Home Screens – Joshua Holt

This week’s home screen features reader and listener Joshua Holt (Website). Joshua is a lawyer working at a big shiny office in New York. In his spare time, he blogs about personal finance topics while trying to build a community of lawyers to help each other avoid doing dumb things with their money. So Joshua, show us your home screen.

What are some of your favorite apps?

Drafts, Overcast, 1Password and Hangouts are my favorite home screen apps right now. My iPhone is mainly a device for capturing ideas, communicating and the occasional consumption of video.

I’m a total convert to Drafts. It’s my digital notepad on both my iPhone and iPad and my number one resource for capturing ideas, tasks, or anything that needs to be written down. It’s one of the few apps that is allowed to have badges turned on, which lets me know that I need to process through my notes (which is a snap thanks to the robust action platform that lets me send text to the right app).

Overcast is a must for my subway commute. It’s how I keep up with MacPowerUsers and thanks to a neat trick from Katie Floyd, it’s also a way to get Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits, which are required in the legal profession.

A lot of people make a fuss about the security aspect of using strong passwords, but without 1Password I have no idea how people keep track of their various logins. It seems crazy to me. I have over 425 accounts according to 1Password. Without one program to manage them, I’d explode in frustration every time I had to login to a website.

Hangouts is a new home page app for me, but I am experimenting with dropping my voice plan since I rarely make voice calls. Hangouts allows you to make free calls to regular phone numbers over both wifi and data. So far, so good. I think the day isn’t too far away when voice plans will go the way of the dinosaurs. I already prefer to use FaceTime Audio thanks to the superior call quality and my work phone runs over the Internet, so why shouldn’t my mobile phone?

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Chess. A few months ago, I discovered that you could play three minute games against anyone in the world. I’m hooked. I find it relaxing to get lost in a few quick chess matches in between tasks. I probably play more than I should, but I figure it’s a better habit than using Facebook.

What app makes you most productive?

I’m surprised to say this, but I’m most productive in the Mail app. I enjoy processing email on my iPhone more than on Outlook on my work PC. As a lawyer, we spend way too much time writing email and I appreciate the limitations on email responses that comes from replying with an iPhone. Also, the predictive “move” command in iOS 10 has really helped me keep my inbox clean which means I try to triage email as much as possible on my iPhone rather than diving into Outlook.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

ToDoist. It’s my favorite task management app, particularly because it is cross-platform and has a lightweight UI, but I’ve just never been great at running a task management system. There’s something about sitting down to handle tasks assigned by former me that I find really distasteful. Like, “who is that guy to be telling me what to do?” That said, I use Todoist as a running list of things I’d like to accomplish and open it up from time to time to pick things I feel like working on in a given moment.

What is the app you are still missing?

Hazel for the iPhone would be pretty amazing. I’d love to see an app that could automate certain functions and be triggered by things like time, files, or other inputs.

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

Thanks to the app Moment, I can tell you that I picked my iPhone exactly 46 times yesterday. I don’t know how it’s working under the hood to provide that data, but I think it’s handy to get a sense for how much screen time I’m spending with my iPhone.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

Workflow is hands down my favorite Today widget. I’m getting used to swiping right (rather than down) to bring up my helpful workflows. I work with a personal trainer and send him an email each day with photographs of what I ate. Using Workflow, in two taps, I take a picture, crop it and upload it to a Dropbox folder. From there, Hazel takes over and renames the photo using a timestamp. At the end of each day, Hazel drafts and sends an email automatically attaching my food photos of the day. It’s still magical to me.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

I’ve always been blown away that we have more computing power in our pockets than Neil Armstrong had when he landed on the moon. If you had asked the astronauts in the 1960s whether by 2016 we would have traveled to Mars or invented a device that carried around the entirety of humanity’s knowledge, I think we know which they would have said is more likely.

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

First, I would fix the search functionality in Mail on the iPhone/iPad. It’s not usable. Perhaps this isn’t their fault given that my work email is stored on an Exchange server, but I find it surprising that I can’t easily pinpoint an email in iOS that would take me a few seconds to do on my work PC.

Next, I would fix the problem with iMessage being tied to the phone number of the SIM card. Because iMessage automatically assumes your SIM card number is your primary number, iMessage “breaks” if you travel abroad and replace your SIM with a local SIM. If someone sends you a message at your primary number, you will not receive it. The way around this is to send iMessages to email addresses but not many people know that you can send iMessages to email addresses. The simple fix would be for Apple to allow you to associate any phone number with iMessage if you could prove ownership of the phone message (likely be receiving a SMS code similar to two-factor authentication). This is a big flaw in foreign countries where many people switch SIMs quite regularly and communicate via apps like WhatsApp (which doesn’t have this limitation).

What’s your wallpaper and why?

I can’t remember where I found my lock screen wallpaper, but it’s some type of zen Japanese artwork that I love. I’ve had the same wallpaper since my iPhone 5, so going on four years now.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I think JustSend is a great app. The developer bills it as “Zero Inbox” because it’s email without the inbox. When you open the app you’re presented with the Mail drafting pane and your only options are to send the email. The app makes it really easy to compose and send an email without getting sucked into the inbox.

Dolphin is a great web browser that I use when I’m not on wifi. It has a feature that allows you to turn off photos and videos. Pages load super fast and I don’t worry about using excess data.

Thanks Joshua.