The iPad Setup of Chris Gonzales
Every week we try to post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.
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Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Chris Gonzales. I live in Oklahoma City with my wife Chelsea — an Irish dance instructor who runs her own school — and our nearly-two-year-old son Brendon.
I’m mainly known for my site
Unretrofied (now The Spark Journal), where I write about things like creativity, writing, mindfulness, craftsmanship, and things that delight—with a splash of geekery thrown in for good measure. I occasionally interview people there.
I’m also a daily contributor over on Tools & Toys, which is a sister site to The Sweet Setup.
Which iPad do you have?
Mine is the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, which is a bit of a mouthful so I simply call it the iPad 4. More specifically, it’s the 16GB non-cellular model, meaning I run out of storage space a lot and I’m basically sunk without a WiFi connection.
How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?
I’d split my daily iPad use into three primary camps:
Reading: Like most people, I read through my Twitter timeline (and the interesting links that I find along the way), I go through my RSS queue, I check email, and that sort of thing. I also enjoy reading eBooks and comic books.
Writing: My iPad is my workhorse — I do 99% of my writing and publishing from it, something the iPad is surprisingly well-suited for. I also keep a journal and do some general note-taking.
Entertainment: I listen to a lot of podcasts and music, and sometimes I procrastinate from writing by kicking back and watching too much YouTube. As you do.
I hope to add podcasting to this list someday, especially now that I know it’s possible to do it from an iPad — recording, editing, and all.
What apps do you use the most, and why?
Now that’s a loaded question. I feel like I bounce around so many apps all the time. It’s too hard to leave any out, so I’ll try to quickly talk about each one.
Twitter: I flip between Tweetbot and Twitterrific 5. Tweetbot is easily the best Twitter client around, and it would be my only choice if Twitterrific 5 wasn’t so darn pretty.
RSS: I’ve been a Reeder devotee for years, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’ve tried several competitors but I don’t think they compare in terms of usability and design. My RSS service of choice at the moment is Feed Wrangler.
(I should note here that many interesting articles I come across in Tweetbot or Reeder get saved to Instapaper for later reading. Sometimes it’s nice to brew a cup of coffee, curl up in my favorite chair, and go through my Instapaper queue. If an article is particularly intriguing to me, I save it to Pinboard.)
Email: For a long time, I was actually using Gmail’s iOS app over Mail.app, but I’ve since switched back to Mail and I’m very happy with it. Why the switch? Well, it’s a lot more powerful today than it was when I stopped using it a long time ago.
eBooks: I mostly buy and read books through the Amazon Kindle app, but some cases call for an iBooks store purchase, such as David Sparks’ Field Guide series.
Comics: Comixology, all the way. It’s got the reading experience down, with an integrated store that I find very easy to navigate. I see no reason to use any other comics app. In fact, it has replaced any desire for me to purchase physical comics.
Writing: My primary writing app at the moment is Editorial. This thing is unbelievably powerful for an iOS text editor, with its built-in web browser and the ability to store and trigger all kinds of complex workflows. Some examples of these workflows:
- Post to WordPress.
- Convert an entire document from Markdown to HTML and set it to the clipboard.
- Take a highlighted portion of text and convert it into a Markdown-style list.
- Create embeds of tweets
- Clean up iOS screenshot status bars
The list just goes on and on. I mean, this is an incredible app and I can’t imagine working without it. (I know, I promised to keep each description brief but Editorial deserves some special attention.)
For journaling: There is no other option for me than Day One. I’m currently in the middle of writing a review of the latest version for Unretrofied, so rather than spoil anything here, I’ll just say that I agree with The Sweet Setup’s review.
For notetaking: I use a combination of Simplenote and Evernote. For more info, see my Simplenote review.
Podcasts: I was once an ardent Instacast fanboy, but after iOS 7 was released, I found that the new version of Pocket Casts was more to my liking. Obviously, I had to write a review about it.
Music: I have a little of my own music synced onto the iPad, but the vast majority of my listening happens in the Spotify app. It only costs me $10/month to have access to an incredibly large library of music, all of which I can organize into playlists as I please and save offline for those times I’m without internet. I also hop on Pandora once in a while, mainly when I’m looking for new music to check out.
Which app could you not live without?
You’re asking me to choose just one app? Oh man. I guess I’d have to say Editorial.
There are more Sweet Setup interviews right here.