Home Screens – Dr. Barrett Mosbacker

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Some of my favorite home screens come from MacSparky readers. Dr. Barrett Mosbacker is one of those. So Barrett, show us your home screen.


What are some of your favorite apps?

For managing my personal and professional life my favorite apps are Spark, Fantastical, Things 3, GoodNotes, and DEVONthink. Spark and Fantastical are powerful but easy to use applications for managing my email and events. After being a long time OmniFocus Pro user I recently made the switch to Things 3. Both are exemplary apps for managing projects but I ultimately moved to Things 3 because I found myself spending less time fiddling with the application and more time getting work done. Things 3 is also an exquisitely designed app that is a pleasure to use.

I have been looking for the Holy Grail of applications for managing and integrating project and meeting notes, documents, and research. I finally found them in GoodNotes and DEVONthink. GoodNotes gives me the ability to use my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil to take meeting notes in an unobtrusive manner. Because GoodNotes has accurate handwriting recognition (even for my horrible penmanship) I can export my meeting notes to DEVONthink. Later when I need to find these notes I can search for them in DEVONthink. I switched to DEVONthink after being a long time Evernote Business user. Although DEVONthink takes time to learn, its powerful features and integrated mobile app make it the ideal repository for all of my personal and professional notes, documents, and research.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I’m feeling a little guilty for saying so, but I don’t have one. Virtually all of my iPhone and iPad applications are for getting things done. The closest I come to a guilty pleasure is the Kindle app for my professional and pleasure reading. I may need to get a life! 🙂

What app makes you most productive?

Things 3. I manage a large number of complex projects involving my Senior Leadership Team as well as mundane personal tasks like reminding me to take the trash to the curb. For my purposes, Things 3 has the right balance of power, flexibility, and elegant GUI.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

I am probably underutilizing MindNode. I do a lot of writing and speaking. Scrivener is my go to application for all writing—from short blog articles to essays and book projects. I also use it for drafting my speaking notes. I find myself vacillating between using MindNode and OmniOutliner when drafting my thoughts and outlines for writing or speaking projects. I would default more often to MindNode if it had true Apple Pencil support.

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

I use my iPhone approximately once an hour through out the day beginning at 4:30am when its alarm goes off. I use the iPad all day throughout the day. I have Things 3 open on the iPad, which sits next to my MacBook Pro. This keeps my to-do list constantly in front of me so that I focus on what is most important. I grab the iPad and Apple Pencil whenever I have a meeting. I take my handwritten notes in GoodNotes and then export them to DEVONthink for future reference. Any to-do items arising from the meeting go into Things 3.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

I use the Fantastical, Things 3, AccuWeather, The Calculator, and Deliveries widgets.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

It is difficult to identify favorite features but I suppose on the iPhone it would be the dictation application. I cannot type quickly and accurately using the on screen keyboard on the iPhone X so I rely heavily on dictation. Apple Pencil support is my favorite feature of the iPad Pro. I use it for taking notes, annotating PDFs, and jotting down ideas.

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

I would enhance iCloud to have the feature sets of both DropBox and Google Docs and I would substantially increase the total free space available to iCloud, or at least substantially increase the space available at each price tier. I would like to make iCloud my default application for storing and sharing documents and collaboration. The way things stand now, I use iCloud to sync across my devices, DropBox for sharing documents with others, and Google Docs when I need robust collaboration. I would also substantially enhance the capability of Siri. Apple lead in this space but has since fallen behind Google and Amazon.

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

I have a Series 2 Apple watch. I use the Siri watch face as my default but I also use the Activity Face for my morning workout and for tracking my physical activity throughout the day.

What’s your wallpaper and why?

I use a solid black wallpaper on my iPhone because it makes the app icons stand out without distraction. On my iPad I use a beautiful fall picture of the Saint Louis Gateway Arch National Park.

Thanks Barrett.

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