05/12/2017

# There have been a number of phone homescreen posts recently but, in sharing his, Manton pointed to a cool trick by David Smith to add "blank" icons to so that you can control app placement.

Having flip-flopped between Android and iOS over the years I appreciate the way the former lets you place icons wherever you like.

With ever increasing screen sizes it seems outdated to fill the screen from the top down when the uppermost icons are hard to reach one handed. Okay, we have Reachability but this is just a workaround for an unnecessarily rigid system.

I prefer leaving a gap between my app icons and the dock - I just don't like the screen being completely full, it feels cluttered and overbearing - but I've long wished they didn't have to start right at the top.

On Android phones I've always started arranging my homescreen icons from the bottom. It just made sense!

Setting the iPhone X up as a new device rather than from backup meant examining the apps I had installed to see if I really used them. I got rid of some from the second screen but it still felt that things were much the same as on the 6S Plus.

Let's face it, you put the apps you use most on the homescreen for ease of access so there wasn't really much scope for change.

Being able to create a "blank" row at the top of the screen, however, instantly differentiates this phone and has forced me to move four apps to accommodate.

It may seem like a gimmick (and it probably is) but mixing things up keeps me interested which reflects on my productivity.

So, here’s my new homescreen:

Stats

I have had the JetPack stats module enabled on the site since it was first introduced, not necessarily to monitor traffic coming to the blog but more to check on people leaving.

That may sound a bit weird or counterintuitive.

Part of the joy of blogging, at least for me, is in helping readers find things or people - that’s why it’s always good to link out. It’s also why I implemented the Directory and, more recently, added the blogroll.

While I’m no good at curating links and lists in a social context I love being able to act as a conduit through the blog, even if only a small one, so seeing the outgoing stats populated with clicks to other people is always good.

But the temptation is always there to look at the incoming, to fret and obsess over it, just as I try to tell myself that I don’t really care. I have deliberately removed myself from online environments that use metrics as a coercive force so it feels a bit hypocritical to still have them here.

Until now!

I know from recent months that visitors to the blog regularly use the directory and blogroll so I don’t really need to keep track of that any more - they work and that is enough for me.

So I have completely disabled the stats module to remove the temptation and the worry. Telling myself I don’t care is one thing, demonstrating it is something else entirely.

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# I've been thinking more about my homescreen and whether I could strip it back further.

I could maybe move the Calendar and Weather apps as I don't use them often and can always get to the weather via its widget.

But, beyond that, I start getting a bit stuck as I like to have quick access to things and jumping into folders too often gets annoying.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog