Question

What software are you most thankful for?

It's hard to imagine the world without software—without video calls and instant messages and spellcheck and all the tiny bits of software we rely on without thinking.

What software changed your life the most, the things that made your business possible and get you to stop every so often and think how glad you are that thing's around?

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francovg's avatar
2 months ago

I am really greatful for Webflow, it changed my life as a designer, now I can bring to life all my ideas and projects. I really can't imagine what I would be doing without it.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @francovg )
2 months ago

That’s a great one! Had you built full websites by yourself prior to using Webflow, or did you typically have to work with a developer to get your designs online?

1 point
francovg's avatar
@francovg (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

I had to work with a developer, and it took a long time. And the implementation always needed revisions because there were small details that weren't as the original design.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @francovg )
2 months ago

Gottcha! What's your favorite site you've designed with Webflow so far?

1 point
NBNite's avatar
2 months ago

Zapier but as a bigger picture, any no-code automation services.
What used to require engineers, large budgets, and weeks of development can now be done in minutes for under $20/month by average software users. The time saved and efficiencies won by using these platforms has created opportunities for people/companies that may not have been there otherwise.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @NBNite )
2 months ago

That's a great one! I'm hugely biased from having been on the team, but it's truly a product I can't imagine living without. So many tasks that I need to get done that are possible with Zapier, and wouldn't even be feasible if there wasn't Zapier or that category of automation software in general.

1 point
ivmirx's avatar
2 months ago

Scapple: eight years later it still beats any other tool for thinking and collecting ideas over a long period. I have boards for different topics and projects that I revisit to "load" their overview into my active memory.

The app does not force me to find a branch when adding a note (like mind maps do), so I can quickly drop some ideas at the bottom and arrange them later. Scapple is also very information-dense because it doesn't waste space with pretty arrows or note backgrounds.

In the case of projects, I move them to Trello after the research phase and create a linear roadmap, but topics like "programming best practices" stay in Scapple for years.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ivmirx )
2 months ago

Oh very cool! I've used the post-it note feature in their Scrivener app before, but never gave Scapple a try.

Have you tried using any of the newer wiki-linking notes apps (Roam, Obsidian, and even Notion's new wiki linking), and if so, have you found the way you connect ideas in Scapple carrying over to them?

I'd always thought of Scapple as basically the same as other mindmapping apps, so hadn't really given it a separate shot. Seems like the core use-case for you is in listing unrelated thoughts and then drawing connections later? Which, in thinking about it, that does sound very useful.

Surprised they haven't made an iOS version of Scapple; seems like a natural fit for the iPad!

2 points
ivmirx's avatar
@ivmirx (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

Can't say for Roam but Obsidian feels rather constraining compared to Scapple boards that don't have the limits of one-dimensional text documents. Scapple's landing says "it's a virtual sheet of paper" and it indeed feels close to that. Overall, I don't use connections there that much, only 10-20% of notes on my boards are connected.

While researching modern bi-directional PKM software, I saw some people saying that they don't see the benefits of connecting everything with everything because that's what the brain is for (and it also updates the connections on its own). I mostly agree, to me a Scapple board is a collection of short anchors to the stuff I've learned or decided before. I group the anchors a bit but generally know how they are connected without trying to maintain the connections digitally. Linking between the boards would be nice, but I rarely encounter topics where I can't fit all I need onto a 1920x1080 screen. Again, the information density in Scapple is incredible.

I've also been using locally hosted MoinMoin wiki with a database in Dropbox since 2010, but in the end, it keeps a different kind of knowledge: structured linear guides I wrote for myself, checklists, rarely used bookmarks.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ivmirx )
2 months ago

With your own self-hosted wiki, you're definitely ahead of the curve on note-taking!

Do you have a process of going back through and reviewing your Scapple notes, or do you feel that by writing them down you end up remembering things and are able to find them again later when you need them without a review process? I think "accidental" rediscovery is supposed to be one of the core benefits of linking everything, though with the side-effect of clutter.

2 points
ivmirx's avatar
@ivmirx (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

😅 I just got tired of the .txt mess too fast (back then Markdown wasn't a thing yet).

I do not review most of my boards in Scapple until I need to return to the topics captured in them. Considering that technically they are concept maps, I use them like I'd use a map of a city when visiting it again after a few years: I remember its layout more or less, but a map helps me to recall it in more detail, with all the nice places I found during the last visit.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @ivmirx )
2 months ago

Haha afraid Markdown hasn't solved the problem of endless .txt files either!

Gottcha, this is fascinating. I got Scapple downloaded; going to have to put your ideas to work here and give it a try!

2 points
flobb's avatar
2 months ago

Definitely Slack on my part. Very easy to collaborate with teams while being remote and you can integrate a lot of automations around it (CRM, tasks, alerting, etc.)

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @flobb )
2 months ago

I do wonder if/how it'll change now that Salesforce is acquiring it!

1 point
LVRSNFRNDS's avatar
2 months ago

Typeform since 2015.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @LVRSNFRNDS )
2 months ago

What’s your favorite thing about Typeform vs. other form apps?

