My Stack

A running list of some of the products and services I use.

Last updated: Feb 17, 2021

Productivity

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ClickUp

How/why I use it

It’s a ton of tools rolled into one. In a startup world of unbundling, I actually like the way ClickUp has bundled task/project management, collaboration, and asynchronous communication.

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LibreOffice

How/why I use it

Free, open source, full-featured replacement of the Microsoft Office suite. Forget Office’s subscription model and proprietary file names. LibreOffice is compatible with everything and even gives you an Access alternative.

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Cryptee

How/why I use it

One of the safest spaces you’ll find on the internet. Everything is encrypted, made just for you. No tracking and a very ethical team behind the project. Fully supporting Cryptee to make it a top notes app.

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Obsidian

How/why I use it

Considered a “second brain” for you, it’s a Roam-like app to make and connect different ideas in your writing. No signup, and works offline. Works remarkably together considering it’s still in beta.

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Notion

How/why I use it

Strictly used for creating good-looking documents on the fly that don’t have any sensitive information. If you put something on Notion, assume it can or will be made public.

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Diagrams.net

How/why I use it

The simplest, most useful diagram drawer I’ve used. More so than MS Vizio. Tons of templates, and anything you make on it is instantly & easily shareable. It’s also private—store your diagrams wherever you want to.

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Standard Notes

How/why I use it

Another great notes app that I wish would replace unsafe ones. Like Cryptee, SN is encrypted. It’s free, open source, and has a handful of useful extensions to power your note-taking.

Utilities

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Setapp

How/why I use it

Dubbing itself the “Netflix of apps,” with Setapp you pay one subscription for 100+ apps. You won’t use all of them, but the few that you do use might outweigh their cost individually like they do for me.

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Rectangle

How/why I use it

macOS still doesn’t have built-in screen resizing, so we need this little free and open source Mac app to help. A must for managing windows and resizing on the fly.

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CleanShot X

How/why I use it

One of the best screenshot applications I’ve ever used. Didn’t think I’d need more than macOS’s built-in screenshot tool, but it turns out I did.

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Beepify

How/why I use it

Working remotely, you tend to leave your computer unattended for short periods of time—like to go to the bathroom or to get a drink. Beepify goes insane if someone touches your computer.

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Clocker

How/why I use it

It’m terrible at time zones. Clocker helps me check different time zones so we can properly coordinate our meeting times.

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MindNode

How/why I use it

I build mind maps every day in my head, so why not write them down? Often helps me expand on ideas in a more tangible way.

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PDFPen

How/why I use it

Don’t try to cover up/redact/erase stuff using Preview—it can easily be undone. PDFPen has proper PDF tools that help you take care of all that.

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Permute

How/why I use it

Great for quick conversions. From JPG to PNG, MOV to MP4, and more, Permute can also do bulk conversions which is a real time saver.

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Pixelsnap

How/why I use it

This little tools is great for measuring stuff on the screen. When I’m designing something or trying to get measurements, Pixelsnap measures everything down to the pixel.

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Presentify

How/why I use it

Think of it as a whiteboard for your screen. Though I haven’t had tons of use for it yet, it is helpful in annotating your screen on the fly as you’re screen sharing.

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Quicklens

How/why I use it

It’s like a more advanced version of Pixelsnap (albeit more complicated). Takes some getting used to, but certainly helpful once you get the hang of it.

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Rocket

How/why I use it

The fastest way to type emojis without leaving your keyboard. Note: You need to know the name of the emojis (or at least a aprt of the name) to really maximize it.

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Rocket Typist

How/why I use it

It’s like a text storage bin for commonly used text snippets. Helpful for things like emails, addresses, phones, hashtags, or other things you write frequently.

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Sip

How/why I use it

Gets the color of anything on the screen. Sip also allows you to create various palettes, which I find very useful. And it has a color history.

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Sizzy

How/why I use it

Still not a master of Sizzy, but I use it to test responsiveness across different devices. This is especially useful. when designing in Bubble.

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TextSniper

How/why I use it

Extracts text from images. It’s one of those tools you don’t use very often, but when you do need to use it, it feels like a lifesaver.

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ImageOptim

How/why I use it

Free and open surce image compression tool. Compatible with all sorts of file types, and also removes metadata if you want it to.

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Typeface

How/why I use it

Easy way to see a word or phrase in a bunch of different fonts all at once. Super helpful when I’m working on my next project’s branding.

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Unclack

How/why I use it

Mutes your microphone while typing. Helpful for people like me who have loud mechanical keyboards with lots of haptic feedback.

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Folx

How/why I use it

Download almost anything. Sounds simple, but it’s helpful not need to use different apps/websites for downloading from different sources.

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GrandPerspective

How/why I use it

Running low on space? Even if you aren’t, GP organizes all your files and folders in a birds-eye view way that helps you identify the things that are taking up the most storage.

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LuLu

How/why I use it

If you’re familiar with Little Snitch, Lulu is a FOSS version of that. It’s meant to give you visibility and control of all incoming and outgoing connections to/from your computer.

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ActivityWatch

How/why I use it

A cross-platform FOSS app that keeps track of your productivity and time spent on different projects, which helps you understand how you spend your time on the computer.

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Jumbo

How/why I use it

Set specific controls for all your social media and other tracking-heavy accounts like Google and Amazon. Has unique features like tweet archiving and more.

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Ko-fi

How/why I use it

A simple way to get paid for stuff you create. You an also embed the Ko-fi widget to any site as a way to accept donations for certain products, services, and causes.

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AppSumo

How/why I use it

In a world of monthly recurring subscriptions, AppSumo is a platform to discover emerging software and lock in long-term savings with lifetime deals (LTDs) for all sorts of software.

Cloud Storage/File Sharing

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Synology NAS

How/why I use it

Cloud storage just means your stuff is sitting on someone else’s server. Instead of putting stuff on someone else’s servers, I bought one myself. Highly recommend.

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Sync

How/why I use it

Sync shares your files across your devices so they stay in—wait for it—sync. It also has a vault option, which acts more like a cloud storage to free up space locally. Both the sync and vault features are encrypted.

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OnionShare

How/why I use it

Ditch WeTransfer. OnionShare is a free and open source tool that allows you to share files of any size, and without reading your file contents. Share anything privately, securely, and without midlemen.

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Backblaze

How/why I use it

Fairly solid platform for hosting brand assets. In their partnership with Cloudflare, you can get image/video hosting at a very attractive price-to-performance ratio.

Search Engines

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DuckDuckGo

How/why I use it

Google’s fiercest competitor. DDG (also accessed via duck.com) has surged in popularity and with good reason—there’s no tracking, filter bubbles, or sharing of personal information. It’s powered by Bing.

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StartPage

How/why I use it

Another privacy-friendly search engine, StartPage is different in that it yields Google search results. DDG usually does the trick, but for when you need Google search results, use StartPage.

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Qwant

How/why I use it

Qwant is a France-based search company also focused on user privacy. The UI is very similar to Google’s, but does not yield Google search results. As with DDG, there is no tracking and no filter bubble.

Password Management

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Bitwarden

How/why I use it

Quite simply the safest password manager there is. Great features, open source, and you can choose to have Bitwarden host it or host it yourself.

Don’t use closed source password managers.

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KeePassXC

How/why I use it

Another great free and open source password manager. KeePassXC is entirely self-hosted though, so syncing is a bit trickier since it doesn’t do it automatically for you. Nevertheless, it’s a great password manager that has withstood the test of time.

Design

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Affinity Photo

How/why I use it

A surprisingly simple, yet feature-rich Adobe Photoshop alternative. It’s also a one-time fee and not a recurring subscription, which is a plus.

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Affinity Designer

How/why I use it

Same as Affinity Photo, but swap out Adobe Photoshop for Illustrator instead. Think vectors here for Affinity Photo.

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Photopea

How/why I use it

A free (ad-supported) Photoshop alternative. It’s fully web-based. No downloads, no hassle, and pretty much identical features.

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Crello

How/why I use it

Crello is the nearest Canva alternative and competitor. It’s at a much earlier stage, but very promising.

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Kapwing

How/why I use it

Kapwing might get lost in the mix of a competitive content creation landscape, but it has a ton of templates, and it’s easy to get up and running with it.

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Canva

How/why I use it

Canva has quickly become the go-to software for content creation, and with good reason. It’s feature-packed and super easy to use.

No-Code/Visual Development

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Bubble

How/why I use it

By far the most powerful web app builder out there. You can also build mobile apps as well, but it shines in the web app space. Whereas other tools require you to piece together the frontend, database, and logic (workflows), Bubble has it all.

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Shopify

How/why I use it

One of the most popular (if not the most popular) eCommerce platforms on the market today, rivaling WooCommerce. It’s easy to get up and running if there are products you want to sell online.

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Webflow

How/why I use it

Arguably the most advanced website builder I’ve come across. Geared heavily towards designers, it’s incredible to see the types of websites that are build on Webflow. Complicated designs, animations, you name it—native to Webflow. Their CMS is pretty fantastic as well.

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Airtable

How/why I use it

A horizontal product that has quickly taken tech by storm (and presumably put a dent in Excel’s marketshare). Airtable is an flexible spreadsheet-meets-database that can be used for almost anything. Check out some of their templates to get an idea.

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AppGyver

How/why I use it

Probably on par with (or very close to) Bubble in terms of features and power. Some may argue it’s actually more powerful, but also more complicated. Nevertheless, AppGyver is a beast of an app builder. And they have the best pricing structure I’ve ever seen for solopreneurs and small teams.

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Carrd

How/why I use it

A great landing page builder. Many (including myself) use Carrd as the marketing page for products they want to validate quickly. Ideal for quick projects and rapid iterations. Though don’t be fooled—I’ve seen some people prop up some really solid websites on Carrd.

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Budibase

How/why I use it

An open source builder for internal tools (sort of like Retool). It’s simple, easy to understand, and has tons of integrations. As one of the few open source builders in the no-code space, I’m really excited to see Budibase grow and evolve. If you write code, please consider contributing.

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Saltcorn

How/why I use it

Another minority player in the tiny open source visdev space. Whereas Budibase is about internal tools, Saltcorn is more like Bubble in that it’s an end-to-end solution for web apps: It has the frontend, backend, and database capabilities for your app. If you write code, please consider contributing.

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Adalo

How/why I use it

Adalo is very unique in that it’s one of the few no-code app builders where you can push directly to both major app stores. Though its focus is on mobile, you build PWAs that are then wrapped to be mobile native, or simple web apps.

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Glide

How/why I use it

Glide builds mobile apps from Google Sheets (though that’s changing in 2021). If you’re good with spreadsheets, there’s a good chance you’ll be good with Glide. Glide apps are easy to distribute via links & QR codes.

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Coda

How/why I use it

Coda is tough to describe, but in short, it’s a very powerful doc. It combines elements from a database, spreadsheet, and doc. Where coda really shines is with operations-based functions.

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Zapier

How/why I use it

I like to refer to Zapier as internet glue, because that’s exactly what it does—it integrates tons of apps to create workflows (or Zaps) that automate your work.

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Integromat

How/why I use it

Integromat is also internet glue. Designed to automate your work, you can connect to tons of apps and services on the web. If you’re good with spreadsheet functions, you’ll feel right at home at Integromat to create useful, complex workflows.

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Parabola

How/why I use it

Another automation-focused platform. Where Parabola differs, though, is in the processing and manipulation of data. Not that others also don’t work well with data, but Parabola does this really well. They also have a strong focus on eCommerce.

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Dorik

How/why I use it

Dorik is still a relatively under-the-radar website builder, but it shouldn’t be (though it is in a very competitive landscape). The best way to describe Dorik is a simpler Webflow. Or as if Carrd and Webflow had a baby. You can build very intricate websites with a pretty uncomplicated UI.

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Pory

How/why I use it

Pory is very similar to Softr in that it uses Airtable as the database. I recommend looking at the roadmaps & features of both to get a better sense of which one might be right for you. One difference is that Softr differentiates between websites and web apps, whereas Pory does not.

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Bildr

How/why I use it

Buildr is probably a top 3 most powerful builder. Though still in beta, it’s evolving quickly. Bildr is also the only tool in the near future that has (or will have) the ability to build browser extensions, which is insane.

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NoCodeAPI

How/why I use it

Exactly what it sounds like—tons of integrations with popular tools. NoCodeAPI is one of those tools that you don’t often think about, but is a time-saver when it’s time to use it.

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Softr

How/why I use it

Softr is very similar to Pory in that it uses Airtable as a database. The team is very active on Twitter and have an ambitious roadmap ahead. Keep an eye out for Softr’s evolution.

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n8n.io

How/why I use it

n8n is one of the tools I’m most excited about because it’s open source and already has tons of native integrations despite being such a young platform. You can also self host, which is yuge. Think of it as a FOSS Zapier.

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Draftbit

How/why I use it

The best way to describe Draftbit is “The Webflow of native mobile apps.” Similar to AppGyver, Draftbit generates React Native apps. You can even export the code. Draftbit is based in Chicago, which is something else I love. And the team is awesome.

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Pathfix

How/why I use it

Pathfix is technically low code, but it still works. Pathfix is a platform that helps you integrate apps natively. Coupled with builders like Bubble or Bildr, Pathfix can be a real time-saver.

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Ycode

How/why I use it

One of the newest kids on the block. Ycode describes itself as if Bubble and Webflow had a baby. Though it’s in its very early stages, the promised blend of Webflow’s design and Bubble’s functionality has started to attract many users.

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Bravo Studio

How/why I use it

The point of using dummy text for your paragraph is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters. making it look like readable English.

Browsers

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Firefox

How/why I use it

By far the most customizable user-friendly browser on the market. No other browser lets you customize it from the inside out. It’s also not Chromium-based, which is a really important part of diverisfying the Chrome-dominated browser market.

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Brave

How/why I use it

Brave is Chromium-based, but it provides a good sense of privacy and security out of the box. It’s far less customizable than Firefox, but it’s one of the better Chromium-based browsers out there. Some websites work better on Firefox and others on Chromium, so it’s good to have both.

Email

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ProtonMail

How/why I use it

ProtonMail is in many respects considered the leader in secure, encrypted email. Coupled with ProtonVPN and other Proton products, PM has an exciting roadmap ahead.

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Zoho Mail

How/why I use it

ZMail isn’t encrypted, but it packs tons of great features for solo founders. It also has a very respectable privacy policy despite not being on the same level as ProtonMail or Tutanota.

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Mailvelope

How/why I use it

A free browser add-on that encrypts your emails using PGP. It works on all webmail providers (even Gmail). Couple Mailvelope with Zoho Mail, and you got a great blend of features and security.

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Tutanota

How/why I use it

An underrated player in the secure email market. But it doesn’t stop at email—they also provide encrypted calendar and contacts. Open source is also at the forefront of everything they do—a huge plus.

Communications

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Signal

How/why I use it

Signal is in its own category when it comes to fostering safe and private communications. It is what WhatsApp wanted to be. So much so, that cofounder of WhatsApp Brian Acton funded Signal with $50M+ to bring back private messaging. If you use WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, or even iMessage, you should make your default text/calls app Signal ASAP.

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Element (formerly Riot)

How/why I use it

Element is another open source communications app. It’s built on top of the Matrix network, which provides secure, decentralized communication. Element itself is better suited for team communication than Signal is, simply because of UX. It’s not to say you can’t use both for the same purpose, but Element is more like Slack, except other people can’t read your messages.

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Berkanan

How/why I use it

I don’t use Berkanan much, and I’m thankful for it because it means I still have WiFi. Berkanan uses Bluetooth to communicate to other Berkanan users, not WiFi/data, which makes it particularly useful in places where you can’t get WiFi or good signal—like airplanes, concerts, and other places of large gatherings.

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Zoho Meeting

How/why I use it

Zoom’s recurring privacy and security flaws were high-profile and well-reported, but anytime I get a video call invite, it’s on Zoom. People are clearly still using it, and I wish they wouldn’t. ZMeeting is a start. It’s less well-known, but it does everything you need it to. Its biggest limitation is a public API, which is necessary in order to integrate calendar schedulers. Still, you can schedule meetings as you would on Zoom.

