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Filtering by Tag: love bomb

📱 ❤️ 💣.

Carl Fritjofsson

Last week I highlighted the products I use on my desktop, and this is yet another non-insightful post with the same love bombing for my favourite mobile apps. I use an iPhone 6 (gold) and here's my homescreen.

Just as with my desktop I try to keep my phone clean and organized. Page 1 of my phone are where I keep the apps I use most frequently. This is my most prestigious screen real estate, and I differentiate very little between the bottom dock and the first screen, as all of these apps are high frequency apps. My page 1 apps and their respective usage is as follows:

Sunrise - 📅. The best calender app out there and a perfect desktop-mobile experience.

Clock - 🕐. Alarms to wake up and timers to remember to dos.

Foursquare - Find places around me. So much better than Yelp due to superior product experience, but also thanks to a much smaller user base which is dominated by tech community (= similarities with myself). Used in connection with its check-in app Swarm it does an excellent job for telling me where to go. An >8.5 rating is always legit! I maintain a couple of lists in Foursquare where I put down my favorite bars, restaurants and brunch venues across various cities I know. Perfect and easy to share whenever someone asks about recommendations for what to do when they visit those cities. 

Google Maps - Maps/navigation. Never long as I'm near cell towers. Kind of bummed you can't change default navigation app for Siri since voice-initiated navigation is one of very few use cases I have for Siri, and the "via transit hack" requires screen tap. 

Spotify - Music. As mentioned in my previous post about my desktop apps, this is by far the best music app out there where I organize my music by genre and date. And I love the fact it's Swedish. 🙌🇸🇪

Pandora - Music discovery. An alternative to Spotify when I want to have more of a lean-back experience and discover new music. This app competes with Spotify's radio feature, which I also frequently use, and my perception is that the matching algorithms on Pandora works better. 

Podcasts - Pods. I listen to a lot of podcasts. One way I'm able to get through so many is because I listen to most of them in 2x speed. Because podcasting is an audio-only medium many casters are deliberately speaking very slow and well-articulated. This means your ability to listen and understand in 2x speed works very well and there are rarely any "Mickey Mouse high pitch effects". I've tried 2x speed on video material, which is much harder to comprehend, as I believe is due to the video medium having less well-expressed language and instead relies on a combination of visual cues. I subscribe to all podcasts I listen to and rarely use the discovery feature of the app. I don't listen to all episodes of all podcasts I subscribe to, but I pick and choose. My podcast subscriptions currently are: TedTalks (audio only), a16z, Bothsides TV, This Week In Startups, Foundation, Kleiner Perkins Podcast, Startup School Radio, How to Start a Startup, This American Life, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Invisibilia, Serial, The Nordic Web, Startuppodden, Framgångspodden, Ehandelspodden, eDokumentären, The Pitch, Sommar och Vinter i P1, Alex & Sigges podcast, The Filip & Fredrik podcast, Värvet, Värvet International, #Fallet and Spår. Some of these podcast series are already over, but I keep them in my subscribe feed to make sure I'm notified if new episodes ever come out. I have tried the Swedish app Acast, who enrich the content and has a visually much better looking app than the default Apple podcasting app, but for some reason I can't find all the shows I'm subscribing to in Acast which makes it tough for me to transition over to it.

Timehop - Social media throwback. Timehop shows me what I did on this exact same date all years back across my social media accounts. Facebook recently implemented a similar feature in the notification center, but that is limited to Facebook activities only. I especially enjoy Timehop showing me my Swarm check-ins, prompting me to recollect about time that has passed. 

Omni - News. The best news app I've found, that edits down all major news to short mobile-friendly snippets. Lightweight and easy to consume. Would really want them to pre-load and cache text articles (similar to what Smartnews does) to eliminate loading time from the feed. 

Inside - News. Since Omni is created in Sweden by the media giant Schibstedt most of the news they source are from Nordic sources, and I want to compliment that with US and world news. Smartnews as mentioned above is good, but since they don't have their own editors and only links to full length articles I find it too extensive to use on the go with a small mobile screen. My favorite product in this segment was Circa, and I was really bummed to see them shut down its service recently. Inside is currently my go to app for this use case, and works as a decent compliment to Omni. But I do feel the app has experienced feature creep and is a bit of a mess to navigate. Hence it is not my primary news source and I'd love to see new entrants in this space.

