You pay for what?
June 24, 2014 9:36 AM   Subscribe

What software are you happy using, so much so that you are willing to part with your hard earned money?

I am trying to find out if there is something out there that does something that I am manually doing and that could potentially make my life easier just by paying for it.

I'd like suggestions primarily for windows/mac software geared towards a regular office environment. But if you pay for something that has an iPhone app and a standalone/web version, by all means let me know!

Just as a point of reference, I currently pay for or will pay for the following apps:

1) Remember the Milk
2) Evercontact
3) ASAP Utilities for Excel
4) ActiveInbox for GMail
5) Evernote (I'm still debating on whether the $$ is justified)

Thanks a lot for the collective wisdom!
posted by rippersid to Computers & Internet (69 answers total) 130 users marked this as a favorite
posted by melissasaurus at 9:42 AM on June 24, 2014 [14 favorites]

1Password was definitely worth my money.
posted by desjardins at 9:42 AM on June 24, 2014 [19 favorites]

OmniFocus. Although RTM might take care of that category for you.
posted by Brainy at 9:45 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleep Cycle - a neat alarm-clock app with white noise, the option to have a variable waking period depending on where in your sleep cycle you are, and the option to use your own music as the alarm sound. I find that the actual sleep cycle part of it works quite well if you have enough leeway in your morning to wake within a half-hour or so period rather than on the dot.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:48 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

1) Feedly Pro (RSS reader) for Evernote integration.
2) Headspace - meditation app/website. Sometimes the best investment is in yourself
3) Habit List - an iPhone app that keeps me on track and on task for those recurring things that I want to do.
4) I'd pay for Google Calendar if I had to; love it.
5) I used to pay for Evernote, but don't really think it's worth it, as I don't store or sync or search that much within it.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 9:55 AM on June 24, 2014

I use textexpander each and every day and I love it. It works, I don't have to fiddle with it and they have good support.
posted by Carillon at 9:55 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd also pay for AutoHotKey, as I use it many, many times a day.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 9:57 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

LastPass Premium
Evernote Premium

Those are the first two apps that come to mind.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:58 AM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Mac generally useful stuff that has some automation component to it: Creative Cloud, Alfred, Mailplane, DaisyDisk, Crossover, Dash, Fluid, Headquarters, OmniFocus, Sketch, Sublime Text, Transmit, Vitamin R

I have no idea what you do manually so I just listed them.
posted by michaelh at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by smoq at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

1password - not worrying about the multitude of passwords I have is nice and it works pretty seamlessly.

Picturelife - pulls all the photos off my mac and iphone and stores them for me so i don't have to think about backing them up
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:01 AM on June 24, 2014

I work with a lot of files, need to rename them and make sure there are two and only two copies of them in certain places. I use 3 programs for this and they are all free:

Synctoy - sync all files between two folders, filter by file type, etc
CloneSpy - find duplicate files and decide what to do with them (delete, move, create a list)
Bulk Rename Utility - Rename files in bulk - it has a huge array of options - numerically, using a regular expression (great for changing ABC.xls to C - BA.xls), adding folder names
posted by soelo at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Evernote (because I want to be able to work offline, esp on the plane)
Bodyweight exercise app: makes it easy to get into a daily rhythm, no equipment / gym needed. Has 100x more value-adding than any gym membership
Mindfulness meditation app: again, I like that it makes it really easy to get into a daily rhythm. Nice guided meditations. Comes with a bunch, and one can purchase specialized ones.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 10:09 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

TextExpander, Launchbar, 1Password.
posted by Maecenas at 10:10 AM on June 24, 2014

Dropbox/Google Drive
iTunes Match
posted by blue_beetle at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by chrillsicka at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2014

Real-draw. (Disclaimer: I purchased it several years ago.)
posted by rjs at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2014

CamScanner android app, so I can scan documents at a good resolution and not have an ad tattooed to them.
posted by mirileh at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2014

Adobe Creative Suite (I don't use Cloud subscription service, though at some point hopefully in the far distant future I'll be forced to and I'll be sad). Of the CS, I use Photoshop, Acrobat, Lightroom, and Illustrator ALL THE TIME. Enough that I need a personal copy of the software as well as a professional one.

