Jorge Manrubia

February 5, 2022

My MacOS essentials

CleanShot 2022-02-06 at 00.32.39@2x.png

Just because the world is short of lists of favorite apps, here is mine:

Task Paper for todos

I used to have a thing for todo apps. I tried them all and even tried to build my own. I switched to Task Paper years ago and have stuck to it since then. The truth is that my relationship with todos has changed significantly over the years. These days I only track a short list of things usually related to what I'm currently working on, and Task Paper is perfect for this.

In Task Paper, you feel like you are freely editing a text document with a thin layer of todo-related niceties. This looks simple but balancing both aspects successfully is not easy at all. Try to deal with todos in any note-taking app and then switch to Task Paper to see the difference.

Craft Bear for note taking

I love writing notes to keep a reference of things I learn and clarify my mind about problems I am working on. I dropped Evernote for Bear years ago and, recently, I changed again to Craft. I was skeptical when I first installed it, but I got hooked pretty quickly: Craft is absolutely outstanding.

Since the first moment, it's evident that they have put a ton of love on every corner. The editor is terrific, the notes look gorgeous, and the application is full of novel ideas that clicked for me. In particular, I love its foundation based on documents, pages, and blocks: you can essentially create sub-notes out of any element in a note, which adds a powerful new dimension to organize your whole system. Also, the support for internal links is fantastic and it tracks backlinks, which is something I missed in Bear.

UPDATE 2022-11-03: I went back to Bear. I just prefer how the editor looks and feels.

Moom for window management

I use Moom to move and resize windows with the keyboard. It does its job perfectly. I have these shortcuts configured: CMD + . to launch it and then...

  • SPACE to maximize screen.
  • 1 to center the window.

  • 2 and 3 to place windows side by side.
  • ARROWS to move the window to other screens.

CleanShot for screenshots

CleanShot is fantastic for taking screenshots and screen recordings. I love its annotation tools for images and how customizable it is. I let it override the same MacOS shortcuts I've been using since forever (e.g: CMD-SHIFT-4 to take a screenshot) and configure these after-capture actions:


Reeder for RSS feeds

I have been a happy Reeder user for years in both macOS and iOS. It's an incredibly well-designed and reliable feed reader. Since version 5, it includes iCloud-powered syncing for your feeds across devices, so that you don't have to rely on third-party services. Some recent reflection on my feelings towards Twitter made me realize how much I appreciate this one.

Alfred for... many things

I have been using Alfred since forever. It includes an application launcher and many productivity tools. I use it to launch or switch apps (to this day, it still feels way more responsive than Spotlight), and I also heavily rely on these four for my daily workflow:

  • Web searches. So that I can type "w John Doe" to search "John Doe" in Wikipedia. I use many custom searches like that.
  • Clipboard history. I use this one all the time.
  • Web bookmarks. To quickly open Safari bookmarks by typing part of their description.
  • Snippets. I have used other text expanders in the past and Alfred's is probably the one that works best.

About Jorge Manrubia

A programmer who writes about software development and many other topics. I work at 37signals.