Software you paid for or consider paying for?
November 5, 2018 10:02 PM   Subscribe

What is your list of software worth paying for? sometimes free alternatives are present, but I ask about software that you think it is a good value for money Games not included Windows, MAC, ios, Android whatever any software type/category

for me:
Adobe Acrobat pro
Kelk 2013 (Arabic Calligraphy software)
Plex lifetime
resilio sync
internet download manager
simple diagram (easy diagramming software)
iroha note + (notes cards software)
imapping (data organization software)

I think it will be useful to know some new software.
posted by Ahmed_Nabil to Computers & Internet (45 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
1Password (password manager)
posted by metahawk at 10:19 PM on November 5, 2018

I have bought a lot of software and donated a few times on top of that through the years.

* 1Password though I am kind meh but any reliable password manager is worth the money
* Fantastical -- underperforming and running on my lethargy
* Calibre -- if you have a lot of books and I mean a lot, you will need to break things into separate libraries. It is not the best UI but it is powerful and gets it done
* NeoFinder for digital assets including fonts -- solid and discrete
* Carbon Copy Cloner and EasySync
* EasyFind outperfoms OSX's finder especially on external drives.
* There is a good set of software available on iOS for epub reading but my favorite is Marvin and Gerty
* LiquidText for PDFs where I am kind of jumping around thinking and trying to connect ideas. You will need some serious screen real estate to use this. Otherwise, there is a lot of very good PDF readers and mark-up tools.
* Turning your camera into a PDF scanner is nice. Most of the software I have tried are pretty good and it is only a question of whose UI do you like best
posted by jadepearl at 10:36 PM on November 5, 2018

+1000 for Carbon Copy Cloner, the backup program that has saved 20 years of data from destruction multiple times

I am also deeply grateful for A Better Finder Rename.

As a designer, I am glad to have Sketch, Abstract, and Zeplin at the ready. They are Good Programs, Brent. (Abstract is the problem child in this trio but still loved.)
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:22 PM on November 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I get a lot of use out of Dropbox Pro.

I love InDesign, but not quite enough to subscribe to it. If I were still doing book design professionally, I'd pick it up. (But first I'd scour the internet for a version of CS5 or CS6, instead of the pay-every-month version.)

A good VPN service. I use ProXPN; I assume others are also good.


A-PDF Restrictions Remover.

(I also use Adobe Acrobat Pro and Scrivener.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:05 AM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Some musical related ones:
Beatunes - app for analysing music and building playlists.
iVolume for Windows - good at levelling volumes across large music collections.
Simply Piano - a great app for learning to play piano - and specifically for learning to sight read at a reasonable pace.
posted by rongorongo at 12:05 AM on November 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

A Color Story (app version) makes editing photos on my phone an absolute pleasure. The desktop version is far too costly though so I use Fotor for my desktop.

Canva is the only software I pay for monthly.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:38 AM on November 6, 2018

As a landscape architect/ecologist I need software that handles freeform shapes (and left-field thoughts). All Windows

Sketchup Pro 2012
- But Trimble is not developing it and Rhino is just about useable now

Vectorworks 2012 - V8 no reason to upgrade
- Also suffering from lack of dev. Again hoping Rhino will replace it

- Autocad functionality at about a tenth of the price. Autocad became overburdened with features no one wanted and is non-responsie to small companies.

Outlook with Office 365 (only used for outlook)
- have to say being able to get email on phone and tower has made a huge difference

MS Office 2016 - Not as annoying as it used to be

- Amazing freeform painting tool

Online tools

Increasingly doing more and more with freeware (QGIS, R, Meshlab, Draftsight, Darktable). Also a user on here has written me some scripts to massively simplify my workflow.
posted by unearthed at 12:42 AM on November 6, 2018

Anki. It's free to use online and on Android, but you have to pay for the iPhone app. If you are interested in memorizing anything, it's worth it. Having it on my phone means I can spend commutes learning world capitals, or whatever it is I'm working on.
posted by yankeefog at 2:45 AM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

The last pieces of software I paid for were for OS/2: PMMail/2, ProNews/2 and 4OS/2. And OS/2 (also as its last incarnation eCS) itself.

