iStuff Snapshot 2013

(This is hopelessly egocentric post which will probably be of no interest to anyone other than myself.)

LifeHacker wants to know how many apps are installed on your smartphone.  This is the kind of thing that is interesting to look back on when it is in the past, so I though I'd capture a snapshot of my phone/iPad usage today.

In general my philosophy is to fight my urge to be a packrat. Although most apps are impulse-buy priced, I have been fairly ruthless about culling things I don't use. The reason for this is I can't stand the litter that comes with having piles upon piles of apps installed -- since there's no organizational standardization, the end user is left with the responsibility of imposing their own. I have never had more than three screens of apps, and even on the iPhone with its reduced real estate I currently only have two. Use of folders and the ruthless culling of unused apps has helped.

This philosophy is admittedly sort of on hold right now as I adapt to having the ipad in rotation. Eventually I'll go through the iPhone and eliminate those apps which are now only used on the iPad.

This is my iPad homescreen:

Wallpaper is "Autumn Fury", a preschool painting that Alex did years ago.

On the tray:

  • Chrome
  • Gmail
  • Mail (for work-related mail)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
I have moved away from Safari pretty much completely, only using it for stuff that might clash with something in Chrome or something that Just Won't Work in Chrome. That's not very much these days (for my usage, anyways).

In Games:

  • Carcassone
  • Zombie GS
  • Ascension
  • Jetpack Joyride
  • Bloons TD 5 HD
  • Shark Dash
  • Ragdoll 3 HD Redline
As far as games go, I play Jetpack Joyride the most (I have something like 22 hours in-game according to the in-game tracker). I have some Ascension and Carcassone turn-based games going, but due to their nature they are very much make-your-turn-then-quit type interactions. Shark Dash was one of this year's free games, and I never play it, I should delete it.

In Productivity:

  • SSH Term Pro
  • Most of the iOS built-ins
In iOS System:

  • The rest of the iOS built-ins
  • Find iPhone
In Internet (which should frankly be retitled "stuff from Google"):

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Blogger
  • Safari
  • Google
  • Planets
  • Write Room
  • Google +
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Evernote
  • GoodReader
Dropbox should go since I never used it and I have paid space on Google Drive now. Write Room was something I used as a writing scratchpad mostly for Blog posts, but now that I have the Blogger app there doesn't seem to be much point for it. Evernote is a new experiment. GoodReader is for reading PDFs on Google Drive. And I should really delete the "Google" app since there's less functionality in there than there is in Chrome.

In Audio Video:

  • VLCStreamer
  • TSA
  • 360
VLC Streamer was for watching movies over WiFi. Now that we're in the process of putting all our movies into iTunes, there doesn't seem to be much point, but it is useful for watching some of the movies which have not been imported into iTunes.

In Hockey:

  • CBC Hockey
  • Senators

Not in folders:

  • WeatherEye HD
  • Living Earth
  • Remote
So by my count that's 32 additionally-downloaded apps.  Pretty thin.

Most of my time is spent in Chrome, Mail, or Twitter.  Most of my game-playing time is spent with Jetpack Joyride, although when I do play Bloons TD 5 I usually end up spending a lot of time with it.  I'm frequently in Ascension because I have a bunch of games going, but they are usually quick in-and-out one-move operations.

Other than that, my usage for anything else is pretty thin.  I don't like either hockey app -- the Senators app is inconsistent with game updates, but the CBC one only works in portrait mode (I actually have my iPad locked to landscape) and doesn't have the focus on Ottawa that I prefer.

It still annoys me that the Newstand can't be deleted or hidden in a folder.

This is what my iPhone looks like right now:

There's a lot more crap there because I used to use the phone as a general platform before I got the iPad.  On the phone I spend most of my time with Mail, Gmail, Phone, and Twitter.  Occasionally I use the GPS apps, but I'm not sure I've found one I liked yet.  I don't game on it any more unless I'm desperately bored.

Right now the phone has 44 additional apps installed on it, and most of those can/should be removed.

Going through this should give me the encouragement to clean up a bit. Frankly if I decide I want anything back, downloading it from either the base PC or the App Store would be very easy.


Moar Internets

Just installed the new Rogers cable modem.

...not that I have a record of what it was before, but anyways.  The main reason for this was the bandwidth cap -- the boys are living on the internet right now and the overages were awesome.  This new plan doubles what we can use per month... which means we should be OK until the summer at least.


Why I'd Consider A Blackberry For My Next Phone

So leafing through the Blackberry X hype, and I find myself considering that I would seriously consider a Blackberry for my next phone. Yes, I've only had this iPhone for 14 months and I may be stuck with it for another year and a half (but hopefully not -- hopefully only another half year) but it isn't ever too early to consider what I'd do if it was time.

Last time around the choice was pretty clear, and for the most part I have been happy with my Telus iPhone. It does apps, it does GPS, it does mail, it does internet, it does phone. There are problems, of course:

  • As a phone for coverage it sucks both in comparison with the Rogers Blackberry Pearl 9100 I had, as well as with the Telus Blackberry Bold 9700 my co-worker has.  So it isn't the network, it is the phone.
  • If you use the apps, the battery life is sharply reduced.  So when I'm on call had have to have the phone, I can't play games or surf the web.
But really these are small quibbles.

And really, it isn't so much that "Blackberry is now so good I'll get a phone of theirs", it is more a case of my usage pattern changing.  What's really changed in my life is that I now have an iPad mini.  So for my portable web browsing and app using and movie watching and game playing, I use that.  The mini is great -- it even fits in the back pocket of most of my jeans, meaning I can carry it around the house with me when I'm on kid patrol.  So frankly, running apps on the phone no longer is a huge issue.  I would like some sort of GPS functionality -- and frankly I'm not really happy with the GPS apps I have for the iPhone, I miss the one I had on my previous Pearls -- so over all I'm not tied to the iOS platform as a phone platform.

The Blackberry mail experience was superior to that of the iPhone.  The Blackberry phone experience was superior to that of the iPhone.  And while I do listen to music on the phone occasionally, it isn't very often.  So the fact that I have a bunch of music in iTunes is a bit of a hindrance, but not a huge one.

Put that together, and I just might go back to Blackberry the next time around, depending on what handsets are available at the time.

(It also occurs to me that since I'm no longer tied to iOS as a platform, the same logic could mean Windows Phone becomes a possibility too.  But not Android -- frankly the negatives in the Android ecosystem have not been addressed yet, so Android phones are still not on the table.)