Home screens: MacSparky

David Sparks of the North.jpg

I was looking at the wealth of home screen posts going back to December 2009 and it occurred to me I’ve never posted my own home screen. Well gang, here you go.

david sparks home screen.jpg

On The Dock


I need a calendar app in my dock because I often need my calendar. I’ve got this on-again off-again relationship with Apple’s calendar app. I know there are better solutions but at the end of the day I’m pretty scatterbrained and having the date in my dock is useful.

Drafts(App Store)

I’ve written about Drafts before. Plenty. Drafts is the ultimate text capture tool but does so much more. I use it with the keyboard and Siri all the time. Moreover, Drafts just keeps improving with an increasing number of export and automation features.

OmniFocus (App Store)

My precious OmniFocus.


Well … it is an i”Phone”.

On the Home Screen

I love my iPhone 5 but I also love having a little empty space on my home screen. I emptied out the bottom row a few months ago and now I’m used to it that way. I’m also very specific about App placement. The Camara is always top right, Email is always top left. I’ve played with alternative camera apps but the launch speed of the native app trumps their additional features.

Tweetbot and Netbot (Tweetbot App Store) (Netbot App Store)

There are a lot of great Twitter apps but Tweetbot is my favorite. I like the little delightful bits of the interface and the way everything syncs across Mac and iOS.

Calcbot (App Store)

Calcbot is another great Tapbots app. It’s a friendly calculator with great sound effects. Yes. I said that.

Reeder (App Store)

RSS feeds are my dirty habit. I try to keep the list small but I still find myself checking it several times a day. For this, I use Reeder on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Instapaper (App Store)

I know there are other read-it-later services but I love the way Marco Arment sweats all the details. Instapaper is, for me, a triage of sorts where articles get routed to Evernote, OmniFocus, Reading folders, and the trash. I also pay the monthly $1 subscription.

WriteRoom (App Store)

I have an ongoing battle between WriteRoom and Notesy for syncing my nvALT text files from my Mac. Currently I’m using WriteRoom because it is so damn fast at syncing. (As an aside, sometimes I’ll also run an instance of Notesy just syncing to my current Field Guide files through Scrivener on my Mac.)

Byword (App Store)

Byword is where I keep anything I’m currently writing on. I love the iCloud sync and the simple UI. It just works.

Downcast (App Store)

I originally used Instacast. I paid for the app and the in-app upgrades but they made changes to the UI and I never got used to it. Moreover, the icon was about the same color as the Music and Reader apps, which led to me sometimes hitting the wrong one. (I know how ridiculous that sounds.) So I tried Downcast about six months ago and it stuck with me, immediately.


I know a lot of nerds put the Music app on a second page but I really love music.

1Password (App Store)

Agile’s done such an amazing job with version 4. I use this app probably more than I use Safari since it logs me in so efficiently and the in-app browser is so good.


I’m a fiddler with iPhone settings so I keep it handy. It would be nice if I could use Siri to do some of the most common tasks, like toggle Bluetooth and WiFi.

A Word about Badges.

I don’t like them. It feels like my iPhone is yelling at me. I turn badges off on just about every app that has them. I even turn them off on the email client. (Actually, I especially turn them off on the email client.) I’ve deleted apps that made too much a chore out of turning off their badges. In OmniFocus, I turn off all badges except “Due”. If OmniFocus lights up a badge, I know I have troubles.

The Second Page

I do seem to collect apps. My second page is a group of alphabetized folders with apps that I occasionally use or am trying out.

david sparks page 2.jpg

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My Lock Screen

I rather like my lock screen. The image was created by a friend of mine, Gabe Wilson. You can download it with the below link.

Make me a Pirate (download)