Home Screens – Colleen Wainwright

Photo by Chris Glass

Today’s home screen post features the Internet’s very own Communicatrix, Colleen Wainwright. Colleen was our guest on the Mac Power Users episode 72. In addition to her amazing Internet accomplishments, Colleen is also my favorite person to eat tacos with. So Colleen, show us your home screens.

What are some of Your Favorite Apps?

First, a word about my outrageously crowded home screen: before I caved and upgraded to the 4S earlier this summer, I had far fewer apps on the home screen, and hardly any folders. With the retina display, suddenly those itty-bitty icons in the folders were legible, and, as with my actual, 3D living space (which is papered with sticky notes and index cards), I found a measure of relief from anxiety in being able to see all my stuff right there. There’s a lot more empty space on the next few screens, which I rarely find myself flipping over to. (The exception being the “social media” folder, which I moved very deliberately to the second screen, and should probably banish to fourth-screen Siberia.) 

Next, I am as susceptible to crushes on apps as I am to crushes on everything else—books, shows, art, people—so whimsy may have taken me elsewhere by the time this wings its way from my Mac to your (wonderful) website.

Finally, if it is not already abundantly evident, I am highly neurotic, so my stock response to this kind of question is usually, “I don’t know—what are yours? Should I get those? Are they better than mine? AM I DOING IT WRONG?!” As the man said, that way madness lies.

So with these disclaimers, my current-favorites:

Evernote had long been my go-to, desktop repository for information I might or might not use at a later date–a kind of cosmic, computer-based junk drawer. But this past year was one of heavy travel, and I came to appreciate what a great system it is on the iPhone for keeping handy copies of documents and information. It’s flexible, it syncs across all my devices, and with a little foresight, you can keep copies that are available offline.

Due is “just” a timer and reminder app, but it does these two things really well, plus it has a PIERCING alarm that’s audible from the deepest reverie, two rooms away. I currently have reminders set up for my weekly Internet sabbatical and estrogen-patch change (sexy!), and I have scads of timers set up. It may seem silly—how long can it take to set up a timer? But if you time a lot of different things, it’s helpful to have them pre-set, especially for Dreaded Tasks. Anything to reduce friction, right?

1-Bit Camera is great, simple fun. I’ve been playing with taking photos since I began working with  a photography association client, so I use all my photo apps a lot more. But when the image is stripped down to masses of black and white, I learn things about composition that take me longer to see with detailed color images. Or at least, I like to think I do.

GroceryIQ kind of sucks. But it’s best shopping app I’ve found to date, and it really helps avoid those repeat trips to the stores. Because of my Crohn’s disease and because I’m a cheapskate, I don’t dine out much, but I do a lot of grocery shopping. So, yeah. Janky-butt GroceryIQ.

I also use the native Mail and Music apps a lot, but I guess I’m kind of jaded about it, as I don’t even think of them as favorites. Poor, neglected, native apps–they never get any love!

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I’m not much for games or drawing and music apps, but I am addicted to Facebook. This is why I keep it on the second screen, in a folder. In fact, I just took this opportunity to move it to the fourth (and last) screen. Take that, stupid Facebook!

What is the app you are still missing?

I would love something that tracked my car mileage automatically. I believe in some circles, this is called a “chauffeur”, and it also drives your car around for you, which would be awesome here in Los Angeles. But yeah, I’m horrible about writing down my mileage. It seems like such a pain in the moment, and then at tax time, I’m pulling my hair out (which is hard to do these days).

Also, I would love a great shopping list app without all the ads and crufty stuff, that would also act as a price book.

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

I use my iPhone dozens of times per day, both at home and out & about. At home, more for phone/messaging, and away, more for podcasts and photos, but that thing gets a workout.

For someone who waited until HD to get her iPad, I’m surprised by how rarely I use it. It is great for practicing guitar. Evernote holds my songs, Guitar Tuner keeps things in tune, and I’m starting to use Virtuoso to learn my scales, and a kind of rudimentary understanding of music theory. 

I also love the hell out of Netflix on the iPad, or just lolling about on the bed and farting around on the web. At heart, I am a truly lazy being.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

I cannot get over how portable they are. These are miracles we dreamed of back in the 1960s, come to life better than we could have imagined. To tell the truth, I’m still a little in awe of both of them. 

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

Nothing. Which is but one of many reasons why I will never be in charge at Apple.

Anything else you’d like to share?

As much as I suspect that show-me-yer-rig features like these feed my predilection for fiddling, I also find them incredibly helpful, both for discovering new apps and uncovering better workflows. So I’m delighted to have been asked to participate, and I hope that some little something I’ve shared has been useful, or entertaining, or both. Thanks, David!

Thanks Colleen.