MyFitnessPal - Food logging. I'm into life logging in general and I care a lot about what I eat (which often comes down to a french fries dominated vegetarian diet). Using MyFitnessPal I log what I eat every day. The app's selling point seems to be their analytics component (see your aggregate nutritions consumed etc. and understand what food to avoid and not), but I rather simply log my food for the purpose of documenting my history although it's fascinating to also learn more about calories for different food items. 

Up - Sleep and activity tracker. I used to sport the Up24 band (and Nike Fuelband before that) but it recently broke (after being exchanged 3 times...shitty quality) but I realized I could automatically log the majority of my activities using this app only. The app logs time slept and number of steps per day using the phone's built in sensors. It clearly has much less precision in tracking this than a seperate fitness tracker device, but I find the rough tracking to be better than no tracking for the time being. I'm still in the market of finding myself a new subtle fitness tracker device with heartbeat tracking and smartphone notifications but haven't found it yet (Apple Watch is a watch and not a subtle bracelet, and Fitbit ChargeHR only supports call notifications on iPhone and not text and push). 

Slack - IM/chat. Mobile experience of the same setup I mentioned in my previous post about my desktop usage, where I communicate with the teams at HDWR, 500 Startups and Creandum. So good!

LinkedIn - Professional networking. Mobile experience of the same setup I mentioned in my previous desktop post, where I try to add people I have professionally been involved with.

Whatsapp - Messaging. Mostly used for messaging with a small part of my social graph. I used to be much more active on Whatsapp, but have seen Messenger steal much of the thunder. I still haven't really figured out Whatsapp's design as I more or less only use the navigation tab called Chats. 

Messenger - Messaging. My primary messaging app for both mobile and desktop as mentioned in my previous desktop post, where I'm a big fan of the gif extensions. Really understand why David Marcus left PayPal to run a "small" division of Facebook. And kudos to him considering how much better the Messenger platform has become since he took over it.

Twitter - Consumption of news and other real time content. I rarely use Twitter on mobile to browse the feed, but rather gravitate to only open the mobile experience to read DMs, @-mentions and from time to time tweet something myself.

Facebook - Personal networking. As mentioned in my previous desktop post, there's still a lot of stuff happening on Facebook for my graph and me.

Instagram - Personal networking. Another repetition of my desktop post, this is my primary go to network. So easy to consume the feed, and the visual experience is way more intimate than text based networking.

Swarm - Location check-ins. The original check-in app that spun out from Foursquare that I use to document where I go in life (on the theme of life logging). Swarm is especially powerful when travelling to document and remember where you went and what you did. I have turned off all notifications from friends' check-ins and do not at all use the app for the social component, but rather solely for the logging component (hence the integration with my Sunrise calender mentioned above).

Chrome - Browse. The best mobile browser. I often open tabs in the browser for articles that are too heavy to read on the mobile display and use the "sync with desktop" feature to open them on my laptop. Thanks to mobile deep-linking the whole Google suite of apps works very well these days, e.g. open a Google Docs link from the Gmail app in Chrome, which used to be a pain in the a*s with additional logins back in the days.

Gmail - Email. Because of my setup using Gmail on desktop with Chrome extensions, labels and the "tabbed" inboxes (as explained in my previous post) I never got into other mobile email clients such as Mailbox or and my mobile Gmail experience works fairly well. I do however miss the Streak for Gmail extension on mobile, meaning I often find myself reading an email and leaving it in the inbox to snooze or correctly archive it once I'm on the desktop experience.

Messages - Messaging. iMessage in Messages is probably my second most used messaging app, but sending actual SMS messages happens very rarely these days (often only when no access to data). Seems like few of the people I message use Android. However, plenty of services use SMS as a communication means with me (e.g. Lyft, Uber, Instacart, Sprig, etc.) so the volume of incoming SMS is comparably much higher. 

Phone - Calling. Not much to say, except that I'm curious to see when we stop calling this device a "phone" as it clearly is a pretty bad description of what it's used for.

Page 2 on my phone's home screen is where I keep all other apps, categorized in folders. 

Social - Other networking and messaging apps, such as. Vine (turns out a 6s video can be hilarious), Google Hangouts, WeChat and Snapchat.

Photo + Video - Streaming video services such as Netflix, Youtube, SVT Play, and photo storage (Google Photos FTW) and editing (Layout, iMovie).

Audio - Sound related apps; mostly music apps such as Soundcloud and Shazaam but also +StudioShare for guitar tuning and Audible for audio books.

Media - A broad and generic category mostly related to miscellaneous apps for browsing, such as Pocket, Truecaller, Yahoo Sports, IMDB, Kindle and Mattermark.

