This page is for sharing some of my picks. Podcasts, products, apps, and whatever else I think is worth sharing. I'll tweet when I make modifications to this page, so stay tuned for updates.
- The Talk Show (Weekly, 2 hours) - John Gruber discusses Apple and surrounding topics with a guest each week. He gets side tracked on baseball from time to time, but always entertaining.
- Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP) (Weekly, 2 hours) - Marco Arment, John Siracusa, and Casey Liss (of who the hell is Casey Liss fame) discuss Apple, technology, and the tech industry. Really fun dynamic between the three of them.
- a16z (2-3 per week, 15 minutes) - Andreesen Horowitz's Chris Dixon hosts a tech podcast and is joined by both guests and other partners at a16z. Episodes are short, discussions are very intelligent, I highly recommend it. There aren't many episodes yet, and they're very short.
- Exponent (Weekly, 90 minutes) - Ben Thompson and co-host James Allworth discuss a variety of tech topics and tech culture.
- Welcome to Macintosh - Fun Mac community stories and history with excellent production value.
- Honorable Mention: This Week in Startups, Hello Internet, Startup CTO
- Hardcore History (Quarterly, 2-4 hours) - Dan Carlin discusses historical events from a thorough and interesting perspective, his ability to bring the story to life is amazing (even for those who weren't keen on history in school).
- Embedded (30-60 minutes) - Enthralling stories from reporters who dive deep into a culture or group of people, usually a very dangerous group.
- Reveal (Weekly, 60 minutes) - From the Center for Investigative Reporting, uncovers perspectives and facts that often are overlooked in commonly reported stories, or fascinating aspects of things that have gone entirely unreported.
- Crooked Media's whole lineup - Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, With Friends Like These, Lovett or Leave It - Excellent line of mostly rational and always entertaining political commentary.
- Freakonomics Radio (Weekly, 30-60 minutes) - From the folks behind the Freakonomics books, they discuss various topics and supporting data.
- This American Life (Weekly, 60 minutes) - The NPR hit in podcast form. I have never been a faithful NPR listener, but this show is tremendously entertaining and covers a variety of topics.
- Serial (Weekly & Seasonal, 30-60 minutes) - Serial is the spin-off of This American Life that covers very interesting crime cases over the course of several weeks per case. I didn't think I'd like it, then I listened to the first episode.
- Reply All (Weekly, 20 minutes) - A show about the internet. Interesting short stories from the new Gimlet media company.
- 99% Invisible - Incredibly entertaining stories of how design drives life around us.
- The Tim Ferriss Show - From the creator of The Four Hour Work Week a podcast that discusses increasing health, work efficiency, and happiness.
- Cortex - A fun dive into how CGP Grey lives and works. The way his mind works is endlessly entertaining.
- Code Switch - A team of journalists exploring race and culture from very well considered perspectives. I highly recommend trying this for anyone, but especially those with less culturally diverse upbringings or surroundings.
- Honorable Mention: Slack Variety Pack, Infinite Monkey Cage, Invisibilia, Hidden Brain, Intelligence Squared, Revisionist History, Science Vs., Stuff You Should Know, Criminal, Adam Ruins Everything
I have around 150 apps on my phone, and use approximately 75 unique apps each week. I have a tremendous appreciation for beautifully designed and appropriately functional apps. Here are some of my favorites (for iOS).
- Tweetbot 4 - There are no words to express how wonderful Tweetbot is for Twitter. If you use Twitter, you really need to be using Tweetbot. If you don't use Twitter, you really should, and then you could use Tweetbot. Without question, this is my favorite app for my iPhone and my most used app on the beloved and rarely ignored device.
- Overcast - I have been using the stock podcast player for several years now. I know it isn't perfect but I never needed more. Enter Overcast. Smart speed, voice enhancements, and a beautiful UI. You're crazy if you don't at least check this out.
- Encrypt.me VPN (formerly Cloak) - I can't believe I'd forgotten to include Cloak in this list. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful and useful Cloak is. You get so much for your money on this one. Cloak allows you to declare trusted wifi networks then without you doing anything, it will auto-secure any other wifi network you connect to. It is fast and easy, the developer I have spoken with is responsive, helpful, and a genuinely kind person. This keeps you safe on unknown or unprotected wifi networks, bottom line. Plus, you can use one account for all of your devices (Mac and iOS).
- 1Password - With how easy it is to use secure passwords across all of your devices, there is no excuse for not using a good password manager. There is none better than 1Password, I cannot recommend this product highly enough.
- Wunderlist - My wife and I share grocery lists, Costco lists, to-do lists, etc. We've found that Wunderlist has the best syncing, sharing, features, design, and load time for our needs. The missing Alexa support is the biggest drawback, the design could also use an update, but it is very functional for basic lists.
- Pocket - Integrated with Tweetbot and very beautiful design. This is my "read it later" app of choice and is a recent replacement for Readability which I used for a while but really disliked that the new launch page was their recommended reading list instead of my own saved content.
- Dark Sky - Beautifully designed weather app with highly specific weather data for your area. I've found that the 1 hour outlook is pretty reliable for precipitation, but otherwise I look elsewhere for weather forecasts.
