My Toolbox

Toolbox

On this page I have links to my favorite products and apps. More will be added as I come across new things!

Crucial: For all my Memory and Solid State Drive upgrades I use Crucial. They have a great return policy and have a limited warranty on all their memory. I love their SSD’s and they have great prices.

1Password: By far this is my favorite password management app and changes the lives of everyone I work with who uses it. The app integrates with your web browser and can save usernames and passwords for you in an encrypted file that can sync to your mobile devices and other computers. I choose this over iCloud Keychain sync for it’s ability to share with my wife and save multiple logins for the same websites. There’s a ton more I could gush about but I’ll write about it in a blog post. iOS Version of 1Password.

Evernote: Evernote is my extra brain. Anything I want to remember gets put in there from snapshots of a card someone gives me, to a website that is particularly useful but I won’t be visiting regularly. iOS Version of Evernote.

ScreenFlow: This app is the holy grail of screen recording apps. Nothing I’ve found comes close to this app for recording something you are doing on the computer. It comes packed with great editing tools to single out specific areas of the screen as well as titling, music and adding additional video. It even works flawlessly recording a video that is playing on your screen.

Pixelmator: Almost all of the graphics on my website were created by Madeline or me using Pixelmator. This app is $30 bucks in the Mac App Store and does all the stuff I would you Photoshop for. Now this app is no Photoshop, there’s a reason people spend hundreds of dollars on that app, but for cutting out backgrounds, creating logos, and just getting creative with you photos, you can’t beat Pixelmator. They also have great tutorials on their website and are pretty responsive to questions posted on their site in the comment section.

Aperture: People often compare Aperture to Lightroom, and at first it was like the Nikon vs. Canon wars. However, at this point Lightroom has surpassed Aperture in photo editing quite a bit but Aperture takes my vote for photo organization hands down every time. Of course I’m all about organization and being able to find what I’m looking for at the drop of a hat and storing files on external drives, not so much playing with the photos. My favorite resource for this app is apertureexpert.com

Instashare: I use this to quickly transfer files from my iPhone or iPad to my Mac quickly and without a cable. I almost never have a cable with me right when I want it so I use this to transfer a video to my Mac quickly or any other file I may want. iOS Version of Instashare.

Wunderlist: There are tons of task managers out there. I use Wunderlist because it’s clean, syncs well, and has most of the features I need for day to day tasks.

iTunes Match: Instead of syncing my entire >40 GB music library to my iPhone and iPad, I use iTunes Match. This allows me to buy mobile devices with less storage space. If you want to learn more about iTunes Match you can check out my post here.

Chrome: I used to be a die hard Safari user. Now that I use so many Google services, and I’ve seen that most pages load faster than Safari I use it primarily. The downside is it uses more ram than Safari does. I have 8 GB though and hardly ever run into memory issues. If you want to see what your upgrade options are, click on this Crucial link and download the System Scanner.

Google Apps: This is what I use for my email addresses @shawnlemon.com, my contacts, calendars, document storage in place of Dropbox… Everything. Google Apps helps streamline your communication. It doesn’t completely replace iCloud for me, but for most things it has taken over.

Onyx: This is a free little utility for your operating system to help clear up some issues. I run this quarterly to bi-yearly.

Day One: This is a journal app that syncs with all your devices. It will let you upload photos and videos to make your journal a rich experience.

TeamViewer: Most of my sessions are done remotely and TeamViewer has been the fastest and most stable screen sharing app I’ve used so far. It’s free for personal use too! If I need something quick and dirty I use join.me.

Crashplan: When it comes to backup, I’m not messing around. Crashplan is the service I choose for speed and reliability. They have a number of different options from free to enterprise level options. All that to say you can back up your computer and an unlimited amount of external drives online for as little as a few bucks a month.

Carbon Copy Cloner: Whenever I’m doing a Reboot on a computer that we’re not replacing the hard drive, I use Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s a great app that perfectly backs up your entire machine to an external drive in case anything goes wrong. I also use this to back up external drives to another drive in case your video drive gets pee’d on by your cat.

Bartender: I thought this app was stupid at first. Why would I pay money to hide some of the icons at the top of my screen?! Well if you sit at your computer all day long, you soon realize that this piece of machinery that enables you to do the work you do is also the same machine that will pull you away from that same work. Try it out. Shoot me a line after you’ve had it for a couple days and tell me what you think!

Airmail: I was always a hard core Mail.app user. That is until I started using Gmail for my email. For some reason, Apple and Google have not been playing well with each other so I started shopping around for a possible replacement. Airmail is pretty incredible, it will sync up with your Google Drive and Dropbox and lets you add email alias’ easily. Google Apps users this is really nice. If you don’t know about email alias’ email me!

Final Cut Pro X: There are so many opinions out there about Final Cut Pro X. I’m not making very many videos and my needs are not extensive. However, I do use some pro features for audio and multiple camera angles and FCP X makes this super easy.

PDFPen Pro: This little app blows me away. If you deal with a lot of PDFs you need to check this app out. It will perform OCR on your entire document and let you edit a scanned document. If the color shade is a little off, you can fix one page and apply the settings to the rest of the 100 page doc. It’s pretty powerful, and there’s an iOS version!

iWork – Pages, Numbers, Keynote: Though I’m not a huge fan of the newest versions of these apps, I still love them. Especially Numbers. There is no easier way to create a mockup of something, or make a document beautiful and clean.

FreshBooks: I’m constantly told how awesome my invoices look and that’s thanks to Freshbooks. It helps me keep track of my finances for the business and time tracking. I recommend them. Yes, they have payroll services.

SaneBox: SaneBox prioritized my email for me. It figured out what I respond to quickly and what I never read and filters that email into different folders for me. I also taught it to put emails into a certain folder for me. Seriously cool. I wrote about it here, check it out!

AdBlock: I’m sure you hate ads as much as I do. Banish them from your web browser with this free extension. Click here for Chrome, here for Safari.

Clearly: One of my favorite things about Safari is the reader feature. If you don’t know about it check out a video I made about it here. Clearly does the same thing but gives you the option to save that article in Evernote if you have an account. Very useful.

Evernote Web Clipper: Clearly is for articles. Evernote Web Clipper is for anything on a webpage that you want to save. Any time I come across an article or a page that has great design or inspires me in some way, I use the clipper to send it to Evernote.

1Password: This links up with the 1Password app I have installed on my Mac and makes my life so much easier. If you don’t have a password manager already, I highly recommend either 1Password or Dashlane.

Bitly: This is what I use to shrink a link to put in a tweet. Links can be long, so long you can’t say what you want in a tweet. This little extension will shorten it for you without having to go to a site to shrink it down.

 

If you are interested in purchasing any of these apps or services, consider clicking on the link to do so. I have an affiliate account with some of these companies and may receive a small commission from the sale but know that I would never recommend anything I don’t fully believe in and use or have used myself. I hope you enjoyed this list!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Came here from Michael Hyatt. Great stuff, great tips. I absolutely love Pixelmator, I do everything in it. I’m convinced you pay for the Photoshop name more than anything. Thanks for this geeky and awesome blog.

    • Thanks for commenting and looking around! I love Pixelmator as well. I know so many people who are cranking out great stuff with it. Stick around, I’ll be putting lots more stuff up in the future!