I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

A Home Screen Update

I used to post a month­ly series that looked at the Home Screens of my iPhone and iPad. Over time though I realised it didn’t change as much as I expect­ed and so I lost inter­est in the process. Things have changed a lot recent­ly so I thought it was time to post anoth­er look at my iPhone.
A few of weeks ago I put in to the prac­tise the ideas in a post I linked to about set­ting up an iPhone home screen. I dropped all my apps into one fold­er and popped it in the dock. Then I pulled Tweet­bot, Mes­sages and Mail out along­side it in to the dock. My inten­tion was to try and use my iPhone less, and when I do use it, to use it pro­duc­tive­ly for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with my friends and fam­i­ly.
A cou­ple of weeks lat­er I found myself with five apps sit­ting on a sec­ond page of my home screen. I kept the first screen blank because I want­ed to keep as close to the idea as pos­si­ble, but I want­ed these apps avail­able with­out hav­ing to search for them. They all fell into one cat­e­go­ry. Enter­tain­ment, or more specif­i­cal­ly video ser­vices (iPlay­er, YouTube, etc) to stream con­tent to my Chome­cast or Apple TV.
I’ve now made anoth­er change and intro­duced 8 apps which I use so reg­u­lar­ly it’s worth bring­ing them back to the my home screen to make access­ing them more con­ve­nient. My iPhone still feels much calmer and focused than it did, but it’s not quite as a peace­ful as a blank home screen used to be.

You can see the dif­fer­ence, I’ve gone from three screens with lots of app and fold­ers on each, to two screens each with a clear use case.

The Dock

I’ve made a change to the three apps that sit in my dock. Tweet­bot remains, although I actu­al­ly do all my post­ing to the ser­vice through this site, I still inter­act on the ser­vice a lot and find some great con­tent to save and read.
Mes­sages is fair­ly self explana­to­ry, thank­ful­ly most of my friends and both my par­ents are iPhone users so I do a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion through iMes­sage. It’s been a main­stay of my iPhone dock since the day I got my iPhone 3G years ago.
The third app is Things. I’ve used a lot of to do apps over the years, for a long time I was a Things user, but it’s lack of OTA sync was a deal break­er and I moved to Omni­Fo­cus for many years. In the last year I’ve returned to Things via a stint with Todoist. In fact I was very hap­py with Todoist until the launch of Things 3. It’s just a plea­sure to use and over the last few weeks I’ve found myself using it a lot more than I realised. Most­ly to add things to my Inbox, but also when out shop­ping and run­ning errands.

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Fit­bit
Anoth­er fair­ly self-explana­to­ry one, I wear a Fit­bit pret­ty much every­day and it’s com­pan­ion app keeps things in sync and helps me to keep an eye on how well I sleep and how much I’m mov­ing. One day I hope to replace this with the Health app and an Apple Watch, but that’s a ways off yet.
YNAB
Being wise with my mon­ey is some­thing I am try­ing to be bet­ter at. I’m on a tight bud­get so mak­ing sure I’m sav­ing and keep­ing mon­ey for var­i­ous bills etc is real­ly impor­tant. Since I start­ed using YNAB I’ve found it to be real­ly help­ful and need it to check and add trans­ac­tions too while I’m out and about. It’s the first bud­get app that’s stuck for me since Cha-Ching many years ago.
Over­cast & Apple Music
I lis­ten to quite a few pod­casts on var­i­oius dif­fer­ent sub­jects both while out and about and at home. When I moved some apps back to my home screen it made a lot of sense to include it in the eight. Apple Music fol­lows sim­i­lar log­ic, I like lis­ten­ing to music both out and about as well as at home. Usu­al­ly it starts from my iPhone whether lis­ten­ing on head­phones or over Air­Play to my liv­ing room speak­ers.
Insta­gram
My pho­to shar­ing app of choice. Inter­est­ing­ly as I type this I’m con­sid­er­ing mov­ing it back in to the apps fold­er and replac­ing it with some­thing else. It still sucks me in when I’m just futz­ing about with no real inten­tion which is what I’m try­ing to stop myself doing.
Micro.blog
Micro.blog is a fair­ly new ser­vice, I backed the kick­starter and have been using it since the launch of the beta. Over the last cou­ple of weeks I’ve found myself using it more and more, to the extent that I’m con­sid­er­ing whether it’s worth replac­ing Tweet­bot with it in my dock. I don’t think it’s got quite enough activ­i­ty on it for that just yet, but maybe in the near future as more peo­ple are able to join the ser­vice.
Safari
Again self explana­to­ry, I search the web a lot. Far more than I realised and despite using Spot­light to start most search­es it became more annoy­ing than just open­ing the app and start­ing a search.
Mail
It’s email, I get too much of it, I need to be able to at least keep an eye on it for com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I don’t want to be sucked in to it too much so it doesn’t live in my dock any­more.