- Evernote + Scannable - I have gone almost entirely paperless, so I use Evernote heavily. I also use it for taking notes to sync across devices. Scannable does a surprisingly good job of scanning documents in, I basically always use PDF, but it's quite good in general.
- Due - While $5 seems like a lot for a timer/reminders app, I have found it well worthwhile. The custom tones and snoozing capabilities of this app are really useful, I find myself forgetting things far less often.
- Streaks - A very simple, yet useful and powerful, goal tracking app. I can't believe this is free.
- Stock apps - I really like the simplicity and speed of several stock apps also. Notes for quick and easy things, Reminders for my own to-do list, iBooks, iMessage, Mail (iOS), Calendar, and more. I have tried several highly regarded replacements for these, but found that the stock apps did the job nicely.
- iMessage deserves its own call-out. I know there are sync issues between devices, but those used to be a lot worse than they are now (I use 4 devices with regularity - 2 Macs, iPhone, iPad). Generally speaking messages and messages being marked as read work perfectly as expected. iMessage feels so different than SMS. Part of it is internal bias of "blue bubbles" to be certain, but it just feels like an enjoyable communication experience. It's fast, media being sent is high enough quality, it's got great capabilities like leaving groups, muting alerts, finding/sharing location, and more. While challenigng to quanitify, I can safely say that iMessage is a genuine improvement to my life. I tried replacing it with SMS + Hangouts and would peg that experiences many orders of magnitude below iMessage. I have written a bit about iMessage/Hangouts and the tradeoffs.
More coming soon!
- iStat Menus - Places the most useful information in your status bar. Thoroughly configurable and incredibly useful, all for a very reasonable price. [$18]
- Tweetbot 2 - A nice update for my favorite Twitter client. [$10]
- Encrypt.me VPN (formerly called Cloak) - I can't believe I'd forgotten to include Cloak in this list. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful and useful Cloak is. You get so much for your money on this one. Cloak allows you to declare trusted wifi networks then without you doing anything, it will auto-secure any other wifi network you connect to. It is fast and easy, the developer I have spoken with is responsive, helpful, and a genuinely kind person. This keeps you safe on unknown or unprotected wifi networks, bottom line. Plus, you can use one account for all of your devices (Mac and iOS).
- Airmail - I wasn't sure I needed more than the (widely despised) Apple Mail client had to offer, but I have thankfully discovered how enormously wrong that opinion was (for my needs). At $10 this is an enormous bargain and while I didn't exhaustively try all options, I did try several other paid options and this stands out well above the rest. [$10]
- Atom - A really nice text editor that is very customizable, but usable right out of the box. [Free]
- Slack - If you aren't using Slack for work, you should be. If you aren't using it for your social circles, you probably should be there too. [Free]
- iTerm + oh my zsh - If you use the command line at all, get iTerm (free) and install oh my zsh. The ability to customize is endless but well documented and once you switch you'll never go back. I am using the Crunch theme and really like the look of it. [Free]
- Homebrew - Makes life a lot easier for installing and managing developer tools (among other things). [Free]
- Better Touch Tool (BTT) - Allows powerful customization of gestures, taps, clicks, and more for the touchpad, a Magic Mouse, or a regular mouse. You can supercharge the speed of your navigation by finding gestures that work for you beyond the system defaults and make your life a lot easier. [Pay what you can model]
- 1Password - The perfect companion to the iOS app, 1Password is hands down the best way to manage your passwords and secure data. By using 1Password, it becomes much easier to use highly secure logins to all of your services by eliminating the need for you to remember tens or hundreds of passwords. [$50]
- 2Do - Task management for work requires flexibility and a feature rich tool. At this time, I only use it for work. I wish it had a more intuitive interface, but overall I like it. My app for work task management came down to Todoist and 2Do. I really liked the Karma points in Todoist (sounds dumb, but building momentum really helped motivate me more than I originally admitted to myself). Ultimately, 2Do just offered more features and I liked that you can just buy the app outright rather than dealing with a subscription. [$40]
- IntelliJ - An amazing development environment for Java work, even the free version is incredibly powerful and feature-rich. It has great documentation and help and receives regular updates.
- Computer: 2015 15" MacBook Pro with retina display
- Phone: White iPhone 7 128GB
- Tablet: White iPad Air 32GB LTE
- AirPods: I can't imagine life without them anymore, if $159 seems expensive you haven't used them yet.
- Backup Strategy:
Useful Technology & ServiceS
For one reason or another, often due to trial and error, I've found some useful items that might not be well known. Other items in the list are just things I find useful and wanted to share.
- AirPods - Worth many times their $159 asking price, AirPods are only second to my iPhone in favorite material objects I own. They are amazing for casual podcast/audiobook listening, non-audiophile music listening, working on projects at home (including very active ones), working out or walking the dog, or for conference calls at work. I've polled nearly everyone I've talked to on the phone (via voice call, Slack, call FaceTime, etc.) and found consistently perfectly quality, even in the face of daunting background noise. Their convenience is extraordinary and the ability to use a single earbud or both is something I take advantage of several times per day. With one or both in my hear for most of a waking ~17 hour day, I have never exhausted more than about 70% of the combined battery life between the pods and the case, and never been without at least one charged and ready to go. There is no product I recommend more highly than AirPods for iOS and/or Mac users (they work with any platform, but I cannot verify the experience).
