Home Screens – Katie Floyd

Katie Floyd is my podcasting partner on the

Mac Power Users

and a terrific Mac Geek. Katie also has her iPhone with her “at all times” and agreed to share her home screen. In addition to the Mac Power Users, Katie also blogs at


I’m old school; I keep almost all of the original Apple apps on my home screen. I’ve been using the iPhone since it was released and just got use to having the applications where they are. Though some of the apps (like photos) I don’t use all that often and could be replaced.

Notes has been replaced by Evernote which is what I use for notes and everything else. I use Things for task management and Tweetie is my preferred twitter client. I also use NetNewsWire to keep up with my RSS feeds. Seems like most of the dust has settled since the move to Google Reader as a backbone for the service. Lastly, I’ve added Apple’s remote. I have an AppleTV and a couple of Airport Express remote speakers around my house  and it’s nice to have the ability to control my content from anywhere in my house. So these are the Apps I have added to my home screen.

What is your favorite app?

I don’t know about a favorite – but the App that has changed my life since getting an iPhone has been Mail. Having email on my iPhone and available at my fingertips has been a game changer in the way I manage my personal and work email. It allows me to never be out of touch, though maybe that’s not such a good thing. 

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t’ really have one. I never got into gaming and I really use my iPhone more to keep in touch and organized. I guess Facebook and Twitter are arguably non-productive things I use my iPhone for. Does that count as a guilty pleasure? 

How many screens full of apps do you have?

Five – and the organization is really based on usage rather than dividing apps by category. My most used apps are on my home screen, next most used are on page 2 and so on. There are probably a few apps I could purge but I just keep them around incase I might need them.

What is the app you are still missing?

Google Voice. I use this service quite a bit for filtering calls and making long distance calls. There was a blow-up when Apple rejected (depending on the story you believe) this App and the FCC got involved. Personally I think AT&T had more of an issue with the App than Apple.  I never heard what became of the whole situation. Hopefully the parties can get together and get Google Voice back on the phone. There is as basic web version but it’s not as easy to use as an App would be.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

Constantly. It’s never more than an arms reach away. 

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

It’s really a combination of a lot of things – but it’s really the ability to have a small computer in my pocket and keep in touch almost anywhere. Probably my least used feature of my iPhone is the actual phone. But the ability to have my email, web browser and everything else at my fingertips has been a real life changer. When the iPhone was introduced, it was the first smart phone I ever owned. I never really saw the need for a smart phone, now I can’t imagine my life without it.

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

I would build in more hands free functions.  The reality is, people are stupid and they will use their phone in the car and be distracted. Voice Control on the 3GS was a big step in the right direction, but how about the ability to put your phone in a total hands free mode where it will read incoming email and text messages, respond to basic commands and have speech to text recognition. We’ve already seen third party apps and accessibility mode of the iPhone do some of this so the technology is there. I’d like to see Apple put it all together.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Poor AT&T coverage has been a constant complaint of many people who use the iPhone. I have no coverage at my house and there are many people who are in the same boat. I’ve found a solution that works well for me and may be a help to someone else struggling with the same issue.

Knowing my poor coverage, it became obvious I would have to get some kind of home phone. Thankfully, it’s actually cheaper to bundle my cable, internet and basic phone from my cable company (Cox) then it would be just to buy cable and internet service. So the home phone line really costs me nothing.  

I use Google Voice to manage my calls. Since Google Voice can be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with the service, I just tell people it’s my home phone. It’s become habit that as soon as I get home in the evening I set my iPhone to forward to my Google Voice number. That way anyone who calls my cell phone rings my home phone and I don’t miss calls. Any calls I make from home in the evening I place through Google Voice using either the web interface or by dialing my Google number from my home phone and placing an outbound call. 

By using Google Voice I get free long distance within the US and my Google Voice number (which my friends should already have) shows up on their caller ID to avoid confusion. When I leave the house and turn off call forwarding, any calls to my Google Voice number ring both my home and cell phones, so I don’t miss any calls. One disadvantage is that AT&T counts any calls it forwards from my cell phone against my plan minutes and I don’t know when my home phone rings whether the call is coming direct or from my cell. Between night and weekend and rollover minutes I never have a problem with overages but it’s something I keep an eye on. If an incoming all sounds like it’s going to be particularly long, I usually just ask the person if I can call them right back to avoid burning AT&T minutes.

I’ll admit this method adds additional hassle, but Google Voice has other benefits so it’s a work around until the coverage issues are resolved.

Thanks Katie!

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