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Jitsi

How/why I use it

Jitsi is a free and open source encrypted video conferencing service. Though it’s meant to be implemented into enterprise/consumer apps directly, you can start a meeting right away without needing to download anything. Just click and start. Jitsi works great for impromptu video chats and screen sharing sessions.

Security

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Cryptomator

How/why I use it

Client-side encryption for all your files. Let’s put it this way: If you’re still storing your files on Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or any other unsafe cloud storage platform, you need to be using Cryptomator.

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Duo

How/why I use it

Simple two-factor authentication for many services. The original reason I started using it is because my alma mater, IU, uses it. Though I use time-based multi-factor authentication, Duo is a good extra step for yet another MFA wall.

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Do Not Disturb

How/why I use it

DND protects you from physical attacks. If you’re being mugged, DND will shoot pepper spray from your computer’s webcam. Ok seriously—DND detects and alerts physical attacks on your computer. Good for people who leave their computers unattended or travel with them.

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KnockKnock

How/why I use it

Uncovers persistently installed software on your Mac, which is often a sign of malware. Scans your computer from top to bottom to ensure there isn’t anything fishy going on that you might not be aware of.

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TaskExplorer

How/why I use it

Did you know your computer is constantly running tasks in the background? TaskExplorer visualizes all of those for you so you can see all of your computer’s processes at a glance. (Spoiler alert: There’s a lot.)

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ReiKey

How/why I use it

An anti-keylogger. If you’re unfamiliar with keyloggers, they do exactly what they sound like: Record all your keystrokes. Grammar checkers and even popular design tools log your keys, even when they don’t need to.

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Netiquette

How/why I use it

A network monitor that allows you to explore sockets and connections. Whereas LuLu is a firewall and allows you to set specific rules, Netiquette is more about just exploring those connections as a whole.

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BlockBlock

How/why I use it

Malware installs itself persistently. BlockBlock monitors those persistence locations and alerts you when a persistent component is added to your Mac.

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RansomWhere?

How/why I use it

By continually monitoring the file-system for the creation of encrypted files by suspicious processes, RansomWhere? aims to protect your personal files, generically stopping ransomware in its tracks.

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OverSight

How/why I use it

Mac malware often spies on users by recording audio and video sessions—sometimes in an undetected manner. OverSight monitors your Mac’s microphone and webcam, alerting the user when the internal mic is activated, or whenever a process accesses the webcam.

Social

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Twitter

How/why I use it

Love the concept of micro-blogging in general, not the business model. If it were up to me, I’d be entirely on Mastodon instead, but unfortunately, there’s a huge no-code community on Twitter. So naturally, I have to be there. I dream of the day communities live on decentralized services instead.

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Mastodon

How/why I use it

Twitter, but with 500 characters and open protocols. Posts are called “toots” instead of “tweets.” Granular privacy & security controls at the user level, instance level, and more. It’s as if you owned your own Twitter platform. If it were possible to copy and paste Twitter users into Mastodon, that would be sweeeeet.

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Product Hunt

How/why I use it

The tech community’s go-to place for product launches. It’s amazing to see how much comes through Product Hunt because it’s a lens into what people are building. They are building amazing things out there. Careful though—if you’re a tech enthusiast like me, it’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of exploring everything.

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PixelFed

How/why I use it

A free and open source Instagram. Like Mastodon, PixelFed is part of the Fediverse—this means it’s decentralized, so no single company owns your data or the platform. It also means you’re not the product, resulting in less behavioral manipulation, as is currently the case with Facebook (who owns Instagram). PixelFed is another one of those apps I’d love to copy/paste my community into.

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MeWe

How/why I use it

The most Facebook-like alternative currently on the market. MeWe’s approach is different in that there are no ads, no spyware, no facial recognition on you/friends/family, and less manipulation in terms of how you see posts. I recommend checking out their Privacy Bill of Rights to see how it varies from Facebook and why they’re doing things differently.

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LinkedIn

How/why I use it

Terrible for privacy, but it’s the biggest professional social networking site. LinkedIn has become one of those sites employers and/or colleagues expect you to have. It’s strictly for this reason that my LinkedIn profile exists. Every week I see complaints about LinkedIn on Twitter, so I assume it’s just a matter of time before someone remakes LinkedIn from the ground up.