Home Screens - Serenity Caldwell

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One of my favorite people to connect with every year at Macworld/iWorld is Serenity Caldwell (Twitter) (Website). Serenity is a regular contributor at Macworld, roller derby badass, and an ebook wizard. She knows more about creating epubs in her pinky than I know in my entire body. So Serenity, show us your home screen.


What are some of your favorite apps?

I absolutely can’t get by without TweetbotFantasticalDropbox, or iBooks; and the other apps on my home screen all play vital roles, too.

My Twitter interactions are almost solely on my iPhone, so I need a client like Tweetbot to handle the load. (And the lists support! I love lists more than I probably should.) Fantastical keeps me organized, and it’s so easy to use. I even got my mother using it over Thanksgiving!

Dropbox… what can I say about Dropbox that people haven’t already said a million times? Thanks to the app, I always have the documents I need, even on the go. I’ve been knitting a lot recently, and Dropbox’s offline support is perfect for tiny knitting patterns.

iBooks is just a godsend for reading on the go. I used to be a huge book nerd growing up, and I’d always travel with at least one (if not two) books in my bag. The iPhone makes my habits a little less cumbersome, and though I seem to be one of the few, I really love reading on the Retina screen; were it not for iBooks, I don’t think I would have read half the books I did last year. (Also, it incentivizes me to read a chapter of a book while waiting in line instead of just vacantly scrolling through Twitter.)

Moves is my favorite tracker app, though I also have Pedometer++ for a more week-by-week overview. I love the way Moves tells a story with your map data and your walking patterns—it’s almost like keeping a daily journal without having to write down all the particulars. I find just following my map from a given day sparks those memories: “Oh, right, I went and ate sushi with my teammates here, and there was that terrible lounge singer…”

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

You know, I really kind of love playing with Hatch. I’m not usually a big virtual pets person, but the Hatch animations are super cute and very clever, and it’s just an incredibly well built little app.

I’ve also started using Level Money a whole lot to try and better track and curb my spending—though it was hard, during the holidays! I like the attitude it takes, though, and it feels almost like a little game: "Try to see how much money you can avoid spending throughout the week.” I wish it were a tad more flexible about being able to tag income, though—if your income changes on a given month—do a freelance gig, for example—you have to go in and manually add that to your monthly projected income, rather than have it adjust spending totals automatically.

What is the app you are still missing?

I’ve yet to find a fitness logger (for more than steps) that really catches my fancy, though I’ve got a bunch to try that I’ve recently downloaded. (FitStar and Argus, to name some.)

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

Many times. Probably too many, to be honest. One of my 2014 tech goals is to be a little less glued to the screen, a little more cognizant of the world around. It’s hard to detach, though.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

Even though most folks (including me) rarely use it as a telephone, the iPhone is still a great communications tool. I love being able to instantaneously chat with friends and family all over the globe via text messages, pictures, social networks, FaceTime… it’s incredible. I’ve taken FaceTime calls at ball parks and on (grounded) airplanes before. It really makes the device feel magical.

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

Ha ha. Gosh. Well, as a book nerd and epub enthusiast, I’d love to see more work put in on the iBooks app. Apple has taken the ebook format so far in some ways, but support on the iPhone is lackluster compared to the iPad and the Mac. I want to see active work put in on supporting iBooks Author books on the iPhone, and Apple should continue to incorporate the forward-thinking work done by the Webkit team into iBooks’s .epub and .ibooks formats.

Amen sister. Thanks Serenity.