I checked this blog’s stats about once a week, and it’s quite surprising that some of my most popular posts are those about apps I don’t use anymore. Over the course of 2 years, I’ve found apps that are better-designed, still actively developed, or have greater functionality.
Offline Blog Editors
- Zoundry Raven: It’s great, but it’s been dead for a few years. I often got error messages when uploading.
- WPWrite: It’s only available for Chrome/Chromium. Should I install another browser only to use it?
- Scribefire Next: Sometimes it ate my draft, especially when I’m not connected to the internet.
I still blog from my desktop, but I don’t use a dedicated blog editor anymore. Well, at least on Linux.
On Windows, I used Windows Live Writer, but recently moved to Open Live Writer, an open-source fork of Live Writer that doesn’t need Windows Live Essentials (Microsoft did great for giving away their abandoned app to the public, I think).
On Linux, I now use a markdown editor to write my posts, then copied them to WordPress’s source window. It’s not really practical, but it works.
Ema Personal Wiki
I only used Ema Personal Wiki for a short time, maybe 3 months. I thought it’s a pretty promising app – but it needs better interface, better Markdown support, and less buggy Dropbox integration. I still jotted things I need to learn and remember on my phone, but I think that a folding outliner app is more comfortable to use than a wiki app. Right now I’m using Orgzly, an Orgmode editor for Android that syncs with Dropbox. I even started to learn how to use Emacs, only to use Orgmode. It might not look easy to learn, but using Orfmode, you can easily create linked, wiki-like files.
Fortunately, it seems like the developer of Ema is now polishing it to be a better app. There’s a beta version of Ema on the Play Store, although it’s really huge (41 MB!), and the source code is also available on GitHub (although the last commit was on August 2015).
If you really need a wiki app for your Android, I think that QusaWiki is good enough. It can’t sync or export, though. If you want a more traditional wiki app for Linux, you can try Zim, Keepnote, or maybe Tomboy/Gnote.
At first, I was drawn to Flickr by their free 1 TB storage. From the start, I knew that I’m going to post large screenshots (and possibly gifs and videos), and I would burn through WordPress’s 2 GB storage in maybe 2-3 years.
But Flickr is nothing but a headache. Its interface is slow, and I couldn’t share images quickly; instead, I’ll need to click on an image, click the share button, wait 2-3 seconds, copy and paste the HTML code to WordPress, and delete the image title and my account’s name from the code….
(Flickr requires you to link back to an image’s original page when sharing. I can understand that if I’m sharing other people’s pictures, but it gets annoying when you have to share many images – especially your own)
Using external apps like QuickrPickr to link images would result in cracked, low-quality .jpg converts of the original image.
Just right after Google Photos was announced, I switched. It doesn’t have the same wealth of features like Flickr, but it’s simple and fast. It also provides unlimited storage space with slightly reduced image quality, but at least it doesn’t convert your images to different formats.
I like Mobisle Notes, but there’s something that’s been worrying me (besides its eye-punching green color scheme): its lack of support. Although it still receives regular updates on Google Play, most news about the app was from 2015 and older. Even on its official blog, the latest news was from 2013. I’m worried that the developers would abandon the app at any moment.
There are two note-taking apps that I enjoy using right now: Simplenote and Google Keep.
Simplenote is great if most of your notes are simply text files, but Google Keep is better if you regularly save pictures, checklists, URLs, recordings, and drawings, and also make reminders for certain tasks. Both of them have web apps as well (a must for me) and, most importantly, are in active development and support.
Although I mentioned MusicBee as one of my favorite music players here (next to Jaangle, which I also don’t use anymore), I only would open them once or twice a month at most. MusicBee is pretty and feature-rich, but it’s also huge and bloated. It can easily use 100 MB of memory, and its customization options are sometimes overwhelming. Right click anywhere and you’ll see options to hide/move/edit an element. I also doubt that I would ever use some of its features, like access to concert dates from music websites and audiobook browser. Even choosing a theme can be confusing, with maybe 50 of them pre-installed.
MusicBee is not a bad app, but you might appreciate it more if you have a powerful computer and are a control freak. Right now, I’m using AIMP, a music player I’ve never noticed until it got a major facelift in version 4.0. It has a nice layout, some extra features I’ll definitely use like Tag Editor and Audio Converter, a healthy amount of customization options (although it’s hidden in the Settings menu), and skins.
Maximus is a daemon that would hide your window’s decorations when you maximize it, which makes it a good match with Xfce’s Windowck and Topmenu plugins, which lets you move title bar elements to a panel.
But Maximus is an old, unsupported piece of software, dating back to Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It’s still on Launchpad, but you’ll have to download a .deb package. Also, it’s also not really good at its job; sometimes I’ll need to click Maximize button twice to completely hide a window’s decorations.
I recently found out that on Xfce, you can remove window decorations on maximize without the help of external apps. Head to Settings Editor, xfwm4 channel, and tick both boxes on borderless_maximize and titleless_maximize.
Yeah, I know that Windows is technically not an app…
I recently realized that ever since I upgraded to Xubuntu 16.04 on April, I began using Windows less and less. I think that Linux is capable of doing everything I want to do with a desktop computer. I have also somewhat lost my trust with Microsoft these days, with all that fuss about Windows 10.
Now I’m trying to only use open-source software if possible. It just feels right. I’ll keep my Windows 7 partition but will only use it if I really need to do something using a Windows-only app that’s not runnable using Wine.