There are a few programs everyone knows to add to a new computer: Chrome, Spotify, Dropbox, some work apps like Excel or Photoshop. But many of us also have our favorite helper apps and utilities to customize our workflow.
Mac: Today Flexibits, creators of Lifehacker’s favorite calendar app Fantastical, bring their command-line approach to contacts with Cardhop ($19.99). This new contacts app is oriented around actions rather than your contacts database; you mainly use it by writing commands, kind of like talking to Siri. It’s a…
Windows/macOS/Linux/Android/iOS/Chrome/Firefox: The best VPNs encrypt your data and protect all of your communications from prying eyes. The best browser-based privacy tools keep you from being tracked behaviorally based on the sites you visit. Windscribe is a utility and service that does both in one package.
Mac: Ever wished your Dock had more levels? Station is a replacement Dock that allows you to create groupings that can then be stacked up into multiple levels.
Over the past two weeks we have, like we do every year, given you a snapshot of the essential apps, extensions, and downloads we think every user of every major platform should try. Miss one? Here they all are, in one tidy package.
macOS: There are plenty of Pomodoro timers to choose from but I like apps that disappear when you don’t need them—and are a single click away when you do. With that in mind, Pomodoro Time lets you time your tasks and manage your to-do list right in your menu bar.
macOS: There’s a lot you can do to improve gaming performance on the Mac, but a lot of it starts with benchmarking your current performance. Count It is a framerate counter that can help you figure out what’s dragging your performance down, and what tweaks boost it.
OS X: Hemingboard began as an iOS keyboard that works like an amped-up thesaurus, not only suggesting synonyms to whatever you’re typing, but also rhymes and similar-sounding words that you can use as puns. Now they’ve brought their wordplay weaponry to your desktop.
OS X: If you frequently visit Wikipedia with your questions and want the encyclopedic resource to be one click away, Qwiki for Mac brings the site to your menu bar without every having to launch your browser.
OS X: Browsing Instagram on the web works well enough, but it’s a fairly minimal experience and you can’t post photos through your browser. Now with the newly updated desktop Instagram client Flume 2.0, you can.
OS X: Airmail, one of our favorite email apps on Mac, just got a slew of new features today, including smart folders to more easily sort your mail, VIP contacts and notifications, ‘send later’ email queuing, and more.
Windows/OS X: WhatsApp is working hard to become your go-to messenger. Now that it’s free for everyone, you can use WhatsApp on your computer with the new desktop apps.
Windows/Mac/Linux/Android: Opera began testing built-in ad blocking on its desktop browser a couple months ago. Now, the company is rolling out the feature for everyone, including on Android.
Last week, Opera added a VPN to the dev version of its browser, which was certainly good news. The bad news is that unlike the more robust VPNs it tries to replace, it leaks data that should be encrypted all over the place, namely your private IP address. Here’s how to fix it.
Windows/Mac/Linux: Opera users just got a free, unlimited VPN you can use to encrypt your data or get around location-based restrictions on content. It’s currently in the dev version of Opera, but turning it on is as easy as flipping a switch.
OS X/Linux: CloudBerry Lab is giving away free licenses to its premium backup client, which normally costs $29.99. It offers encryption, compression, and unlimited backups to cloud storage providers such as Amazon S3, Google Nearline, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace.
Transmission is one of your favorite BitTorrent clients that has unfortunately been limited to Mac and Linux users for a long time. Now, it’s finally available for Windows.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from some of our favorite to-do apps, Wunderlist and Any.Do, which means it’s a perfect time for a fresh look at both apps. Both are still some of the best, cross-platform, free to-do managers available, but let’s see how far they’ve come.
Chrome: If you need a little help getting off of Facebook or Reddit and getting things done, Go Fucking Work for Chrome has that in droves—and yes, that’s its name. No nonsense, no frills, just sharp, pointed advice.
OS X: Write!, a good-looking writing tool (previously Windows-only), now has a Mac version that brings all of its best features over, including auto-saving, cloud-synced documents, offline editing, day and night editing themes, unlimited undo, and more.