No. 13 | Seven apps I’ve never deleted

Published Categorized as Blog Posts, The 7x77 Project

1) Drafts

Many of these lists start in Drafts. It suits how I think about text and writing on my phone — namely, start writing the thing first and then figure out what to do with it. You can get fancy with Drafts and run all kinds of automation with it, though my own usage is pretty basic. I’ll feed text from Drafts into an email, a Day One entry, or one of a few text files I keep like Band Names, Art words, and scratchpad.txt (to quickly get writing over to nvAlt on my MacBook).

Drafts also serves as a scratchpad of sorts. I’ll dump in bits of lyrics and poetic phrases and whatnot if I’m on the go, and eventually delete them or transfer by hand to the appropriate notebook. Sometimes I do longform writing in Drafts, like if I’m at a show by myself and the second band is taking forever to get going. When it’s a toss-up between looking like the anti-social goober who’s texting at the bar, or looking like the pretentious prick who’s writing in a Field Notes at the bar, I go with the former.

2) Day One

Day One is a journaling app/service. I mostly use the OS X app on my MacBook to write in my journal, but the app is nice for checking into locations on the go, and for adding photos to my journal. If someone sends me a nice card, for instance, I might take a photo of it, add it to my Day One journal with a note, and then immediately recycle the card. Helps keep things from piling up. I’ve been using Day One for several years now and am starting to find the map view particularly satisfying for reminiscing spatially as opposed to just chronologically.

3) Instagram

It’s had its ups and downs and there are some frustrating things about Instagram but I’ve always stuck with it. Unfortunately I had to unfollow a lot of my IRL friends after the divorce because it was just a little too much — you can’t exactly filter out “no photos that include these people” or “no photos in, of, or that remind me of this place.”* I filled my feed back up with lots of pug accounts and UX friends and it’s all good.

Seeing Instagram sitting on my phone sometimes inspires me to do or make something visual to share. Lately I’ve tried to take more snapshots of thoughts and doodles from my notebooks, which has in turn made me think more about where and how I position things on the page and how to add more context to turn them from notes-to-self into messages in a bottle. Instagram also got me comfortable taking selfies.

2022 Update: I’ve deleted my Instagram accounts several times over the years since this list.

4) Snapchat

A patient and sweet friend sat down and explained Snapchat to this old millenial finally and I quite like it. The things people snap tend to be more clever, more casual, and less refined than Instagram or Facebook posts. I like when people make artsy little videos of just themselves walking in a cool place or riding in an elevator. Using Snapchat has helped me notice motion more — flags waving, signs blinking, barber poles spinning — as my subconscious hunts for cool things to snap.

2022 Update: I have long since deleted Snapchat.

5) 1Password

An invaluable and boring-ass app. Keeps all my sign-in shit straight. Some apps have 1Password integration built right in, bless them.

6) Fantastical

I’ve found that calendars are very personal and people have very different ways of using them. I found an app that works for me and have stuck with it.

7) Overcast

All of my regular podcast listening happens in Overcast. The Smart Speed feature is amazing. It cleanly skips over silences in podcasts, making them shorter without altering the actual playback speed (which sounds weird and goofy and is not something I can handle). I’m not sure how long it’s been tracking continuously, but the settings screen reports that Smart Speed has saved me 37 hours of playback time so far. Not bad.

2022 Update: I don’t know if it got reset at some point, but I’m still using Overcast and the Settings screen now tells me that Smart Speed has saved an extra 166 hours.