For a little under a year now I've had the habit of screenshotting my devices on the first of every month. It was something I did just for myself so that as time passed I could look back and see the progression of what apps I used (and the screen-size jumps) over time. I've decided to start posting a small writeup every month (or couple months) to accompany those screenshots here on my blog, so that I can talk a little about the tools and apps I use without writing an in-depth app review, and so that I can write about what's changed and what new apps I'm using since the last time.
Since this is the first installment in this series, it might be a little lengthy, but I'll try my best to keep it concise and just talk about what apps I couldn't live without on my iPhone and iPad.
Twitter wasn't always as prevalent in my life as it is now; I use Tweetbot every single day to talk with friends, keep up with my favorite writers, and just with the world in general. I like Tweetbot's extra customization options like the font choices, Tweetmarker support, and the quality versions across all three Apple platforms. However, I think my favorite thing about Tweetbot is it's design. The animations, layout, sound effects, just about everything in the app makes it a joy to use and it's that level of quality that I look for in an app. The other platforms (iPad and OS X) are due for an update soon, and Tapbots have them well in the works; which means that I probably won't be switching clients anytime soon.
Omnifocus is an app I wasn't even using before the beginning of this year, but it's quickly worked it's way into being an essential part of my daily routine and workflow. The app supports pretty much everything you'd expect in a standard GTD app - tasks, projects, contexts, etc - all while offering up customization on those fronts. Those extra options allow you to adapt Omnifocus to your liking no matter what organization setup you have. I use mine in conjunction with my Field Notes memo books and Fantastical to stay organized and make sure that I get done the things I want & need to every day. I'm satisfied with how I'm using the app now, but I know that I could probably be using it better and more efficiently as well, so I'm envisioning that before too long I'll do another round of reading and learning about how others use the app like I did when I first started using it. Omnifocus is truly an impressive feat of software especially on a mobile platform like iOS. It's one of the best examples of the kinds of quality software that iOS doesn't only support, but excels at.
Launch Center Pro was an app I wasn't sure I'd even end up using when I initially bought it. Unlike most of the apps that I've used on iOS, Launch Center Pro is solely focused on taking other small tasks that you often do on your device and speeding them up using some of iOS's more advanced features that can link apps together. As time went by, I found myself picking out actions from others setups and thinking up ones of my own that worked well for me. There's still so much more I could be doing with Launch Center; I'm no Federco Viticci, but from calculating a quick tip, to calling my mom, or even setting up whole daily logs that plug into my Day One journal, Launch Center has become one of the most frequented hubs of my iOS activity. It's even gone so far as to have become the place I go to first when I want to Google something, and if that isn't a glowing endorsement, then I don't know what is.
- App Store.app
- Next for iPad
- Fantastical 2 for iPad
- Omnifocus for iPad
- Ulysses for iPad
- Reeder 2
One of the things I was most excited about doing when I first got my iPad was reading on it. I'd been using RSS readers for years, but the experience of doing so on a roughly book-sized piece of glass was something I seriously looked forward to. I have to say, that excitement was warranted. Reeder 2 has been my RSS reader of choice on both Mac and iOS for almost two years now, but I'd have to say that out of the three, the iPad version is my favorite. The multi-paneled design accessed through swipes works the best of any platform on the iPad in landscape, and along with that nearly every feature of the desktop version makes an appearance here as well. Plenty of sources, plenty of sharing options, and overall just the best RSS experience I could ask for. I use it absolutely every day and it works perfectly in tandem with my next app of choice.
Instapaper is honestly the closest app I have to a favorite. Much like Reeder, it really excels at the large tablet screen size, and just about every article longer than a couple paragraphs gets sent to my Instapaper Queue for me to read it on the spot or later that day. I make a point of staying on top of my queue, and reading the meatier articles from the day whilst pacing around the ground floor of my family's home has become one of the best parts of my routine. After I'm done reading an article I'll usually shoot it off to Pinboard via the Pushpin extension accompanied by a few pertinent tags, but Instapaper really is the hub of my reading experience on the iPad. If I had to choose only one thing to do on my iPad, it'd probably be reading and if I had to choose only one app to do that in, it'd most definitely be Instapaper.
To round things out here, VSCOcam is another essential part of my iOS workflow. I've been using the app ever since it came to Android in December of 2013 (which was shortly before I switched to iOS) and since then it's morphed from an app I used primarily to shoot and edit with on my phone, to an app where I can import and edit the photos from my actual camera, all without touching an SD card reader or a hard drive. The iPad version of the app, which debuted last December, played a large part in that, and it was the last piece of the puzzle in my iOS photo workflow. I use an Eye-Fi SD card to wirelessly transfer fresh photos to my iPad where they're usually bulk-imported into VSCOcam. From there I'll choose which shots to edit for a piece or just for my photographic passion, and I usually choose from a couple of my favorite presets to apply to my shots. My all time favorite is E5, but I use HB 1 & 2 as well as B 5 & 6 for some different looks. It's easy for me to get the look I want from my shots, and while it's not the most professional or technical setup, it works great for me. In my eyes, it's the end result that matters, and VSCOcam goes the distance there for me.
This brings us to the end of what I'd like to post for this month. I'm not sure if this will be a monthly recurring series, or if it'll be a sort of seasonal thing. I don't change my homescreen that much in a single month, and so I can see how I might run out of content to write about eventually. Doing one of these posts every couple months will probably be more to the tune of what I'd feel comfortable with, and so I'll be checking back in a few months from now.
Until next time.