My name is Philipp and you are reading Creativerly, the weekly digest about creativity and productivity-boosting tools and resources, combined with useful insights, articles, and findings from the fields of design and tech. The newsletter built for the creative community.
Hey and welcome to Creativerly 250 👋
Just like that we hit issue 250, I am soon writing this newsletter consistently for five years, which is crazy to think about. Anyway, besides hitting issue 250, we have also reached the last month of 2023, which feels even more crazy since I have no idea what happened with the past eleven months. They are gone. As we are entering December, we are entering the season that should be calm and peaceful, but despite the idyllic imagery surrounding Christmas as a tranquil, joyous season, the reality often diverges. The pressures stemming from societal expectations, gift-giving obligations, family dynamics, and financial strains create a mounting sense of stress. The desire to create picture-perfect moments and meet lofty expectations can overshadow the serene essence of the holiday. Balancing these external demands with personal aspirations for a harmonious celebration becomes a daunting task, leading many to experience heightened stress during what should ideally be a serene and restful time.
Entering the last month of a the year means getting back to a tradition I introduced to Creativerly two years ago, gathering my favorite apps of the year in one post. Therefore, I am excited to let you know that Creativerly’s Favorites 2023 is already in the works. I haven’t been posting that much long-form posts as of recently, which makes me even more excited getting the write-up of my favorite apps of the year out there and published. For those of you who are new around here, for the past two years I gathered apps that stood out to me throughout the year, either because they launched or shipped exciting updates or because I simply appreciate their existence, craft, work, and their features, within one post which I published at the end of the year, basically as a wrap up.
I have the feeling that throughout 2023, I simplified quite a lot of my digital workflows, I got rid of some apps, and started using new ones, but in general I haven’t experienced such a healthy relationship between myself and the tools I am using on a daily basis in a while. Although I do love to review, write about, and report all kinds of apps and tools, I really have settled down with a productivity and writing tech stack and simply fits and supports my workflows. Instead of constantly switching apps because a new note-taking app launched and gained popularity, I stayed with just one and made it work and stick.
In Creativerly’s Favorites 2023 I will reflect on the year, the apps I have used over the course of the past 12 months, and I will share the reasons why I left some of them behind and why I hold on to others.
What are your personal favorite apps of the year 2023?
Apps, Software, Tools
In the real of note-taking apps, Type offers a unique approach that caters to diverse user needs. As Type’s goal is to give users the possibility to take notes without interrupting their flows, it stands apart from conventional note-taking tools. With Type you can quickly jot things down with the timestamp attached. It is a fast and easy approach to keep track of things you need to remember, without ever interrupting your flow and the things you are working on.
Type is accessible from anywhere. By using its hotkey, you can reduce interruptions and launch Type’s interface from anywhere. At the core, Type embodies a minimalist design, ensuring an intuitive and distraction-free environment for users. The interface itself reminds me of ‘CMD K’ interfaces or the ones from launchers like Alfred or Raycast. As both, CMD K and launcher interfaces are usually simple, minimal, featuring just one input field, giving users fast and easy access to different features, workflows, and apps, Type leverages all of that by using the same approach to quickly jot down notes, thoughts, and ideas. All the notes you are taking with Type are stored in text files, which means you can always access them, and on top of that, you are not locked in, which means you can move your notes to a different tool which is supporting the import of text files, whenever you need to. Since notes usually include information about personal topics and ideas, but also work-related projects, users are seeking for the freedom to import or export their notes whenever they want to move to a different app. Type does give you the freedom to take your notes anytime and move them somewhere else.
Another lovely feature of Type is that it automatically adds timestamps to your notes. Whenever you write a note with Type it will attach the date to each note. By doing that, Type automatically adds important context to your notes which will help you to remember or rediscover certain ideas and thoughts within your notes. Besides that, the CMD K-like interface of Type gives you full control over your notes, so you navigate through them quickly by using the arrow keys of your keyboard. To tailor Type’s experience a bit to your needs, you can select your preferred date style.
Type is a great tool if you want to be able to quickly gather highlights (from your meetings), track time and see where you spend your time, journaling by jotting down a note each day, debugging by writing down the steps to reproduce a bug, and a lot more. Type is still in an early stage, but features like deleting a note, clearing a note, searching for notes, exporting notes, and more are already on the roadmap.
Type is only available on macOS. You can buy it from the Mac App Store. It will cost you $3.99.
