Home Screens – Sal Soghoian

This week I’ll be up in San Jose speaking at the CMD-D: Masters of Automation conference. The reason this remarkable conference is happening at all is because of the hard work of Sal Soghoian (website), former head of automation at Apple. The conference is all about automating the Mac and iOS and tickets are still available. Now that Sal is no longer with the giant fruit company, I asked him to share his home screen and he agreed. So Sal, show us your home screen.

First, Sal’s Thoughts on Privacy

I should probably preface my answers by stating that my view of cell-phones is a little “outside of average.” I am quite aware that cell phones are potential personal tracking devices to be used carefully, maybe a little apprehensively, for the convenience of communication. That means, I don’t use Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, video streams, etc. So my answers probably seem very “tinfoil“ — LOL! 

Generally, I try to avoid using the phone except for necessary encrypted conversation or messaging. My ideal phone setup would be one that could be erased at any time, with a minimum of resulting hassle. (Still working on keeping email off the phone.) I also carry a Faraday pouch for when I enter stores or public places where customer tracking of phones is an accepted practice.

That said, even though my phone setup is quite customized for my particular view of how the technology should serve me, I think the phone and watch are an amazing communications duo. 

What are some of your favorite apps?

“The Essentials:” ExpressVPN, Signal, Workflow, and NOAA Radar. Using Signal for messaging and ExpressVPN together is like “wearing clothes.” Fast, secure, and as easy as throwing on jeans and a shirt; why would anyone run around naked? Workflow eliminates much of the one-finger-tap-at-a-time business. NOAA Radar is info packed and very cool.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Solitaire. Playing solitaire is calming, focused and rewarding. The one I picked is from MobilityWare. 

My wife sometimes looks at me and doesn’t say it, but I know she’s thinking, “hey, instead of sitting there putting those cards away, how about your socks?” So, it really is a guilty pleasure. But I deserve it.

What app makes you most productive?

My particular view of how the technology should serve me includes the phone and watch in the roles of ‘an amazing communications duo.’ Thus, my use of the phone is all about communication, which makes productivity on the phone all about Signal.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

Generally, the apps I have on the phone suit my purposes for the device. Since my phone is a 5SE with the smallest screen Apple sells, my essential productivity apps, like OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner live on my Mac and iPad Pro.

What is the app you are still missing?

Not sure, I pretty happy with my setup.

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

If you count reading news, then all the time. First thing in the morning I read the local paper in the way it lands on my driveway. By the middle of breakfast, I’ve moved over to the NYTimes and Washington Post on the phone, until the first phone call comes in. And so it goes…

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

I don’t use widgets, Siri, or use the phone for scheduling purposes. I do get banking notifications. It’s another example of aligning the technology for communications, in this case from the bank.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Apple’s dedication to securing customers’ personal information. By far, the trust placed in Apple to secure personal information means more than money. Thankfully, Apple shares the belief, and Tim Cook beautifully stated it as “Privacy is a fundamental human right.”

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

Two things:

1) Add a “panic print” — a designated fingerprint that would erase the device immediately upon contact — no confirmation required.

2) Implement a system-wide user-automation scripting language similar to AppleScript on macOS. Magic ensues!

What’s on Your Apple Watch?

My Apple Watch has no 3rd-party apps or complications and is set to Micky Mouse. The watch’s main function is to alert me to messages and incoming Signal sessions.

What’s your wallpaper and why?

A picture of myself so that it is easy to identify which phone in the house is mine.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for being such a great friend of the Apple Automation community!

My Pleasure. Thanks Sal!