Tools - Another broad category with apps which rather than browse online content they solve a specific problem, such as Lockitron (unlock door), WeMo (control lights), 1Password, Trello, Evernote, Dropbox, Swiftkey, Google Translate and Units Plus (for unit conversion...the metric system rules!).

Travel - Apps related to movement such as Uber, Lyft, Waze and TripIt.

Sports - My suite of apps used when working out in different forms such as Vint, Runkeeper, Ski Tracks and Golfshot.

Games - A pretty obvious category where I spend little time as I have completed Angry Birds Star Wars. Most used app in this category is probably 4 in a Row.

Shopping - All transactional-related apps such as Wrapp, Amazon, AliExpress, Sprig, Postmates, Instacart, Hemnet and Gametime.

Start Apps - I test out a lot of new services and products and this is the broad category where I temporarily store all apps I'm trying out. Once I've played around with the app for a while I decide whether or not to keep it permanently, by moving it to the appropriate folder or delete it. Some apps tend to stay in here for a long time if I'm uncertain of it. Some of the current apps in here include Brigade, You-app, Meerkat and Humin.

HDWR - This folder is designated for any apps which may relate to my own skateboard community HDWR. Many of these apps are other vertical networks like Fishbrain and PumpUp, as well as skateboard specific app such as Nike SB, Krak and OnFlow.

Admin - This is the folder where I keep miscellaneous apps related to "phone house keeping" such as Settings, AppStore, Google Authenticator, Testflight and some other less frequently used apps like Sync.ME and Contacts (have anyone ever used that app rather than the contacts tab inside the Phone app?).

At the bottom of page 2 under the folders I keep my HDWR apps. HDWR Dev is our internal testing app, which is distributed and downloaded through Crashlytics and HDWR is the real production app. 

The final app on the screen, Note by Squarespace, is a super simple app I use to send myself short notes and/or reminders to my inbox (since I use my inbox as part of my to do workflow). Just one field where I add the text and then swipe up to send. Quick and simple with no need to find the right address or add a subject line. Highly recommended, and can be configured with Dropbox instead if preferred. 

That wraps up my "phone". Can't live without it. 👊📲

💻 ❤️ 💣.

Carl Fritjofsson

This post is a love bomb for products I can't live without on desktop and a brief explanation of how I use those apps (another post for mobile coming separately later on). I'm doing this to document my own usage patterns (and to benchmark against you others) and I look forward comparing this list down the line as I'm confident it will constantly change dramatically, because the rate of innovation is high, being really sticky is seriously hard and network effects can always be challenged long-term.

Permanent dock and desktop.

Below is a screenshot of my desktop and dock on any typical day. The dock includes the apps I constantly use. 

In general I like getting rid of anything I don't use or need at the time. Hence, I remove all apps from permanent placement on the dock and instead find them when needed using the CMD+space Spotlight search. It's faster than using the trackpad and makes the working environment less cluttered. I'm also pretty OCD about keeping my desktop clean, except for temporary stuff such as sorting a large number of documents across different folders or sometimes creating a temporary TextEdit file with notes and reminders for myself. Most note taking is obviously done in Evernote as seen on the dock, but Evernote feels like such a "permanent" destination, and with certain light-touch writings which are meant to be deleted I find myself preferring to put them on the desktop (clearly without the downside of not being able to sync across devices). But the apps I always have open and who have a permanent home in my dock are:

Twitter - Consumption of news and other real time content. With a custom shortcut (CMD+Ä - yea my keyboard is 🇸🇪) to open and close this app I frequently pop in to browse what's happening in the world according to a curated feed of mostly tech and startup personalities. I still believe in the importance of this app but I do recognize my usage has definitely dropped in the past years.

Skype - Meetings and IM. Although I'm not a particular fan of Skype I tend to use it daily. It's still the standard form of global communications with external connections when you can't meet in person. And I also have a small graph of personal friends I still chat with regularly here. I also have Skype connected to my Facebook account meaning I get all messages from FB delivered in my Skype client. It works ok for pure text communications, but ever since FB Messenger became more of a platform with plenty of apps integrating into it (like the ever so awesome Giphy) much of the messages aren't delivered correctly into Skype. Instead I find myself using Skype as a notification center for Messenger, and once I see a message coming in there I navigate directly to Where I think Skype actually still kills it is for international calling where I use it to a fraction of the cost instead of calling directly from my phone carrier. Also instead using the phone I find it 

Evernote - Note taking. Used for all type of notes, most frequently documenting meetings, action lists, ideas, etc. I also have a couple of note cards to which I come back frequently, which includes weekly to do list, sales/fundraising/HR/product/etc. best practices, loyalty program IDs, startup ideas and blog post ideas. By dragging these to the shortcut section on the left hand side, they are always within quick reach when needed. 

