Clear Spaces for a Clear Mind

I get asked often for what’s on my Home Screen: what apps, what wallpaper, what layout. Now with iOS 14, I’m asked about my widget setup as well. I’ve shared some updates through posts and social media sporadically. A lot of my current setup is visually unchanged (except the wallpaper), but I wanted to cover the why of the Home Screen – where apps/widgets are placed, what stacks are being used, and now I’m using them together for a more streamlined, productive setup.
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Clean Install

Every year, I hesitate on jumping on the betas. I worry about the bugs, the data loss, and all the ways it can screw with my devices. Then, inevitably, I end up jumping on them around beta 2 or 3. When the releases come out in the fall, I usually delete the beta profile and do an install with the release version. I follow the recommended steps for backing up, then just install the OS and carry on.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a clean install: no restoration from a backup, installing everything as new, letting the cloud services work to bring the data back to my devices on a per-app basis. This is a time-consuming process, and the main reason I haven’t done it in so long. It might be all the way back to iOS 8 since I’ve done this. Those many, many years of little inconsistencies have lead to a lot of cruft, and I think this is the year to do wipe the slate clean.

Playing around with the iOS 14 beta so far, the App Library is a feature that hasn’t been my favorite. It doesn’t organize the apps in the categories which I would: I think that a banking app should be in finance, not in productivity. I think games should be a category, which include the Apple Arcade titles as well. I get they are pushing a brand, but unless you stay subscribed, that advertising will go away. The search aspect of it is great, but I can also use Spotlight search to find the apps I need.

But where it doesn’t live up to my desires, it does deliver on supporting a clean install. I don’t have to organize my Home Screen as I add apps one by one. I can hide pages and pages of apps, and organize my true Home Screen. This takes away a ton of pressure and mental overhead that I don’t need to carry with me. It will make the process far easier for me than ever before. And in that way, the App Library is actually a welcome feature for me now. I wish that same feature would be there on the iPad, but perhaps there are more plans for that in the future.

This year is the perfect time to do a clean install. I can finally shed the years of issues without having to worry about the time and effort required to get back up and running. I’m all for clearing clutter and minimizing what things I have in my life. And this fall will be no different.

The Payoff of Developing Foundational Journaling

I’m often asked what different uses I have for Drafts, my everything-text app of choice. I have a variety of core use cases which I use Drafts for every day: even with my posts and large reviews, journaling is by far the highest volume of content I create.

I’ve journaled for a while. And while I’m not perfect at doing it and frequently miss days because life sometimes gets in the way, there are some considerations I’ve made for my particular journaling solution. A few years ago, I created my own journal solution: this utilized Drafts + Dropbox + Workflow. That solution morphed into using DEVONthink To Go to save the journal entries, primarily because of security. I was also storing more information there at the time, so it made sense.

Then, in the midst of a pandemic, I started looking at a lot of the things in my life that were just adding to my least favorite thing: clutter. I started wondering where DEVONthink fit into my life. And aside from keeping the rare thing or two in it, I only used it for journaling. So while this solution worked – and worked well – it started to become apparent to me that I no longer wanted this as the solution.

Inevitably, as often these ear worms do, it sent me down a new path. How could I take my journaling solution and simplify it to use the apps and services I want to use so that I can streamline my process, or at the very least, make it easier to use and review later?
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This Is Not for Me

The new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is now available and starting to appear in reviews. Most of them have been video reviews, but I am starting to see written reviews as well.

In watching the video reviews, my early suspicion of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro was confirmed: I won’t be getting it. Not because it’s bad, but rather it comes down to a matter of use cases for me. Sure, weight and cost are also factors, but I need to be able to actually use the device if I’m going to make this device a good fit.
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