Home screens: Don Southard


Writer and programmer Don Southard (Twitter) is someone to watch. He recently released his Watermarker App and I really like his writing at MacStories. Today Don was kind of enough to share his home screen.

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What are some of your favorite apps?

When it comes to iOS apps, I am addicted to the Productivity category in the App Store. You won't find many games on my phone. As of writing this, the only game currently on my phone is Kingdom Rush (an insanely hard Tower Defense game). I am pretty sure I have tried almost every todo app available and a part of me has loved every one of them. However, only the best ones stay on my iOS devices and I have no qualms deleting apps that don't make the cut. Some of my favorite apps include OmniFocus, Drafts, Pythonista, and Launch Center Pro. I use Pythonista for scripting simple actions like uploading images to a web server and I use Launch Center Pro for quickly launching those scripts. OmniFocus and Drafts have also become reliable staples in my iOS workflows. I have an IT day job in addition to my blogging and software development projects so I almost always have a lot going on, OmniFocus is my trusted system that keeps me on track. Drafts is my go to solution for text notes. At one time I tried to keep every note and sync them back to my Mac with Dropbox. I quickly realized that I didn't care about these scraps of information long term, so for me, Drafts app was a perfect solution for working with quick one-off notes.

Despite the amount of work I can get done on my phone, my most used app is more of a distraction. It is a wonderful Twitter client called Tweetbot. No matter what I am doing on my phone, it is a guarantee that I will check Tweetbot at least once before setting it back down. I truly love being apart of the Mac community and our connection is primarily through Twitter so having a reliable client that I enjoy using is very important to me. Tweetbot fulfills my every requirement of a great client.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure would have to be Rdio. I enjoy being able to stalk my friends music habits which is both fun and addicting. I have found some really great albums through Rdio's social integration. Music helps keep me motivated while I'm working, I even have a specific playlist just for when I'm writing code. It is a great service that allows me to keep music locally and in the cloud, yet it stays synched across all of my devices.

What is the app you are still missing?

In a perfect world, the one app I would love to see on iOS is Alfred. I have no idea what that would look like or how it would function but no other app has changed the way I work like Alfred has and I would love to have that experience on a mobile device. I know Apple has strict rules in place that would prevent a powerful app like Alfred from running on iOS but a guy can dream right?

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

I wish the iPhone had some way to measure that because I would love to know, The number would likely be astronomical. I am constantly checking my phone, responding to emails or iMessages. Even at home on the couch, my iPhone is never further than my pocket. My iPad on the other hand, rarely gets touched. I am one of the few that have yet to find a good use for the iPad that isn't better suited for either my MacBook or iPhone.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

My favorite feature, without a doubt, is the Verizon LTE in the iPhone 5. I was a long time AT&T customer until I jumped ship to Sprint with the promise of unlimited 3G data. I had such a horrible experience with speed and connectivity that I lunged at the opportunity to be on Verizon's LTE network when upgrading to the iPhone 5. It is really quite amazing to have a device in my pocket with Internet speeds twice that of my home Cox Cable Internet. Also, the Retina display and AirPlay are two very close runners-up.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

I would personally change the "cold shoulder" attitude that Apple has been giving to power users over the past couple of years. I would focus some of Apple's resources towards revitalizing both the Finder and Terminal. I would extend Applescript, not deprecate it. I would revert Apple's stance on sandboxing Mac apps but still maintain the Developer ID program. I am a Mac nerd at heart and I would bring that characteristic back to the Mac platform if I had the opportunity to run the company.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would just like to thank you David for inviting me to share my home screen and for letting me talk about some of the apps I use everyday.

Thanks Don.