- LucidChart - Excellent for diagrams, charts, and my favorite – mind mapping. They have a free trial and then a few plans that range from $4.95/mo to around $20. I was not sure it would be worth it until I started using it. Now I'm obsessed.
- Logitech Harmony One - This universal remote is just about perfect. Highly customizable, logical button placement, and great battery life. With this remote I control my TV, AV receiver, cable DVR, Playstation 3, Apple TV, X11 IR module (controls my fans and ambient LED lighting when my TV/receiver turn on), and often more. Sadly these have been discontinued (mixed results, but it appears they are in fact discontinued), but you can still find them, or their newly spun-off next generation models. Update: I have heard very good things about the Harmony Companion.
- Apple TV - If you have a Mac, iPad, or iPhone, the Apple TV is a wonderful accessory. AirPlay works great and is really convenient. I am really hoping for a 4K variant in 2017. $149
- Cree LEDs - While CFLs are dirt cheap (Costco), they take a long time to warm up to full brightness. Cree LEDs seem to be the best option out there, so far I've been thrilled with mine. $13/bulb on Amazon, but they often go on sale or have rebates from your local power company. I've had good luck with Feit bulbs too, regularly 3 for $10 at Costco. Wirecutter has the Walmart brand as the best value, but I haven't tried these.
- Chamberlain garage door opener with motion sensor for the light - It seems trivial, but having the garage light turn on when you walk out there is extremely convenient. I am shocked that there isn't a more competitive market for these, but this one has been working pretty well. It is a little bit hyper sensitive, so it turns on for no apparent reason sometimes, but well worthwhile. The only down side is that in the split second where the motion sensor is triggered and turning the light on, you cannot open or close the garage door. ($25 from Amazon)
- Double Density LED Strips - Perfect for ambient lighting and under-cabinet lighting. I have been absolutely thrilled with these. Read more about my setup for under-cabinet lighting. ($23 on Amazon)
- Nest Thermostat (Gen. 2) - A beautiful smart thermostat that does everything you'd hope for from detecting activity (or a lack thereof) to remote control via an app. The learning algorithm doesn't seem too smart, I have to edit the schedule several times every time the season changes, but the convenience of it is still worthwhile.
- Chamberlain MyQ - I can no longer endorse this. The idea is great, and the execution isn't unbearable, but I get anywhere from 1 to 20 false alarms per day lately, and it is super stressful when you're out of town. The app is unattractive and the reliability just isn't there.
- Harry's - It isn't technology in the modern sense most of us think, but I am a very happy Harry's customer. Their razor blades are wonderful, the handle is beautifully designed, the shaving cream is excellent and smells great, and the price is far below the big name brands.
- Aeropress - I have heard people rave about this for a long time now, but I prefer lattes to traditional coffee. Well it turns out, there are delicious latte recipes all over the web. You can make a delicious at-home latte with stuff you already have, including normal coffee grounds. Admittedly, I have recently neglected this in favor of...
- Nespresso - If you prefer espresso or espresso-based drinks, these are worth every penny. At approximately $0.70 per pod, it can seem expensive, but it's far cheaper than Starbucks or energy drinks. The environmental impact is not ideal because they do not support reusable pods like Keurig does. Make sure to buy the Vertuo line, not the Original line (Inissia), it is much quieter (the Inissia is weirdly loud) and it is the newer line so is more likely to have pods available for sale longer. I recommend the bundle with the milk frother, it's easy to wash and is the fastest, easiest, and cleanest way to get hot frothed milk for lattes.
- Anker battery pack - any model/size is good, the one I currently use isn't too huge. It can recharge an iPhone 2-3 times, so that's more than enough. I have been genuinely impressed with Anker's products across the board*, they are my go-to in recommending iPhone and power related accessories. (*I haven't tried many of their home products, but their battery powered vacuum is horrible, so tread carefully for this category.)
Favorite Books/Artciles on Leadership or Business
- Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - An inspiring and entertaining story of the front lines of entrepreneurship by a brilliant and generous man.
- Predictable Success by Les McKeown - Defines a model for the stages of growth for a company with a focus on understanding the types of people and strengths help at each stage and understanding which of those can prevent you from attaining the next stage or be problematic once you get there. This is a must-read for leadership of companies that are going from a handful of employees to 25, 30, or 50.
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek - Many will find this book hard to digest if they aren't developing a physical product or if they haven't been influenced by modern "Valley" startup culture, but it is a mistake to dismiss it, plus it is short enough to knock out at 1.5x on Audible. Simon discusses how the most successful companies sell why rather than what.
- Talking to Crazy by Mark Goulston - Dr. Goulston provides an excellent framework for identifying and navigating conversations or relationships with "crazy" people. He defines crazy as behaving or speaking independently of logic or factual reality, something that (essentially) everyone is guilty of to a degree.
- Just about anything from Michael Lopp (@rands), here's a great list to get you started.