What’s on Your iPad – with Greg Pierce

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Greg Pierce Home Screen

Here’s our third post in the What’s on Your iPad series, which I’m hoping will become a semi-regular feature here. I’m always interested to see how others are using their iPads, and I’m seeing that a lot of you are too. I’m posting this a little earlier in the week than usual, as there’s this little Apple event tomorrow that I think may distract a lot of my attention and yours for the rest of the week.

This week I’m very happy to have Greg Pierce as the subject for my questions. Greg is the founder of Agile Tortoise (http://agiletortoise.com an indie software company focused on iOS and web development. His Terminology app is one of my long-time iPad favorites and included in our list of Best iPad Apps of 2011.

Here we go – questions are in italics with a grey background, Rob’s answers are in block quotes:

Which iPad model do you use? (original or iPad 2, WiFi or WiFi + 3G, storage size) Any particular reasons for choosing this model?

We have two iPads in the house (three soon, I bet). An iPad 2-32 gig-CDMA, and an iPad 1-16 Gig-GSM.  Other than the app testing I do on it, the iPad 1 is pretty much my wife’s iPad, and the iPad 2 is mine. Both get used as much by our three kids as by us.

I only enable the 3G plans on them when we travel, and mostly selected the Verizon CDMA iPad 2 out of curiosity about the network differences.

Do you use any sort of case with the iPad? If so, which one/s and why?

I have a smart cover for my iPad 2, but only put it on when I’m putting it in a bag or taking it out of the house.  I also use a Zagg external keyboard dock when I use the iPad at my desk.

What’s on your iPad dock currently? Do these apps pan out as your most frequently used?

My dock has Safari, Mail, and three folders.

The first folder has mostly the common pre-installed apps: Calendar, Contacts, iTunes, App Store, Camera, Photos, etc. – plus Calvetica, which I prefer over Apple’s Calendar app.

The second folder has social media and news type apps: Tweetbot, Facebook, Reeder, Instapaper.  It also has a couple of note taking apps, Penultimate and PlainText.

The last folder is my media folder and has the Music and Video apps, as well as the AppleTV Remote app, Rdio, and iControlAV2 – which is the remote app for my AirPlay Pioneer receiver.

What are some of your other most-used apps / what’s on your first home screen? (and any reasons why you’d like to offer)

Obviously, my own apps Phraseology and Terminology are home screen worthy. :-)

I read quite a bit on my iPad, so both iBooks and the Kindle app are front and center.  I also have folders for my most used Entertainment apps (Netflix, TED, NPR).

I have a folder for "Utility" apps I use quite a bit, such as Prompt (SSH shell app for checking on servers), Quicklytics (Google Analytics app), 1Password, TextExpander, Dropbox. Also, a "Reference" folder that gets a lot of use, with apps like Yelp!, IMDb and Google Earth.

iPad on Desk setup

How do you arrange your home screens? Do you use folders at all / heavily?

I’m not very obsessive about organizing my apps. The apps I’ve placed in the dock folders I mention above probably account for 70%+ of the things I use the iPad for around the house.  Once you get past my home screen, it’s a bit of a free for all. I download a lot of apps just to check out that don’t always make it into my rotation and have several pages worth of games… but I tend to use Spotlight to find apps rather that hunt and peck, so I don’t try to keep them organized.

What are some of your most used productivity apps on the iPad? Any that you use for work?

My iPad is typically next to me at my desk while I work, in a Zagg external keyboard dock.  In order to reduce distractions on my MacBook, I do a lot of peripheral things through the day on the iPad – such as Twitter, checking on RSS feeds, etc.

Do you read any newspaper or magazine apps on the iPad? Do you subscribe to any?

How much, if any, book reading do you do on the iPad?

I am a heavy user of Instapaper, and read most of my longer web content through it on the iPad.  I was reading more books on the iPad, but I received a Kindle for Christmas this year and have moved over to it for most book length reading.  The exception being technical books, which I tend to read more on the iPad because of the formatting and searchability is better and more responsive.

I do not have any Newsstand subscriptions or the like.  I’m just not that dedicated to specific publications.

Any favorite iPad games or fun time fillers?

My favorite casual games on the iPad change with time. I play a lot of open-ended games like Minecraft with my kids.  For myself, I like a good tower defense game (Kingdom Rush is my most recent favorite) and puzzle games.  If you are a fan of puzzle games and haven’t yet checked out Trainyard, I highly recommend it.  Right at the moment, I’ve been enjoying Fairway Solitaire as well, which puts a neat spin on a Solitaire game.

Have you got a ‘hidden gem’ type iPad app that more people should know about?

Although not really "hidden", I often find iPad owners have no idea the incredible resource that iTunes U can be.  For lifelong learners, the is more or less an unlimited amount of great content in so many subject areas available.

Any killer apps you think are missing from the iPad App Store, apps you’d love to see come to the iPad?

Sssh, I’m working on it. ;-)

Obviously the potential is huge and I expect a steady flow of innovative apps over the next several years.

Do you tend to pay much attention to your home or lock screen wallpaper? Change it up often?

I have a very subdued home screen background that I’m happy with and don’t change.  I do periodically rotate out the lock screen image.  Most of the time with an image from Simple Desktops (http://simpledesktops.com/), which is a great resource for tasteful but non-distracting desktop images.

Huge thanks to Greg for doing this with me. It’s great to see how an iPad app developer (and a very good one at that) makes use of the iPad.

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Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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