Creativerly's Favorites 2023 & The hidden powers of everyday ritual

Wrapping up 2023 by presenting Creativerly's Favorites, iA announcing its beta for their Presenter app, second chances, and a lot more in this week's issue of Creativerly.

Creativerly's Favorites 2023 & The hidden powers of everyday ritual

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 254 👋

With this last issue of Creativerly of 2023, I am excited to announce and showcase Creativerly’s Favorites 2023, the apps that stood out to me throughout the last 12 months. The post is live and published. Congrats to Bear, Screen Studio, Ivory, Readwise Reader, and Balance for becoming my favorite apps of 2023. As I wrote in the intro of the post, I simplified loads of my workflows, I got rid of apps, but also added some new ones to my stack.

In a year, during which AI has been the major buzz word, I was on the hunt for apps that delivered true innovation and improvement to my workflows, without being the loudest in the room. I do believe that emerging and evolving technologies will change the way we interact with the world and handle our daily activities, but at the same time implementing yet another chat-bot interface in a note-taking, task management, or project management app is not the innovation I am excited about. Within my last post of 2023 you will find out why I am excited about this year’s Creativerly’s Favorites, why I have added them to my stack, and why I enjoy using them almost every single day.

Creativerly’s Favorite is just a snapshot of what I have been observing throughout the last twelve months. There are countless of apps that got me excited, teams and companies that pushed themselves to deliver, ship, and build lovely features and experiences, and while I appreciate every one and all of them, in the end the only thing that matters is what we, the users, are making out of having access to a specific app, the workflows and systems matter.

Stick to whatever works out for you, what helps you evolving, capturing your thoughts, reaching your goals, managing your projects, writing more, whatsoever. No matter how shiny a new app appears to you, if things are already working out and the system keeps delivering and helping you to reach your goals, you are settled and already the most productive version of yourself.

Enjoy reading through Creativerly’s Favorites of 2023. I am thankful for the amazing journey Creativerly has been so far for me. Every single week I am a bit overwhelmed by the fact how many of you are reading what I am writing. It is a special and rewarding feeling, and therefore I want to say thank you. If you are reading this still in 2023, enjoy your New Year’s Eve, other than that, I wish all of you only the best for 2024.

See you soon! 👋


Apps, Software, Tools

Minimalist

I have loads of different accounts across loads of different apps, services, and social networks. Therefore, my password manager has been one of the most important pieces of software within my stack. As a privacy advocate, I am not using the same password across different places. Each and every account as its own password. Remembering all of them would be an impossible task, at least for me. For quite some years, I am using 1Password as my password manager. Throughout those year, my experience with it has been marbled. It features a beautiful interface, great features, and an all-around secure platform, but the apps and especially the browser extensions have been constantly buggy, and the fact that they stopped supporting local vaults with 1Password 8 got me truly thinking if I should justify paying $45 per year for their service.

The reason I am still doing so is that I haven’t found an alternative yet, that combines at least the same set of features, a modern and beautiful interface, and a reasonable subscription price. I have used Enpass and Bitwarden in the past, and I am looking into both apps again currently. While I did my research and went on the hunt for a new password manager, I also stumbled across Minimalist. For a brief moment I thought that I have found the password manager of my dreams. Down below, you will find out why Minimalist is a simple, powerful, and beautiful password manager, but sadly not what I have been looking for.

Minimalist has been exclusively designed for the Apple ecosystem. You can use it on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, taking the advantage of the power, speed, and security built into Apple platforms. The strong focus on designing for the Apple ecosystem is clearly visible as the app almost feels like a native product that comes from Apple itself. Thanks to iCloud, you can sync all your data across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, using the same service you already trust as an Apple consumer. A lovely feature is Minimalist’s AutoFill, which is available right out of the box, no need to install a browser extension. It is based on Apple’s AutoFill system which is already built-in to iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This is a lovely experience, since after setting up Minimalist, you are good to go, as there is no need to hassle around with a browser extension. When you are about to sign into a website or app, Minimalist will only recommend passwords associated with that website or app. So far so good, as literally every single password manager does the same. The reason password managers are doing that is to prevent you from phishing sites where an imposter could attempt to get your password by mimicking a website you trust.

Syncing your data via iCloud is fast, reliable, and secure. Your data remains private, even from Minimalist. While Apple is still a company that raises some privacy concerns simply based on its size, it is actually renowned for their commitment to privacy. In the past, iCloud has been a secure and reliable service to sync data fast and private. Besides that, Minimalist goes one step further, by providing industry standard 256-bit encryption, and an end-to-end encrypted sync.

Minimalist is also capable of generating 2FA codes, which will get securely stored within the app, so you do not need to use an additional authenticator app. You can even tell Minimalist to directly copy those one-time passwords when signing into an account, which makes the whole signup process incredibly convenient. Once you start adding new accounts to Minimalist, it will help you generate strong, secure, and unique passwords. Unlocking Minimalist either works through a Master Password, Face ID, Touch ID, or your Apple Watch on Mac. Minimalist is available for $2.99 per month or $19.99 per year, but there is also a Family Plan for up to 6 members which will cost you $29.99.

