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Desktop app of the week: ScanDrop

ScanDrop icon

I’ve mentioned on here previously that I’m a massive fan of Evernote, and ScanDrop is the main method by which I get paper stuff into my Evernote account. It’s another program which is brilliant for the fact that it just works. It scans and uploads directly to Evernote. I can specify which notebook I want the resulting note to appear in; I can tag them appropriately; I can even use the software to upload to other cloud services, or just save to my desktop.

ScanDrop doesn’t do anything that I can’t do manually. I could use my scanner’s proprietary software, or even OSX’s Image Capture, and then upload manually. But ScanDrop is an all-in-one solution that just makes life easier.

ScanDrop has a free version available, and works on Windows or Mac. Give it a go!

This 1,727th post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , , .

Desktop app of the week: Autograph

Autograph icon

Autograph is an example of an app that does only one thing, but does it brilliantly. All Autograph does is allows me to sign things on my computer. A simple press of a universal shortcut causes a window to pop up, inviting me to sign my trackpad. I sign the trackpad, press return, and the signature is inserted into whatever I’m working on.

That is all it does. There are other, less elegant, solutions to this problem. I could have a scanned and stored JPG of my signature which I would import into a document as and when needed. But this solution is so simple and so elegant that it’s worth the couple of quid the app costs.

Check out their website, and see if you wouldn’t find a use for Autograph. I really recommend it.

This 1,718th post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , .

Desktop app of the week: Kuvva

Kuvva icon

I don’t understand why Kuvva isn’t more popular. It’s brilliant, simple and free: what more could anybody want?

Each week, Kuvva get an artist to design a series of desktop wallpapers. The free app then changes the desktop wallpaper to a new design each day. Over the course of a week, the wallpapers are all from a single artist, usually in a single style. Then, the following week, it’s a new artist and a new style. Sometimes it’s photography, sometimes it’s digital art, sometimes it’s hand-drawn. It’s a really brilliant idea, and it’s totally free.

Occasionally, the art is bizarre enough for me not to want to display it at work, but there is a function to designate “favourite” artists, and have only their work appearing.

Overall, Kuvva is brilliant, free, and available for Windows and Mac. What are you waiting for?

This 1,710th post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , , .

Desktop app of the week: Delibar

Delibar icon

I’m a fairly recent convert to extensive bookmarking. Despite doing an awful lot of stuff online, I’ve survived most of my time with about 30 bookmarks in my bookmarks bar. Up until recently, I considered bookmarks as quick-access links to commonly used sites.

It’s only relatively recently that I got frustrated with losing sites that I didn’t use all that frequently, but wanted to refer to from time to time. And so, after reading about it on the Guardian site, I tried using Pinboard to allow me to store and search through far more bookmarks. This cleared some of the less frequently used ones from my bookmarks bar, which was appreciated, and meant that I got much better at bookmarking any site that I thought I might want to refer back to in future.

Pinboard has a bookmarklet system which allows you to add new items, but Delibar takes this to the next level. Delibar sits in the menubar, and gives me instant, searchable access to all my bookmarks. It also installs a (customisable) universal shortcut which allows me to bookmark any page in mere moments.

It’s a very, very simple app, but one that does it’s job perfectly. It also works with delicious, but I’ve never felt able to get on very well with that particular service, so can’t really comment on how well that works.

Delibar and Pinboard have revolutionised the way I bookmark, and they might do the same for you. Give them a go!

This 1,701st post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , , , .

Desktop app of the week: Droplr

Droplr icon

Since I use and love Evernote and Dropbox, you might wonder what possible use I can get out of Droplr. After all, all three apps store things in the cloud, and all three apps have sharing features.

The thing I love about Droplr is its pure speed and simplicity. It doesn’t do anything that Evernote and Dropbox can’t do, it just does it more gracefully. Essentially, if I want to share something – be that a file, a URL, or just a chunk of text – I drag it to the Droplr icon in my menubar. That automatically uploads it to Droplr and sticks a short URL on my clipboard. So, to send that last sentence to Droplr, I simply dragged it to the icon, and it generated this URL: http://go.sjh.im/IsGt. A simple Cmd-V then inserted it into this post. That’s just two actions: drag it to the icon and paste.

It’s that simplicity that I love about Droplr. And it’s free. So why not give it a go?

This 1,693rd post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , .

Desktop app of the week: Read Later

Read Later icon

When I first came across Read it Later and similar services, I struggled to understand what they were for. This might sound odd, because I had a long-term habit of emailing myself links to stories and videos that I wanted to deal with later. For example, an interesting link might appear on twitter when I haven’t the time to follow it. Previously, I would (really) email myself the tweet. Then I discovered a better way.

Read it Later is now Pocket, and I use it all the time for saving links that I might want to follow up later. I use ifttt.com to send all of Bobbie Johnson’s If You Only tweets directly to Pocket, and then delete them from there on the rare occasion that I’m not interested in the subject matter.

I do most of my Pocket reading via my iPhone or iPad, but occasionally I fancy reading something on my Mac. I could, of course, go directly to the Pocket website, but I like something a little cleaner. The answer to this problem is a simple app: Read Later, which works with both Pocket and Instapaper. It’s a ridiculously simple app, which shows a list of my saved stories on the left, and a simplified, easy-to-read view of the article on the right. Perfect. There’s a also buttons to share articles by any one of a number of means, be it email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinboard, or something else.

The beauty of Read Later is that it reduces the barrier to reading all of that stuff that I mean to read. I don’t have to fire up and login to a website, it’s a single click on my Dock, and I’m in. It’s fantastic, free, and worth a download.

This 1,684th post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , , .

Desktop app of the week: YoruFukurou

YoruFukurou icon

YoruFukurou is my favourite desktop twitter app. In most apps, it’s simplicity that I like, but YoruFukurou is one of the more complex, deeply customisable twitter apps. I like the fact that I can customise everything about it, picking colours carefully and getting everything just right.

Other twitter apps all seem to have something missing, or just don’t feel right for me. That said, if a desktop version of Tweetbot was released, I’d ditch YoruFukurou in a second. Tweetbot is an absolutely exceptional iOS twitter client that I use constantly and really love. But, having tried lots of different desktop options, it’s currently YoruFukurou that does it for me.

This 1,675th post was filed under: Favourite desktop apps, Technology, , , .

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