Slack - IM/chat. I'm constantly logged in to 3 Slack channels; HDWR, Creandum and 500 Startups. With HDWR I'd say that 100% of all our internal communications in channeled through Slack. With Creandum and 500 there's still a lot of email action which complements the Slack channel, although I'm hoping more and more of this is pushed into Slack as it's pretty astonishing how powerful this tool is and it's impacts on making your email inbox lightweight.

Chrome - Browse. For obvious reasons this is where most of my time is spent. More on primary web apps used below, but to pimp out my Chrome experience I'm highlighting my extensions used: 1Password (import passwords frictionless into sign in forms - more about the 1Password app below), Chromoji (ability to see and write emojis in Chrome - honestly don't think I need this extension anymore as it seems to be integrated into the OS nowadays), Email Hunter (find people's email addresses), Facebook GIF button (I love gifs and this gives me a button in FB comments to easily insert a gif), Feedly Mini (RSS feeder which I still use daily for all blogs I follow), Giphy for Gmail (gif ❤️, and I can easily import gifs into emails), Google Cast (for sending content from my laptop to my TV), New Tab Clock (a minimalistic new tab page), Rapportive (shows LinkedIn profiles in Gmail), Save to Pocket (button to save articles into Pocket - more about Pocket below), Simple Auto Scroll (read long articles without manually scrolling), Streak for Gmail (a life saver add-on in Gmail giving me possibilities to snooze emails, send emails later, see viewed emails, and more), Avast Online Security (browser security plugin attached to anti-virus software Avast Mac Security), and Search in a Giphy (!!!).

Menu bar.

As seen in the screenshot above I also keep as few apps as possible on the menu bar. But the ones I have up there are awesome and I'm deeply addicted to them. 

Google Drive - Cloud storage and file sharing. I have 3 Drive accounts; my personal Gmail, HDWR and 500 Startups. Unfortunately Drive only allows you to have one account on your computer, so I've hacked this by sharing a folder where I basically keep everything from my 500 and personal Gmail to my HDWR account. This gives me access to basically all files through one account. It's not perfect, especially for new files being shared with me, but it does an ok job. Having the ability to be logged into multiple accounts has to be something they're working on over in Mountain View... 

Chrome Notifications - Notifications. Currently used more or less only for calender notifications, but I'm looking forward to see how Google Now will evolve and bring some AI into these few pixels.

1Password - Password management. As more of my life is going digital, ensuring a high level of online security becomes essential. 1Password took a while to set up, creating unique passwords for all services, but once I got it up I can't believe I managed to live without it. One shortcut (CMD+') opens up the 1Password window and all I need to do is to input my "master password" and the app autofills my unique password (and username) when logging into services online. This makes log in in so much easier than before, and the app also syncs across devices (using Dropbox) so I have all passwords with me at all times. 

MailTab Pro for Gmail - Unread email notifications. I like being able to see the unread email count. I'm the kind of person who rarely goes through a day ending with +100 unread emails. I snooze (see Streak above) and archive emails quickly as they come in to manage my workflow. Since Google pulled back on its Google Notifier I haven't found a really good app for seeing my unread count in the menu tab, and this app isn't the most beautiful one but this app does the work. Would love to hear if there are better apps for this out there.

Dropbox - Cloud storage and file sharing again. Currently connected to my personal account, which only includes automatic camera uploads and my 1Password key chain, and my shared Creandum files. I was using Dropbox much more a few years ago but have seen myself migrate more and more over to Google Drive. Dropbox is superior to Google Drive when it comes to social sharing, but I prefer Google Drive due to its seamless integration with Google Docs (having all "files", cloud or not, in one folder in Finder makes sense).

Avast Mac Security - Free anti-virus and security tool for Mac. Don't believe just because you're not using Windows that you are 100% secure from this kind of crap. This app is always switched on but not visible anywhere on the dock or menu bar.

Web apps.

