The past few years I changed a lot of my go-to software packages from mainstream to more individual solutions. And some of them are having great deals during the Black Friday weekend, which I want to tell you about in this article. Here are the best software deals for the small apps I can’t live without.
This is not really a review of these tools, but only a short introduction to them. If you are interested in a more in depth view, please let us know in the comments. I am thinking about writing a “back office” series where I collate all the tools I use daily that are not directly filming related. Like little tools I use to keep track of my todos, email software I use and why, how I combine all my instant messaging into one app (life-changing), invoicing, shortcuts and system tools, stuff like that – interested?
But now to the main reason why we are here today: Dollar dollar bills ya! And how to get stuff for less dough this weekend 🙂
I talked already “a bit” about pCloud in another post. It’s still my favourite cloud storage provider by far. They recently updated their handling of video/audio files and offer online players for them now besides their custom branding and photo-share ability. Compared to the competition, the quality is not compromised – the file does not get compressed in any way. So you can use it to show your reel or whole films online without the worry of compression artefacts.
The awesome part is, that you can share files in your pcloud drive directly from the finder. And if you setup a default branding its all wrapped in custom designed page.
With the ability to disable download and their public folder option you can even implement these high quality streams on your website without the need to upload stuff to youtube or other platforms. That alone was reason enough for me to upgrade my 2TB plan to 4TB. This way I can keep all past master files in the cloud and not worry about running out of space any time soon.
Their Black Friday offer is 75% off their 2TB lifetime plan which comes down to $245. If you are interested in an extra layer of security you can also wait until Cyber Monday to check out their 2TB lifetime storage & encryption offer, which will be just $350. This is probably the best software deal among all the ones I found.
If you want to look at an alternative to the Adobe Suite of products Affinity is my go-to for Photo Editing, Illustration and Publishing.
I never quite liked Adobe Illustrator, but I immediately fell in love with Affinity Designer. That was my gateway drug. The idea to combine vector and pixel techniques fascinated me from the beginning and the interface was such a pleasure. Also speed and reliability was way better on my machine back then. One huge addition was the addition of Windows apps.
Since the first iteration a lot has changed and improved. I also stepped away from Photoshop and quite like their approach of the photo editing as well. One big plus is the possibility to read and write .psd files – so you stay compatible with the industry leader.
Since they released Publisher, their interpretation of InDesign, I was able to completely abandon Adobe (as I use DaVinci Resolve & Fusion as my editing and compositing suite) and live free of monthly charges. The cool thing about their software package is, that all three tools use the same file format – its a seamless transition from publishing layout, to illustrations, photo-editing and back. If you use Affinity Publisher and own all three apps you dont even have to exit the app. With a trick called StudioLink you simply switch the interface with the click of a button.
Affinity also offers their tools on iPad and thats a really neat combination. Starting a project on an iPad and transitioning to the Mac for the publishing steps. Currently all their tools are 30% off – so just around 35 bucks each. And even if you already own their packages, they give 30% off all their add-ons and books as well.
As much as I enjoy a one time purchase and the fact, that there is no background process lingering on my Mac all the time (cc … you know I´m talking about you) – Affinity Apps are lacking some magic compared to all the crazy Sensei stuff that Adobe brings to the table though. And if you are still using one of the tools, that Adobe is offering, using their package is probably still an amazing experience.
Looking at the Adobe Max Presentations showing off one-click object selection and all their database driven things makes me wonder, if I should give it a shot again. With their current offer of 40% off their yearly subscription fee I’m really tempted. What do you think? Shall I taste the apple from the (self-)forbidden tree again?
Sometimes its not only creating stuff, but “maintenance” and office work that blocks my desk. Bills want to be paid, paperwork wants to be read, files want to be filed. I dreaded the days I needed to do this stuff. But I changed my attitude and bought a sheet-fed document scanner and a software for a paper-less office called DevonThink Pro. Now all my paper goes digital in a swift.
DevonThink is my all-knowing database since then. I archive all my contracts, insurance papers, ideas, scribbles… basically anything (besides receipts – I use another software called “receipts” for that) that I can scan, import, download – any document basically.
The whole software is build around a contextual and really powerful search engine which makes it such an incredible tool. The relational search algorithm finds connected documents, that I often can’t remember even having.
It scans through a vast amount of filetypes and even images thanks to OCR. The whole database is synced over to my cloud storage and is accessible on all my devices. Since last summer their iPhone app has also become a lot better. So I never have to worry about not having a document ready when I need it. Great if you need a scan of an insurance paper while in another country, or a note that you made in a meeting a few months back. If you are not comfortable with having files inside a cloud database, they also offer the ability to keep your files in your normal Mac folder structure.
For those who are in need of more structure in their archive or are simply not happy with the built-in search of macOS, they offer 25% during Black Friday weekend until Cyber Monday, which brings the price of the Pro Version that includes the Abbyy Fine Reader OCR to $149.
This is not really a productivity tool, but I like my computer under control. It’s a small menubar item, that runs in the background and keeps all network activity monitored. If there is an app calling home, Little Snitch will inform you and give you a choice of acceptance or denial.
Little Snitch is running on all my Macs for years now and they just upgraded to a new technology for MacOS Monterey. For all who need to upgrade to the new M1 compatible system like me, there is a Black-Friday offer with 30% off every version to do just that – or in case you need network security and never thought about it before – now is the time 😉
Another little tool, Mac only – sent by heaven. There are these small apps that you don’t really see on the front pages of shiny magazines, but once you have it, you will never wanna miss them. BetterTouchTool is one of these and is besides Alfred always the first app I install on a new Mac.
I found BetterTouchTool (BTT) years ago, because the limited use of gestures on the awesome MacBook Trackpad that is supported by default in MacOS was bothering me … I wanted more control and more possibilities – and in came BetterTouchTool offering a vast amount of different point and click actions that could be mapped to basically anything you can imagine.
Single keystrokes, like cmd+w, to close a window or whole workflows, combining multiple keystrokes, mouse-clicks and even apple script could be mapped to shortcuts on keyboard, icons on the touchbar, finger tap and click combinations and so on. For example i use a three finger click to open links in a new tab, a four finger click to close a window and a single shortcut to label an email, send a copy to DevonThink Inbox and archive said email after.
But today one of my most used features of the app is window resize 🙂 The app supports hot corners, where you can drag windows onto to resize them fullscreen, half screen, upper-half and so on. I love it. I know there are tons of apps that support this or even specialised apps like spectacles, that do just this on keystrokes. But BTT is so much more and I most of the time, then I am wondering if there is something to speed up a workflow on my Mac – there is usually a way to do it in BTT
Also if you use a multi-button mouse, that is not supported by mac (because the setup-software is only windows) like I do sometimes, BTT gives the ability to easily change the click actions on these non-standard mouse buttons as they usually are weird key-combinations and you can assign them to useful ones.
BTT is easy to use but diggs into every corner of input you can (or can not) imagine on Mac. Check out their Website for a 45 day trial or take advantage of the 30% black-friday discount with code BLACKFRIDAY_2021 today. It’s 9 bucks for the tool with two years of updates – or 21$ for a lifetime of free updates. Even without black friday a steal in my eyes.
Best Software Deals – did we miss anything?
Let us know if you are missing any significant deal for productivity software in the comments below.