Play, lose weight, meditate? Apps I simply couldn’t do without … a 2013 App Year in Review

These are the apps I use every day: 

Letterpress in play

Letterpress  I love this game! It's fast, it's fun, and it's just challenging enough to feel like worthy brain exercise. My goal for 2014 is to win now and then.

Kindle

Kindle   I absolutely love that I can read a book review, and in seconds download a free sample to check out. If I read to the end of the sample and I'm dying for more, in a few seconds more I've got the book. 

(If only Kindle would offer a way to cluster books into files. I have far too many.)

I also love that I can highlight passages, and that they're stored on my Kindle account on-line. This is fantastic for research: I copy the highlights and email them to Evernote or DevonThink, searchable databases. 

Flip

Flipboard  I don't watch TV, and I don't live where it's possible to subscribe to a newspaper. On Flipboard, I can scan The Guardian, The New Yorker, The New York Times, CBC News, The Daily Beast and a host of other journals such as The Paris Review, and blogs such as Brain Pickings. I almost regret that I get all this for free. (There are ads, but they're not intrusive.) 

My mag 

If you use Flipboard, you can subscribe to my own "magazine"— On Writing & Publishing, & Everything In-between. Interviews with authors and illuminating articles on writing and publishing. I add something new to it every day.

Insta

Instapaper   I rarely read articles on computer, but when I come across one I want to read later, I click "read later" and it's saved to my Instapaper account, and shows up on the Instapaper app on my iPad. Seamless. 

Social Media: Ok, I'll cluster these. I use both Tweetbot and Twitter because I can do things on one I can't do on the other. Facebook, of course. Instagram! Pinterest! I also use the Goodreads app, but it's a little tricky to manage. 

feedly

Feedly  This was the year I learned that nothing on the Net is permanent. My sister-out-law and I shared a Posterious blog we loved. The millions who kept blogs on that popular site were given only three days notice that the site was going to evaporate. Three days to figure out how to download all your posts!

Posterious suggested a way to download your content, but of course, with the rush from so many all at once, it was impossible. Fortunately, I was not travelling or otherwise out of touch. I painstakingly made pdfs of all our posts, so all was not lost, at least to us. I hate to think of people who were  using that blog site to write a novel, a memoir, or delightful travel accounts. Gone. Poof!

And then Google Reader evaporated, which rendered great apps like Reeder useless. I subscribe to a number of blogs (the subject of the next 2013 round-up), and I love to read  new posts comfortably on my iPad. Thankfully, Google Reader gave a long enough notice so that alternatives could be found … and that alternative was Feedly. 

Feedly is great! I just hope it lasts. In the month or so of transition after Google Reader ceased to be I realized how much I missed reading the blogs I follow. The Feedly app interface is fantastic, presenting content in a magazine-link format, rather like Flipboard. Now if only all the people who have Google Reader links on their websites would switch to Feedly … we'd be set. 

I use the following are apps when I've got my act together (which doesn't happen to be at this moment):

Yoga

Pocket Yoga  Wonderful, and an excellent work-out. Be careful, however. I'm not sure it's designed for out-of-shape-69-year-olds-who-sit-all-day-at-a-computer. (Moi.) I found out the hard way that some of the moves are not great for my back. I plan to get in better shape and go back to it. 

Headspace

Headspace  This is a wonderful app (and educational program). Using it, I'm finally  learning how to meditate—learning to tame my rabbit brain.

rabbit brain

You can try it out for free, and then subscribe in increments. 

Lose it

Lose it!   You know those last five pounds that are impossible to shed? I tried all year, and I was finally able to do it using this app. 

What are your favourite apps? Share in the comment section below.