What’s Your Favorite App – Ever? [Reader Feedback]

Favorite app ever

In a recent TWiT podcast, one of the hosts mentioned WordPerfect 5.1 as an all-time great piece of software. That got my mind racing, trying to think of some great apps that I’ve used over the years. While those of us in the 40+ age bracket might have a longer timeline of app usage to draw from, we probably all have our favorite apps. What are yours?

To be honest, I had a hard time thinking back to the apps that I’ve used over the years. Some that came to mind were WordPerfect 5.1, Netscape Navigator, Dreamweaver, Eudora, and an old version of Paint Shop Pro that I used for many years. I also turned my mind to games, remembering fondly Zork and an early Ultima game, as well as Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights (which, along with its sequel, sustained me for years and also led me to meeting our senior editor, Bobby Travis). I’m sure some modern apps would have to be in the running, too. Evernote, Dropbox, and LastPass are such an integral part of my daily life, that they’d be hard to overlook

So, travel down memory lane with me. What apps would be on your list? If you had to pick a favorite, what would it be?

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. Back in the 80’s I spent a lot of time at the PC’s DOS prompt, and the one tool I remember from then was the Norton Commander. The two panel hot-key driven interface was a godsend for working with files and folders. Even through as far as Win95/98 it was often quicker to drop into a command window and fire up NC than to use the tedious Windows Explorer interface…

  2. Turbo Pascal 1.0

  3. KEDIT text editor, a distant offspring of XEDIT (on IBM’s VM/SP). With built-in REXX interpreter, obviously. Yep, I’m old ;)

  4. Adobe Photoshop. No question about it.

  5. It would be hard for me to pin this one down, especially with Evernote, LastPass, DropBox, SugarSync, Springpad, Producteev, Gmail, etc, etc, etc. They’ve all changed my life and experience to some degree. Evernote and Gmail the most, probably.

    If I had to look back, though, I would have to consider Neverwinter Nights, as it led me to meet some really great people who remain stronger real life friends than many of those that I’ve met offline.

    But what got me into the tech-geek mindset? What made me first start trying to hack something creative out of the potential of something else (something that defines me, now, and is a part of several of my posts)?

    In a word: HyperCard.

    You know what I’m talking about, Kosmo. :D

    • When I first started using the web, my first reaction was “hey, it’s like Hypercard”. Which it was, since both used hypertext.

      Very easy to get started in Hypercard, yet the versatility made it deceptively powerful.

      My high school physics teacher was blown away by the app I designed that plotted projectile motion on a graph, based on user inputs. I’m sure I spent far less time on my project that other kids did on theirs, as it was actually a relatively straightforward app.

      My school was pretty small, and didn’t have much of a computer science department, so I self-taught myself pretty much everything.

      • Sounds awesome, Kosmo — I pretty much focused on fantasy role play games like the geek that I am… :P

      • Hearing you guys talk about Hypercard almost makes me feel like my geek credentials should be revoked. *hangs his head in shame*

      • I also developed a blackjack game. Graphics were awful due to my dreadful graphic design skills, but the game play was solid.

        Damn game consistently beat me, even though I knew exactly how it was making decisions.

        Did some “choose your own adventure” sorts of thing, to, with the logic forking to go to different cards. Hypercard was pretty well suited for those types of games.

    • Do you seriously use DropBox AND SugarSync?

      • I do. I use Dropbox for personal things and Sugarsync for business. I have more space in Sugarsync, I believe. And why not use more than one service — keeps things closer to free.

        I also use Box.net.

  6. When you mentioned WordPerfect, it reminded me how much I dislike Word.

    My first fav app (software) was Lotus123. As an accountant geek it was the best thing since sliced bread. Excel is very good too.

    I dont have a mobile app in particular. I just love my iPod touch.

    • My firm still uses WordPerfect, as do many lawyers. It seems to be decreasing though, and I always need to remember to email documents in both formats when sending email outside the firm.

  7. Just based on how many hours of time I have saved, it would probably be Dropbox. I dumped my flash drive the day I started using Dropbox.

