.@andyhickl's first homescreen check-in for 2019

Inspired by an old tweet by @mgsiegler, I occasionally take a look at how my home screen is evolving. Here's the latest incarnation.


You probably can tell that I'm a notifications-off, blibbets-off kind of guy, even for text messages and emails. I like having control over when I get to look at the screen.

You'll also notice that I'm a no-folders-on-the-homescreen person, too. There's something satisfying about having your top 28 apps duke it out for your attention. (Most of my other apps are in themed folders in a single extra screen.)

So, which apps made it in Q1 of 2019?

  1. Settings - Someday I'll be able not to have Settings prominently displayed. Just not today.
  2. App Store - Still love discovering new apps. Although there don't seem to be as many new ideas as there used to be.
  3. Genius - Everything should have a wiki.
  4. Instagram - Yes, I shouldn't use a Facebook property. Everytime I think I can get out, they drag me back in.
  5. Teams - It's not Slack (boo). It's also not Skype (yay). Generally well done and well thought out, even if certain builds take forever to load.
  6. NY Times - I used to read 50-75 different sources in a RSS feed. Now I stick to the Old Gray Lady.
  7. Camera - Photos are the new keywords.
  8. Notes - I've used Bear. And Evernote. And Notion. And Scrivener. And Ulysses. And Drafts. I prefer Notes. Even without any PC support (other than the weakish Web client). The sharing from Books is a killer feature.
  9. Wallet - I use contactless payments way more than I ever thought I would.
  10. Shortcuts - My favorite. I've wrapped most of the Azure Cognitive Services in Siri Shortcuts. Not perfect, but a lot of fun. Wish I could write shortcuts that could access incoming SMS messages, though.
  11. Music - Good enough.
  12. Overcast - I commute close to 2 hours a day. "Oh No! Ross and Carrie" at 1.75x speed makes it all better.
  13. Twitter - Indispensable source of NLP news, sports play-by-play, and people who have more interesting lives than mine.
  14. Arx - Best (more like only) ArXiv client on iOS.
  15. At Bat - Bryce Harper is a Phillie. For the next 72 bajillion years. Or until he hits .230 and the Yankees come a-calling.
  16. Linkedln - Not as valuable as it used to be (2014-2017). Then again, I'm not looking for a new gig.
  17. Mendeley - Few redeeming qualities, but best paper reading list app on iOS, now that Papers3 has EOLed.
  18. Life Cycle - Best lifelogging app since Saga, says the former Saga CEO. It's really, really good: accurate, gets sleep durations, integrates with other apps, and doesn't kill your battery. Could do more with the insights it serves up, but I am just looking to pick on it because it's everything I wanted Saga to be.
  19. Watch - I haven't figured out how my Apple Watch makes my life better. The app stays until it stops giving me joy. Or until I need to stop resetting my watch.
  20. Books - Better than Kindle. Even if it isn't.
  21. Reddit - I had a 9 year old account with 348 (total) karma. Then I realized I was the only one with a handle that was my real name.
  22. To-Do - Microsoft product. It's ok. I liked Todoist better, especially when it was hooked up to my Cortana calendaring email agent, calendar.help.
  23. Feedly - Dislike the new UX. Still too hard to hook up new RSS feeds. Dismal content discovery. But it integrates with Pocket nicely, and I love Pocket as an annex for my brain.
  24. Strava - Super cool, especially when synced to maps created using the mapping app Footpath; you can export Footpath route maps/tracks in GPX and then import them into Strava via a Strava Labs site.
  25. Messages - Surprisingly plain. So much could be done here with security/encryption and intelligent services. I miss Emu.
  26. Phone - Ring, ring. It's a robocall.
  27. Outlook Beta - Very nice. Even though I avoid it at all costs. No fault of the app, though. It's well-executed and super snappy. And as a MSFT employee, I get a cool new launch icon.
  28. Edge Beta - I use Safari for personal use. Edge is good for work, especially if work is Microsoft.

March 2019 Reading List for @andyhickl

From 💉 to 🦕 and 👽, 🔫,🕵️‍♀️, and 🎥, here's what I'm reading in March 2019:

What @andyhickl managed to read in February 2019

I was surprised that I managed to keep up the reading pace in February.

The conditions were great. We had incredible snow in Seattle (which meant I wasn't commuting), and we spent the better part of a week in Disneyland with the kids on vacation (also good for my page count).

I just didn't read many of the books that I thought I'd read at the end of January. I liked my list just fine at the end of January, but my tastes definitely drifted mid-month. I blame the snow. Or the Mickey waffles.

I'm going to try not to feel guilty for blogging about a list of books -- and then reading something else. I like the concept of monthly reading lists, and I'm still committed to reading all the books on my reading list, but I've realized if I'm going to put in the time, I should do it with books I'm totally into.

Here's what I actually read in February:

The good

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life - David Quammen - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373639-the-tangled-tree - BEST BOOK of 2019 FINALIST

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life - Catherine Price - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35209767-how-to-break-up-with-your-phone

The okay

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29496076-killers-of-the-flower-moon

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right  - Atul Gawande - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667514-the-checklist-manifesto

The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century - Deborah Blum - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38813233

Not my cup of tea

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin - Timothy Snyder - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6572270

Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze - Peter Harmsen - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17171933

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, and the New Research that's Rewriting the Story - Angela Saini - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31869108

The saves for later

The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture - Pamela Haag - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2624078

Heartland - Sarah Smarsh - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38532119

Heavens on Earth - Michael Shermer - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34593574

Who We Are and How We Got Here - David Reich - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35749414

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge - Matt Ridley - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2581692