United States of William (USWM)

Seven Applications I Actively Use Every day, (And 8 That Don’t Get Enough Love)

United States of William (USWM)

While this is geared toward Linux, you will find that almost all of these applications are available on all platforms.

Admittedly, I have a very hard time keeping focus. Twenty years ago I thought it was going to be something I would one day just snap out of, the reality is quite different. I have become more adapted to it and have tried to harness the power of the wide array of tools at our disposal as a way to combat these struggles that I face. It can be as easy as sitting down to read my email in Thunderbird, and suddenly an hour and a half goes by. I've accomplished (or think I have) several other things but still have Thunderbird open, and have only processed a small handful of my unread emails. Never mind the stuff I routinely like to do after checking my email. It's daunting. It's aggravating. This process happens almost every day and it's a daunting task to stay on top of it, but luckily there are so many things out there to make our lives easier. Computer programs, apps on our phone. And every day more and more things in our home are becoming smart.

This then is my guide to the handful of applications that I use every single day in my home office. My primary workhorse is a Linux Mint desktop computer. It's nothing fancy. I'm not a YouTuber who needs to do video editing, nor am I a podcaster that requires lots of audio applications. All I need to make a workstation work for me is a bunch of RAM, a decent processor, and a split keyboard. I can handle the rest from there.

The 7 Applications I actively use every day on Linux

While computing, my primary objective is to eliminate as much friction as possible. The ability to invoke whatever else I may need to do with one or two keystrokes with no mice involved is a top priority. I don't have anything inherently against mice, but if I can get away with not using them, I will. From adding tasks to Todoist, to adding the most random of thoughts to my Obsidian daily notes, eliminating friction is my bread and butter.


First and foremost, albert. This fine application pretty much defines my entire experience with Linux. Back in the day when the functionality of GnomeDo started to get wonky, my roads traveled in Linux started to get rough. After trying a few of its contemporaries, I was delighted to finally have stumbled across albert. If you're a Mac user, think Alfred. It is used to launch applications, search any number of the websites I have baked into it with triggers, open folders on any number of my hard drives, restart the machine, do quick math calculations, and the list goes on and on. It's also invoked to launch the applications listed below if they are not on set to run at system launch.

Website: albert


A text-expander that works on almost every platform I can think of. While this may seem like an entry more fitting for the group below, it has become part of my core experience of being at my computer. From the most often typed pieces of text, to a current timestamp in every date format I would ever need to use.

09/04/2022 02:22
Sunday, September  4, 2022 02:22

There is an entire section of my configuration file dedicated to making my already first-class life with Todoist even easier with strings of tags, priorities, and due dates that I frequently use in Todoist daily.

today @ 19:25 
tom @ 19:25 
today p1 @Tag  
in 3 days @review 

Website: espanso


I've been with Todoist since Evernote was considered my home. If it's an action I will be doing in the real world that other people can see with their eyes and hear with their ears, it is logged, tagged, and scheduled in Todoist. I have found this application so useful over the years that I have made my own "reoccurring calendar" for things like Birthdays and other Holidays instead of subscribing to ones thru popular Calendar applications. They have a native Linux client which pretty much eliminates me every wanting to try Things.

Website: Todoist


Home. 💜 It is the default answer to everything. With Obsidian, I have global keyboard shortcuts that invoke particular parts of Obsidian depending on which keystroke I just entered. If I have a thought for something to write about, I hit Super (Windows) Key + 1 and am presented with a dialogue box and whatever gets typed there gets tagged #WritingIdeas and gets added to my daily notes. If it is something related to work, Super Key + 7 and whatever gets entered gets added to my work notes with a #ComeBackSoon tag which will be reviewed during our weekly review. That is a microscopic sample size of what I use Obsidian for. I must leave it there, otherwise this entire post will quickly evolve into a love letter to Obsidian.

Website: Obsidian


for music. It's the spiritual successor of Clementine. If you know the story about Clementine, and Amarok before it, the idea of Strawberry in and of itself ought to warm your heart the same way it does mine. It's got all the features WinAmp had in it's prime back in the day and so many more. Too many to list here. I don't use half of the features the application offers but it is my default listening experience because I do listen to local audio files, and have a lot of music from bandcamp that's enjoyed best in FLAC format.

