Key Apps & Services To Settle Into A New Computer

Even if you plan for the inevitable and live like your computer is always going to die, when that time does come, there’s still a few hoops to jump through. Here’s a few apps and services I didn’t realize how much I’ve come to rely on.

Just 6 months ago, I still wasn’t a regular Evernote user, but now I couldn’t go without it. I tried half a dozen times to use Evernote because it seemed like a good product, but the obvious use case was always too vague. Finally after seeing it as just a text editor to write in that then automatically synced my documents to nearly ever device imaginable, I got it. Version 5 also helped to finally give the Mac and iOS versions the little extra design style they were severely lacking.

You could use Pages, store your documents in iCloud or use Notational Velocity storing your documents in Dropbox and be set as well, but for an all inclusive solution, Evernote is currently proving to be invaluable.

The obvious cloud service for storing your data is Dropbox. Not much needs to be said about the online folder other than it really is a simple linchpin. Backblaze and Crashplan are also popular choices for backing up data and more affordable, but again, with the quickest and most accessible solution, Dropbox is my favorite.

I often forget about LastPass, but on a new machine it quickly sticks out like a sore thumb when it’s not installed. There are plenty of apps that store and sync passwords for you, but LastPass is by far the most well rounded. Its critical feature is supporting the most used browsers and platforms. I could easily switch from Chrome to Firefox to Safari and not feel totally lost without the magnitude of passwords I don’t use regularly enough to remember.

Other miscellaneous apps like Fantastical, Moom, Alfred, and Reeder are also among the first to be installed, but aren’t critical pieces to my puzzle.

Once you’ve gone through a new computer transition, for whatever reason, it’s hard to block out the bigger questions and thoughts of how to make the experience better.

The Mac App Store is a lifesaver with the ability to re-download past purchases (free ones as well). And even at $25/year, iTunes Match is an amazing way to transfer large music collections to a new computer.

Apple doesn’t have to provide every end-to-end solution for someone to pick up a new computer and be back to working in minutes, but they should feel the responsibility to facilitate that experience for someone – a developer – to provide it. For example, I would love to see apps hook into iCloud better/more to sync settings, like Tweetbot being able to save my custom columns and automatically bring them back, Sonos to be able to keep the settings of my speaker set up, and things like Pixelmator not needing to be reconfigured to how I had set up previously.

The key piece of every app or service that defines my computing experience is online backup of data or settings and ubiquity among platforms. Microsoft has positioned Windows Phone and Windows 8 to quickly get a user up and running once they sign into a Microsoft account. Apple is slowly rolling out iCloud to provide similar features, but currently less obvious and featured. And Google of course is almost purely a cloud sync company. I don’t see how the next few years won’t bring the syncing of any data you choose, accessed by a single sign-on, but I wish that was currently a bigger push.


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