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 Wednesday, February 26, 2014
« Modern Apps Live LV 2014 | Main | Defining disservice »

New Skitch I thought I’d post a list of the top Windows 8 WinRT (windows store) apps that I use all the time.

I know a lot of people who are running Win8 and treating it like Win7 – never leaving the legacy Desktop if at all possible. I think those people are doing themselves a disservice, and in the long run if they are developers then they are doing their users a disservice. I say this because I view the Desktop today in the same light I viewed green screen terminals in the early 1990s – a necessary evil that will ultimately fade into the mists of time (except for those poor users who will forever be stuck using legacy apps).

So these are the apps that, if they didn’t run on Win8, would probably drive me to get an iPad or Android tablet (except that because they are on Win8 I can use them on my tablet AND on my desktop, which is extremely nice). For the most part these are pinned on my start screen on my tablet and desktop. I’ve bolded the WinRT apps and left the legacy Desktop apps unbolded so it is clear just how much I use WinRT.

Productivity:

  • Mail, Calendar, People – the standard apps/hubs that come with Win8 – they started out bad, but have become quite good
  • Outlook (desktop) – I only use this to schedule Lync meetings anymore, but can’t live without it until there’s an alternative way to schedule a Lync meeting
  • Yahoo Mail – I use yahoo as my spam dump, but occasionally scan through to see if anything real creeps into that mail box
  • OneNote – they’ve really made this app nice for keyboard/mouse and touch and pen users – indispensible!
  • Skitch Touch – nice, easy to use graphic editor – I use it to crop/annotate quick screen grabs for the most part
  • Healthvault – keep track of my blood pressure and weight, important given my recent health issues, and it works on WP8 too
  • qool – a very simple to-do tracker, which works for me because it is low-friction, but I wish it worked on WP8 too
  • MyTrips – I travel a lot and rely on Tripit.com to keep me sane; MyTrips is on Win8 and WP8 and is better than the “official” Tripit app
  • Office (desktop) – I so wish there was a WinRT version of Office, but in the meantime I can’t live without the legacy Desktop version
  • Live Writer (desktop) – still the best way I know to author blog posts

News, weather, etc:

  • Nextgen Reader – RSS reader that also runs (and syncs) to my WP8 phone
  • Bing News, Bing Weather – nice apps, consistent on WP8 (finally), and keep me up to date with the world
  • MyRadar – consistent with WP8 and the fastest way to get weather radar on any device – I love this app!
  • Reading List – keeps a list of articles/posts/URLs that I want to review or use later
  • Flipboard – I use this only on my tablet because it is only fun with touch, but it presents a visually pleasing way to browse facebook/twitter/other web info

Finance:

  • Bing Finance – keep track of the market and business news
  • Mint – keep track of family finances – mostly just trying it out (and it is really nice), because I’m already a Quicken user
  • Quicken (desktop) – keep track of family and business finances, but I wish there was a WinRT version more like Mint – my problem is that Mint can’t do small business stuff, so I need Quicken

Social:

  • Lync (desktop) – I mostly use the Desktop version, though the WinRT app is slowly catching up and I do look forward to being able to use it
  • Twitter – the official twitter app, I’m sure there are better ones, but I’m not a heavy twitter user so this is fine
  • Skype – I use the WinRT app, but sometimes I also use the Desktop app – but the WinRT app is catching up fast, which makes me happy
  • Facebook – sure I can get there via the web, but I do like the app
  • Yammer – I mostly use the web because the yammer app is pretty poor, but it works as a share target; the WP8 app is better
  • Reddit by samrad – I’m not a big reddit user, but this is a nicely designed app that is fun to use
  • IE11 – for LinkedIn, because they don’t have an app yet; and for yammer because the WinRT yammer app is too limited

Media:

  • Xbox Music – I have a subscription to the service, and love the access to so much music on my tablet/PC/phone
  • Xbox Video – I’ve purchased a few movies to watch on the airplane on my Surface, and we also watch them on the TV through the Xbox
  • Netflix – we cut the cable a couple years ago and rely on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon for almost all media, so this app is indispensible
  • Hulu Plus – see my notes on Netflix – indispensible
  • IE11 – I wish, oh do I wish, that Amazon had streaming video app, but as it is I’m stuck using IE to watch Amazon video
  • MetroTube – very nice youtube app; another is MegaTube, but personally I prefer MetroTube
  • Zune (desktop) – my Xbox Music subscription provides me with 10 free songs each month, and the old Zune app is the only way to use those 10 credits to ‘purchase’ the tracks
  • Comics – the Comixology app is really nice; I know, as an adult I shouldn’t read comics, but I’m an uber-geek so I do, and this app is a really nice way to read them
  • Kindle – I mostly use a real Kindle because I don’t like reading on a glossy screen, but if I’m caught without my Kindle I’ll read on my Surface or phone
  • VEVO – I remember the days when MTV used to be about music videos, and VEVO is much like MTV from 1985 – happiness!

Utilities:

  • Clipboard – this is an app that allows you to Share from any app into the Windows clipboard, and I use it constantly – couldn’t live without it
  • File Manager HD – the best file manager app I’ve found so far – local and remote file access, quite nice
  • OneDrive/SkyDrive – slightly faster than File Manager HD for OneDrive access, but otherwise a duplicate
  • Dropbox – gives access to shared folders and other advanced features not in File Manager HD
  • Box – really a duplicate of File Manager HD
  • Remote Desktop – the WinRT Microsoft RDP client is nice, and I use it daily
  • TeamViewer – I sometimes use TeamViewer to connect to my desktop when I’m on the road; not as fast/smooth as RDP, but it gets through firewalls and NAT routers better

Photos:

  • Photos – I do use this app, but it was far better in Win8 than it is in 8.1 – they really crippled it…
  • Live Photo Gallery (desktop) – The only way to get at the thousands of photos on my server, and remains far, far more powerful than the built-in Photos app

Gaming:

  • Steam (desktop) – so I can get at all the games I’ve purchased via Steam
  • Origin (desktop) – so I can play Battlefield 4 and (soon) TitanFall
  • Wordament – my favorite casual game
  • Halo Spartan Assault – so nicely done, and fun to play

Shopping:

  • Amazon – of course! I do more shopping on Amazon than pretty much anywhere else
  • Zappos.com – I’m not a small man, and zappos always has shoes that fit, and their service is excellent
  • NewEgg – I go back and forth between their app and their web site, but the app is pretty decent

Development:

  • Visual Studio (desktop) – of course
  • Blend (desktop) – of course
  • Xamarin Tools (desktop) – build iOS and Android apps with C#, what more could you want???
  • GitHub for Windows (desktop) – nice way to interact with github and Visual Studio Online repositories
  • TortoiseGit (desktop) – I used TortoiseCvs, then TortoiseSvn, so it is natural that I’d use TortoiseGit more than any other git client
  • Windows 8 Dev Icons – provides useful icons with code snippets to access them
  • Xaml Candy – provides useful code snippets for common XAML elements
  • Samples Browser – browse Microsoft samples
  • Code Writer – a nice WinRT text/code editor for numerous file formats
  • Project Spark – so much fun to build WinRT and Xbox games
  • Project Siena – has the potential to be the “VB” of WinRT if they continue to evolve this tool – there’s no faster way to build simple WinRT business apps
  • Chrome (desktop) – for when IE11 doesn’t meet my needs
Windows 8 | WinRT | WP8
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