What’s In My Bag (Tech & Apps I Dig), 2021 Edition

Okay, so this blog post is inspired by Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic, who posts his most loved tech of the year.  I thought the concept was great and wanted to make this an annual tradition for myself. 

I’m going to keep this to apps I use personally and not include my work tech stack. If you want to know what I’m using for work, email me and I’ll put a list of those tools together. I actually might just do a blog about work tech any way because I’m such a tech nerd. 

Alright. Back to the show. In the words of Joey Ramone – hey ho, let’s go!

What’s In My Bag (Tech & Apps I Dig), 2021 Edition

Entertainment

  • Tidal Music – a great music app (better than Spotify, in my opinion). An added bonus of the paid version is that they do direct artist payouts instead of the algorithm based payouts that other music apps use which takes away earnings from the artists you love. PLUS, is co-owned by Jay-Z and his curated playlists are sick AF. 
  • PocketCasts – nifty podcast player that I’ve recently fallen in love with. Simple, clean, and great quality. It’s free to use or there’s a $10/yr version if you want to support the cause. 

Productivity

  • Things – Things, by CreativeCulture, is an absolutely beautiful to-list app. After hearing enough people on Twitter rave about it, I finally gave it a go about a year ago and can’t go back. I’ve toyed around with other to-do list apps, and this one just conquers them all. Definitely home screen worthy. 
  • Simplenote – this is my favorite note taking app. SimpleNote let’s you take fast and simple notes, where they can be organized with tags, and have a great search functionality. Also, they are part of the open source ecosystem which is always great to support that cause.  
  • HEY Email – If you’re not using this email service, you need to stop what you’re doing and check this out immediately. Okay, yes, it’s a paid email service. BUT, it’s insanely data privacy focused, the Screener helps keep all of the spam out of my Imbox (not a typo), and the focus & reply mode saves me a shitload of time. I cannot spread enough love about this product. You can email me on my HEY address at [email protected] 🤘
  • Signal – This is the only texting app you should be using. It’s a non-profit organization focused on creating privacy-focused and privacy-driven chat. They will never see your data, sell your data, or compromise your communication. It’s free. It works everywhere in the world. And you should download this now. When you do, shoot me and ping and I’ll respond. 
  • Buffer – While I do use Buffer for work, I also have a personal Buffer account which I use to post on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I deleted all the social apps from my phone (accept for Twitter Blue, of course). So this is a great tool that lets me share my content across network without getting sucked into doom scrolling. 
  • Google Calendar – Google has the best calendar app I’ve used so far. It’s simple, free, and kicks ass. Super stoked I can now use a widget for it on my iPhone. 

Wellness

  • KIN – Looking to build new habits? This is the app for you. It helps me keep a daily track of the habits I want to focus on. It also has a social aspect where you can track the habit performance of your friends so you can all keep each other on track. 
  • Headspace – This is my daily meditation app. They have amazing courses or just randomized daily meditations you can participate in. I’ve recently been utilizing their sleepcasts, too – they offer amazing soothing sounds (I go for the ocean one) that is overlayed with a nighttime meditation to help you sleep better. 
  • Day One – I use this app as my daily gratitude journal. Every morning, the first thing I do (after I get my coffee, of course), is open this app and write down three things I’m grateful for. The app also has great functionality like audio recording and pictures if you want to capture a moment in other ways besides just typing it out. 

Finance

  • CashApp – CashApp FTW! I use CashApp for almost everything. I use their debit card (and applying boosts that save me money, especially at ShakeShack). I buy my Bitcoin through CashApp. I send money to my wife through CashApp. I also buy fractional shares of public stocks with CashApp. This is my favorite “bankless” tool and you need to be using this. It’s the future of banking, trust me!
  • Wealthfront – Wealthfront is amazing tool that I use for savings and investing. Their cash accounts have great interest payments, better than traditional banks. Then there’s their A.I. investment account portfolios. I have two with them – an investment account for traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, and a Social Impact account. Great app, great UX, and most of all, great ROI. 
  • Acorns – Similar to Wealthfront, Acorns has a great index investing platform that really maximizes your annual returns. I really enjoy the “round-ups” feature which automatically adds funds to my investment account by rounding up my purchases of my debit card to the nearest whole dollar. For example, if I buy something for $0.75, acorns will round up to the nearest $1 – so adds $0.25 to my investment account. It might not sound like a lot at first glance, but really adds up over the course of year.
  • Muun Wallet – this is my Bitcoin wallet. Muun is a Bitcoin purpose driven company and have built an incredible BTC wallet for your phone. Simple, secure, fast (they use the lightning network after all). 

Physical Tech Products

  • MacBook PRO (2018, 15 Inch) – I love my laptop. I held off on an upgrade until I saw what Apple was coming out with next. Finally time to upgrade to M1 life though. 
  • AirPods PRO – I live off of these things. They’re constantly in my ears, even when I’m not listening to anything. 
  • Apple Watch Series 4 – I know, I know. I should upgrade the watch. But this one works so well. I love the Apple Watch. 
  • iPhone 12 PRO – Great iPhone and solid camera quality. Can you tell I’m an Apple junkie? 

Alright, world. I dug writing this, so I’ll definitely do it again next year. In the mean time, happy holidays and a happy new year! 

-AJM

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