Website: Strawberry


I used to know some of my passwords. Those days are long gone. As is my love affair with LastPass and Bitwarden. LastPass was my first love, and I will never deny them that. There was nothing wrong with my experiences with Bitwarden and I would more than likely have gladly stayed with them. Its experience on Android is flawless, but it left something to be desired on iOS. I have no qualms dealing with minor hurdles or bumps in the road, but when it comes filling out passwords (especially on mobile) there is no room for hurdles, and the road must be smooth. 1Password's "quick access" feature is a real gem. The experience with the application is indistinguishable on Linux as it is on my iPad or iPhone and in todays application landscape that is really saying something. Companies natively supporting Linux is hard to come by, so those that do always get their chance in line to prove what they have to offer. I slept on 1Password for way too long.

Website: 1Password

Visual Studio Code

My Swiss-Army knife. It's used to edit almost every type of file, interact with GitHub, and now and again when there is a change I need to do across my entire Obsidian vault, I use VS Code to get it done. I used Atom for a very long time but ultimately succumbed to Code's bursting extension marketplace, themes, and breakneck speed. Nobody wants to wait around for a computer to do anything but text editors in any form cannot be sluggish whatsoever. Plus, despite being under the Microsoft banner, the community here is super duper passionate no matter where you look for help. That might be because they're so tech-orientated so finding tech answers is easier that way, but I've never spent too much time trying to figure out something about VS Code after switching from Atom because there seemed to be so much information available about it online. When I had issues with things in Atom there always seemed to be a bit more looking around before we got our issues resolved. That's not to say anything terrible about Atom either, like LastPass it was my first love in that regard.

Website: Visual Studio Code

8 Applications always working in the background that do not get the love they properly deserve


Clipboard manager. Set to store the last 33 items copied in reverse chronological order. There is also quite an expansive persistent list that stores relative pastable text that doesn't necessarily need to be triggered by way of espanso. Most of the entries on this list are strings of commands that I often use in the terminal. Invoking mpv to play Soma FM or Lofigirl.

More info: parcellite


Powerful screenshot software. Full-screen and selective area screenshots are nothing new but flameshot takes it to the next level. Prompting you so a slew of options, add arrows, text, squares, circles, blur out parts of the screen, etc. The closest thing I can compare its utility to is the screenshot tools you are presented with on a modern iPhone or Android after taking a screenshot.

Website: Flameshot


A "nightlight". Adjusts the color temperature of the screen depending on where the sun is located in the sky. Use it for a couple of days and then turn it off at some point in the night to discover quickly how beneficial this is to your eyes. This comes stock on most operating systems but you more than likely need to configure it and set it up to run to system startup.

More info: Redshift

Terminator & Tilda

Terminator is my default terminal. Almost all commands are thrown under a Terminator window. If not, Tilda is always running as well. I tap a single button on my keyboard and a terminal overlays the entire screen. The most often command thrown here is the lofi girl stream on YouTube at a lower volume or backup my Obsidian settings to GitHub.

mpv --no-video --volume=57 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfKfPfyJRdk
cd /media/wm/nacht/cpb/.obsidian && cp -u -r !(publish-files) /media/wm/nacht/church/github/-obsidian

More info: Terminator, Tilda


for music and media. Almost always used in conjunction with Terminator or Tilda. It is set as my default application for all audio files and is otherwise used for everything from opening YouTube videos to listening to Soma FM. I still sometimes have to look up keyboard shortcuts on Raindrop because I so often only interact with mpv by way of the command line. You can't beat its speed or compatibility with almost any file type you throw at it.

mpv --volume=84 --no-video https://somafm.com/nossl/groovesalad256.pls

Website: mpv


Default browser of choice. We've returned to Mozilla after a couple of years of rendezvousing with Brave. Brave helped ease my transition away from being so dependent on being on the web thru the lens of Chrome and Google (when I used Chrome and had an Android). There are so many things to love about Firefox, something that may have to be addressed more in-depth in the future.

Website: Firefox


Default email client of choice. Thunderbird may very well be the one constant in my digital life. The last email client I remember using before it was baked into the Netscape Navigator Suite back in the ancient days of the internet.

Website: Thunderbird


Telegram is the only messaging platform I use. Friends, family, channels for people and things I admire, a makeshift music server for work, and home for nearly all the group chats I'm involved in, Telegram is my communication home. Its Saved Messages feature also acts as something of a bridge sometime between my Linux machine and MacBook.

Website: Telegram

These are the applications that help me get things done. We encourage you strongly to look into albert! Which of these applications do you use? Which distribution of Linux are you on? How do you engage with files from your phone to your desktop computer?

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Extra Credit

DISCLAIMER: The body of text of this post was given to DALL-E 3 and instructed to make an artistic representation of it in whatever style it deemed fitting.

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