Franz Vitulli’s Equipment List Ep.2: apps, tools and software I use

If you have read the Ep.1 of this Equipment List series you how much I care about having a minimalist workspace. If this is possible, it’s thanks to the following awesome apps.

Enjoy!

Communication

To manage my email addresses I use Airmail on both my Macs and my iPhone. If you’re anything like me, you manage several email addresses. When they become two/three, it’s fairly easy to manage them from a single Gmail account. After a while (and another couple of addresses to add) it just gets impossible.

I live on Slack, the chat of our choice at Human Made (WordPress communities use it too), and on Telegram, but thanks to Franz I can be connected to Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger too in the same environment. I’ve got a love-hate relationship with Skype, which I use it only when I have to call landline or mobile number. At Human Made we use Zoom for our team hangouts.

When it comes to social media management, I use Tweetdeck and the Twitter Mac/iOS apps to manage multiple Twitter accounts, Buffer for scheduling and quick image editing (really in love with Pablo!), and ManageFlitter to track the accounts I follow.

To-do and project management

My go-to app is Trello, both for personal tasks and to share Happytables / Human Made tasks with the rest of the team. In the personal board I have some staple columns (house, health, family, shopping list, articles to write, to-do-this-week, etc.), and usually a to-do-before-[event] column. I don’t necessarily want tasks related to that event. I use the next big event (which can be Christmas, a friend’s wedding, etc.) as a basis to set a deadline for everything.

Writing & Reading

I write in several apps, from Apple Pages to the Google Drive document editor. I use also Hackpad and Dropbox Paper, a document editor that allows users to create collaborative notes and share their comments.

iA Writer is my favourite markdown editor and recently I’ve started using it to produce drafts and organise thoughts. I simply love its distraction-free environment.

I love creating spreadsheets on Google Drive and presentations on Apple Keynote.

aText expands short snippets to pre-defined text of virtually any length.

To create MOBI files from EPUB and doing other Kindle management stuff, I use Calibre.

Sublime Text 3 is the code editor I use when I play around with coding. When I’m building a theme for WordPress and want to add style to my starter theme of choice (Underscores), I use Prepros to compile my Sass.

When I stumble upon an article I want to read but I don’t have time to read it straightaway, I send it to Pocket.

Hemingway helps me streamline my sometimes pointlessly overcomplicated sentences.

Photo editing

Photoshop addict here, but without being too much expert.

To edit pictures on my mobile device, I use VSCO or Afterlight.

Blogging

Goes without saying, WordPress is the engine behind this website as well as the 25% of the internet. I’m also part of the global WordPress community – take a look at the things that need to get done because it’s an awesome way to give back, a good thing for your resumé, and builds a fantastic network of people for you. The WordPress communities (global, UK, Italy, etc.) usually run on Slack.

Plugins

Here’s a list with just some WordPress plugins I regularly use:

Yoast SEO. A comprehensive all-in-one SEO solution for a WordPress website.

Akismet. Blocks incoming spam comments.

Jetpack. Traffic growth, stats, insights and other goodness.

BackUpWordPress. Simple automated backup to a destination of my choice.

WP Remote. Plugin but also web app to update WordPress core, plugins and themes with just one click. Human Made built it before I joined the company, and now we’re selling it.

Gravity Forms. Nice forms with multiple purposes, from a simple contact form to a tool to collect information from readers and create user-generated content.

SiteOrigin PageBuilder. Theme-agnostic layout and call-to-action builder.

Insert Headers and Footers. Fields to enter stuff that doesn’t mess up with Yoast.

Easy Google Fonts. To select Google Fonts directly on the customizer.

WP Super Cache. Very fast caching plugin for WordPress.

Product support

At Happytables, we use Intercom for support and CRM, and HelpJuice for building a FAQ/documentation page. The best feature of HelpJuice? The internal search engine.

Music

I have a Spotify Unlimited subscription and love shuffling my constantly-changing playlists specifically designed for work: OSTs I like and an ambient selection.

Podcast management

I love Pocket Casts. It’s available wherever you are (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and as a web player). I use it on iOS and love its clear download / stream / delete instructions, as well as its great UI. Most importantly (for me), has Chromecast integration.

Traveling

Every time I have to plan a new trip, I start my flight search on Skyscanner. Such a great and easy tool to find cheapest flights.

If you have to visit a big city such as London you can’t make it without Citymapper (tells you how to get where you need to go).

When I need a cab, I use Uber instead. Much better service, better cars, better experience overall. Get £10 off your first trip.

These days I usually don’t use hotels. Airbnb offers me the chance to be on the road and still have a place I can call home, what’s not to love?

Foursquare (along with its extension Swarm)  is the app I use for discovering coffee shops, restaurants, bars, pubs and more.

To see if there are remote workers or digital nomads in town, Nomadbase is the place to go.

Learning

I’m a big TED fan, I’ve watched so many talks over the years I can’t even say what’s my favourite one.

As a serial WordCamp attendee, I can’t leave WordPress.tv off this list. Most of the WordCamp talks I’ve seen live are there too.

Codecademy is my online coding school of reference.

Misc / utility apps

f.lux. The only way to keep working with a computer after the sunset and not get blinded. Doesn’t really work for you if you need to do image / video editing.

Pennies. Everyday money-management.

Clocks. An essential tool to track timezones, very useful when you have both colleagues and clients around the globe.

Caffeine. Give your MacBook some caffeine and it will stay awake without touching trackpad / mouse.

Sidestep. Because I want to browse securely from airports and coffee shops.

1Password. An awesome and safe way to deal with passwords. I have installed it both on my Macs and on my iPhone.

Sleep Cycle. Sleep tracking for iOS at its best.

[This article is part of my Equipment List Series. Check out the Ep.1 with my gear list here]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.