Home Screens - Ben Brooks

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but Ben Brooks (twitter) and his blog have wormed their way into my RSS feed and I’m quite pleased about it. Ben is prolific at the Brooks Review where he writes about his interests, often including insightful opinion pieces about technology in general and Apple products in particular. If you haven’t already, go check it out. Ben was nice enough to share his home screen and write about his favorite applications. So Ben, show us your home screen.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

Dialvetica and Birdhouse. Dialvetica is a great dialing app that orders your contacts for you based on who you call the most and has a persistent keyboard that searches as you type. I do a terrible job picking who is in my favorites list on the iPhone, Dialvetica though does an absolutely awesome job at it. The searching is great too because the first time you call a contact from the app it records your preferred number for contacting that person. That way I just hit the name and it calls that person, no second screen to select which number to use. Birdhouse is another great app, but a really odd duck. It allows you to pre-compose tweets that you can send to Twitter later. Considering Twitter was originally thought up to share what is currently going on, Birdhouse is kind of an odd app. I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do like it, even if I don’t tweet from it very often.

What is your favorite app?

By virtue of being the most used app it would be Twitter, but as for the app I just love everything about, that would have to be Reeder. Either app is fantastic. I use Twitter constantly and other than the icon, I really don’t have any complaints about the way it works at all. 

Reeder though takes apps to the next level, it is a beautifully designed app in and out. From the app all the way to the different menus that it uses I really love it. Reeder truly makes RSS reading on the iPhone a joy for me and is the best app for killing time while I am waiting places.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

That would be Ego, it is a stat checking app. There is no reason I need to check stats as often as I do, other than the fact that Ego makes it ridiculously easy to do. If I needed more room on my iPhone it could be easily removed without changing my workflow at all. In fact I may actually gain a few minutes each day.

It is like a nervous habit for me to check Ego, which considering all the other nervous ticks one could have, I’ll take it.

What is the app you are still missing?

A blogging app for Wordpress that is robust enough to allow me to actually blog on the go. Basically I need MarsEdit for iOS. Actually that is exactly what I need. The lack of custom fields really stops me dead in my tracks. I mostly just use the web interface, which is really just a bear to use on the iPhone.

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

I use my iPhone constantly, it is basically another appendage that I only stop using when I sleep. I really had to train myself to not use it while driving so that I can live a bit longer. Though I will confess that I do check it when I stop at a red light. I have become pretty good at not using it while driving though – baby steps.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

The camera is the best iPhone 4 feature if you ask me (and you did). Past iPhones had pretty crappy cameras and so I was left having to carry around a Canon G9, now though with the iPhone 4 the camera has gotten to a point where the difference between the G9 and the iPhone is so close that I stopped carrying the G9. I really love the iPhone camera, I only wish it loaded a bit faster and took a rapid series of pictures (though I realize there are apps that do this). 

If you were Steve Jobs, what would you add or change?

I would add the ability to use the iPhone as a WiFi hotspot for sharing the 3G connection. That would be killer and if seamlessly integrated with your Mac, to the point where you Mac could activate it on your iPhone when it needs Internet access – well that would just make computing all that much better. The last bit I would love to have is faster Internet access on the iPhone, technologies like 4G are so close – most apps on the iPhone would be substantially more enjoyable if you could get faster Internet connections for them.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I decided to talk about the iPhone here and not the iPad because I think the iPhone has changed my life is a far more substantial way than the iPad has. That may change with time, and the iPad certainly is a killer device, but it is not the iPhone. My iPhone is always with me.

Thanks Ben!