Over the year, I have found apps that have been very useful for me and I highly recommended them for everyone. These were not necessarily new apps in 2014, but they were apps I found out during the year 2014. Although following apps seemed like OSX-centric, most of them were on every platforms.

1Password

I couldn’t praise it enough of how easy it handled all passwords. 1Password wasn’t cheap, but was worth every penny. If you never used this sort of apps before, it basically remembered all your passwords and filled for you via browser’s extensions with one shortcut (command + \) for OSX. When you registered a new account, 1Password could generate a random password for you and then save the password automatically. Everything sync’ed with Dropbox and there were apps on both Android and iOS. Mobile version was free to read all your existing passwords–no editing allowed though. I didn’t use auto-fill passwords in their mobile apps though since it only worked in their own webview. iOS version could fill your information on Safari; I didn’t know that then; I could do that on iOS 8 w/ fingerprint too. If you asked me, desktop version was the one OSX & iOS were fantastic with it. You needed that in order to see how good it was. The rest was acting as support role.

I had tried LastPass too, but I prefer 1Password still. 1Password regulary had promotions around 20%-50% off during the year.

Mailbox

One Dropbox account to rule them all. I didn’t find it as eyecandy as new GMail or new Mail for Yosemite, but it synced all across devices both desktop and mobile. No more setting up for each account again and again for a new device. One Dropbox account was enough. I always came back for Mailbox and eventually used as the sole email client.

Better yet, it’s free of charge.

Plex

I had XBMC and BOXEE, including Boxee Box. I used to try Plex long ago, but I didn’t particularly like how Plex worked then. However, things had changed; mobile devices were ubiquitous. It was troublesome finding apps that just worked for every codecs. Plex handled everything like a boss.

If you paired Plex with SickRage, then you’d got a much better Netflix or Hulu.

Plex was free, but if you’d like to support them, you could pay for Plex Pass with more features like offline syncing on mobile devices. I had Plex Pass, but I hadn’t used their extra features much since I prefered to watch things online anyway.

For Plex server, it didn’t need much. Any old computer would do the trick. Intel i3 could handle 1-2 transcoding active clients with ease, but if you planned for more clients, you’d better off with Intel i5.

Sublime Text

If you were into coding, you would need Sublime Text. Nothing better. Free for personal use with a every now and then nagging popup.

Authy

Authy was the only mobile-centric apps since it was for two-factor authentication. I used to use Google Authenticator back then, but dropped all 2-factor since it was pain in the butt when changing to new mobile devices or having many mobile devices. Authy fixed all that with multiple devices syncing on both iOS and Android. Since I found Authy, I’d enabled 2-factor authentication for every accounts possible. I knew it would not be a problem regardless of which devices I had at a time and it’s free.

Pixelmator

Pixelmator was only on Apple devices although I only had it on OSX. Never tried iOS version since I didn’t see the need of it. It was the Photoshop replacement at $29.99 or less if you could find a discount on iTunes gift card. It was much better than paying $100+ for Photoshop when you didn’t really use that much, but you needed a full fledge photo editor every now and then. I couldn’t say it was better than Photoshop, but I never had a moment I needed Photoshop after I had Pixelmator either.

Wow, I didn’t realize that only 2 of 6 apps above were paid. That was tough if you were in a software industry. But 2014 was like a dream for consumers indeed.