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Install these six apps as soon as you get a new laptop

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A new laptop offers a fresh start. I recently got a new MacBook Pro. In this post, I’ll share the core apps that I immediately installed and use them for. Although I use a Mac, many of these apps are cross-platform. Where relevant, I have noted Windows and Android alternatives.

The six apps I installed first

Day one

This is my private writing space. Here I write freely, keep memories for my future self and keep a book reading diary. Be here other ways to make the most of it. Works on iOS, Mac and Android. Basic usage is free; bonus features are $3 per month.

superhuman

This is the email program I use to reduce the time I spend on email by making the composing and replying process more efficient. Superhuman pulls in email from multiple Gmail addresses and lets me review messages with Keyboard Shortcuts. It allows me to easily email everything I email to pop up later to ensure follow-up, or schedule messages to be sent later. It also stores templates of messages that I have to send repeatedly with minor changes. Only apple. A good cross-platform alternative tool to spice up Gmail is MixMax.

flaccid

I use this on a daily basis to communicate with colleagues and participate in various online communities. It is a messaging platform that makes it easy to keep track of ongoing conversations, reducing email traffic. But it’s also another inbound spot that I have to check for messages, so it’s not a pure win. Available for free for Mac, iOS, Windows and Android.

iA Writer

This is the place where i go when I want to write without distraction. Available for Mac, iOS, Windows and Android; one-time purchase of $30.

Around (plus Zoom)

These are my favorite online meeting tools. I prefer Round for one-on-one meetingsand Zoom for teaching. Both platforms have recently added useful new features. Around let you record meetings now and set timers. Zoom has improved his poll features so you can ask multiple types of poll questions. It also has has boosted its built-in whiteboard. Around is free for Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux and Android.

Turbo Collage

I love being able to make quick collages. I use these for marketing messages about participants in programs I run, and to showcase a group of images, such as the apps listed at the top of this post. Available for Mac or Windows; $15 per year.

Six other things I need on my new laptop

Much of what I use is on the internet. I choose Chrome because so many of the plugins I rely on need it.

Backups are essential. I put all my important folders in my Dropbox folder. That way everything stays backed up. Many of the files I use are cloud-based, such as Google Docs, Notion, and Coda files, and notes stored in Roam. But I rely on Dropbox to back up what I keep on my laptop, such as Keynote presentation files, videos, and PDFs. A Dropbox feature I love: I can right-click on any file or folder stored in Dropbox to share a direct link to it. I use this several times a week instead of sending attachments.

The default clipboard built into Windows, MacOS, and ChromeOS (for Chromebooks) only stores one thing you’ve copied. Thats crazy. Imagine if you could only remember the last thing someone said to you and nothing before.

To fix this, I use Alfred as a clipboard manager to be able to paste everything I’ve copied over the past few months. It also functions as a text expansion tool, allowing me to type common things such as addresses, signatures, or answers to common questions or requests. Mac only. Here are a few Windows alternatives.

Eagle is useful for organizing screenshots and other miscellaneous files that I collect on my laptop. This is why it is so useful. I also trust Google Photos for backing up images and CloudApp for recording screenshots and GIFs. Eagle works for Mac and Windows. It’s free to try, then $30 for a one-time purchase (30% off for students and teachers).

This is a micro app – a single purpose tool essential for a limited but important purpose. TextSniper extracts text from images and places it on your clipboard for pasting into notes. I use this when I’m learning something online and want to extract text from a video or slide I’m watching. Mac only; free to try, then $8 for a one-time purchase.

This helps clean my laptop from cruft regularly to keep it running efficiently. I once paid $35 for an annual subscription, but now I get it as part of my subscription to Set app, a collection of more than 230 small apps bundled for $10 a month. It’s a great service to try out software without having to buy a bunch of small apps.

This article was republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. register here.

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