Gmail - Email. Needless to say email is still a primary tool for my professional life. Slack has helped bring down the noise in there but for external communications nothing beats it. With Gmail I use their 5 inbox tabs which automatically channels emails depending on sender, receiver and content into "different" inboxes. I also have all my different email accounts imported into one Gmail account, meaning I only need one email tab open, keeping everything in the same place. Because of the different email accounts I use I also use labels for all emails, both automatically filtering certain email and adding labels to them as well as manually archiving emails by moving them into specific labels. This in combination with my Streak extension have made me found a workflow which makes email pleasant and less overwhelming and noisy. 

Google Hangouts - Video conferencing. Hangouts is by far the best online video conferencing software I've tried (much superior to Skype, WebEx and the others) although I still find myself struggle with it often. The integration into Google Calender makes it so easy to create a video URL in a meeting invite, and the tool is truly optimized for internal communications. 

Sunrise - Microsoft owned these days, but the best calender app I've ever tried. I import all my different calendars (including the Warriors game schedule) into this one app giving a full view and access of all my activities and schedules. I also import all my Swarm check-ins into the calender to have a track record of physical locations over time. The latest "meet function" for scheduling 1on1 meetings is epic. 

Google Docs - I very rarely use the Microsoft Office suite anymore (often only when working with someone else who requires it). The synchronous and collaborative work abilities are best in class, and the lightweight and easy sharing of files is superior to the old way of uploading and sending heavy files. However I still sometimes find Spreadsheets to be slower than using Excel (maybe due to lack of shortcuts and/or online latency), and when creating presentations that are meant to be beautiful I prefer Keynote as Slides presentations look like 💩.

Instagram - Personal networking. My primary go-to social network. Using it a lot on desktop throughout the day.

Facebook - Personal networking. For obvious reason. Still a lot of stuff happening here. Also using extensively as the site is less noisy for messaging and IM, and this is currently by far my most used messenger app exceeding usage in WhatsApp, SMS, Google Chat, etc. Cross-platform, permanent connection (no change of phone numbers or email address) and platform play with plenty of interesting app integrations. Well done Zuck! 

LinkedIn - Professional networking. For other obvious reasons. I try to add a contacts as soon as I start working with them. But I do not accept connection requests from people I've never interacted with. I don't require (although prefer) a physical meeting, but I need to have at least spoken to the person over the phone and/or have had numerous email conversations related to this person's professional role. The more I use LinkedIn the pickier I've gotten in drawing the line of when to connect. 

Pocket - Storing and reading websites/articles. I primary use Pocket to save articles and content which I like and want to be able to access in the future. Most of the time these are articles advice or frameworks related to my professional life. Each time I archive a website into Pocket I label it with relevant categories so I can easily find it when needed. I also use Pocket to some extent as my "to read list". Most of the time when I stumble upon an article I want to read (often through my RSS in Feedly, Twitter or some selected email newsletters I subscribe to) I simply have them open as a tab until I read them. But if the number of opened tabs are too many I use the Chrome extension to save the articles into Pocket.  

Trello - Task management and project planning. All our work with HDWR is planned in Trello with tickets for each feature to build, feedback item to discuss, bug to report, etc. 


There are also some other apps used frequently which don't get a permanent placement in the dock and are only surfaced when used. 

Spotify - Music. By far the best music product in the world, and the pride of Swedish tech. My usage pattern with Spotify is keeping a playlist with all the latest songs I stumble upon and want to listen to, regardless of genre and type. This list is extended with material every time I hear something new I like, and each quarter I remove the oldest tracks on the list leaving me with an aggregate list of 12 months of fresh music. Each track added to the new list is also simultaneously added to a genre-specific playlist, for example my rap/hip hop list, which gives me a time-independent directory of all music I liked sorted by style. When I need to really focus and concentrate I have found it very effective to put on headphones and listen to plain and simple noises such as clothes dryer or simple white or brown noise (...and no it's not the same brown noise as featured in South Park). Although the results whether noise like this truly improves your abilities to concentrate are inconclusive, for me it really works and I would highly encourage you to try it out.

VLC - Video. The best media player to watch videos.

Alinof Timer - Timer + alert. A simple timer which gives you a very prominent alert over the screen when time runs out. After I get a meeting notification from Google or Sunrise often 15 min before the meeting, I set the timer to 14 minutes which allows me to minimize being late. 

Divvy - App window manager. A slick minimal app using shortcuts to resize and organize my various app windows.

Keynote - Presentations. Still the best one out there.

uTorrent - Content delivery. Simply the easiest and most lightweight app for torrents. 

That's pretty much my MacBook Air 11" experience. Big ❤️ to all the amazing companies producing these apps and step by step making life a little more efficient.