Sony Vegas Pro (video editing software).
posted by vegartanipla at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I think I paid for Instapaper, but if I didn't, I would.
posted by desjardins at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2014

AdBlock, and I'm so glad I did.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:18 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dialog Devil is priceless.

Dialog Devil can be programmed to automatically push buttons in nag popups. "Are you sure?" Yes, I'm sure, dammit!

Microsoft's UI standards require an "Are you sure?" popup any time the user does something which causes data to be deleted, such as closing a program without saving the current data in it. I hate those, and Dialog Devil gets rid of them for me automatically.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:26 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Goldwave -- for transferring my vinyl to digital and otherwise working with audio in a linear (as opposed to multitrack manner) manner. Last I looked, Audacity was offering a free option that did much of the same stuff ... but it was nowhere near as functional, intuitive etc.

Definitely worth the now $60.00 (for a lifetime license, transferable from computer to computer).

* unfortunately, Goldwave is not Mac-compatible and, last I looked, no Mac-program (regardless of price) was remotely as effective/easy as Goldwave for what I do.
posted by philip-random at 10:27 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

For me it especially comes in handy for large text files that other programs give up on.

I use it in so many different ways, totally worth the money. (I think most Mac users will find the various Omni products worth the money).
posted by needled at 10:28 AM on June 24, 2014

Fences by Stardock.

Just because I cannot keep my desktop organised in a way I like and can use efficiently any other way. This may not be a problem other people think is worth paying to fix.
posted by wwax at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Zapier! It's like IFTTT on crack. If you're trying to automate software/web processes, you can't beat it.
posted by cvp at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2014

1Password was definitely worth my money.

Doesn't do anything for me that KeePass and Dropbox, both free, don't handle between them.

Fastmail, on the other hand, is hands-down the best email service I've ever seen and well worth the $100 I paid them for three years of access.
posted by flabdablet at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2014

Attackpoint, for easy uploading of GPS watch data to my training log.

Eat Your Books, which means I actually use all my cookbooks now.

Pinboard, for better bookmarks.
posted by carolr at 10:38 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

I pay for Github. If you don't know whether you need it, then you don't.
posted by rlk at 10:52 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

1password and YNAB for passwords and budget.

At work:

oXygen for XML editing- there is nothing like it in the open-source sphere for heavy-duty XML work.

Pycharm for a Python IDE
posted by rockindata at 11:00 AM on June 24, 2014

As many have said, 1Password for password and form-filling management.

Textexpander, Keyboard Maestro, Hazel and Alfred for automation and simplifying usage on my Mac.

Omnifocus for task management; I had used RTM previously but it didn't click for me like OF does.
posted by neilbert at 11:12 AM on June 24, 2014

WizKey if you need (or want) to use special characters a lot.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:23 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

N'thing YNAB.

Also Scrivener is the best creative software I've ever used.

I have and use Things for task management, and I like it well enough, but I'm increasingly dissatisfied with its limitations. Development on it appears to have largely stalled apart from maintenance releases. I'm mulling Omnifocus, but the price is pretty high and it looks massively complex.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:26 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

LastPass. As a windows/android user, it's really excellent.

MSOffice, because we have to.

I'd pay for, but don't have to: Sketchup and probably Earth. Truecrypt (though that's a big ball of aargh right now).
posted by bonehead at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh man actually quite a few:

Pandora pro account and the Pandora one app: The free account has ads and limits you to something silly like 40 hours a month. I go way over that in a week. Best money I spend.

Vimeo pro.

Dropbox pro.

Parallels, to run Windows on my Macbook.

MAMP Pro, for web development, is an immensely convenient "one button push" tool for running multiple local environments of sites you're developing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:31 AM on June 24, 2014

Possibly not quite what you mean, but the best money I've spent is on platform-agnostic cloud storage. So all my devices (phones, computers, ereaders etc) plus anyone else's machine that I'm using - can always access (and do work on) any of my files, from anywhere.
posted by anonymisc at 11:34 AM on June 24, 2014

TeuxDeux. There are other to-do apps out there, but this one has been my favorite for years and I'm not sure I could function without it. It does everything I need and nothing I don't.
posted by geeky at 11:36 AM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not work-related, but I paid for the Geocaching app and would happily do so again.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Adobe Lightroom. If you shoot a lot of photos, and especially if you shoot in RAW mode, it's indispensable.
posted by tommasz at 12:32 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

VueScan. I shudder for those who have to use their scanner's built-in software, or even their OS's scan interface when it comes to complex stuff.

