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Background by helen shewolfe tseng

These are my most commonly used apps.

From the top right:

  • Timepage: a very opinionated, but very good calendar app by Moleskine and Bonobos. I used Google Calendar for some time, but recently when I got an iPad, I decided to move to an app with quality keyboard shortcuts. Google’s iPad app strategy is basically “lol”, so Timepage or Fantastical are the choices to replace it. I appreciate the briefings that Timepage offers in the morning, and the color and style options.
  • Settings: the ability to 3D Touch settings to switch to low power mode, and adjust other things when traveling is nice.
  • Casts: My podcast app. This works well, downloads things automatically, and is clean and fun. I’ve heard great things about Overcast, but I hate the color orange. I’ve also heard good things about Castro.
  • Maps: Surprisingly, Apple Maps has gotten really ,really good. I use this for transit in Portland, SF, and NYC, and will soon use it in Tokyo and Osaka. I still wish there were bike directions, so I keep Google Maps deep in a folder on my second page, but this app handles 99% of my mapping needs. It’s also nice to have the same app on my iPad and my MacBook, and to know that Apple isn’t hellbent on selling my location data.
  • Slack: This is my virtual office, where my coven lives, and how I work with my creative studio/coworking space. I love this app. It’s well-built, fast, and beautiful. I wish apps had half this much thought put into them. I have friends who work here as well, and I trust them pretty implicitly at this point.
  • Bear: My editor of choice. If I’m not coding in Atom, I’m writing in Bear. I love how this app handles markdown styling, and the themes are both beautiful, and clean. I like the export options, and the layout as well. This editor manages to be both simple, and more advanced seamlessly, and the sync through iCloud is invisibly good. I also own iAWriter, and 1Writer, but this is the one I prefer these days.
  • Camera: I like to take photos of my friends, my travels, and my cats.
  • Safari: A lot of stuff still has a better website than app, and I use this for reading blogs pretty often, as well as shopping.
  • Messages: iMessage is how I talk to my friends for more direct hangout planning, and for folks who aren’t on Twitter or Slack. I like how dependable and well-crafted this app is. I use Signal as well, but not enough folks are on it for it to take a prime spot.
  • Airmail: This is where my personal and work email lives. I used Inbox for a long time, and still miss it sometimes, but Airmail actually cares about the iPad, and keyboard shortcuts and customization abound. Frankly, I’d love to go back to Inbox, but Google would need to care about the iPad first, and I’m not holding my breath.
  • Twitter: For a lot of folks, this is a rat warren, and a real shithole. I meet tons of amazing queer women on here, and build community. I also find work, and writing and speaking gigs through it. I block often, and early. I’ve been tweeting since 2007, and I wait for the day that there’s something that can take its place as my main social network, but until then, I’ll be sending out weird jokes, 140 characters at a time.
  • Spotify: My music lives here. After years of listening to mostly questionably-origined music, I bought an Rdio subscription (RIP), but I moved to Spotify after it died. I miss Rdio. Spotify is ok. I keep a lot of music saved offline because I spend a lot of time on planes, and prefer not running through my data every month.

I’ve got two more pages of apps — similarly two rows, and that’s wher some work tools, Goodreads, and such live. I’ll make another post about those, and my iPad homescreen next.

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