I have another post on New Year's Reflections more broadly, but it was getting a bit long so I wanted to move the software & tools section out. Here it is!

# Code Stuff

As of today, cassey.dev is still built with Eleventy. I'm happy with this choice, and happy with the Eleventy community. I even gave a talk at the Eleventy meetup this year!

I primarily use Ruby on Rails at work; I'm really happy with it as a programming language for the kind of work we do. (Database-driven web apps for all kinds of customers). Now that I've been using Rails for a few years, I kinda can't believe Node.js ever got popular and seemed to have won out over batteries-included frameworks like Rails.

# Organizational Tools

I am increasingly using Notion to organize my personal life. At the start of the year, I was only using it for organizing information related to our immigration process and a potential move, but I have expanded to putting all sorts of other useful info related to our household there, too. It's nice to have one place to look to remember (for example) some specific daycare rules that aren't available online, or when we last got an oil change.

I'm still using Airtable for some other stuff - mainly, my list of books that I've read or want to read someday. Airtable and Notion have a lot of overlapping abilities, at least for what I need from a personal book database, and now that I'm paying for Notion, it feels silly to have some data in Airtable (where I am only on the free plan anyways). So, maybe I'll move my books list to Notion someday? But that sounds like work and right now, it's not bothering me too much.

I've also been using Obsidian, which annoyingly (because I'm paying for Notion now), I like better for personal note-taking (separate from tracking info about household stuff; more like notes on books or ideas or creative projects) than Notion. I wrote about using Obsidian in November. Obsidian is kind of annoying to sync between Android & Mac unless you pay them money for Obsidian Sync, and due to all the other subscriptions mentioned in this section, I am quite hesitant to that, but I think if I did start paying for Sync (which I did for a few months earlier this year to try it out), I'd like it.

Historically my partner and I kept our list of recipes we like to eat together in an Airtable, and those are still there, but we are now doing our day-to-day meal planning and grocery listing in the Paprika 3 app, and so slowly moving our favorite recipes into that. It doesn't have a subscription cost, which I like, though you will have to pay for it separately on each device you want it on. (So in our household - I paid once, and my spouse paid once, though we access the same account/sync across devices.) I'm happy with Paprika, though not always the most consistent about meal planning, and intend to keep using it.

I have been using Raindrop.io as a bookmark manager for several years now, after switching from Pinboard. I have over 3000 bookmarks now! Not all of them are tagged, but many are, and it's very nicely searchable. I really like being able to bookmark things that I think I might want to refer back to (whether to share with a friend when a relevant topic comes up in conversation, or reference myself), and actually be able to find them later. I'm still on the free plan here!

# Communications

I use way too many apps for communicating with friends and various communities - Slack, Discord, Whatsapp, and Signal. I'm on Mastodon somewhat sporadically. I have pretty much stop using Twitter, though my account is still there. I have a Facebook page; it's unfortunately still feeling irreplaceable when it comes to being able to connect with people in my local community, whether for advocacy & community organizing purposes, buying & selling secondhand items, and finding out about events & happenings. I have an Instagram I barely ever post on, and only sometimes check.

I like the DayOne app for digital, password-protected journaling, but I also tried the Presently app on Android for a dedicated gratitude journal app. DayOne is more full-featured and flexible; Presently just has space for a single daily entry, but it does exactly what it says it does and doesn't push ads in your face.

# Reading

I use Stoop Inbox for my email newsletter subscriptions. I like that my email newsletters go into a dedicated app, separate from my actual email account. I'm just on the fre eplan, and it's meeting my needs.

I use the Libby app to check out e-books from my library; typically I have them sent to my Kindle account so I can read them on Kindle.

# Other Utilities

I've been using the You Need a Budget app for a little over a year; if you want to try it, here's my YNAB referral link. (disclosure - I'll get a free month & so will you if you sign up using this link) I'm happy with it, though it took me a bit to truly adhere to YNAB's 4 Rules. When I did though, it really helped me spend money (and save!) with a lot more intention: I had a plan for my spending, and I was able to be more clear about the tradeoffs (what I was cutting back on instead) when I overspent in a particular category.

I use 1Password for storing my passwords. It's good! Use a password manager, if you aren't yet. Preferably not Lastpass (google "lastpass breach" if you aren't sure why). 1Password or Bitwarden both seem highly recommended; I've only used 1Password of the two.

I've made a few little graphics or flyers with the Canva app in the last few years; I'm impressed at how good it is!

# Complaints

Too many of the tools and websites I use are dabbling in silly AI gimmicks (or alternately & as commonly, privacy nightmares) or putting so-called "accessibility overlays" on their sites that are just plain unnecessary for accessibility, and get triggered constantly on accident by me, a left-handed person.

I am also frustrated that so many of the things I depend on come with such expensive subscriptions. I love all the tools, obviously, and all the independent journalists and writers, but all these $5/month here and $10/month there subscriptions add up so quickly! And yet they also come to feel indispensable to make life easier in a too-stressed, over-busy world.

I am also upset about the intentional destruction of Twitter, and generally the enshittification of, well, everything.

Webmentions: None yet!

These are webmentions via the IndieWeb and webmention.io.