1 point
abbybarsky's avatar
2 months ago

I'd say Google Calendar. Easy-to-use, manage multiple calendars, and see other people's availability. If I had to switch to a competitor I'd be bummed.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @abbybarsky )
2 months ago

Google Calendar's a great pick—it's simple, but gets the job done. And its a platform for so many other calendar apps to build on top of, including Fantastical. And for all the competition on the email side (with Superhuman building a new Gmail interface and Hey reinventing how email works), Google Calendar is still largely unrivaled.

Only thing it's missing to a degree is the Calendly-style availability calendars where people can pick a time to have a meeting with you.

1 point
abbybarsky's avatar
@abbybarsky (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

Totally agree about Calendly. For looking at other team members it's easy enough, especially with the working hours feature.

I just looked into Fantastical, seems to add a lot! Maybe... too much? Haha 😅

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @abbybarsky )
2 months ago

Yeah, the best thing about Fantastical is its natural language processing. You can type in "Meet Bob at JFK at 1:30 Friday" and it'll turn that into the correct appointment, which is super handy (or, in a way, like a text version of Siri).

2 points
nish234's avatar
2 months ago

Sublime Text. Off late I'd also include Visual Studio Code to the list. I haven't worked with an IDE before so I find it pretty amazing.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @nish234 )
2 months ago

Sublime Text kickstarted both the modern trend of using command palettes to run commands and the high level of interest in making quality code/text editing apps, directly influencing the design and feature set in Visual Studio Code and GitHub Atom before that. It's still the code editor I use most.

1 point
qthdh's avatar
2 months ago

Alfred.
I can't even imagine using my Mac without it.
It also made me a bit spoiled. Anything I can't do in a few keystrokes frustrates me.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @qthdh )
2 months ago

100%, both for its searching and for its text expander tools. It's easily the app I miss the most when working on iPad.

Now I just wish it tied a bit more deeply into software to be more of a universal command palette for in-app commands. You can get Alfred to do that, but it requires add-ons and workflows that break with updates. Wonder if they could pull something off by letting Alfred search through and run menu bar commands, like the Help tab search does? That would be wild.

1 point
qthdh's avatar
@qthdh (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

That's the purpose of workflows. From my experience, update breaks occur but it's not that often.
For instance, the Search in Notion workflow is awesome.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @qthdh )
2 months ago

Yeah, I just need to take more time and find workflows that fit apps I use!

Oh cool I’m going to go install that Notion one!

1 point
qthdh's avatar
@qthdh (replying to @maguay )
2 months ago

If you’re on the hunt for useful workflows, here’s a complete breakdown of how I use Alfred.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @qthdh )
2 months ago

Nice, Instapapering that!

1 point
CustomComputerT's avatar
@CustomComputerT (replying to @qthdh )
a month ago

Amen! Alfred is my main workflow workhorse. I have over 80 workflows I've written that help me automate much of my work on my computer. I would definitely be hampered without it. Keyboard Maestro as well!

1 point
CustomComputerT's avatar
a month ago

Also, Hook.app for keeping everything tied together.

1 point
bigal123's avatar
2 months ago

Excel. Has changed my career.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @bigal123 )
2 months ago

Excel is a huge one. Spreadsheets are the original PC "killer app" and continue to be one of the most versatile pieces of software most people have on their computers use.

What's your favorite thing about Excel specifically versus other spreadsheet apps?

1 point
mister-chad's avatar

i'm reluctant to add my two cents because i don't want to keep reminding myself here on the site, but i am absolutely loving obsidian. it is a markdown editor with tons of extra features for organizing and presenting your content. it has become my main app for writing, thinking, organizing my ideas. i'm organizing the classes that i teach with it. i'm now publishing my website using it (still a work in progress). there are a ton of other apps and systems that i love, but obsidian is where it starts for me.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @mister-chad )
18d

Not at all, it's great to hear how Obsidian has worked out for you. You're the resident Obsidian expert!

I didn't realize Obsidian had publishing also; there's another Notion feature it can take on. Wouldn't have expected that since it's a local/non-web app by default!

1 point
maguay's avatar
2 months ago

Phone calls over the internet (both VoIP voice calls and video calls) still strike me as one of the biggest ways technology directly improved the status quo. In 2000 the first time I traveled outside the country, your options to call people abroad was to spend dollars a minute, or to use early calling apps over the web. I’ll never forget hearing Dialpad’s startup sound, as you’d have to try to make the call over and again over dialup, only for the audio to be so poor you’d have to still pay for a real international call.

Cell phones a few years prior had already made “long distance” calls a thing of the past, and slowly Skype, then chat apps, then smartphones and services like Twilio made internet calls routine. You can call people on Messenger or LINE or Skype anytime without thinking about where they are or if you’ve talked long enough to use up your budget.

So every now and then, when a relative calls from another country, it strikes me how much has changed, and how that little thing made the world feel smaller.

1 point
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