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Nicholas Cole-Farrell’s iOS setup

Every week we 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.

New setup interviews are posted every Monday; follow us on RSS or Twitter to stay up to date.


Who are you and what do you do?

I am Nicholas Cole-Farrell, and I work as the Director of Technology at The Brandeis School of San Francisco, a K-8 independent school in California, USA. My passion is empowering students, teachers, and staff with tools to grow their understanding of the world. I direct our IT, EdTech and Library/Media programs, but it has been our burgeoning Maker/tinkering program that keeps me up at night, in a good way.

What iPhone do you have?

Nicholas Cole-Farrell's iPhone

64 GB Gold iPhone 6s Plus because #mykewasright.

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

In the name of good design and organization, I use the Cortex Wallpaper from grafiksyndikat on all of my devices.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

Slack: Indensible if you work on any kind of team at all. If you need to ask what this is, you probably have too much email. Slack is our hub, and we have pretty much everything piped in, such as help desk ticketing, shared calendar events, to-do lists, notifications, and group chat. Beyond just our team here at school, shared-interest Slack groups (EdTech professionals, MakerEd practitioners) have stepped up as my go-to professional learning networks. Plus, how cool is it to get into a GIF-battle with a colleague? Right?!

Airmail: Mail scheduling, plain and simple. Although kind of a workaround, mail scheduling is my inbox zero special sauce. Also, Airmail sports a handsome UI.

Deliveries: We are building out two Makerspaces on campus this year and have deliveries of consumables, supplies, and tools arriving nearly every day. Deliveries is a pretty fun way to keep track of what is waiting for me down in the lobby.

1Password: Compliance and security are understanbly a big deal at schools, and 1Password for Teams is simply money for us. The ability to move passwords to multiple vaults per OU and share out logins to temporary employees without actually giving them the password feels like magic in terms of organizational security.


Which iPad do you have?

Nicholas Cole-Farrell's iPad

I have a 128 GB Gold iPadPro 12.9″. Yes, it can replace a laptop.

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

Cortex wallpaper again, for consistency.

How are you using your iPad on a daily basis?

Since release day, I have used the iPad Pro as a main machine. Inspired by iOS-only workflows of Federico Viticci and Fraser Speirs, I decided to ditch my 12″ MacBook (a machine I truly loved for our brief five months together) for the iOS-only game. It has been great — the multitasking can be helpful and fun, but truth be told, doing one thing at a time has been the best part of moving to iOS exclusively. Using the Pencil has really helped me up my game with Sketchnoting, my favorite activity at conferences and summits. Lately, Gigabit Ethernet via the Lightning to USB 3.0 adapter and adding the 29W USB-C charger to the mix have sped things up across the board.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

Drafts: My all around writing and capture platform. It’s such an incredible Swiss Army knife style app that can pretty much do it all. Although I only use about 10% of what it can do, it is awesome knowing that it can hook in with an incredible number of apps and services that I use, like Tweetbot, Dropbox, Google Drive, Fantastical, and OmniFocus. Also, I love apps that have dark mode. It makes me feel like the Batman.

Screens VNC: Using iOS only, I have no doubt run into the occassional hiccup on a weird flash site (I am looking at you, legacy .edu sites) and have a Mac mini in the rack at school to VNC into, just in case. Screens VNC is the security blanket of my workflow as it lets me hop on networked devices at school and our family media server at home via a slick and stylish app.

Which app could you not live without?

OmniFocus. I pride myself on being a person who gets a number of things done while not being a “busy” person. Admittedly, I am merely an orange belt in OmniFocus. Task management and checklists from OmniFocus keep me organized, positive, and productive during my days, nights, and weekends, and gives me that mind like water feeling of David Allen’s GTD.


What Watch do you have?

 Nicholas Cole-Farrell's Watch

I wear a Sport 42mm with a white band, like a gentleman.

How are you using your Watch on a daily basis?

Email triage with Airmail: processing email before I have to see it in my inbox feels pretty powerful. Also, since the start of the year, my wife and I have been on a super successful diet/health initiative using Workflow as a convenient way for me to track weight from my wrist, as well as Sleep++, with both calling home to the native Health app. This has made the Watch invaluable.

What apps do you use the most and why?

Outside of a few third-party apps (Drafts, Workflow) for capture, I mostly use my Watch with native apps for the best performance possible. Activity, Workout and Wallet are my top three. While it has been somewhat fashionable to slag the Watch off, I am so happy that it has been on my wrist for the last 45 weeks.


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