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Fresh Updates & News
Walling has recently pivoted its product from a project management tool, into an app for organizing and presenting your ideas. After this pivot, you can think of Walling as a web page builder. Instead of creating website, Walling gives you the possibility to build web page to organize and showcase your ideas. In addition to that, Walling AI helps you converting your ideas into a complete project wall and design it for you in seconds.
To push further on this new product vision, Walling has already some exciting features in the pipeline, to name a few, custom domains, password-protected walls, sharing wall sections as presentation slides, or anonymous comments to allow you collecting comments on your wall from your clients or audience, are all to be released soon.
Within the newest update, RemNote introduced its all-new image occlusion, which gives you the possibility to study anatomy, diagrams, maps, visual processes, and more by creating flashcards from your images. With the new “Generate Cards with AI” button you even have the ability to immediately create cards for any piece of text in your image. Once your cards have been created, you can customize them by resizing, rotating, labeling, linking, and merging boxes to perfectly fit your study needs. To level up your learning experience, you can now enjoy the new full-screen practice experience with zooming, auto-grading for typed responses, and more.
With the introduction of iA Writer 7, iA, the company behind it, presents how a writing app should handle Ai-generated text. The newest version of probably the most popular writing app, will dim the text that you paste from AI tools. As you edit ChatGPT’s input and make it your own, iA Writer will keep track of what is your and what is not. To prevent writers from losing their own voice and style, you can manually mark ChatGPT’s contributions as AI text. Those contribution will then get greyed out, which allows you to separate and control what you borrow and what you actually type. This feature will make sure that you speak your mind with your voice, rhythm, and tone.
❯ Whither philosophy? – “‘As long as there has been such a subject as philosophy, there have been people who hated and despised it,’ reads the opening line of Bernard Williams’s article ‘On Hating and Despising Philosophy’ (1996). Almost 30 years later, philosophy is not hated so much as it is viewed with a mixture of uncertainty and indifference. As Kieran Setiya recently put it in the London Review of Books, academic philosophy in particular is ‘in a state of some confusion’. There are many reasons for philosophy’s stagnation, though the dual influences of specialisation and commercialisation, in particular, have turned philosophy into something that scarcely resembles the discipline as it was practised by the likes of Aristotle, Spinoza or Nietzsche.”
❯ Humility: Why modern leaders need to resurrect this ancient virtue – “Many ancient thinkers have written about the dangers of arrogance. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius warned against losing one’s modesty in The Meditations. Saint Augustine called pride the “origin of evil” in The City of God. Confucius said, “A superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions” in The Analects. Finally, the classic: “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. And yet, history remembers the greats and the conquerors, not the meek or the mild. CEOs and celebrities become icons for their charisma and grand lifestyles. Even ordinary people have become locked in a spiral of one-upmanship — endlessly outdoing each other with larger houses, sportier cars, and more luxurious vacation photos clogging up social media feeds.”
❯ Automating creativity – “The core irony of generative AIs is that AIs were supposed to be all logic and no imagination. Instead we get AIs that make up information, engage in (seemingly) emotional discussions, and which are intensely creative. And that last fact is one that makes many people deeply uncomfortable. To be clear, there is no one definition of creativity, but researchers have developed a number of flawed tests that are widely used to measure the ability of humans to come up with diverse and meaningful ideas. The fact that these tests were flawed wasn’t that big a deal until, suddenly, AIs were able to pass all of them. But now, GPT-4 beats 91% of humans on the a variation of the Alternative Uses Test for creativity and exceeds 99% of people on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. We are running out of creativity tests that AIs cannot ace.”
❯ Here’s how inspiration works in the brain—and how you make your brain more creative – “Have you ever wondered why your best ideas seem to come at the most random moments From the outside, inspiration can seem unpredictable and illogical. It’s almost like an idea just suddenly falls into your lap—a problem you’ve been trying to solve for days suddenly has an answer, or the arc for a story somehow fits together. Personally, I had always assumed that the harder I tried to get to the right answer, the better outcomes I would have. But, as soon as I began studying how creativity works in the brain, I learned that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our creative brains don’t necessarily care about hard work. In fact, creative ideas can pop into our minds when we’re doing something completely irrelevant.”
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❯ Quick Bits
- X advertisers stay away as CEO defends Musk’s “go f* yourself” interview
- Chrome’s next weapon in the War on Ad Blockers: Slower extension updates
- TikTok owner ByteDance cuts gaming division jobs
- Anger as some Google cloud customers locked out of files
- ‘We can’t let Tesla get away with this’: why Swedish unions are fighting Elon Musk
Till next time! 👋
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