Home Screens – Josh Barrett

Josh Barrett(Twitter) is the publisher of Tablet Legal the premier iPad site for lawyers. Josh’s site includes tons of practical tips about getting the most out of your iPad and is useful to everyone. Josh and I became friends at the ABA Techshow. Josh is really smart and I recommend subscribing to his site. So Josh, show us your home screen.

How does the iPad fit in your workflow?

Like you, David, I’m a practicing lawyer a nerdy blogger and a family man. My iPad is a big part of my workflow in each of these areas. It helps me get more done with less friction so I can spend more time kicking the soccer ball with my kids, trying to write better on my blog and helping my clients.

My main work axe is a Windows PC because that is what my firm has deployed. Otherwise I use Macs at home and iOS devices exclusively.

What is most interesting about your home screen?

What usually strikes people about my iPad home screen is that it isn’t full. This might seem silly, but I like the aesthetic of a “composed” home screen, especially on the iPad. It also turns out that I have everything I use heavily on that home screen.

I have a folder for my “work” apps which sort of creates two “contexts” on the home screen. The default context includes mail, contacts, maps, music, my to do list manager and the like. The folder context contains my main productivity apps that I often use in conjunction with one another. The folder may introduce an extra tap or two in my workflow but the organization makes sense to me and seems to reduce mental friction while working. I named the folder “Ship it” as (1) an homage to “cranky” Internet guy Merlin Mann and (2) a fun reminder to me to get back to work.

What is your favorite app?

The app that has me most intrigued right now is probably Zite, the news app. The “Pandora of news” is the best way I have heard it described and I think that fits perfectly. Excited to see how this technology develops

My most heavily used app would probably be a combination of Reeder and Instapaper. These apps have transformed the way I interact and network with clients. I am able to stay informed about goings on in my clients’ industries through RSS feeds and I consume, share and archive articles I want to read through Instapaper.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

MLS MatchDay, I guess. I have been a huge supporter of the Portland Timbers for years and this year they entered the MLS. The app is great with live video of matches (if not blacked out), highlights (often posted within minutes of the action), news and the like. Home games are my time to really blow off steam with the Timbers Army or share quality time with the family.

What is the app you are still missing?

More of an iOS feature I’d say, and that is better file management. As a lawyer like you, my work lives and breathes by files of all sorts of formats, versions, collaborators and the like. Dropbox solves a lot of this but I’m really hoping iOS 5 does something really special in this area.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Two things for me:

  • Portability with Lots of Power: This ensures I always have a great tool right at hand. I used to have to think about whether to bring a laptop (seems like I’d always guess wrong). Now I don’t have to decide. This is less of an issue now because of the new MacBook Air, but I don’t have one of those. Until I do, having the power of the iPad in an almost unnoticeable form factor is terrific.

  • Focused Work Environment: Because the iPad really becomes whatever it is you are working on, I find I stay focused and productive while using it. Also, even being a heavy user since the beginning, I still find the experience of using the iPad a treat. I can’t think of many of my tools that I can say that about. I have said it before, but there is something qualitatively different about engaging with your work on the iPad. Kudos to Apple for the product and the developers for coming up with new ways to do things.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Folks often ask about my wallpaper. It is a photo I made of the Lower Latourell Falls near my home in Oregon. Photography is a hobby of mine. Lots of great waterfalls out here to shoot.

Thanks for sharing my home screen with your readers!

Thanks Josh.

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