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This sec­ond page is pure­ly for the apps I use reg­u­lar­ly to watch con­tent on my TV. In the case of these apps my iPhone becomes my TV remote. Trig­ger­ing a cast from here turns my TV on and gets me straight in to the show or sport­ing event I want to watch. These apps are use­ful to be avail­able with­out hav­ing to search, and keep­ing them on a focused sec­ond screen means they stay out of way for my gen­er­al use dur­ing the day.
— BBC iPlay­er
— Now TV
— Net­flix
— YouTube
— BT Sport
Over­all this has been a real­ly inter­est­ing exer­cise that has helped me to real­ly focus and con­sid­er how I use my iPhone. I hope to con­tin­ue with it like this for a while. There’s just one thing I wish I could do, espe­cial­ly as I have small hands, and that is to be able to pin those eight apps to the two rows above the dock rather than at the top of the screen.

Beautility, My Ultimate iPhone Setup ›

For­give me for link­ing to a piece on Medi­um, espe­cial­ly one that requires you to log in to read. But this inter­est­ing approach to using an iPhone com­pelled me to do so.
I’ve been feel­ing a bit of “app fatigue” when it comes to my iPhone late­ly. So many things on it feel like a bit of a time suck, a way to eas­i­ly get lost in a world of social media and news. On reflec­tion, maybe I’ve start­ed to fall into too much habit­u­al check­ing of apps and not let­ting my mind wan­der with down time. It could be an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment to try and see what effect this kind of set­up might have on my iPhone use.

How Apple Saved My Life ›

If you do only one thing on the inter­net today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often tech­nol­o­gy can make us feel dis­con­nect­ed and absent from those around us, it’s impor­tant to see things from the oth­er end some­thing. In the case of James Rath it’s incred­i­ble to see how much tech­nol­o­gy has influ­enced his life in such a pos­i­tive way.

UK Developing Digital Driving License Stored in Apple Wallet App ›

This morn­ing the CEO of the UK Dri­ving License Author­i­ty post­ed a pro­to­type on Twit­ter of a dig­i­tal ver­sion of the UK dri­ving license in Apple Wal­let. It had­n’t even crossed my mind that this would be on their radar, but it’s cer­tain­ly some­thing I could get on board with. I real­ly don’t like car­ry­ing my wal­let around with me and Apple Pay is one of the big fac­tors dri­ving my desire to upgrade my iPhone (the fact it seems to be dying is the oth­er) and hav­ing my dri­ving license in the wal­let would a great step to being able to leave my wal­let at home.

Ulysses 2.5 for iPad and, Now, iPhone Review ›

A glow­ing review which I could­n’t agree with more. Ever since I down­loaded it for my iPad I’ve been using the app, now it’s on my iPhone as well every­thing I write for this site goes through the app. Paired with the Mac app, it’s great for writ­ing ser­mons in as well.

My Homescreen: May 2015

With this week com­plete­ly focused on fin­ish­ing phase one of a client project, I com­plete­ly missed that it was the 1st of the month yes­ter­day. So now that the work­ing week is over and I’m sat back relax­ing it’s time to sort out this month’s edi­tion of my home­screens. I’ll tack­le both iPhone and iPad at the same time, since the changes to both are iden­ti­cal and for the same rea­son.

iPhone

iPhone May 2015

Dock

The Rest

iPad

iPad My 2015

Dock

The Rest

What’s New?

  • Omni­Fo­cus — Since the start of the year I’ve been using Things to man­age my tasks, in the last month I’ve end­ed up switch­ing back to Omni­Fo­cus. Part­ly because one of the por­jects I’m work­ing on has need­ed break­ing down fur­ther than Things can cope with, and part­ly because of Omni­Fo­cus Mail­Drop.
  • Out­look, Gmail, Inbox by Gmail and Mail­box — Recent­ly I’ve been hav­ing some issues with the provider of my email, lots of servers down and unre­li­able deliv­ery. As a self-employed per­son I need to be able to rely on my email nev­er fail­ing, and so my work email has now switched to Google Apps. I’m still decid­ing on my per­son­al email set­up.

One of the advan­tages of mov­ing to Google Apps for Work has allowed me to test out a few email apps I couldn’t use pre­vi­ous­ly, and also to com­bine my email with IFTTT so that it works hard­er for me. Part of that IFTTT inte­gra­tion has been to com­bine the Gmail chan­nel with the email chan­nel and my Omni­Fo­cus Mail­Drop address. I’m still refin­ing things and try­ing to decide which apps to use, but I hope to be able to explain fur­ther how I’m mak­ing my email work for me rather than hav­ing to work to keep on top of it.

NeuBible. A Bible app designed for you ›

This post is a bit of a rar­i­ty, it’s the first link post I’ve post­ed since the reboot of this blog and I think it’s a fit­ting one.
I’m a big fan of my bible being a paper one, it’s great to be cut off and focused from the world while I’m read­ing it. I do how­ev­er, like the util­i­ty of hav­ing the Bible on my phone and this new app called Neu­Bible looks absolute­ly stun­ning. It does­n’t yet include my pre­ferred trans­la­tion (ESV for those inter­est­ed) but I will be cer­tain­ly giv­ing it a try. If you’ve nev­er read the bible, this seems like a beau­ti­ful place to start.