Over at the Mac Power Users forums there’s a new thread about 2023 app surprises. I thought I’d also post my response here. The unexpected winners for me were Obsidian, Shortcuts, Siri, and Yoink.

I’ve recently wrote about my Obsidian experience this year but will repost the recap. I tried that Obsidan several times before, but each time decided it wasn’t for me and generally went back to a combination of iA Writer and Notes for writing, notes, and collecting random bits. This time it’s proving a bit stickier. Why different this time?

  • I looked a bit further at what didn’t work before. Namely, the interface fonts were too small, especially the sidebar file navigation. Found a fix which made a huge difference.
  • Along the same line, I’d previously found the interface to be not quite right. As many have commented, it just felt a bit off. This time I’ve found a theme I like and am enjoying the experience more as a result.
  • I added a new purpose/task to the app that I’m enjoying. Daily interstitial journaling. Thus far that’s also fairly sticky and Obsidian seems to be a good place for it. Though, in truth, that could also be done easily in Notes.
  • Easy, one tap publishing to micro.blog. I moved away from WordPress entirely and have settled into micro.blog for 2 blogs previously hosted at WordPress. iA Writer has excellent publishing for micro.blog and so does Obsidian (via a plugin).
  • I have come to prefer Obsidan’s sidebar over iA Writer for file navigation. Obsidian uses disclosure triangles to dropdown the file list of a folder which seems a bit easier than iA Writer’s use of columns that move one back and forth.

I’m thus far avoiding going crazy with Obsidian plugins. I have no desire to make this my do everything app. For me the job is for interstitial journaling, writing, blogging.

Shortcuts is less of a surprise as I’ve used it quite a bit over the past few years. But I’ve used it even more this year. Actually, I’d describe Shortcuts as a fundamental side-tool to much of what I do. I don’t really look for ways to use it so much as I more easily, naturally recognize processes that can be automated. It’s what Automator never became for me: A fairly easy to use tool for practical automations. Some automations only save me a few seconds, some save me minutes. And, like any tool, it really benefits from use and familiarity.

Siri! I know the popular opinion is that Siri as a big fail. Or at least that’s the way it’s usually discussed. I’ve always found it generally useful and the surprise this year was how much I appreciated the removal of the “Hey” part of the activation. Just a tiny word and tiny bit of friction. But a I use Siri constantly all day, every day I appreciated it immediately. Most used daily actions:

Home actions: Turning things off and on, asking the temperature of locations. Reminders: This is the only way I add things to reminders. It works perfectly almost everytime. Timers: For cooking, fairly often Fact checks and searches: Constantly on the iPad Sending texts while I’m out on walks

Yoink for clipboard management. Jason Snell recently wrote about wanting a native clipboard manager. I agree and would love Apple to add a native clipboard manager but until then Yoink works very well for me. On the M1 iPads it sits in the background monitoring the clipboard for hours everyday. Sometimes I’ll notice that it fell out of memory but that’s not often. With 8GB of memory it seems to be in a perpetual state of monitoring. Less so with an older device. As far as I know it’s the only app in this category (on the iPad/iPhone) that has this sort of background monitoring of the clipboard.

#Apple #iPad #iPadOS