Home Screens – Jeff Carlson

I’ve had a few speaking gigs in the last year that gave me the chance to get to know Jeff Carlson (Twitter) (Web), a technology writer with many fantastic books from Peachpit Press and other publishers. Most recently, Jeff wrote The iPad for Photographers and The iPad Pocket Guide, Third Edition. Jeff is also a senior editor at TidBITS, a columnist for The Seattle Times, and a frequent contributor to Macworld and Photoshop Elements Techniques. Okay Jeff, show us your home screen.

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

Dozens, at least. Both devices are almost always with me. I use the iPad more for reading than the iPhone, but the iPhone gets plenty of use getting caught up on Twitter and email.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

For the iPhone, it’s the general capability of having so much access and processing power in such a small device. I can’t imagine buying a phone now that does nothing but phone calls.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

My iPhone’s home screen is a little deceiving: The order here hides the chaos of the rest of the home screens. Part of that is having lots of apps, but mostly it’s because I can’t convince myself to organize everything on my iPhone. It would take too long — which is funny, because my iPad is neat and tidy.

So here’s a brief rundown of my main home screen:

I’m a little surprised that I still have many of the default apps visible, but they’re tools I use regularly. I’ve tried replacements for Calendar but find I prefer the original; it’s simple and works well.

The Comm folder holds a variety of communication tools, of which Messages is by far the most used. But it’s helpful to have Skype and Messenger to reach certain people.

I’ve flirted with other Camera apps (lord knows I own too many of them), but keep coming back to the built in Camera app because it starts up quickly. I find myself using it most often these days from the lock screen, where you can swipe up to get directly to the camera. (From David, me too.)

The App Store is still here because it’s the gateway to app updates.

I use Remote with my Apple TV often enough to keep it handy on the first screen. The same goes for the Sonos app, which I use to play music on a Sonos Play5 I recently bought for our living room.

PlainText is currently my text editor of choice, which I also have on my iPad. It’s great for storing notes, writing short articles (like this one, actually), and all of its documents get stored on Dropbox, so I can open them using BBEdit on my Mac easily.

Clear is a recent addition, my millionth attempt to bring order to my life. I wish it could sync to other sources, but I respect that it’s trying to be simple. I keep a few to-do lists there, but mostly use it for trying to figure out what to do today, and knock things off the list.

My Dock is standard-issue except for Twitterrific, my Twitter app of choice. I use Twitterrific on the iPad and Mac, too, because it supports the TweetMarker service: no matter which client I view, a marker keeps track of the last tweet I read, making it easy to get caught up.

The Utilities folder is a mishmash of things I like to have close at hand: Boxcar for presenting alerts (whenever I get a direct message in Twitter, an email from apple.com, or email from my editor at the Seattle Times); 1Password, because it’s essential; PCalc Lite, because I’m a stereotypical writer/English major who too often needs help with calculations; and Flashlight to turn on the iPhone’s flash when I head for bed late at night.

Not included on the Home screen are two apps that I use often, which are stored on the second screen. In fact, I’ve grown so accustomed to their placement—leftmost icon in the third and fourth rows—that a recent icon shuffle threw me off until I could reposition them. I use OneBusAway to track bus times in Seattle, and Lose It to count calories while I’m dieting (like now).

Thanks Jeff

For more home screens clicky here.