This week’s home screen features Darren Carr (Twitter). Darren blogs at The Mac Quad and podcasts at the Mac Quadcast. Darren writes, podcasts, and does Mac troubleshooting. He’s also a graduate of the London School of Economics. Darren pulls all of this off while being paralyzed from the neck down. So Darren, show us your home screen.
What are Some of Your Favorite Apps?
My homescreen changes on a regular basis but there are some apps that have established themselves as mainstays. For my personal life Spark and BusyCal are the two that stand out, for many years I just used the Mail app but several bugs (such as notifications being extremely flaky) sent me on a quest which ended in Spark which I find extremely stable and easy to use. BusyCal is my calendar of choice on the Mac therefore it seemed natural to use the iOS app. My task management app of choice at the moment is Todoist, I seem to go between Todoist and OmniFocus, however, Todoist has suck for the last few months as I found OmniFocus had features that I just didn’t make use of.
My notes app is one that has caused much head scratching, I think I’ve been through every new/popular one on the market but have ended up back with Evernote, it has the feature set I require and on the Mac I feel the Web Clipper is unrivalled. Other apps that I access on a daily basis are Day One not so much for a journal but enables me to easily keep a medical diary (essential in my situation) and also Ulysses for blog post ideas etc.
WHICH APP IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
I wouldn’t describe any of the apps I use as a Guilty Pleasure but I love audiobooks, being paralysed it is much easier to listen to audio than access a physical book or continuously be looking at a screen to use an ebook so I would say Audible and iBooks. Many people would include their Social Media apps here but I seem to have a hate/hate relationship with current social media.
WHAT APP MAKES YOU MOST PRODUCTIVE?
Probably Todoist, having a convenient list of tasks to tick off and therefore seeing that badge count come down is always a great feeling. Todoist is so simple that you don’t get trapped in there once it is launched thus you spend more time being productive.
WHAT APP DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE UNDERUTILISING
I know I should be using Drafts more, it has been on my homescreen for an eternity but I always find myself going into the appropriate app for the writing that I’m going to do eg. Messages, Spark or Ulysses. I realise using Drafts will save me time but going to the individual app is a habit that is difficult to break.
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU USE YOUR IPHONE/IPAD?
My iPad is mainly a consumption device so I don’t use it everyday, as a motor impaired user I find it much easier to get things done on my Mac which I spend most of the day on. The iPhone is used about 5 or 6 times a day the main times are in the morning before I get up and then in the evening for either an audiobook or to catch up on podcasts.
WHAT TODAY VIEW WIDGETS ARE YOU USING AND WHY?
My today view widgets are Todoist Today for obvious reasons. The Apple News widget, the BBC Sport widget and the BBC Weather widget just for a quick overview of what’s happening in the world and what the local weather is likely to be (it’s London, obviously it’s raining). Doing this homescreen exercise has made me put Drafts into the Today widget list to try to utilise it more.
IF YOU WERE IN CHARGE AT APPLE, WHAT WOULD YOU ADD OR CHANGE?
A feature that I’ve wanted for ages is Siri added to iBooks on iOS so that it is possible to say: ‘Hey, Siri“ ”Turn Page Forward”, surely this is really easy to add and would be a very useful accessibility feature.
DO YOU HAVE AN APPLE WATCH? SHOW US YOUR WATCH FACE TELL US ABOUT IT.
I have an Apple Watch series zero with the Utility watch face. My complications are Messages, Spark, Date and Calendar. I primarily have my Apple Watch for the time (who’d have thought) and for and easy way to check for notifications. Being paralysed from the neck down the activity features are not a major selling point, however, the Heart Rate app is a great feature. It would be a bonus if a blood pressure sensor could be added.
WHAT’S YOUR WALLPAPER AND WHY?
I like to keep my iPhone and iPad wallpaper set at the solid back one provided by Apple, I think it looks much more sophisticated than a photograph and makes it easier to distinguish between apps.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I’m using an iPhone 8 +, I really enjoy the large screen as it makes the iPhone useable for most applications. I’m able to watch something comfortably, read ebooks or PDFs and typing is much easier than smaller screens. I chose the 8 + over the X mainly due to the facial recognition on the X, the facial recognition only allows for one face to be recognised at present and being paralysed from the neck down there are several people I have to trust with access to my iPhone, the Touch ID sensor enables this while facial recognition does not.