Welcome to my fourth annual list of my favorite digital things! Remember how I roll? Like this:
- List items must be anatomically digital
- List items must have won me over in 2014
- List items may or may not have been released in 2014
I was a loyal Instacast user for years. Emphasis on was. Somehow, Marco Arment always manages to write software that I love to use.
For me, the nerdy playlist stuff1 is not the killer feature of Overcast. What I can no longer live without is Voice Boost and Smart Speed. Emphasis on Smart Speed.
Once its companion Mac app drops, all will be well in my note taking world.
You know what sucks?
- Receive email with attachment
- Download said attachment
- Print the file
- Sign the printed page
- Scan the printed page
- Send email with attachment
SignNow cuts steps 3-6 out of that process, which is a huge win for me.
OS X Apps
Remember back on MTV Cribs when all the Dudes would stop right before entering their bedroom, look at the camera, and
lie say: “This is where the magic happens”?
OS X is where the magic really happens.
I’ve been waiting for Glui ever since Skitch got bought and ruined by Evernote. Bonus: I think it’s better than Skitch ever was. A few reasons:
- Built-in CloudApp support
- Easier drag/drop out of app
- Cleaner UI (remember how odd Skitch’s framing was?)
- Pixelate feature (to hide sensitive info)
I’ve wasted way too much of my life finding that perfect incantation to make ffmpeg do what I want it to do. This year I found Miro Video Converter, which is exactly what it says on the tin:
A beautiful, simple way to convert almost any video to MP4, WebM (vp8), Ogg Theora, or for Android, iPhone, and iPad. Batch conversion, custom sizing, and more! 100% Free and open-source.
Where have you been all my life?
Jump on the hype train. Slack is worthy. Speaking of attention to detail… this team gets all the little stuff right. Smooth onboarding, sane defaults, extreme customization, and all the integrations a nerd like me could ever ask for.
I used Slack in 2013, but I fell in love with it in 2014. The fast team switching they added a month or so ago didn’t hurt any.
I keep warning Rachel that I’m going to go buy a PS4. Until that day comes, I do all of my gaming on iOS.
A game that’s like an M.C. Escher drawing come to life? Count me in. Tons of fun and just gorgeous.
I wish it were a little harder, but that’s just a quibble. Monument Valley is well deserving of its ADA.
Desert Golfing is a bare bones 2D golfing game. And boy do I mean it. It is perhaps more striking because of what the game doesn’t do than what it does do. It lacks:
- Level selection
- Congratulations of any kind
You hit the ball in the hole. The screen slides right to left. A new hole appears. You hit the ball in the hole. Ad infinitum.
It’s also a lot of fun and pretty addicting. It’s so simple, in fact, that I feel like I could’ve made it. In fact, I’m kind of mad I didn’t.
A tiny puzzle that grows on you.
Did it ever grow on me. Unlike Desert Golfing, Threes! is a game that I have no delusions of being able to create. It is subtle, polished, and absolutely maddening. And I love it.
I’m a long-time podcast nerd. It may just be my favorite medium. Whether I’m in the car, taking my daily consitutional3, or just trying to fall asleep, I usually have a podcast playing.
By actually printing DNA, researchers are now able to create entirely new species. They started with a glow-in-the-dark plant, and now have plans to design microbes that will live in your stomach and actually change the smell of your fecal matter. Even crazier, they may be able to associate particular gas odors with biological states, so you can effectively have an early warning system built inside you. Anthony couldn’t be more excited, but Jeff wonders when our Frankenstein microbes will inevitably destroy us all in a flowery-smelling apocalypse.
Does this show have too many typical dick-and-fart jokes? Yes. But it also hits on deeper levels. Rarely does an episode pass where I don’t LOLIRL.
This show is so meta. It tracks ex-NPR producer Alex Blumberg as he tries to start a podcast network. It’s a podcast about a guy who used to make podcasts, but now wants to start a company that makes podcasts. And it’s absolutely riveting.
If you need convincing, just listen to episode 1 where Blumberg tries to pitch Chris Sacca on investing in his company. Blumberg fails miserably, so Chris turns the tables on him. He delivers convincing pitches both for and against the business idea. Seriously impressive.
Reply All is the first podcast produced by Gimlet Media (the company that Alex Blumberg starts on the StartUp Podcast). Also it’s great.
This show is all about one of my favorite things: The Internet. They cover the unique ways the Internet has changed our lives. One episode profiled app called “Figure One”, which is like Instagram, but for doctors. Another covered the story of the guy who invented the pop-up ad, and how he regrets what he did. Here’s one all about stocking people’s financial transactions:
Reply All is just getting started, but they already have me hooked.
I listen to music pretty much all day, every day. That being said, I don’t pay close to attention to what’s going in my ears. Every once in awhile, though, an artist will grab me by the ear lobes and won’t let go. Here are a few that did just that this year.
They say Com Truise is “slow-motion funk”. I’m not sure if that quite describes it, but whatever genre it is, I’m a huge fan.
Whether I’m driving, coding, or working out: Com Truise has become a staple in my playlists. Also, that name tho.
Add Cold Fresh Pillows to the growing list of artists found solely on SoundCloud. It’s super chilled out electronic music that is somehow bursting with emotion.
Excellent remixes which often feature music from my former days. This is absolutely great workout music. Here’s a taste:
That’s my list. I hope you find one or more of these things as enjoyable and/or useful as I have.
Shout out your most beloved digital things of 2014 in the comments so I can discover them in 2015!