Homescreen: August 2014

Man! August, right? It’s been a month jam packed with changes (hence the tardiness of this post). At the end of July I moved from North Carolina to Virginia to begin a new job, and have been working on getting things back to an operable state ever since. In addition to life changes, I flirted with the iOS8 beta not once, but twice. Each time I ended up running into deal-breaking bugs with one app or another, so I’m back to lame old 7 until Apple decides to go gold (Sept. 9?). As the list above shows, I also went through a good amount of home screen changes throughout July and the beginning of August. These are a few thoughts on what prompted the more significant changes, and where I stand now with the apps on my homescreen.

I’m still using my three row / dock set up, which has been working quite well for me so far.

 
August 2014 Homescreen

August 2014 Homescreen

 

Unread > Reeder

This was a pretty recent change, and a pretty unexpected one (for me at least). I love Unread. LOVE it. However, the deeper I get into both development and design, the more I want to stay on top of new ideas and methodology, and Unread just can’t handle the volume (and I’m not talking about thousands of posts, I still probably only have an average of seventy five or so a day). Additionally, I’ve started actually using my Pinboard account (partially due to Spillo on the mac) and the ease of triage in Reeder makes archiving stupid easy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that both apps are gorgeous, and include some of the best gestures on the platform. There’s really no right choice, but for now Reeder’s got the spot on my home screen.

Castro > Overcast

Overcast is the Podcast app I’ve been waiting for. It’s beautiful, and it makes listening to podcasts an absolute delight. I think Castro is a fantastic app, but Overcast just feels so good to use. To me, Overcast is the best of both minimalst (Castro) and maxamalist (Pocket Casts) podcast apps. It’s clean and functional, while also being flexable and feature-robust. Its just a really great podcast app. I had no doubt Marco would impress me, but Overcast still managed to surpass my expectations.

Tweetbot

Tweetbot is still the king of Twitter clients on the iPhone. I use it everyday, and have never once looked for a replacement.

Beats Music > Ecout

This one’s pretty easy to explain. My subscription ran out.

Anyways, Ecout’s great, it’s like candy coating for the iOS music app. It’s essentially a shell that adds an absolutely gorgeous UI, and a slew of gestures that make navagation a breeze. In my experience, there’s no better way to interact with local music on iOS.

Day One

Since moving to a new city, I’ve been using Day One more than ever. It’s geotagging feature, in particular, has been really useful when exploring all of the new areas around me. I can open it up on my mac and see where I’ve been, and what I wrote or took pictures of while I was there. Because I had mostly blogged from the same coffeeshop or bar back in Asheville, it wasn’t a feature I ever thought about, but now its indespensable. Another testament to how utterly fantastic Day One is.

Ember

Broken Ember sync (not their fault) was one of the main reasons I switched back to iOS7 and Mavericks. I do a good bit of design work, and Ember’s “auto-import screenshots” feature is indespensable when doing research for a new project. I haven’t had a chance to fiddle with the new “screen recording“ feature, but I have no doubt that it’s fantastic. I’m looking foreward to seeing what they have planned for Yosemite / iOS8, as well as inevitable integration with their new Markdown editor Typed.

Flickr > VSCOcam

This is one of those decisions that I already know won’t last. I didn’t use Flickr enough to warrent it’s place on my home screen, but I already know that the iOS8 camera will replace VSCOcam as soon as it’s avaliable. I’ve used it, it’s great, I get it. VSCOcam is a fine app, but I’ve found myself recently leaning more towards Litely’s filters when I take mobile photographs. Still, it’s better than the iOS7 camera, and it looks pretty, so whose to complain?

Safari

yep.

Fantastical > Sunrise > Fantastical

Ok, so here’s a weird one. I love Fantastical, but I find the way it presents events and reminders a bit obtuse sometimes. I’ve fallen absolutely head over heels for Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal note/task/event logging system, and Sunrise fit that pretty well with its adaptive icons and clear presentation. I absolutely adore Sunrise, and I keep it on my second iPhone screen primarially for its integration with services like Github and Songkick. However, while sunrise shows your reminders inline, just like Fantastical, I could never find a way to create or interact with tasks. It made me realize just how brilliant Fantastical’s combination of calendar/reminders really is. So, while I think the way that Sunrise presents information on events is much more readable than Fantastical, the lack of true reminders integration really killed it for me. Aditionally, the iPad version of Fantastical is so far ahead of anything else, the ease of transition between platforms makes it hard to switch to anything else.

Weather Line

Weather Line remains my favorite weather app. It’s gorgeous and an absolute delight to use, and while it may lack fancy features like notifications or radars, I never use those features anyways.

Dispatch > Seed Mail > Boxer > Mailbox

Another weird sequence of switches. I really hate dealing with email on my phone, it always feels a little too closterphobic or something. I switched to Seed Mail initially because of its inclusion of a calendar and profile pictures, both made scrolling through lists of old emails just a little bit easier. Unreliable sync ended up killing it for me, though, and I moved on to Boxer while it was on sale for half price. I had heard good things, and it even included profile pictures. However, like Seed Mail, I found the sync to be slow and unreliable. All this drove me back to Mailbox (at least until iOS8 mail becomes avaliable). Since the last time I used it, the folks at Dropbox have really made some impressive strides with such a minimal app. Mailbox doesn’t take the sting out of email, but it helps alievate some of the pain, and that’s all I can ask for right now. To top it all off, as I was writing this section I was invited to be a part of the Mailbox Mac beta, and though my impressions have only been skin deep so far, it’s already got its hooks in me. If they continue to add meaningful features this rapidly I may not actually want to die everytime I open my inbox by this time next year!

Omnifocus

My use of Omnifocus has dwindled a bit since starting my new job. However, I’ve picked up a few new projects in the mean time, and Omnifocus remains the absolute best tool to organize and execute projects of all kinds. My only real complaint is that I have to wait for iOS8 for Omnifocus 2 on the iPad, but that’s like complaining about getting a pony for Christmas when it’s “only” Thanksgiving.

Phone

...

Launch Center Pro

I’ve been prototyping an app idea I’ve been sitting on for a while using a combination of LCP and Editorial, and the process has made me fall even deeper in love with this rediculously nerdy app. The last two updates have made an already fantastic app even better. It makes me excited to imagine what David Bernard could possibly be dreaming up for LCP + Extentions.

Drafts

I’ve been using drafts more than usual recently. One of my favorite features is to use the app icon to show how many unprocessed notes I have, so I never miss anything when I’m archiving what I’ve written in a week to Day One or Ulysses III.

Messages

I’ve got nothing to say here, other than iOS8 actionable notifications makes messages about a million times better. I’d use it even if it wasn’t great, though, I’ve got way too many friends without iMessage.

Walter Somerville