Google Play Music All Access. Works well across platforms, including iOS. The selection is great. Unlike iTunes Match/Pandora, GPMAA lets you play anything in their library on demand, not just as radio. It's very similar to the Zune/XBox Music Pass, which I used to subscribe to.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 12:48 PM on June 24, 2014

I happily pay the annual fee for Evernote. For those who don't use it, the main difference between free and paid is that in the free version, you have to download whatever document you want to look at every time, whereas the subscription version keeps copies with all installations. This is FANTASTIC for mobile access.

I also donate to Calibre, my one-stop shop for ebook management.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

PIX, although it's a pretty specialized use.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2014

ES File Explorer - does so many awesome things and I keep finding more. Pull files from dropbox/drive onto your local sd card easily without using the awful UI of the dropbox/drive apps. Built in music player. Share local network drives (play music off your network within the same app).
Pandora Pro - worth it (for me) because I use it on my roku and smart phone
Plex Lifetime Pass - the most used software in my house. Lifetime pass lets you share libraries between friends 'in the cloud'
Crashplan - easy backup. I can backup unlimited data to the cloud.
Lastpass - password manager that has browser plugins and cloud sync between home computer and smart phones
Cerberus Anti-Theft - remote phone finder plus remotely lock/wipe phone.
posted by kookywon at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Adobe Lightroom is you do RAW photography. It has changed the way I work with my camera and photos.
posted by MrBobaFett at 1:52 PM on June 24, 2014

Fantastical for Mac/iPhone. I'm very forgetful and have a lot of appointments, and this software just lets me type (or I guess say) the appointment in standard english, like "lunch with Nate tomorrow at four". Also good for upcoming concerts/events.
posted by destructive cactus at 2:13 PM on June 24, 2014

TunnelBear, a VPN.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 2:24 PM on June 24, 2014

I recently donated money for the free 7+ Taskbar Tweaker because it makes my taskbar exactly the way I want it. (mousewheel volume, middle-click close, hooray!)

Other great Windows freeware that I haven't payed for but would: Ditto, WizMouse.
posted by ropeladder at 3:00 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Happily pay for:

Evernote Premium
LastPass Premium
Todoist (My most recent addiction to run my life)
iTunes Match
Dropbox Pro (work paid)
Buffer Pro (work paid)
Paprika (previously paid for, though it's free now)
posted by ninjakins at 3:08 PM on June 24, 2014

Seconding Sublime Text for all things texty except the formatting.
posted by gurple at 3:19 PM on June 24, 2014

Pixelmator (image editing, OSX... does nearly everything Photoshop does for way cheaper.)

and for philip-random upthread... I also pay for Fission audio editor (OSX) which works similar to Goldwave :)

I should probably pay for Sublime Text, seeing as I use it everyday...

Bandcamp pro (for my clients)
I'll eventually start paying for FastMail.

Android stuff: Link Bubble is indispensable for my browsing needs/wants. Seriously, try it.
posted by raihan_ at 3:26 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I use it quite a lot on both my phone and iPad that I bought it. I like listening to the radio, especially from different places, so to me it's worth it.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:47 PM on June 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by KaizenSoze at 5:32 PM on June 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Omnifocus (mac + iphone + ipad), Textexpander (mac, plus I have the iOS version but could probably do without) , 1Password (mac + iphone/ipad).

Everything else I could probably do without or find free replacements for, but these three are indispensable. I hesitated with Omnifocus and 1Password due to cost, but I've gotten way more than my money's worth (and in fact bought Omnifocus2 on Mac without a second thought) in both cases.
posted by brentajones at 5:57 PM on June 24, 2014

Windows 7
Adobe CS
posted by jet_silver at 8:20 PM on June 24, 2014

TextExpander, as was mentioned above, is well worth the money to avoid common typos and typing repetitive strings.
1Password (there are free options, but I love the UI of the desktop app, the browser add-ons, and the iOS apps)
A team account for Trello, giving me admin access and the ability to remove people
A paid account on Slack is still a bit too steep for us at the moment, but I'll gladly pay for it in ~1 year (and use their amazing amazing amazing free app in the meantime)
Spotify Premium!

