Home Screens – Garren Rose

A few months ago I started corresponding with Garren Rose, an IT student at Arizona State University who is using the heck out of his iPad Pro. Garren was nice enough to share his iPad Pro home screen and explain some of his favorite apps. So Garren, show us your home screen.

What are some of your favorite apps?

I’ll admit, when I got the iPad Pro last month, I went a little nuts in the app store. My sister gave me an iTunes gift card to get me started, and then I spent the next few days in a blur of pure joy and reckless financial ruin. After the dust settled, I ended up with some great new favorites, and I’ve barely even scratched the surface of what’s available:

Pixelmator – I rushed to this app first because I’ve been a big fan of the desktop version for a long time and I was excited to be able to sync my projects between devices. What I did not expect, however, was how crazy-intuitive, racked with new features, and FUN the iOS version would be. I used it right away to touch up my family’s holiday card and it couldn’t have been easier. 

Korg iMS–20 – I’m a big synth nerd and I’ve been waiting years for Korg to release a reliable, non-crashy version of this app. I’m happy to say, the wait is over! The UI looks intimidating because it is designed to look exactly like the real Korg MS–20, but it’s incredibly user-friendly and comes with fantastic documentation. I port it into Garageband when I’m on-the-go so I can save my little synth hooks to use in bigger Ableton projects on my Mac later. 

MacID – Every time I use MacID, I feel like a straight-up wizard. This piece of software is seriously genius. It gives paranoid (security-minded) people like me the ability to lock and unlock their Macs securely from an iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. With Touch ID enabled, the process becomes ridiculously simple and fast. Now, I don’t ever have to waste time pecking in my gibberish password 20+ times a day. The iOS version also lets me control iTunes on my Mac, in case I want to rock out while I lock out.

Screens – This app has saved me two grand by keeping me from needed to replace my aging (but functional) Macbook Pro. I commute far to school and lugging the 15” Macbook Pro Retina every day was starting to take a serious toll on my machine. With Screens, I can leave my Mac safely at home on my desk and access it remotely from my iPad Pro whenever I need to grab a small file or work in any of my desktop software. One downside for iPad Pro users: if you use one of the smart keyboards, you’ll have to disconnect it and use the normal touch keyboard while logged in to your Mac. Hopefully Edovia has an update for us in the pipeline.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure app is BaconReader, a reddit client. I spend far too much time on it—it’s my go-to “I’m bored right now” app. I’m referred to as a “lurker” on reddit, which means I soak up all the interesting things that other users post, and in return, contribute nothing to the conversation. I am a terrible redditor, admittedly. But it’s addicting.

I’ve tried all of the big reddit clients out there, including their own homegrown Alien Blue, but none have been as easy to browse or operate as BaconReader. 

What app makes you most productive?

There are two apps that tie for me in the productivity department: 2Do and LastPass.  

2Do is my task manager and my calendar, combined. It is a phenomenal task manager; it syncs seamlessly over CalDAV via the Reminders app to all of my devices, leaving me with no excuse not to get those tasks checked off every day. If you’re someone who needs a ton of customization options in your task manager, consider 2Do. It’s packed with more features than you’d ever need so that you can find a combo that suits your lifestyle.

LastPass is my password manager of choice. From what I hear on MPU, it seems to have a lot of the same features as 1Password, but without the added “Team” element. It was reasonably priced for a year of premium, so I went for it, and I have had no complaints whatsoever. The UI is slick, organized, and consistent across every platform I’ve needed it on. I can’t believe how many passwords I used to carry around in my head all the time. Additionally, the app recently added action support, so accessing my passwords in any iOS browser is cake!

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

IF and DO Button (IFTTT apps) – I jumped on the Wemo train this year and purchased some components for my home. I’ve had a pretty good experience so far; it’s nice to not have to get up to flip the lights off while I’m working or watching TV, but I would love to incorporate more automation into the setup. I’ve read enough about IFTTT to know I could be living that sweet fully-automated life if I just sat down and messed with it for an hour. 

What is the app you are still missing?

I just want to see more apps that implement VR headset technology like Google Cardboard. Despite the old stigma, VR is not a novelty anymore and it’s certainly not going away. Look at the incredible following and praise Oculus has already drummed up! I say Apple should go all in and get to work on the iHolodeck. 

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

Between work, school, and wasting time, it’s got to be in the hundreds. I have them on me constantly!

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

QuickSwitch – QuickSwitch is an alternative app to control Wemo devices, but I bought it specifically because it includes the widget element, whereas the official Wemo app did not. Now it’s just one simple swipe down and I can toggle or adjust all of my devices.

2Do – The little 2Do widget can be customized to display whichever lists the main app that I designate, but I like to keep mine set to only show overdue tasks that I’ve tagged as “important,” but still haven’t completed. When my alarm wakes me up in the morning and I want to roll back over to sleep, that’s when this widget really shines. My workflow is simple: swipe down to access the widget, glance over the ultra-crucial tasks I didn’t do yesterday, panic while imagining the consequences, and just like that, I’m up! Carpe diem!

MacID – From this widget, I can lock/unlock my Mac, start a screensaver, or send the iPad’s secure clipboard data to the Mac—all with just one swipe down and one tap. 

Evernote – I love how Evernote is all about accessibility. This widget acts as a launcher for creating/adding new Evernote elements on-the-fly. It can also search through my indexed notes and preview my most recently viewed ones for quick access. 

What is your favorite feature of the iPad Pro?

My favorite feature of the iPad Pro has got to be the screen real estate, especially
when combined with the split screen multitasking technology we got with iOS 9. I use this feature all the time to quickly respond to messages without interrupting my workflow. I can’t imagine ever going back!

What’s your wallpaper and why?

My wallpaper is a digital painting by my incredibly talented girlfriend Megan. She made it on her iPad Mini 4 using the Paper 53 Pencil.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I just want to say thank you for all the guidance and encouragement you give to Mac nerds like me, and that it’s a huge privilege to contribute to Home Screens!   Oh, and I’ll give a shout out to the fantastic ASU Polytechnic School IT Program. Go Devils!