All of this sounds lovely, and I am pretty sure for loads of people, this is the password manager they should use when they are part of the Apple ecosystem. With Minimalist all your family members literally have no longer any reason to not store their passwords in a password manager, as Minimalist is easy-to-use and offers incredible value for the money. Here comes the but, at least for me: Since Minimalist’s AutoFill is using Apple’s own system, on macOS you are limited or better said, forced to use Safari, as otherwise it will not work with any other browsers. On iOS it does indeed work with any browser, but as I am heavily relying on a password manager on my Mac, manually copying and pasting login credentials seems like a step back. Additionally, and this is another limitation of using Apple’s AutoFill system, Minimalist does not support saving new logins from Safari back into Minimalist. Both issues can be solved, but it is a matter of time, if other browsers decided to support Apple’ AutoFill, or if Minimalist creates dedicated browser extensions.

While Minimalist would be the calm, beautiful, and simple password manager I have been looking for, not being able to use the browser I would like to use on Mac, and not having the possibility to easily store and save new login data feels like to much of a disruption of my current workflows to make the move to Minimalist. I hope that more browsers will add support for Apple’s AutoFill system, so third-party password managers like Minimalist just work like they already do on iOS. Nevertheless, Minimalist is a lovely piece of software. If you are using multiple Apple devices and Safari is your browser of choice, then Minimalist is the password manager that perfectly accompanies your needs.


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Fresh Updates & News

iA

To wrap up the year and giving out the last gift of iA’s Winterfest, the company behind iA Writer and iA Presenter, announced the beta of iA Presenter for iPad and iPhone. The company has been secretly working on bringing its awesome presentation app to smaller screen devices, although they initially thought that making presentations on a mobile phone wasn’t a reasonable use case, but it quickly became the top feature request. Loads of users asked for a companion app to view and edit presentations on-the-go.

If you are already familiar with iA Presenter for Mac and are willing to help the folks at iA to test iA Presenter for iPad and iPhone, then you are more than welcome to apply for their beta-testing program.

Anytype

2023 has been quite the year for Anytype. They welcomed over 160,000 users, their community grew to over 20,000 members, they open-sourced their code, and launched some significant milestones like spaces and mulispaces, self-hosting and local-only mode, widgets, collections, and the ANY Experience Gallery.

Based on that, it will be exciting to see what Anytype has been planned for the upcoming year.

Clay

As 2023 draws to a close, Clay, the superb CRM tool, put together a quick video to reflect on the company’s year and commemorate it all. Besides that, the video also includes a secret look at what Clay has in store and planned for the upcoming year.

Heptabase

For Heptabase, the last update of the year brought some changes to the right sidebar, where you can now search and add cards and web elements from the search bar, and when you are working on a whiteboard, you can use the right sidebar to support the display and operation of multiple items. Besides that, the update added auto scroll when dragging a kanban card, a table row, a tag, or a tag group near an edge, improved overall back and forward navigation experiences, fixed an issue where restoring sync history from the web version may cause some images not to display, and more.


Mental Wealth

The Science of Learning to Let Go – “Whether it’s quitting a job, breaking up with someone, or leaving behind a place, we all have at one point or another to learn the difficult art of letting go. Unfortunately, learning to let go is much harder than holding on. Human beings have a tendency to define themselves through what they own, and so we cling onto past sorrows, bad relationships, and even meaningless goals.”

Second Chances – “Iam one of the lucky ones. Why? Because I have two birthdays: one on the day I was born and the second on the day I was reborn, which is today. Sixteen years ago, I found myself on the brink, facing mortality, only to be mysteriously saved.”

The Hidden Powers of Everyday Ritual – “So much of our lives is dictated by forces — economic, political, physiological, ecological — over which we have little control. Ritual, on the other hand, gives us all a powerful tool for helping to shape and reshape our lives, says Bradd Shore, a psychological anthropologist who has spent a career studying the phenomenon.”

Two Words of Advice for Procrastinators – “Every time you hit snooze on your alarm, ignore your calendar reminder, skip the gym, don’t go to the supermarket while your fridge is empty, and so forth — you become one of the many procrastinators who can’t get things done. That’s because you’re making a decision to NOT do what you should be doing. William James said it best: ”When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.” We all know that we should pay the bills, follow our dreams, and improve ourselves. Yet, we delay those things like chronic procrastinators.”


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Appendix

❯ ICYMI

If you are on the hunt for privacy-focused, open-source, and end-to-end encrypted productivity apps and tools, head over to ProductivePrivacy and browse through a packed directory full of apps that respect your privacy. No matter if you are looking for note-taking, task management, or project management apps, ProductivePrivacy got you covered.

❯ Quick Bits


Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

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