Home Screens - Yuvi Zalkow

I first discovered Yuvi Zalkow (Twitter) when he made a remarkable screencast about writing tools on the Mac. Yuvi has a unique take on writing and technology at YuviZalkow.com. Yuvi is also a novelist with his first book, Not in My Lifetime, coming out next year. Yuvi explains the book was rejected by 29 literary agents before he got a publisher. And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes Yuvi awesome.

So Yuvi, show us your home screen.

What are your most interesting home screen apps?

Well lately I’ve been fascinated by apps that take advantage of useful iPhone gestures. iCatcher and Tweetbot are two apps that I love and have good gestures. With iCatcher, I can swipe in various ways to go backward/forward five seconds, 30 seconds, and two minutes. With Tweetbot, I can hold my finger on a link in a tweet for a second and then tap on a button to quickly send it to Instapaper. (mmm… Instapaper.)

What is your favorite app?

Wow. Tough one. I think my writing app is my most critical app. Two essential qualities in a writing app for me are TextExpander support and Dropbox support. I honestly, really, truly work on my novel on my iPhone via Dropox (syncing it to the fabulous Mac app, Scrivener). I’ve used many cool writing apps (e.g. Notesy, Elements), but my current favorite is WriteRoom. I like WriteRoom’s customizability. I try not to be too fiddly about these things, but every few months I like to tweak the look & feel to get a fresh perspective on my writing. Even just a small color tweak can help me see a difficult scene in a fresh way.

And if I can cheat and name another app, I would mention OmniFocus. I love it. Very smart design that makes it easy for me to enter new actions and quickly check off existing actions.

What app is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t play games these days — just too strung out between family life, day job life, novel writing life, and presentation-making life. So my guilty pleasure is dipping too deeply into either Twitter (via Tweetbot) or into my RSS feed (via Reeder).

What is the app you are still missing?

I do long for text-to-speech inside my text editor. I know that functionality already exists, but I’d love it seamlessly embedded inside a great text editor. I use text-to-speech as a critical tool when editing my writing — there’s nothing like a detached, unemotional, computer voice to test whether the writing stands on its own.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

How many times a day do you breathe? Divide that number by 3.25. And that’s about my iPhone usage.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

It may not seem so shocking these days, but I’m still amazed by the coolness of syncing text files between all my computers and devices. I can no longer fathom how I wrote before this era.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Well I’m currently experiencing a calendar-related dilemma. Which one should I use? You’ll see two of them on my home screen!… I love that continuous week view of Agenda and I love how quickly you can enter events in Calvetica. Help!

Thanks so much for letting me participate in your home screen series! I’ve been a fan for a while.

Thanks Yuvi

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