Remember how I roll? Like this:
- List items must be anatomically digital
- List items must have won me over in 2013
- List items may or may not have been released in 2013
‘Nuff said. Let’s get right to it:
iOS 7 and a retina iPad mini rocked my iOS world this year, along with these apps:
I used PlainText for writing-on-the-go for a long time, but then I realized that almost all my writing is in Markdown. PlainText handles Markdown okay, but it isn’t designed specifically for it.
Editorial, on the other hand, is designed to write in Markdown. It extends the built-in keyboard with handy shortcuts, syncs to iCloud/Dropbox, and has a ridiculously powerful Workflows system that I’ve barely touched the surface of.
Soulver for OS X made my list in 2011 and I still use it daily. This year, I finally made the leap and bought it for iPhone. iCloud syncing convinced me because it’s really nice to share ongoing calculations between platforms.
I was still holdng out on buying it for iPad when they released their iOS 7 upgrade which also supported iPad. Procrastination FTW once again!
If you aren’t on the Soulver train you need to give it a serious look as it will change how you use (and judge) calculator apps forever.
I just picked up Scanner Pro a few weeks ago, and boy am I glad I did. I have a crappy hardware scanner and have to scan stuff just often enough to dread using it. I was shopping Scan Snaps and wondering if it’d be worth the cost for me when Scanner Pro crossed my radar.
It does a surprisingly good job of using your device’s camera to create high quality scans. Once scanned, it can upload directly to all the usual cloud services.
If you don’t have to scan giant heaps of documents often, you should try Scanner Pro before buying any hardware.
OS X Apps
Not much new in my OS X world this year. I’ve either reached critical mass of useful apps or I’m getting old and lazy. Still, a couple things worth mentioning:
It covers all the standard bases and adds a nice little UI to the traffic signals in case you forget the keyboard shortcuts you set up.
Honestly, my post-played game of the year can’t make the list because it breaks rule #2. I covered Hero Academy last year and I still play it as much now as I did then. It is the best turn-based strategy game on iOS (or maybe any platform) and if it had static item selection3 I’d declare it a Perftect Game. But enough about that, here are two games I did fall in love with in 2013.
You’ve probably heard of Badland as it’s received much (deserved) praise from Apple and others, but still. This game is GORGEOUS. And fun to boot. A genuine must-have for any gamer with a heart beat.
It has the same feel as Settlers but removes the element of chance and allows for deeper strategies and more nuance. I can’t pick the board game here, but there is a decent iPad app that I played to get my fix between game nights.
Honorable Mention: Samurai Wars
Still rockin’ dat Rdio subscription. Here are a few of my favorite new jams:
Triangle — Slow Magic
Slow Magic’s debut album is right in my wheelhouse. Chilled out electronic beats with super interesting elements mixing in and out.
Let’s Be Still — The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart have been wildly successful these last few years, and deservedly so. They represent Americana at its best and their sophomore effort did not disappoint.
Ghost on Ghost — Iron and Wine
I haven’t always been a huge Iron and Wine fan, but Ghost on Ghost is a bit of a departure for him, and a welcomed one to my ears. I love this ablum.
I think it’s safe to say I listen to more podcasts now than ever. It is my most favorite medium for one of my least favorite words: edutainment. In fact, 2013 was the year that I moved beyond mere podcast consumerism and in to podcast creationism4 with my involvement in The Changelog.
Accidental Tech Podcast
Last year I grieved at the loss of my (still) favorite podcast: Hypercritical with John Siracusa. Thankfully, John has gone on to podcast yet again in the form of the Accidental Tech Podcast. Admittedly, ATP is not as good as Hypercritical. Hypercritical was pretty much all John with Dan Benjamin playing support. ATP is a 3-person show and Dan is more interesting & funny than either of the 2 other guys. Oh well, take what you can get. And right now happily I take ATP every week.
Hosted by Jason Snell and featuring an ever-rotating panel, The Incomparable is never boring. The show covers all forms of geeky media and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s most fun to listen to when you’ve already consumed whatever content is currently under the panel’s scrutiney, but I even enjoy listening when I have no idea what they’re talking about. Great show.
Honorable Mention: Debug
Copy/Pasted Outro from last Year
So, that’s my list. I hope you find one or more of these things as enjoyable and/or useful as I have.
Please do recommend any of your most beloved digital things of 2013 in the comments so I can discover them in 2014!
Hopefully Apple sees this as a shortcoming and addresses it in OS X 10.10 Tijuana ↩
You’re not gonna believe this, but I spelled ‘heirarchically’ right the first time sans typos or aid. No idea how. ↩
The game’s only flaw is the randomized item queue. With a static queue you could really develop out repeatable strategies. ↩
Stay tuned for even more podcasting from me in 2014, both technical and non. ↩