Not so long ago, I linked the video The Omni Group produced about Tim Stringer (Twitter) and his journey with technology. Since then, I’ve got to know Tim a bit and he’s agreed to share his home screen.
What are your most interesting home screen apps?
What is your favorite app?
If I had to pick one I’d choose OmniFocus. Having mobile access to my projects and tasks helps me keep my GTD system current and my mind clear. Honourable mentions go to Tweetbot, one of the most thoughtfully designed apps I’ve ever used, to Due for faithfully reminding me of time-sensitive events (and helping ensure my tea isn’t over-steeped) and to my favourite writing app, Byword, that comes complete with iCloud, TextExpander and Markdown support.
Which app is your guilty pleasure?
I admit to being a bit of a podcast junkie. I recently started using Downcast to listen to audio podcasts on my iPhone and to watch video podcasts on my iPad. I appreciate the flexibility this app provides, most notably the highly customizable Playlists feature. For example, I have a Playlist called “Favourites” that automatically lists unheard episodes from my favourite podcasts, including Mac Power Users.
What is the app you are still missing?
I’m still waiting for the ultimate visual search app. For example, I’d like to be able to point my iPhone’s camera at the leaf of a tree and be provided with details on the tree in question. The possibilities are endless.
How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?
This varies dramatically depending on my current situation. My iPhone and iPad tend to get used more heavily when I’m out and about and serve quite different purposes. My iPhone fits easily in my pocket and gives me quick and convenient access to everything from bus schedules to weather information. My iPad becomes my primary computer when I’m on vacation and takes the place of a physical notebook when I’m travelling on business. Most of my reading is done on the iPad these days and the outstanding battery life it provides allows for an entertaining diversion on even the longest of trips.
What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
I’ve always been rather picky when it comes to displays, and I appreciate the gorgeous Retina displays on my iPhone 4 and my new iPad.
If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
I would add an background update feature to iOS that would allow users to give specific apps permission to update their data in the background. For example, OmniFocus could automatically sync and Instapaper could pull down the latest batch of articles without it being necessary to manually launch each app. To address power consumption concerns, there would be an option to disable background updates when the iOS device isn’t plugged in.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Both the iPhone and iPad have the potential to be a major source of distraction. I make a point of going through the Notifications options in Settings with a fine tooth comb, fine-tuning the settings so that I’m not, for example, pulled away from reading an interesting book each time someone references me in a tweet.
When I received my new iPad last month I decided to start from scratch — installing apps on an as-needed basis and eliminating any past cruft in the process. I put general-purpose apps, such as Camera and Calendar on the Home screen and Dock and all other apps were placed in folders based on their related activity. When I have time set aside for reading I open the “Reading” folder and all the other apps fade into the background. Similarly, when I’m in work mode I open up my “Productivity” folder, bringing the focus to my productivity apps.