I've bought the first few Linux distro CDs I started using (Slackware, Caldera, then SuSE), but that was mainly because with a 128k connection the download wouldn't have finished before the next release came out.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:00 AM on November 6, 2018

I'm a freelance VFX artist, I use Fusion. There is a free download version, but I do pay for the pro version, which, compared to the other compositing programs that are used at most of the big studios, is crazy reasonable. And it's great! I use it at home, and a more high-end system when I work at the office, and there's definitely some things I like better about it.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:53 AM on November 6, 2018

[A few deleted. Folks, it's fine if you never, ever ever pay for software or whatever -- just skip the question then; it's not about you. Obviously.]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:32 AM on November 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

Bear for a note taking app. Scrivener as well. Echoing YNAB. Paprika for recipes and grocery lists (though it’s annoyingly that it’s a separate purchase for iOS and MacOS).
posted by synecdoche at 4:38 AM on November 6, 2018

Last things I bought were for OS X: Pixelmator, Little Snitch, Screenflow, Scrivener. The only one I still use heavily is Pixelmator. And a OS X update broke my version of Screenflow.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:58 AM on November 6, 2018

As a book editor, I know that Word is essential, for its robust tracked changes powers. It's just not matched by any other program.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:46 AM on November 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

posted by matildaben at 6:49 AM on November 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

TVPaint Pro: this is a full-featured 2D animation studio in a box. You can literally make complete hand-drawn or stop-motion films with this and nothing else. Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux(!!!).

Procreate: this iPad app replaced Photoshop for 99% of my digital art needs and I've never been happier.

VueScan: excellent scanning software, and supports Linux too.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:06 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Paid software on my Macs: BBEdit, MS Word, Vuescan, Reunion
On my iPad: Working Copy, Textastic, Termius
posted by sudogeek at 7:15 AM on November 6, 2018

One of the first programs I paid for (other than Office) was (and is) Snagit. It's such a great way to do screengrabs, annotate, add circles, arrows, and otherwise enrich. When I first bought it, it came on a single floppy disk and cost $20, now it's a download, and costs $50 (with a generous free trial).
posted by dbmcd at 7:28 AM on November 6, 2018

I paid (not much) for Dark Sky Weather on my phone and it's given me sufficient return on investment plus a smug sense of superiority when I tell people to come inside because it's gonna rain in ten minutes and then it does.
posted by juniperesque at 7:37 AM on November 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

Adobe Lightroom (not a Creative Cloud subscription, you can still buy it separately).


Sublime Text would be worth the $60, but it's nagware, so I haven't kicked in the $$.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2018

For Mac, as I scroll through Launchpad and think "I'd buy that again":
Path Finder
Sequel Pro
posted by chazlarson at 7:57 AM on November 6, 2018

If my work didn't already provide it for me and I needed it for my work, I'd definitely purchase Camtasia. We have an enterprise solution for faculty at my institution but I tell people all the time that if they want to get serious about creating instructional videos, they really should consider shelling out the $150 or so for the education license. It's a bargain, honestly.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:01 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Latest purchase (late last year) were CyberLink PowerDVD and PhotoShop Elements, because bluray software seems to have limited update lifespans, and I wanted a newer version of PhotoShop and it was on sale (and I haven't had the patience to learn GIMP).

In years past, I've also purchased TextPad and Bulletproof FTP.

[All Windows, FWIW]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:09 AM on November 6, 2018

I have run my whole life for years on Things (by Cultured Code, Things is hard to google)
posted by Kwine at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2018

Life is so much better with Our Groceries. The paid version syncs across multiple users and platforms.
posted by angiep at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2018

BBEdit (Mac OS text editor): I still have the t-shirt -- with their motto "It doesn't suck" -- that they sent me in....1994, I think. God, what a great tool.

Also, the tcl-based text editor Alpha that I used in 1993-96 until it fizzled out.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:38 AM on November 6, 2018

I bought Paprika for managing my recipes - first I bought it on my computer, then they had a sale and I bought it for my phone so the two can sync. +1 would definitely buy again.

I rent the Adobe Creative Suite monthly, and need it for work, so it's worth it. Probably wouldn't keep it if I wasn't actively working with it daily. I bought Photoshop Elements once upon a time when I didn't need daily access to a Photoshop-like program.

I bought MS Office once before, and will again when I get my new computer (will buy rather than rent).

I recently bought a daily diary app for my phone. It's clean, simple, and does exactly what I want it to. Most importantly, I could download it and try it out free for a week or so. When it 'ran out of storage space', it prompted me to buy it. I was happy to.

