App Recommendations

Apps we use day-to-day

I think that apps are an integral part of our lives, so I do spend time finding out what apps are out there, and trying out new ones. Here I've put together a list of what I recommend, based on my own usage.


The internet can be overwhelming with ads and irrelevant content, but you can take control of your experience, with pinned tabs in Edge. By pinning informative websites and avoiding social media platforms, you can curate your online experience and focus on relevant content without distractions.

The internet is a vast and ever-expanding space, and it can be overwhelming at times. With so much information available at our fingertips, it can be challenging to find what we're looking for without being bombarded by ads and irrelevant content.

One way to take more active control over what you see on the internet is to visit individual websites via pinned tabs in Edge. This approach allows you to curate your browsing experience and focus on the sites and content that are most relevant to you, without being distracted by unwanted ads and irrelevant information.

Facebook is a prime example of a platform that has become overly saturated with ads, making it difficult to find the content you're actually interested in. While social media platforms like Facebook may have once been the "front door of the internet," they're no longer the ideal way to consume information online. Instead, visiting specific websites that align with your interests and priorities can provide a more focused and fulfilling browsing experience.

When it comes to browsers, Edge has emerged as a viable alternative to more popular options like Chrome and Firefox. Edge's new tab page provides a more informative feed than its competitors, and its integrated vertical tabs sidebar makes it easier to manage multiple tabs. Pinning frequently used sites in this sidebar is also a neat feature that allows you to take up less space on your screen.

By pinning news sites that are informative and relevant to you, you can avoid the distractions of ads and irrelevant content. Websites don't have to offer ads, and many will actually benefit from offering a more streamlined and professional browsing experience that prioritizes relevant content over distractions.

In conclusion, if you're looking to take more control over your browsing experience on the internet, visiting specific websites via pinned tabs in Edge is a great way to do so. By focusing on the sites and content that are most relevant to you, you can avoid the distractions of ads and irrelevant content and enjoy a more focused and fulfilling browsing experience.


Firefox has a convenient complete browsing history keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Shift + H). I recommend the Dark Reader extension.

Learn Programming

I recommend that you use DataCamp to learn the basics of Python, R or SQL.

If you want to learn R, I recommend installing the swirl package in R, and running install_course("R_Programming") as an introduction, which is free. Otherwise, is cost-efficient.
install_course_github('NickCH-K', 'Econometrics') in swirl gives tutorials on regressions.

Web development: 

(e.g. )

Programmers can find a job on OfferZen.


You must use a password manager, to store unique, complex passwords for each account. As, if the server for one app gets hacked, if your password is repeated in other accounts, the hackers would be able to log-in to some of your other accounts. I recommend  or .

You can learn about cybersecurity by browsing .

You must use two-factor authentication (2FA) as much as possible, as this adds an extra layer of security. I recommend using a 2FA app, as this makes receiving the code much faster than waiting for an SMS. With you won't lose access to your 2FA codes if you lose your phone.


South Africans can officially opt out of spam calls: 


I find it best to use the web app versions of email, in pinned tabs. Shift is useful for collecting web apps together into one icon-based browser, but it's expensive and memory-hungry.

I use to sync my calendars.  Let me know your birthday, so that I can remember it in my personal Google Calendar app!

I use Calendly to make it easy for people to contact me verbally. The app easily lets both parties schedule time to spend with one another. In the interface, the person contacting me can choose from a variety of locations, including physical locations, Google Meet and Teams.

I advise that you subscribe to a newspaper, to get well-written, informative and accurate news, rather than relying on social media. I choose The Economist as I am an economist, so their news is important for my job, and also I hold the quality of their news in high regard. The subscription fee sponsors research. I always have one or two old back-editions up my sleeve, so ask me about that!

It is ethical to pay for the work that other people do, including journalists, authors and creatives. Whilst often provides useful information when I want to find out what's in a book (or have the convenience of an e-book), one can justify subscribing to a newspaper and purchasing other books by claiming that it offsets the unethicality of accessing Library Genesis, in some sense.

I need a to-do list app that syncs across my devices. Todoist offers a lot of features, such as sharing a project with someone else, or generating sub-projects or sub-tasks (or sub-sub-tasks, etc.). The premium version lets you comment on your tasks, with the option of adding files, audio, etc. But perhaps the best feature out of it all is that each task can be assigned a "priority" level out of four, then you can simply view all your tasks ordered by priority, which collects together the most important tasks from across your projects.

I use Todoist to plan what I think is most important for me to do in my life (my life goals), although during each day I rarely add minutiae.

Cloud storage

I think it's important to sync one's files with a cloud storage server. I've used Google Drive for a long time, because it's popular. Seeing as I am experienced at using Google Drive and G Suite to improve productivity and collaboration, I provide support for this (on a voluntary basis) on Syncing Google Drive with one's computer isn't supported on Linux though. InSync is a third-party sync client that can work on Linux. However, after InSync repeatedly deleted some of my files without me wanting it to, I decided to switch to Dropbox (which is supported on Linux). The feature that I like the most on Dropbox is that one can rollback a whole chunk of one's files to a previous date, which guards against ransomware (or mishaps). Google Drive doesn't offer protection against ransomware, as each encrypted file will automatically sync with the cloud server, and it would be near-impossible to rollback each individual file, one-by-one.

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Xodo PDF reader

I use Xodo on my tablet to read PDFs. With Xodo, you can change the colours on the PDF, for example by making the background black and the text white, so that it is easier on your eyes. If you use a tablet, this app makes it easy to annotate your PDFs with highlights, underlines, and boxes. Comments can be attached to any annotation. Xodo also works well on a Windows computer, but it can't open two PDFs alongside, so if you want to do that, use Sumatra PDF. Sumatra PDF is a lightweight PDF reader, which lets you overwrite a PDF while it's open.

You can sign PDFs electronically with Adobe Reader's free "Fill & Sign" feature, which lets you insert an image of your signature, or just type your name in handwriting font. This saves you printing out and scanning forms (which ends up in lower quality).

Split, merge or convert PDFs with

If you want to learn LaTeX, I recommend that you get Kopka & Daly's Guide to LaTeX. See my advice for using LaTeX at

Asynchronous communication

I think that it's better to use Slack, Telegram, Teams or Discord in a work context, as WhatsApp is too intrusive on one's personal life. I find it much easier to read text messages quickly, so please avoid sending me voice messages over WhatsApp. 🙂  Additionally, please let the phone ring off completely if you phone me, as that gives me a chance to find my headphones. 🙂

Google Photos

You can share (and later edit) a bunch of photos more easily with friends using Google Photos. I use Google Photos to publish online albums and organizing the best photos for printing photobooks.

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