Guy Kawasaki is a special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google. He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. As a special treat for our readers on Thanksgiving, we are thrilled to present Guy's list of gadgets and apps that he is most thankful for.
A few weeks ago I dropped a glass of water on my MacBook Air. No surprise, but it didn’t survive. I took this as God telling me to buy a new Mac, and I ordered a MacBook Pro with 16 gigabytes of RAM and 1 terabyte of solid-state-drive goodness. I could have migrated my Air backup to my Pro using Time Machine, but I also took this accident as God telling me to start with a clean system and re-install apps from scratch.
This process forced me to pick which apps and utilities to install on my new Mac, and if I’m willing to install an app, find its authorization code, and set preferences, I’m probably thankful to have it.
Dropbox. I keep all my important files, including 60,000 pictures, in a Dropbox folder so everything I care about is in the cloud. Dropbox enables me to sleep better at night and not care too much if I drop water on my Mac.
HIghtail. Why so many email servers can’t handle files larger than 10 megabytes in the year 2013 is mystifying to me, but I digress. Hightail allows me to send book drafts and PowerPoint files to meeting planners 50 to 75 times per year.
Evernote. I put almost every detail of my life into Evernote: receipts, password-confirmation email, airline and hotel reservations, tidbits of information for books, and web pages that I want to preserve. I scan most receipts, business cards, and legal agreements into Evernote too. (Disclosure: I advise Evernote.)
1 Password. This app enables me to manage passwords for dozens of sites across computers, phones, and tablets. Even with 1 Password, I can’t keep this all straight. Without it, I’d be locked out of most of my accounts.
Jumpcut. I often need to copy several pieces of information from a website such as a name for a photo credit, spelling of a person’s name, and link address. Without Jumpcut, I’d have to go back and forth between pages. With it, I can copy, copy, copy, and then paste, paste, paste because it is a multi-level clipboard.
Buffer. Thank God for Buffer because it enables me to schedule posts to Google+ and Facebook. I’m always traveling, so when I have a free moment, I create a batch of posts. Without Buffer, I would just post right away, back-to-back. Now I can spread my posts out. (Disclosure: I advise Buffer.)
Fantastical. This great little utility adds appointments to your calendar as well as enables you to see and edit your schedule without having to launch Apple’s Calendar program or go to Google Calendar using a browser. It has natural language capabilities so entering “11/15 2 pm to 3 pm Hockey” works just fine.
Copy Plain Text. Have you ever copied something from a website such as flight schedule or quote and pasted it into an email or Word document? Often the result is formatted, HTML text when all you want is plain text. Copy Plain Text is your solution to this annoyance.
TripIt. I get on an airplane 200 times a year. I stay in a hotel 50 to 75 times a year. A car service picks me up 200 times a year. Three people are involved in keeping all this straight. We couldn’t do this without TripIt. The coolest thing is that you just forward confirmation emails to TripIt, and it builds your travel itinerary for you.
Retrofit. I’ve tried many ways to lose weight. Retrofit is the only system that’s ever worked for me. There’s something magical about having to report in to various counselors about what you’ve eaten and how much exercise you’re getting. This is especially true because my Withings scale reports my weight to Retrofit directly.
Droid Maxx. Don’t get me wrong: I love my Moto X, but my Maxx has an even larger battery for even longer life, and it supports wireless charging, which is so cool that I smile every time I place it on my Panasonic wireless charger (see below). If you use any Android device, be sure to use Dash Clock for a better home screen experience. (Disclosure: I advise Motorola.)
Nexus 7. This tablet from Google is the perfect size. It's big enough, but small enough that when you fall asleep reading a book, ot will not break your nose when you drop it. I read almost every book that I buy on my Nexus 7, and I watch Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black on it.
Motorola Power Pack. You can never have too many sources of power (a lesson for Republicans!), so having a Power Pack is a lifesaver when I’m on the road. (Disclosure: I advise Motorola.)
Panasonic ChargePad. I use this to charge my Droid Maxx and Nexus 7. You just place your device on top of it, and the charging area moves to the right place to transmit the juice. I like this so much that I bought two: one for home and one for travel.
FujiFilm X100S and Nikon D800 I love photography. There are weeks when I shoot a conference, social event, or travel spot and then a football, soccer, and hockey game. My go-to camera for people and street photography is the FujiFilm X100S. My go-to camera for sports photography is the D800 with an awesome 300 mm lens. When I’m using this combination, I fantasize that I’m Scott Kelby.
Adobe Lightroom. I have a thankful-hate relationship with Lightroom. I am thankful for its power and how it handles RAW files. But if Microsoft sold a photo editor, it would be Lightroom because it has the same design sensibility as Word: it can do everything, you know it can do everything, but you have to figure out how to do everything every time. And every time you launch Lightroom, it seems like a toolbar or tab has disappeared or appeared, information (e.g., meta data) has disappeared or appeared. There’s a Youtube video to explain how to get back features that you know you had before—I rest my case.
There’s one thing that would make me even more thankful: if someone could tell me how to make the TripIt feed work with Google Calendar. Larry, Sergei, and Eric must not use this combination (their EAs probably have EAs) because no matter what I do, Google Calendar displays Tripit times in Google Mean Time or something. I don’t anticipate moving to Switzerland anytime soon.
This started out as a Top 10 list, but I couldn’t keep it to only 10. I use a lot of tech to be thankful for! I hope you do too.
Originally published Nov 27, 2013 1:30:00 PM, updated January 18 2023