MeFi's not an app, but it's the best $5 I've spent online, for sure.
posted by third word on a random page at 1:53 AM on June 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Feedly Pro - just to support the effort, not because I need the features
Typinator, an alternative to TextExpander - I'd probably be happy with either one
CrashPlan, for cloud backup
SuperDuper, for creating a bootable hard drive backup for my MacBook
Photoshop Elements - takes care of the editing I need to do; I don't need full-blown Photoshop

For my iPhone, I bought an HP12C calculator emulator. The specific app I bought (not the official HP version) doesn't seem to be available any more, but there are others. I worked at HP for years, and I need my reverse Polish notation.

I didn't pay for the Square app, but I pay Square every time I accept a credit card payment. As someone who needs to accept those credit card payments occasionally, I'm really happy with Square.
posted by jeri at 4:53 AM on June 25, 2014

Irfanview - I've paid for the license multiple times, because it's excellent software, and good freeware makes me even happier after I've thanked the maker properly.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:05 AM on June 25, 2014

Plex Lifetime Pass - the most used software in my house. Lifetime pass lets you share libraries between friends 'in the cloud'

kookywon, thank you. I did not know this.

Off to support Plex, and gain a cool new feature!!!
posted by IAmBroom at 9:11 AM on June 25, 2014

Sublime Text
Spotify, but cancelled recently (not their fault)
Day One ( I really wish there was a PC version for my home desktop )
posted by DigDoug at 3:22 PM on June 25, 2014

Softmaker for Linux
posted by yoyo_nyc at 6:54 AM on June 26, 2014

Pocket (v4 just came out.)

Hmm. Newsblur looks promising, but the free version seems like an excuse to offer lots of goodies, which it then snatches out from under your nose unless you go premium. That means that you have to put in a lot of work just to find out if it's worth it. It's MO is clear. So nothing I couldn't replicate using Metafilter and some Google alerts with less effort.
posted by sneebler at 10:17 AM on June 26, 2014

I happily paid for my premium OldReader subscription. I still miss Google Reader every day, and OldReader is the best replacement out there.

I also paid for my Dropbox upgrade, which just saved a lot of time because I don't have to empty it out anymore.
posted by kidsleepy at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2014

sneebler, I run NewsBlur and would just like to let you know that NewsBlur is a paid product. The free account is simply an indefinite free trial. You are expected to use and pay for the premium service. I don't have a time limited free trial like other sites, though.

On topic, I pay for Dropbox, 1Password, Evernote, Pinboard, and Transmit, all mentioned above.
posted by samuelclay at 1:59 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

While I can appreciate samuelclay's modesty, he should have said more about how great Newsblur is.

Newsblur is well worth the money. I have been a happy user for over a year. The Newsblur interface is constantly improving as are the iOS clients. On the Mac, Readkit supports Newsblur feeds as does Unread on iOS if you prefer a different look.

I am not affiliated with Newsblur nor would I know samuelclay from Adam on the street. I didn't know he was a member here either. Newsblur is just a good service.
posted by Silvertree at 11:00 AM on June 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Timely! The Amazon Appstore is giving away many apps for free for Android/Kindle for two days only, last day today. One of those is Plex, mentioned often in this thread.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 11:40 AM on June 27, 2014

For desktop email on a mac, I like Postbox. The well-implemented threaded conversations and search that actually works was well worth 10 bucks.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:06 AM on June 28, 2014

Calibre, for e-bookery. It's free but I give 'em a couple of bucks now and then.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:29 PM on June 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Most of the things I use have already been mentioned but I want to nth Spotify. It has completely revolutionized the way I listen to music (everywhere), how much music I listen to (so much more), and what kind of music I listen to (many many more genres).

I do not understand why people still bother with Pandora considering Spotify, along with the ability to play any song on demand, also has a radio feature that seems to work just as well.
posted by Defenestrator at 10:00 PM on July 16, 2014

* Spotify
* Freshbooks
* Fantastical
* Bartender (OSX app for tidying up the menubar)
* Droplr (for easily sharing screenshots/files/etc. with my job it's a godsend)
* Dropbox
* Feedly Pro (mostly because I just love the software)
* SONOS -- Not really a web service but one of the best things i've ever bought. Seriously.
* Keyboard Maestro (OSX macros)
* ClipMenu
* giganews
posted by dep at 6:40 AM on July 18, 2014

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