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My iPhone Home Screen: October 2012 Edition

A new phone. A new home screen. A new social network. There have been extensive changes to my home screen with the release of the iPhone 5 and App.net’s rise as my favorite (soon to be “only”?) social network. Given the iPhone 5’s added screen real estate, I have an extra row of apps to cover so this might take a while to write as well as read so let’s not delay things any further.

Row One

1Password has long been a standard on all of my devices. Lately, with all of the hackings and whatnot, it has become one of the most essential. Rotating highly unique passwords is possible because of 1Password’s ability to generate them as needed and cut/paste them where needed.

If you don’t have 1Password, buy it. If you own it but you’re not using it, you’re just asking for it. I’ll just leave this here… you know who you are.

Calvetica remained on the Home screen for a while but I’m impatient for an expanded view for iPhone 5. Calendaring apps present situations that benefit greatly from increased screen real estate. Since Week Cal was one of the first to jump on the expanded screen, and I had it hidden on the back page, I just swapped the two and I’m pretty happy with it. I forgot how good this app was. Calvetica is on the back page for now and I’ll just swap them randomly, I guess…

Awful is still in heavy use to read the SomethingAwful forums. (I hate Reddit so much – it’s the cesspool of a comment section beneath every forum post in the world but in handy forum form.)

Utilities folder
In my Utilities folder, I keep a rotating cast of characters that need more-than-occasional access and aren’t accessible through Launch Center Pro (see below). Calendar, Clock, Calculator, Bing, Glassboard, GV Mobile+, Adian, Rivr all live in here. I keep moving ADN clients in and out of this folder but I’ll get to App.Net (ADN) in a second.

Row Two

Instacast is back in the mix. I love the other clients I’ve tried but Instacast is the best fit for how I listen to podcasts. Instacast developers moved quickly to fix the complaints that heavy users like me had after a major release that changed many really good features. After those features made their way back to the app, I returned as well. It’s a really good app nowadays.

Fitbit still gets my food and water consumption entered into it every day. It’s become habit and the changes in the recent version of the app made it marginally better. At least it didn’t make it worse, which is usually my fear after big changes.

Soulver, as Ben Brooks mentioned recently, is a really amazing product. I use it all the time for monthly expenses, working out financial planning for hiring and project management and helping my 12 year old with his algebra homework.

Settings is back on the Home screen, mainly because I use the new iOS 6 “Do Not Disturb” mode fairly often and I wanted it more accessible. If it could be toggled in Launch Center Pro or via the Notifications pull down, it’d be ideal but I’m not holding out hope.

Row Three

Felix is one of the ADN clients on my iPhone. I’m using quite a few right now, testing them out and putting them all through their paces. Felix is fantastic. The “feel” is just right, the look is aesthetically pleasing and usable and, as a 1.0, it was rock solid and stable. I was happily using Felix for about a week but then Netbot hit (yesterday) which turned things upsidedown for me. I continue to get push notifications through Felix and use it about half the time. If a few key changes get made (bookmark sync & gap expansion are the two I have in mind), it may be the client that stays on the front page.

Dark Sky remains the most magical app on my phone. Last Friday, I was working from home and Dark Sky sent me a push notification that rain was going to start in my area soon. I have a fairly long driveway (we moved to a really cool rented farmhouse last year) so I got up and went out to fetch the mail before I ran the risk of getting soaked. On the walk back to the house, sure enough, rain started to fall. Magic.

Harvest for my hours tracking. A necessary evil, I’m afraid.

Nebulous Notes has taken a huge leap in the last version. I use it across iPhone and iPad and it is the best Dropbox-integrated text editor out there. At least for me. It suits all of my needs pretty perfectly including, after some monkeying around, outlining meeting notes. It is an essential app if there ever was one.

Row Four

Netbot is a newcomer but it is a fantastic addition. Helping move ADN from a small, fringe upstart to something a bit more visible, Tapbots released a version of their streaming social network client for ADN and, while it is very similar in form and function to its flagship app, Tweetbot, what it means to people who have been on ADN for a while is significant. I have been buying, downloading and using all of the ADN clients I can get my hands on, not only to support the work of the developers but to see what new things can be done with the fledgling APIs and concepts.

Netbot uses ADN to replicate Twitter and that’s not such a bad thing. Twitter’s treatment of its longstanding users and developer community has been appalling. I can see, as the network expands, the apps changing to embrace some of its newer functions (annotations, privacy APIs) and grow with the features as they’re added. It’s a great start. As I’ve been singing the praises of Tweetbot for some time, I’m happy to see Tapbots on ADN too.

Google+ is still on the front page. I check it once a day but it’s a weird mix of Android fans, science news and beer links.

Safari gets a lot more use now that Cloudtabs exist.

Row Five

Drafts has had some fantastic updates since my last post about it (more to come too!). It is my go-to for short text files to keep information handy like parking spots, phone numbers entered on the fly, etc. It’s my digital scrap paper with the added ability to shoot these little snippets of text to all sorts of handy places.

OmniFocus is something I write fairly often about. It’s about as important as my iPhone at this point.

Sparrow is back! For me anyway. I was using Mail.app for all of my accounts but I have quite a few and it got confusing. Breaking them out and serving my gmail accounts from a sad, deprecated, likely-no-longer-supported app seemed like the marginally right thing to do. Sad. Very sad.

Mail - Yuck. Although, VIPs are a nice feature, I’ll admit.

The Dock

Phone - Yes Dialvetica is gone, and has made room for the stock Phone app. I’m sad that Dialvetica no longer seems like it will be getting any support or new versions (last update in December 2011) but Phone gets the job done.

Messages seems to have been fixed from the perspective of iMessage sending things to all of the right devices. Messages on the Macbook Air now seems to work with the advent of Mountain Lion and having a cohesive messaging solution that does what it supposed to do is as surprising as it is handy.

Trillian has only gotten better and better. I use it constantly as I swap from the laptop to the phone, back to the laptop, and so on with each having the same messages completely in sync. It’s a staple for me and extremely stable and capable. Highly recommended.

Launch Center Pro keeps adding new Actions for apps and getting more and more useful. I haven’t updated my Actions screen for a while but here’s what it looks like for now. I’ll be changing this soon to integrate some of Nebulous Notes new features and make better use of the screen real estate.

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So there it is. A whirlwind tour of the Home screen. I hope it helps and if you have any questions or comments, drop me line to @jeffhunsberger on app.net or Twitter.