Home Screens – Larry Salibra

This week’s home screen features Larry Salibra (Website) (Twitter). Larry, from Ohio but now living in Hong Kong, was a founder of pay4bugs.com and, among other endeavors, wrote an interesting post about how to put Live Photos on the web. So Larry, show us your home screen.

What are some of your favorite apps?

Apple Music is my current favorite app. It’s really done a lot to introduce me to new music outside of my normal comfort zone. When I don’t know what I want to listen to, I listen to Beats 1. When I hear a song on Beats 1 I like, I’ll add it to my music and sometimes even dive deeper and explore that artist’s other works. Before Apple Music, music discovery via radio was much higher friction.

I use the Hong Kong Observatory’s weather app to check out weather radar whenever it looks like it’s going to rain to plan my driving route around any potential rain clouds. I drive a scooter, and like to avoid getting soaked. Hong Kong has a lot of mountains and islands and it’s amazing how by choosing a slightly different route – perhaps through a tunnel instead of over a bridge, or on the non-rainy side of a hill – to a destination you can avoid getting wet.

I like the Breadwallet bitcoin wallet. It’s well done both technically and visually.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Twitter. I love to see what’s going on and get involved in silly Twitter debates about China, cybersecurity or Bitcoin.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

I’m definitely underusing OmniFocus. It’s my go to for everything I need to do, but I’m not as disciplined as I should be keeping it organized.

What is the app you are still missing?

I’m really looking forward to the Blockstack iOS client. Blockstack is a blockchain-based global internet database has the potential to revolutionize the way we as consumers manage our private information, store our login credentials and access information. Think decentralized domain names and decentralized FaceBook login secured by the Bitcoin blockchain.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

I use my iPhone all day. I’m using it listening to music on while I’m working. I keep sound notifications turned off and frequently set the phone (and my watch & mac) to do not disturb to escape from the constant deluge of iMessage, Whatsapp, Wechat, Telegram and other messages.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

I’m using the Bitcoin ticker widget and the Air Quality widgets. I like to keep track of the price of Bitcoin and how much damage is being done to my lungs if I’m traveling in Mainland China. (The air in Hong Kong is usually pretty good!)

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

The camera is the best feature of my iPhone. It’s really changed how I keep in touch with my friends and family. My brother, who currently lives in Bulgaria recently called me on Facetime from the Munich airport on a layover on his business trip to the UK because he wanted to show me the planes he was watching from the observation deck. It’s amazing that we can still share these moments even though two brothers from Ohio spend most of our lives on opposite sides of the earth thousands of miles from home. iPhone enables that..

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

I’d like to see Apple do something about Apple Maps in Hong Kong. It hasn’t received any of the improvements maps in the rest of the world has and is light years behinds the maps they offer their customers in Mainland China. The obvious solution would be to let us use the maps users in Mainland China get since the China supplier’s maps of Hong Kong are much, much better than what we’re forced to use.

(Here are some tweets that show the difference between Apple Maps view of same place from both sides of the border.

I’d also like to see them improve the UX of Apple Notes. Folders work inconsistently across platforms and the app sometimes feels sluggish with a lot of notes.

iMessage is also another common source of problems. The phone number/apple id aspect of iMessage causes a lot of problems. I usually give people my apple id and tell them they can reach me via iMessage. Most people don’t even know that you can send iMessages to “emails”. What will then happen, is that person sends me an iMessage that comes from their phone number. Our messages stop getting delivered as soon at the person changes phone numbers by switching SIMs. I live in a part of the world where people are always changing numbers. Hong Kong’s country code (852) covers an area the size of New York City and most people don’t want to pay for roaming, so they usually switch to a local sim card as soon as they board the plane or cross the border, not realizing that switching sims will “break” their iMessage. If you exchanged Apple IDs with each other, it keeps working as you’d expect. If you didn’t (most people don’t), your messages just never get delivered or one party will suddenly get a message from a new unknown number.

Apple could easily fix this by making iMessage send from Apple ID by default, but it’s probably too late in many markets where Whatsapp or Wechat reigns supreme and many people have removed the Messages app from their home screen altogether.

Do you have an Apple Watch? Show us your watch face tell us about it.

Yes. I have the Apple Watch Sport 38mm with the white band. I’m using the utility watch with the activity, weather and sunset/sunrise complications. I like to do outdoor activities like hiking or swimming, so it’s important to know how many more hours of daylight I have. I also often stay up late and want to make sure I get to sleep before the sun comes up.

The killer app for my watch is turn by turn driving directions on my Vespa – much safer than how I’d previously have to pull over to the side of the road in busy traffic, take off my riding gloves, fumble to get my iPhone out of my pocket and then hope I could memorize the upcoming turns. It’s been a real life saver – literally!

What’s your wallpaper and why?

I recently changed to a colorful cityscape I found online. I really like how it brings out the capabilities of the iPhone 6s Plus screen and brightens up what has been a rather dark and rainy spring. Honestly, though I don’t see it very often, because I’m usually listening to music so the album artwork is on my lock screen.

Thanks Larry.