Here are some tools that made my computing life measurably better this year. This is not a full account but just the things that pop immediately to mind. I believe in supporting the things I use. The developers of these things work hard and have families to support. I’ve noted the where’s and hows of my support for each one. If you use these, or any other such tool or service, you should too:
Typerighter — I’m using it right now to type this up. This is a web based writing environment that is designed to be high focused, keyboard driven, and just enough features needed to get the job done (and even those are essentially invisible). But, mainly, it is meant to be a common web place for your words available from anything with a web browser. Those that use it just got their account upgraded to the Pro level for the next year but I still plan to say “thanks” in some way because I really want to support the things I use and love. I use it in some way or fashion every day. Plus, like any good writing environment, it understands…
Markdown — I’ve actually been using Markdown syntax for much longer (too many years to count). It continues to be the way I write for anything that might possibly need to be converted from plain text (my sensible default) to html. I’ve long supported John Gruber through Daring Fireball membership, etc.
Markdown Service Tools — Brett Terpstra’s wonderful collection of Markdown services that make those of us who write in Markdown able to do some nifty markup tricks using keyboard commands in just about any text editor or field. Really handy if, for instance, you are using a web based writing tool like Typerighter. So, so, good. (I’m especially fond of the Auto-link Web Search doodad.). I just realized in writing this how much I used these… So I threw some cash his way.
Pinboard — “The bookmarking website for introverted people in a hurry.” Yep, it was built for me. Seriously, if there is anything on the web that I might want to reference later, it goes here. It is also integrated with so many of the other tools I use like Reeder and Instapaper. Once again, this is a service I’m happy to pay for (and even pay a bit more so I can have it fully archive the linked items). The developer makes money by charging for a valuable (to me at least) service. Novel approach I know…
DragonDrop — This should be built in. It’s one of those things that makes full screen mode in Lion a lot more usable for me. Mainly, this little utility makes dragging and dropping files easily. Click and drag an object, wiggle the mouse, and up pop a nice little window to drop the file temporarily while to navigate to its final destination. Useful and well executed. I paid for it on the spot and heavily promoted it on Minimal Mac, Twitter, App.net, etc.
Jumpcut — A configurable clipboard buffering tool that should be built in. I use it so often I forgot to include it in this list initially because it so blends into my work flow.
App.net — A micro-blogging social network with a business model that is based on making money from it’s customers, as opposed to selling its customers data for money… I have (mostly) quit Twitter and have been happily posting away there ever since. I have even gifted accounts to others who were on the fence or just did not have the spare cash (but that I wanted to interact with there).
MailActOn — Allows me to file messages into folders (mailboxes) in Mail.app using key commands. As such, this allows me to be way more efficient in dealing with email and makes dealing with it that much more delightful. Paid for it without hesitation.
DoublePane — Allows me to place any two windows on my mac side by side or full screen and then return them to their original size and location using a key command. Purchased!
Other online writers whose work I enjoy and gain some benefit from — From Shawn Blanc, to Dave Caolo, to Ben Brooks, to James Shelley, to JD Bentley, and many, many, more. I would guess I given at least 10% of my writing income to support other online writers or publications. If you want to support quality independent writing on the Internet, this is how it works.