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Loose Ends

In some of my posts on this blog I have sketched which apps I use for which purpose and how I use them. As we all know, this is a very volatile business and times are a-changing.

Reading the announcement that Echofon for Mac will be phased out soon got me into thinking since when I have stopped using Echofon as my preferred Twitter client.

And I admit that Echofon is not the only victim of change. This realization brought me into the mood for a short retrospective of what has changed regarding my various preferences since the time I blogged about them.

Here we go:

Twitter

The feature of Echofon that bound me to the client was the ability to sync the timeline across clients on different platforms. The syncing mechanism implemented in Echofon is proprietary and can only be used by Echofon clients.

The advent of Tweetmarker brought the ability to sync the timeline between different clients as long as the clients supported Tweetmarker.

This brought timeline syncing to the next level and to my delight I suddenly had a couple of clients to choose from, among them Tweetbot for iOS. Eventually (and this should not come as a surprise), I settled for Tweetbot as my preferred client on iOS.

Now that Tweetbot has also been released for OS X it is finally possible to sync both clients using iCloud or Tweetmarker. It is good to have the alternative to switch if e.g. iCloud stops working. But so far, iCloud syncing works flawlessly and I could not be happier with the results.

Read Later

For some period of time, I heavily used Readability for both “reflowing” ugly websites and also for maintaining my reading list.

I’m also a long-time Instapaper. I switched back and forth between using Readability and Instapaper, and in some cases I even stored the same articles in both services just to see whether I could find a reason to prefer one service over the other.

And that, sort of, happened. Coming across a couple of articles that rendered badly in Readability and at the same time delivered good results in Instapaper, I finally settled for Instapaper and even deleted my account at Readability. Case closed, as far as I’m concerned.

Text Editors

Oh, boy. I. Tried. Them. All. Finally, BBEdit made a point of not sucking and came out winning. And I’m pretty sure that not even a massively improved open-sourced Textmate 2 will change this.

Plus, the public betas of BBEdit 10.5 already give a preview to a more polished GUI and some extra nice features. Go, Barebones.

Note Taking

That’s also a big one for me. I’ve finally arrived at the combined solution of using nvALT for textual notes and Together as a container for images, documents, movies, etc.

This solution is stable for some time now and it seems as if, with the combination of these tools, I managed to find the solution that works best for me.

RSS

This used to be the domain of Google Reader in combination with Reeder on both iOS and OS X. But no longer. I grew tired of using a Google account and the alternative I was missing for some time presented itself as Fever.

Fever requires the availability of an own server to be installed and therefore certainly qualifies as a tool for power users. Eventually, this sounds a lot scarier than it actually is: the installation could not be easier.

A Fever server can be accessed via a Web browser or else the API is used to access the server using a dedicated client. I have settled for Chill Pill1 on OS X and the excellent Sunstroke on iOS.

Syncing between clients is done server-side and thus reading partly on iOS and partly on OS X can only be called flawless.

Fever works very well for me and refresh times are acceptable even for my collection of 70+ feeds. As long as this platform is available, it is hard for me to imagine anything better suited for my requirements. It is the best, there is simply no other word for it.

Podcasts

I already wrote something about both Instacast and Downcast. From the functional perspective, I can’t really decide which I prefer and thus, I use to switch back and forth between the two.

Frankly, none of them really makes me happy because of the penalty in terms of battery life that comes with both of them.

And yet, there is no real alternative to a feature-rich podcast client that can update subscriptions and episodes over the air. And I have mentioned it before and will repeat it here: Podcasts.app is not for me.

Web

Chrome. Still. Admittedly, Chrome is the only Google product that I use. And it is true that I have had mixed feelings about it. But for some reason it just feels right and I continue to use it despite the alternatives.


  1. Admittedly, Chill Pill has a lot of room for improvements. The feature that keeps me on Chill Pill as opposed to using a Web Browser is the easy client-side customization vis CSS.

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