Home Screens – Chuck Joiner

Chuck Joiner is one of the most insightful and well respected commentators in the Mac community. Chuck produces several podcasts but his flagship podcast is “Mac Voices” where he interviews distinguished Mac developers and writers. I always enjoy Chuck’s podcasts and couldn’t wait to find out what is on his home screen. I am, however, going to need to talk to Chuck about that inbox.

So Chuck, what is on your home screen?

I’m still carrying quite a few of the iPhone’s default apps because I really do use them, though a few slots have been taken over by things I find more useful or better.

Tripod – There are plenty of great camera apps out there, but Tripod solves a problem for me. I never seem to hold the camera still when I shoot. Using the iPhone’s accelerometer, Tripod waits until the camera is still (after the shutter has been tapped) and then takes the photo.

If you’re trying to catch something fast, it isn’t the best option, but if you’re doing pictures of people or more static shots, this will all but guarantee you a sharp photo. You’ll also find out just how steady your hand is by watching the real-time equalizer.

WeatherBug Elite is the best weather app I’ve found, mainly because of the animated radar maps that are of a reasonable scale right at launch.

Google Reader – Yeah, I know, very old school. I’ve played with plenty of newsreaders, and while NetNewsWire lives on the second screen, I still find just using Google Reader’s web site convenient and easy. Who says iPhone-specific web sites are a bad thing?

Favorater – A speed-dial app that provides one-touch dialing via photos. Assign a button a contact from your Address Book; it will put the photo on a button and allow you to designate up to three numbers for the button. Just single, double or triple tap to dial the indicated number. Great for frequently called phone numbers, and easier to read than the
native iPhone app.

Pandora Radio – Who doesn’t have Pandora on their home screen? One-touch access to music you like from your Pandora account. As close to instant music gratification as you can get.

AT&T Mark The Spot – This has been on my iPhone since it came out, since I was experiencing an alarming number of dropped calls. Some feel this was a useless app, others thought it was a reasonable attempt by AT&T to gather information on their service challenges. Either way, it made me feel better to use it whenever I had a problem. And use it I did. There were days I hopped up and down on it like a jackrabbit. In the last couple weeks, I’ve hardly had to invoke it at all. Whether it made a difference or not, at least it made me feel better punching the “Dropped Call” button. Consider it a therapy app at the very least.

Dragon Dictation – One of those apps that you use to show off the capabilities of your iPhone, Dragon Dictation lets you dictate a short note, and then email, text or copy it to the clipboard. It works amazingly well, and even handles proper names, though the controversy continues to rage over the app’s uploading of your contact list to help accomplish the latter. Why type when you can talk?

WSJ (The Wall Street Journal) – Even if newspapers are on the down slope, The Wall Street Journal is still a must-read for anyone in business. This app gives you free access to much of the content (including the Op/Ed pieces) for free, although the in-app ads are a bit overdone.

Tweetie 2 – The space for a Twitter client on my home screen keeps changing, but is currently occupied by Tweetie 2. A nice, full-featured app that lets me get to what I want on Twitter, though I really like the sync options of TweetDeck with its desktop sister app.

What is your favorite app?

The one that solves whatever problem/need/desire I have at the moment.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I’d have to say the iPod video functionality is as close as I get to a guilty pleasure, since I usually have a favorite movie or TV show tucked in there somewhere in case all else fails and I have some extra time on my hands. Right now, that’s the Good Eats 10th Anniversary show, converted over from my TiVo.

How many screens full of apps do you have?

Nine…and I’m trying to cut down.

What is the app you are still missing?

A pay-as-you-go tethering app. Is that really too much to ask for?

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPod touch?

I couldn’t even count. Even if I’m in the office, it is on the desk beside my MacBook Pro.

  • What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPod touch?*

The ability to have access to information anywhere, anytime. It magnifies your ability to be productive to an amazing degree. When the rumors started circulating that Apple was working on a phone, none of us had any idea just how much this device would affect us.

If you were Steve Jobs, what would you add to the iPhone?

The option to control apps running in the background. I understand the reasons this hasn’t happened, but would like to have the option to run some things simultaneously, even at the cost of battery life.

Thanks Chuck!

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