Gary Bacon

My Top Apps of 2017

These are short reviews of the apps that I used the most in 2017. I’ll make note of the apps that have been replaced by another app in the same category, apps that I’m using less, apps that I no longer use, and apps that I’m starting to use more.

This year, and in the coming year, I’m focused on consolidating apps. For example, instead of using 3 note apps like I was previously, I’m only using one now.

Apps that I use the most

  • Fantastical – Calendar app of choice on iPhone for 3+ years now. Use it a ton on my Mac.
  • Outlook – For the day job, the email app that I use for quick notifications and work calendar events. Keeps it sandboxed from the rest of my phone.
  • Camera – the built in iOS app.
  • Simple – best bank there is. I’m trying out Seed for business banking too.
  • Wallet – including Apple Pay via iMessage, the virtual Apple Pay debit card, and using it for companies’ reward programs. Built in iOS app.
  • Audible – favorite way to read. Using this daily.
  • Instagram – posting more again.
  • Inbox – still use this daily. I use classic gmail on Desktop and this app for all my mobile devices.
  • Facebook + Messenger
  • Swarm – checking in. Helps build my minimal journal.
  • Safari
  • Slack
  • Twitterrific – Really loving the true black theme for iPhone X. It really blends in with the device. In order to be consistent, I’m using Twitterrific for Mac too.
  • Way of Life – routines app.
  • Paprika – collect and organize my favorite recipes.
  • Lose It! – health app, used since 2009.
  • Spotify – the only service that I use for Music streaming.
  • Headspace – guided meditation for mindfulness.
  • Todoist – todo lists, project management, etc. Replaced Trello for me, so far.
  • Bear – the best note app I’ve used so far. It has simple tagging, great search, a beautiful UI, and syncs effortlessly between all my devices.
Bear TagCons -- tag icons

Tag Icons in Bear 1.4: The Tags Edition

Can’t figure out which tag produces an icon in Bear? I was able to dig through the application files and find references to them. I’ve put together this post as a quick cheat sheet or reference guide, which will help us find those elusive bear tag icons.

For a bit of background, the excellent notes app Bear released version 1.4 for iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. With that update came a new feature, TagCons, that assigns a small icon to represent over 100 tags. Unfortunately, there is no official documentation for what the supported tags are.

From their blog:

Once you get a decent tag collection going, it can get harder to find the right one in your Sidebar. To help you do less scrolling and more finding in Bear 1.4, we added over 100 TagCons — small icons for some of the most popular tags we could find.

Bear Icon Examples


With a bit of digging. I was able to find the following:

#apple watch#
	* saitama
	* one punch man
	* one-punch man
	* one punch-man
	* onepunch-man
	* cooking
	* development
	* it
	* itc
	* doggos
#doctor who#
	* book
	* epub(s)
	* ibook
	* book
	* kindle
	* coffee
	* nerd
	* nerds
	* nerdy
	* TV
	* hulu
	* netflix
	* iPad Pro
	* iphone
	* iphone 7
	* iphone 7+
	* iphone 8
	* iphone 8+
	* iphone x
	* iphone7
	* iphone7+
	* iphone8
	* iphone8+
	* debian
	* suse
	* ubuntu
	* lmao
	* fun
	* meme
	* rotfl
	* macos
	* mario kart
	* mario odissey — misspelled odyssey 
	* mario world
	* super mario
	* super mario brothers
	* passwords
	* mlb
	* nba
	* nfl
	* nhl
	* nes
	* nintendo 64
	* snes
	* supernes
	* wii
	* wiiu
	* porn
	* ps1
	* ps2
	* ps3
	* ps4
	* ps4 pro
	* subreddit
	* subreddits
#shiny frog#
	* shinyfrog
	* fashion
	* nintendo switch
	* design
	* ux
	* windows 8
	* windows vista
	* windows xp
	* windows8
	* windowsxp
	* xboxone
	* youtubers
	* youtuber

Bear Icon Examples

Be sure and bookmark this as a reference. I’ll be adding more to the post as I find them.

Add SSL Exception in Chrome? Nope.


Working on a new project of mine, I wanted to modify CSS in real-time with Codekit. I’ve been using CodeKit since January-ish of ‘012 Beta and have always been a big fan of it.

Below is a helpful video from CodeKit on how to set that up.

Great! Let’s get started coding…oh no.

The Problem

Self-signing certificates in Google Chrome? Nah. I love using Chrome for its Developer Tools. That would be perfect and helpful for this situation.

Chrome displays this error:

The site can’t provide a secure connection
_______.local doesn’t adhere to security standards

( I just wanted to try the blur feature in CloudApp… )

Codekit has TLS Support. One would think the following image would work? Nope.

What to Read?

As a person that has over 900 books on his Amazon wish list, finding time to consume all the books that I want to seems daunting at times. I’m not a fast reader either. With the current list, if I stopped adding to it and read only one book a month, it would take me 75 years to read all of the books. If I read 4 a month, it would only take 18 years. Only. So, with that being said, I do have to prioritize my reading list.

How do I do that? Trello.

Previously, I’ve mentioned how I keep motivation at the forefront of my mind with Trello. I’m really leaning into organizing, doubling down on focus, defining my goals, and establishing a routine to sustain it all. Trello has been the perfect tool to do that with.

I have a few Trello boards set up. One for daily tasks, one for overall goals, and one for a backlog. The backlog gives a place to quickly store ideas, categorize tasks by project, and line them up to be pulled into the task board. Every Monday, I groom ( review and prioritize ) the task board bringing in action items for the week.

Yep, an agile life.


At the moment I’m reading about 2-3 books at a time. Two audiobooks and one Kindle/paper book.


Book Review

Justin Jackson’s book Jolt: Marketing Tactics for Programmers, Designers, Freelancers, Makers, and Entrepreneurs was a great way to start off the year.

It really does give you a Jolt of inspiration.

This book is a great resource for marketing your new product, software, idea, book, or any project that you want to promote. It teaches you to, “Be different, break out of the mold, and surprise folks”.

Justin provides case studies, examples of websites and services using data that you might not known before.

Show Up First

One of the stories he provides is about being first to the party:

There is a first mover advantage that you get on any new platform. In the early days of Twitter, people who grabbed a foothold there were able to amass a big number of followers, even though they might not have been famous elsewhere.

I joined Twitter in May 2007 and can attest to this. Those of us that were there at the beginning ended up with much more engagement with early adopters, forged friendships, and benefited from the platform. Whale is an upcoming platform that I’m seeing the same pattern emerge as I did then.

He goes on to say:

You can set yourself up to create [luck]. Quantity is what gets you to quality. Start placing little bets; try a bunch of things. One of them might work and become big.

This is great. Validate your ideas. Try to see what works, evaluate the data, and keep iterating on what does work. That’s the key. Look back at what you’ve done, revise, and keep pushing forward.