Sherlocking FTW (AKA why going default works for me)

Couldn’t agree more. All the apps that stand a chance at truly competing with Apple’s offerings are going subscription, and many of them are superfluous for the average user. I’ve blown tons of money and precious time on apps that don’t work as seamlessly as Apple’s own apps just because they have a couple features that are sold as essential, when in fact living without those features is about as fraught with hardship as trying to work your way around the inelegant ways third party apps often need to fart around to get silly functionality like proprietary cloud storage schemes to work. More and more, I’m honestly thinking that “good enough” is just that, and in fact it’s more than good enough when you consider how seamless and battery friendly native apps are, without the extra overhead in price and learning curve.

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Same here (using FSNotes syncing via WebDAV). And for the exact same reasons I’m using Reminders instead of one of the more fancy to do managers. I need syncing through CalDav.

I’ve gone back and forth over the years, coming up with increasingly complicated ways to use my computer, honestly, I think mostly out of boredom. Today, I’ve got almost a default dock, Mail, Notes, Safari, Calendar, and Reminders running. I file my documents in a single folder in the Finder named “Archive” in my Documents folder. It’s right along side an “Action” folder and a “Working” folder and use search and tags to find what I need. Works like a champ.

I’ve found that keeping things simple allows me to concentrate on what I really need to do, which in my case is normally writing code or designing cloud infrastructure. I find myself using fewer and fewer third-party apps over time because the built in ones are “good enough”, and the less time I spend putzing around with complex systems (hello, DEVONthink!), the more time I’m spending on what really matters.

That being said, there are several third-party apps that I do use. Mostly because there’s nothing built in that can do what these do. I’m talking about:

  • OmniGraffle
  • OmniOutliner (which I’m kind of meh about)
  • 1Password
  • Transmit
  • BBEdit
  • Debit & Credit (Fantastic personal finance app)
  • MindNode
  • Paste (Best clipboard manager I’ve seen, integral part of my workflow now)
  • Day One
  • Hazel, which does all my filing and tagging for me.

I still have OmniFocus, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to stick around for the jump to v3. It looks nice, I just don’t feel like I really need all that anymore. Half the time I wind up ignoring whats in it and just get on with what I need to do for the day anyway. :man_shrugging:t2:


That’s what I find as well. Then when I want to go back and check it it’s all overwhelming. I understand that is mostly my process and not the tool. I have found Trello to be very helpful for me because it is like spreading stuff out on a desk. Or maybe the other ones don’t click because it feels like I have to use it. I find that just writing a list most of the time gets me to do it, but then with these systems, I feel obligated to let it know I have completed the task lol.

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There’s one more thing I look at when choosing where my data goes — how easy is it to get my data out?

I love my Apple stuff, but no company is perfect. Someday I may need to move my data elsewhere, and if it’s in a proprietary format, I’m stuck.

Apple Notes is a perfect example of this: not all data exports cleanly. Specifically for me, web links that I’ve “shared” to Notes do not export in a useable format. Nothing can read them, as far as I can tell. And for me, these web links are part of “how I pay for my shoes”.

And, of course, lock-in is sometimes good for Apple (while not so great for users).

My view? Look at Apple’s apps with the same skepticism as you do third-party apps. There are always trade-offs.

I would back up one more step and treat analog as the default. A good notebook and pen go a long way in the notetaking arena, as well as mind mapping, brain storming, task lists, sketching, sketch noting, etc. At times it can be a pain to bend digital devices to our will. So I suggest beginning with analog. Are there features that you must have to justify buying an iPad, MacBook, etc.? From there, develop a need list and find the device and apps that fulfill those needs.
The alternative is to buy a shiny new device, then try to figure out how you can justify the money just spent.

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