexibility.
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#23 User is offline   sterlingz 

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:46 AM

View Postbettercitizens, on 14 December 2010 - 07:13 PM, said:

View Postleicaman, on 14 December 2010 - 08:41 AM, said:

OmniFocus is the best app of the year. Period. It doesn't fit into the categories mentioned above, but I find it vastly more usable and productive than any of the above mentioned apps (some of which I use regularly). Maybe you need a roundup of GTD apps, or "self actualization apps" (he said tongue-in-cheek) or something like that. :rolleyes:

And by OmniFocus, I'm talking about all versions, but in particular the iPad version. Which I hope is the template for how the Mac version will evolve.



How does OmniFocus compare to Cultured Codes "Things"

Thanks,

A better citizen

P.S. I recommend that you say something like "In my opinion OmniFocus is the..." Having not used OmniFocus I have no comment. Perhaps others will not agree with your opinion.


I've used both Things and OmniFocus extensively, and I find OF superior for a couple crucial reasons - nested tasks and projects and syncing. Cultured Code has been promising a "really sweet solution" for cloud based syncing for nearly two years now. To date, they have failed to deliver, and syncing is still only on WiFi networks. As a result, I could never recommend their products in their current state. Especially when introducing another device like the iPad to the ecosystem. There is no way to sync your iPhone and iPad without going through a Mac. This is massively inconvenient, to the point of being unusable in a lot of scenarios.

Omni Group provides many different ways to sync including MobileMe and their own syncing platform which is free. The syncing in all recent versions has been flawless and fast - and I have a massive database with dozens of projects and hundreds of tasks. It just works. The Mac UI is not as pretty as Things, but on iOS I actually prefer the OF apps. The iPhone version improved a lot in 2010, including timely updates for iOS 4 and retina display, and the iPad app is a tour de force. Highly recommended.
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#24 User is offline   pkay 

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 11:48 AM

I've been using Evernote on the Mac and on the iPad (and to a lesser extent, the iPhone), and love it on the Mac but find it a bit limited on the iPad. IMHO, Evernote's advantages are excellent syncing of notes and clippings via the cloud, hierarchical notebooks/folders, and the ability to include websites and images and audio recordings, and is searchable! And that is just the free version; the premium version provides for file syncing. It is very powerful, but could use some enhancing on the iOS devices: editing existing notes is too limited, and there isn't the single browser toolbar button simplicity of capturing a web site that is so convenient on the Mac. Probably a plugin limitation with iOS apps.

Was Evernote in the mix of note-collecting apps that Macworld evaluated?

BTW, I totally agree with @leicaman: whatever we type in the forum must be assumed to be our personal opinion, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Using the polite form "In my personal opinion," is merely being courteous and adds nothing of substance. And brevity is the soul ...
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#25 User is online   finsprings 

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  Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:50 AM

I was hoping to see Notesy in the running for Text Editor of the year. Maybe next year?
[Full disclosure: I wrote Notesy.]

This post has been edited by finsprings: 21 December 2010 - 11:17 AM
Reason for edit: This appears to be from the developer of Notesy. Reminder that you are required to reveal any affiliation with products.

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#26 User is offline   cpoff 

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:34 AM

View Postfinsprings, on 21 December 2010 - 10:50 AM, said:

Maybe next year?


App Gems are awarded for each year's products. So won't be eligible for next year's awards unless it undergoes a significant change/update.

#27 User is online   finsprings 

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:38 AM

View Postcpoff, on 21 December 2010 - 11:34 AM, said:

App Gems are awarded for each year's products. So won't be eligible for next year's awards unless it undergoes a significant change/update.


Makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. I guess I'll need to be sure to make some significant updates for 2011 then :-)
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#28 User is offline   MaynardHandley 

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:09 PM

View Post6555, on 14 December 2010 - 10:57 PM, said:

Oh, and as for PDF reading, iAnnotate is the best way to go.


Can you justify this statement? Certainly the iTMS page for iAnnotate PDF spends an awful lot of time telling us what a fantastic app it is for ANNOTATING PDFs and very little time showing us why it is great at reading them.

To consider some basic points:
- Does it allow one to set per-PDF crop margins like Good Reader? The way Good Reader does this is far from perfect, and could certainly be improved. But I'm unaware of no other app that even TRIES to do this.
- What sort of a job does it do of pre-caching the next and preceding pages so that one doesn't delay on flipping to the next page, even when the next page is a complicated PDF (eg some math-heavy TeX page that was originally in postscript and converted to PDF).
- How much control do you have over the tap zones?

The tabs support looks good, but I don't see any facilities for the one thing any decent PDF reading app should provide (and which none of the do), namely a "shelf" allowing one to store page(s) from PDFs for easy access, so that one can easily perform the equivalent of flipping between different pages of a book. Multiple tabs that allow one to view DIFFERENT documents easily is not a substitute.

I'd love to find a better PDF reader than Good Reader. Tthat would require, at the very least, offering Good Reader's margin cropping support.
But, as I said, I'm looking for a better alternative. Give me a better argument for iAnnotate than "it's just the greatest, man".
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