What was your "Why did I wait so long?" app of 2018?

What was the app that you finally tried this year and once you were using it, couldn’t believe you waited so long?

For me, it was Keyboard Maestro. It always seemed handy, but I could never think of ways that I would actually use it. Four months into owning it, I would be lost without it. I have so many custom palettes for so many tasks that only I do. This community really got me going writing my own macros.

Interested to hear “a-ha” moments from your year.


Coda. Just got it and… wow! I was able to debug a network auditing script, test it, commit it, and deploy it all from my iPad, working remotely on our network management systems. It’s always been touted as a website development app, so I never gave it a second glance, but I am really, really happy to have found it!


Mine looks like being Keyboard Maestro too. I put it off for ages because the name just doesn’t suggest it would appeal to me (it sounds like a launcher), but having made my first macro that lets me click a button to navigate deep into a website, I’m hooked.


Mine was Shortcuts/Workflow. I always put this in the “cool” category but ever Since I’ve been using iOS a lot more at work I took the time to figure out Siri shortcuts and have slowly been integrating and writing some basic shortcuts for some pain points in my workflow. This has largely revolved around email but it has been a game changer and I actually find it better for sending many of my emails than on a Mac.

I’ve also been using Day One a lot more since I have abandoned the thinking of sitting down to “journal” but have been using it a lot with photos and just some quick thoughts throughout the day. Also creating some workflows has helped too

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Script Debugger. Even the free version is better than Apple’s Script Editor, but I bought a license. After a couple of decades of fumbling around with AppleScript, it’s nice to have a real debugger to work with.


Mine is iDoceo, combined with Grade Scanner. They’ve made my job, where I teach 600+ university students a year, much easier.


Notebooks. I’d bought it on sale for Mac and iOS but didn’t use it because I was already happy with a similar Mac app I’d been using for years. It’s similar to DevonThink and Keep_It, but it’s a one-time purchase, stores and reads most any kind of file, and is fast, and affordable, and it is regularly updated and supported. I wanted a cross-platform solution and it’s looking pretty good so far. I’m actually still testing-using it, but I think next year I might migrate my current EagleFiler docs (which I’d migrated to from Devonthink in 2016).

This year I was very happy after finally buying iMazing, Art Text 3, CleanMyMac X, WALTR 2, and PDF Expert/Mac.


Very happy to have subscribed to AnyList after a few years of “why would I want this”. The integration with Alexa and family sharing sold me. The Watch app was icing on the cake. Use AnyList it every day.


The iPhone version is currently free due to a 10th anniversary sale.

I’m torn between DEVONthink and Notebooks, and leaning towards staying with DEVONthink. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Notebooks after you’ve used it a while.

I think for me there would be some overlap between Notebooks and Curio too.

Due for iOS. Having a task manager where it nags me until I do it, or I can kick it down the road an hour or day, has been a game changer! Watch app also is great.


A nice basic comparison here:

To me the DT user interface has been a comparatively confounding mess, and I found the devs to be fairly unhelpful in the several years I used DevonNote, then Devonthink, then Devonthink Pro. So I’m fairly relieved to have escaped that app orbit, even though I’m up to date on the DTP/Mac should I need it.

DT/Mac does win overall on features and depth, and if you need it you need it, period.

I have never used the iOS app but have read that there are sync limitations in the iOS app wrt file storage or editing, but I’m not clear on that at all. (People have complained about ‘jagged’ PDF annotation on DTP_TG.)

I do know that the tagging UI on Keep It seems to be nicer than DT. Otherwise I think I generally prefer the experience of EagleFiler/Notebooks on the Mac. (Presumably Keep It too, just by the look of it.) We discussed Notebooks more in this thread.

Curio markets itself as a giant whiteboard with modules that offer Calendar/Reminders/Evernote integration, while also integrating mind maps, lists, tables, index cards, notes etc etc – in a single whiteboard space. And there’s no iOS app. So I really don’t see much overlap between Curio and cross-platform apps like DT/KeepIt/Notebooks (or other Mac-only shoebox apps like EagleFiler). Curio is really its own thing, and I think its main competition these days is probably online (and therefore cross-platform) whiteboard products for creatives likeRealtimeBoard, ConceptBoard, Mural, Zeplin, IdeaFlip, etc


Yeah, this is true. I was thinking along the lines of using an idea space to collect artifacts related to some concept or project. That’s more for thinking or presenting though.

Your analogy is a good one, Curio is more of a whiteboard, where DTPO is more of a warehouse. Notebooks seems like a Trapper Keeper.

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Brian, could you share a use case example or two of how you use Shortcuts for email? I’m now using my iPad almost exclusively for my work per my recent post. Have you found shortcuts that add functionality to Apple Mail or are you using shortcuts in another manner? I’ve tried to use Spark and AirMail but inevitability I run into small but frustrating bugs. Thanks!

I still havent quite figured out KM. Bought it on sale as it was too good to pass up but I havent sat down to try and make use of it. Where did you start?

  1. https://macautomationtips.com/category/keyboarboarmaestro/

  2. https://www.keyboardmaestro.com/documentation-keyboardmaestro/7/index.html

  3. https://www.macobserver.com/columns-opinions/dr-macs-rants-raves/save-time-effort-keyboard-maestro/

  4. https://www.macessence.com/?s=maestro


This year, I was pleasantly surprised by the flashcard app Anki and it’s relatively expensive iOS app counterpart. Anki is a smart flashcard system that uses algorithms that take advantage of spaced repetition learning principles, prompting the learner to practice remembering information at precise intervals to help keep them in memory for as long as the user wishes. Anki takes the amount of time needed to memorize information and cuts it in half.

At $25, the app is not on the cheap side, but after using the Mac version of the software and how substantial the improvements were in my own memory and how it impacted me personally AND academically, it became a bit of a 'thank you" fee that I was glad to pay to the developer.

Anki is definitely one of those “If I’d only known it existed years ago…” apps that would’ve made my academic experience more enriching. Now I’m using it to master subjects in my new job and cutting down on the amount of time it would normally take to do so.


FYI if you’re interested I just was going through my emails and read one from Zengobi offering new and upgrade licenses of Curio 12 at 20% off with the HOLIDAY2018 coupon code. That brings the Core version down to $48 and the Standard version to $79.

Expensify. Hands down. Part of my job that I’ve always ALWAYS loathed has become so easy I don’t even think about it. I’ve turned in expense reports for 17 years and have always hated it but this app has made it a breeze! I’ll never go back to doing reports like I used to. Ever.

I need to try that app this year especially as I have comprehensive exams coming up.

What did you find the learning curve to be?

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