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Windows and Mac apps

Tech Talk


November 24, 2018

Greg Cunningham

Useful apps for your computer

Microsoft and Apple both pack lots of features and apps into their operating systems. For many people, the included apps are all they need to get things done on their computer. But what if you want or need to do more than what the apps Apple or Microsoft has provided can do?

There are thousands of apps and programs for download out there, here are some of the most useful for Windows and macOS.

macOS apps


Spotlight is included in macOS. What, you don't use Spotlight? You don't even know what it is? OK, on your Mac, if you press CMD and spacebar you'll get a blank search window. You can look for files, launch applications, search the web, lots of stuff. It's useful, but Alfred is even better.

The free version of Alfred does more than Spotlight, and it looks better doing it. Alfred's Powerpack (not free, naturally,) gives you a clipboard history, text expansion, workflows (combine actions, hotkeys, and keywords to get stuff done), hotkeys and more.

Get Alfred here:

Note taking

Apple Notes is a decent note taking app, I guess. But do you know what's better? Bear.

Bear organizes notes by hashtags instead of folders and you can link notes with hashtags. Like a stream of consciousness for your thoughts instead of one giant file. Bear has extensions for most browsers so you can create notes from web pages. Bear even imports your existing Apple Notes. Bear is free, but if you want to synchronize your notes across your devices, it's $15/yr.

Get Bear here:


These days there are lots of apps for messaging; Messages, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Discord, Slack and others.

Just like back in the day, you can roll all of your messaging apps into one chat client. Probably the best one is Franz. Instead of checking multiple services or having browser windows open all the time, Franz puts all of your messaging/chat clients in one interface. And it's free.

Get Franz here:

Windows apps

Note taking

Lots of people used Evernote as their go-to note-taking app, but Evernote axed their free plan, so where to turn? OneNote by Microsoft is already on your Windows computer and is a great, cross-platform note-taking app. Completely free, available for macOS, IOS, Android, and already installed on your computer, what's not to like?

To Do lists

Todoist is still the king of ToDo lists (also known as task management.) Todoist is still completely free but there is a $30/yr plan that adds reminders, backups, labels, and more. Todoist runs as an extension in Chrome, or Firefox, plus it's available on macOS, iOS, Android, Gmail and Outlook.

Get Todoist here:

Email clients

If you want an email client on your computer instead of going to the web to read your email, the built-in Windows Mail app, is OK, but it can "forget" settings and sometimes it'll stop working after an update. So, what else can you use for an email client?

There's the free Thunderbird from Mozilla. Users familiar with Outlook will feel right at home in Thunderbird. For something more modern, try Mailbird. Free for two email accounts, the user interface is cleaner than either Thunderbird or the Microsoft Mail app. If you have more than two email accounts, you can get a lifetime subscription for $59 and configure as many email accounts as you want.

Get Thunderbird here:

Get Mailbird here:

Sharing your dinner

Does anyone remember back when we didn't have Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and we had to take a picture of our food, wait to get it developed and then drive around to our friends and family so we could show them what we're eating?

No? Me either.

Just stop it, people.

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at


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