  8. My favorite app would probably have to be Dropbox. As Tony said, it has completely rendered my flash drive useless (except for in rare situations). Cloud technology is a marvel. I am tempted to begin paying for more storage!

  9. I really like Grocery Gadget. It puts all the items on my list and categorizes them like the grocery store does. I also liked Oregon Trail!!

  10. Gmail and GCal for being able to manage email and appointments pretty much wherever I am. Evernote for having a portable electronic filing system that syncs between multiple devices, operating systems and apps. Dropbox for syncing/transferring files. PDF It for saving web pages (the one app that keeps me from switching to Chrome). And finally, if mobile phone apps count, MetrO for world-wide offline (= no data charges) public transport route planning. I’d be lost without it.

  11. “Some that came to mind were WordPerfect 5.1, Netscape Navigator, Dreamweaver, Eudora, and an old version of Paint Shop Pro that I used for many years.” …… Hey, you’ve been living my life. LOL

    I would have to say Firefox — it dragged us out of the chains of IE/AOL into a better place, even if I have now defected to Chrome, but FF was the leader.

  12. My favorite App remains Mozilla firefox without any ambiguity

  13. Without a doubt, Lotus 123. Now, it wasn’t perfect, and as far as spreadsheets go, they eventually mucked it up (I abandoned it for Borland’s Quattro Pro which still does 3 dimensional spreadsheets better than any other program). But Lotus opened my eyes to computers. I was never a numbers guy, but I learned that I didn’t have to understand numbers to be good with them, I just needed to learn how to talk to the computer, and cajole it into doing my work for me! This led to hardware (how to set up a RAM disk to make things work faster), operating systems, programming, and everything else. I’ve loved using many other programs (not ‘apps’, they’re programs!) since then, but Lotus was the genesis of it all. And I can still write Lotus keystroke macros in my sleep!

    • You two just had me reading up on Filemaker Pro. That, or its more basic sibling, Bento, are the type of apps that I don’t really have a use for, but appeal to the geek side of me enough that I could see myself buying one and creating reasons to use it.

  14. @Terry: i stand corrected, Terry! My first choice for this post was Photoshop but after hearing your story I realized I’ve got a better one too: Filemaker Pro! That’s what got me digitally started on a Macintosh! After playing around with it for a while, our company switched to windows and I started writing an automatic quotation system for our reps on Windows NT (remember that one? :-)). I had no It-experience what so ever but the CEO was impressed with the result and I’ve been a system administrator ever since! I love my job and Filemaker pro threw it in my lap! :-)))

    • And after starting on dBase III, moving to Paradox (first visual relational database) and then years dabbling with Access, I’ve just picked up my first copy of Filemaker Pro. Many paths to the same destination!

  15. So many to choose from, but I think mine was AmiPro just after Lotus acquired it. I was a 1-2-3 guy, so didn’t want to switch to excel/word, etc. AmiPro was Lotus’ word processor. I thought it was excellent. It had an easter egg that would start a tiny game of Mastermind. Depending on your score it would compare your intelligence to some popular person. I think winning made you Einstein but more memorably, losing made you Al Bundy.

  16. Instagram! And that’s because I can never resist capturing all the little moments in my life that I know I’ll want to look back on. My only complaint was that I couldn’t use it, view my photos, etc without a smartphone!! Well, that was until I learned about an amazing browser extension called PowerInbox (powerinbox.com) – it lets me interact with the content of my emails right inside the emails themselves. When i get an Instagram email, I can now view, comment, and like the photos via Instagram inside that email itself! It’s amazing and just like using the app on my iphone! Their blog can also be found at blog.powerinbox.com – I’d recommend it!! But interestingly enough, photo-engagement didn’t end there. With their introduction of Sidebar, I can log into my Instagram account and see my entire feed of photos, view all likes and comments by other Instagram users, and comment back and like the photos right there, immediately.

  17. Hi everybody … We recommend this game (Developed for Iphone, Ipad and Ipod touch), it has good 3D graphics, excellent music and you can use all 10 fingers to play it


    Have you ever played a game that requires 10 fingers for playing on the ipad?
    Rock&Boulder is one of them

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