I bought a calendar-making extension/plug-in for InDesign. It does exactly what I need it to, and does it well, so it's worth the cost. Again, it was a free download so I could ensure it worked for me before I bought it.
posted by hydra77 at 8:40 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

 VueScan: excellent scanning software, and supports Linux too.

Seconding that. Ed Hamrick is absurdly good at maintaining customer records. I bought VueScan over 20 years ago and the registration still does something useful. Not much useful, mind, but a step above the free demo.

Office and Acrobat Pro when I need them. I mean, I hate them both, but they're the only things that work with their file formats and you need the latest version of each to compete. Using an older version of Word consigns everyone you share documents with to table glitch hell.
posted by scruss at 8:49 AM on November 6, 2018

I don't ever buy software but I did spring $399 for Reason to create music. With a little bit of YouTube training, you can bang out some high quality tracks with nothing more than a MIDI keyboard, USB audio interface and decent mic.
posted by jasondigitized at 10:29 AM on November 6, 2018

I also pay for OurGroceries, which is great. Also Calm so I can get all the sleep stories. Oh and I paid for Office for Mac.

I am pretty sure I paid for mySymptoms which was great when I was trying to diagnose migraine triggers.

I also pay for both DropBox Pro and iCloud backup.
posted by radioamy at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2018


Despite them being expensive ($10/mo/per computer), I've found them to be the lease resource-hoggy everything-auto-backupservice.
posted by lalochezia at 11:29 AM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Really depends on your OS and what you're looking to do:

Sublime - great text editor, if you don't program, I wouldn't recommend necessarily buying it b/c you don't get any extra features from it.
YNAB - budgeting tool
backblaze - online backup service
1password, lastpass or your favorite password manager service

somethings you may be interested until you realize it:
easy screenshoot tool that has one click to the cloud

a polished gif/webm maker
A typing shortcut tool (so thislongpeaceoftextyouoftenwrite) can be written as shrtc
posted by fizzix at 12:20 PM on November 6, 2018

The last software I bought was Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. No subscription like Adobe but does the same things and better.
posted by my-username at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2018

I would much rather be a paying customer for my email than a free user, so I pay Fastmail.

I pay Dreamwidth for journal hosting.
posted by brainwane at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

NTHING Paprika and YNAB for Mac and iPhone/iPad. Worth every penny, would buy again in a heartbeat.
Day One Journal - also for Mac and iPhone/iPad.
Carrot Weather
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 2:58 PM on November 6, 2018

Overcast (podcasts)
Sketch (design)
Dropbox pro (storage)
Pinboard (bookmarking)
posted by thirdletter at 4:27 PM on November 6, 2018

nthing Vuescan and BBEdit. I have a 20+ year romance with both that just never lets up.
posted by Glomar response at 4:40 PM on November 6, 2018

UltraRecall (Windows). I'd be lost without it.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:28 PM on November 6, 2018

PocketCasts is a great paid podcast app on Android.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:16 PM on November 6, 2018

Marvin (epub reader for iOS)
Tunnel Bear (VPN for IOS devices and Mac OS)
posted by elphaba at 7:20 PM on November 6, 2018

- Scrivener for writing/organizing thoughts; I wish I'd had this in college!
- Calibre for ebook library management
- Sublime Text 3 for software development - this is nagware so you can try it out first. Tons of great extensions!
- MS Office, Visio, and Project, bought through the Home Use Program of my work
- Moon+ Reader (Android) is a fantastic ebook reader

- Lastpass (my preferred password manager)
- Todoist for todo lists and notes; my husband and I use it to manage home-reno, tool overhauls, and project cars
- Dark Sky
- for web and app-based personal tracking, including finding correlations for you between custom tags and weather/facebook/fitbit/etc
posted by bookdragoness at 9:11 AM on November 7, 2018

I also paid for a Habitica subscription for gamified to-do tracking for a while until my friends group stopped using it quite as much and I ended up moving to a paper bullet journal. It's free, but you can subscribe to support the servers and get gems to buy extra skins/backgrounds.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:12 AM on November 7, 2018

Downcast for podcasts.
posted by koucha at 1:09 PM on November 7, 2018

GlassWire (for HIPS)
Nthing Microsoft Office (I use 2016)
The last software I bought was Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo. No subscription like Adobe but does the same things and better
Not to threadjack, but does Affinity Photo have a catalog manager like Lightroom does? I used to use Corel Aftershot Pro but the program is corrupted now and Corel's tech support's advice to me thus far has just been "upgrade."
posted by svenkatesh at 6:28 PM on November 7, 2018

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