Top tools, used daily

  1. Gmail: all of my email comes to Gmail. Can’t beat its anti-spam and virus protection. After nearly a decade, Gmail is still my go-to spot and retains the top slot on the 2018 list. I have used a variety of third-party clients on my computers and phone, all with varying degrees of success. Right now, I use the Gmail app on my iPhone, and Outlook on my iPad. I don’t really see a lot of difference these days between the various clients. They all work equally well for me.
  2. Cloze/Evercontact: I used to exclusively use Evercontact (and still have it operational in the background) but I have been switching to Cloze.com, a CRM. Cloze integrates directly with Gmail and helps me see the people that I regularly connect with (including all of the email exchanges we’ve had, plus their social media posts, as well as all their contact information, demography, etc), and helps me see people I haven’t connected with in a while. It automatically detects up coming to-dos based on email exchanges, and presents me with a daily agenda for contacts and follow ups. It syncs updates to contacts to Google Contacts, which syncs to my phone. Great app, minimal cost.
  3. Evernote: This has become my memory and brain over the past year. I’ve found it more and more useful the more I use it. All simple documents start here now, and all Weekly Roundups are composed inside Evernote. Love its ability to quickly search. I do things like snap photos of products for home projects, photos of potential meal recipes, etc.
  4. Dropbox: I abandoned Google Drive back in 2014 because I had so many files that they became problematic to find and organize without folders. (Google Drive’s folders were always problematic for me, and I just didn’t have time to mess around with it.) I tried Sync for a bit, but I’ve run into a lot of people who have problems with Sync, so I have reverted to Dropbox. I have a Pro account and this is where I store most of my files. As of 2018, I have nearly every file I own in a 1TB Dropbox, and right now wouldn’t think of changing.
  5. Google Photos. I used to store all my photos in Dropbox as well, but I have switched these to Google. For one thing, G Photos gives unlimited storage of photos and video taken at the level my phone captures, so this reduces pressure on my Dropbox storage capacity. For another, Google automatically indexes based on place taken, time, items and people in the photo, etc. (“Show me Christmas 2017” or “Show me pictures of trees” or “show me Chiang Mai.”)
  6. Twitter: One of the centers of my news world. I have several carefully curated lists which cover breaking news, top news sources, global thinkers and influencers, activists, mission agencies, and the like. I use Flipboard on the iPad to access this, as well as Tweetbot (and often Twitter on my desktop Mac).
  7. Microsoft Excel: Despite what most might believe, I’m presently simply using Excel sheets for virtually all my database work. I haven’t used Access in… a decade?
  8. PocketGuard: This is a budgeting app for the iPhone (Android also available?) that links to your bank account and determines, based on income and bills, how much you can safely spend today, this week, this month. I used an older app called Level for this, but it’s no longer being updated. PG seems good. I find this budgeting process simpler.
  9. WhatsApp: We use this informally in our org and with others for IM communications. Love its security model.
  10. Kindle: I love Amazon Kindle. I have over 600 books/files in it. Apple’s iBooks is nice, but at this point I have so much in my Kindle that I would be hard pressed to abandon it. I actually use my Kindle App on iPhone/iPad far more than I do my actual Kindle, at this point.
  11. Microsoft Excel: Despite what most might believe, I’m presently simply using Excel sheets for virtually all my database work. I haven’t used Access in… a decade?
  12. iTunes: what I use to play and scan in music. I know, others find it kludgy. It works for me. Besides I pretty much need that because of the iPhone and iPad. I have periodically used an Apple Music subscription, but normally just use my music library.
  13. Safari: Since moving to a primarily Mac client, I have switched to Safari. I wish Safari was available for Windows, but it’s not, so on my Windows box at home I use Chrome. (But any more, I’m not using my Windows box at home at all–I stick with my iPhone or my iPad).

Top tools, used less-frequently, semi-daily/weekly

  1. Siteground: where I host my website, JustinLong.org. Inexpensive and reliable.
  2. Mailchimp: my email newsletter manager of choice. I use it to send out all but my weekly letter topersonal supporters (this last goes out via TinyLetter, which is owned by Mailchimp).
  3. Adobe Indesign + Illustrator + Photoshop: what I use when I’m writing any reports or longer documents (e.g. the Outlook the Cluster Forecasts, etc). I have a subscription.
  4. Zoom: As an org and personally we have moved completely away from Skype and largely away from VSee toward Zoom. The security and low bandwidth is great. We can do video conferences with a huge number of people.
  5. Tripit: maintains my travel calendar automatically. Anytime I purchase a flight, Tripit (which monitors my Gmail account) automatically sucks the flight data in and gives me a nice itinerary. It syncs to the iPhone/iPad app as well, so that’s always up to date, and shares the itinerary with my wife, so she has quick access to my schedule. I was offered a cheap rate for the Pro account, and renewed.
  6. FileZilla: this is my FTP transfer program of choice. I’ve tried a bunch (including CuteFTP Pro) but this is the one that’s the simplest.

Tools I use rarely and/or am migrating away from

  1. Lastpass: My centralization on Apple means I have centralized on Safari. I have switched to using the built in password manager in Apple Safari / Mac / iPhone / iPad and completely dropped LastPass.
  2. Slack: I am using this less and less – mainly for one or two workgroups. I had such high hopes for Slack and felt it had great promise but in the end, it seems like I still do most things by email.
  3. Facebook: I normally go here about once a day. Twitter dominates my social networking time. If you want to catch me online, http://www.facebook.com/justindavidlong is your best bet. In 2017 I’m starting to try and write a once-a-day-post; this is sort of replacing my “daily blogging.” But I don’t feel compelled.
  4. Camtasia Studio: This is what I use for recording videos. I got it pretty cheap through a non-profit license via Techsoup. I have exclusively been using it building my Purposeful Social Media course, because it lets you record direct from a webcam (which Adobe Premiere, sadly, will not do–although in other ways Premiere is the better product).
  5. Paypal/Gumroad: I have used both services. We are shifting away from Paypal toward Stripe at Beyond, but I still use it personally for some things. I use Gumroad to offer small files for free/donation-based download. I’ve found Gumroad to be exceptionally easy to use and well integrated with Twitter.
  6. Putty: This is my SSH terminal of choice. I use it when I need to login to my host server and make minor changes or run programs on it.
  7. Canva: When I’m making “meme” graphics or “info” graphics, this is my go-to cloud-based tool.