Owl Tech

This post is inspired by the Cortex Podcast — in Episode 1, hosts Myke Hurley and CGP Grey delve into a serious discussion on the art and philosophy of device home screens. I devoured this episode, as many of the points Grey brought up were similar or identical to ones that had run through my mind… (of COURSE the Phone app and the Messages app can’t be next to each other, THEY ARE BOTH GREEN!!)

I was recently prompted by Toffer to show my home screen, and thought I’d go ahead and write up a post about the tech devices I use. So, in the key of Lifehacker: I am Owl Ink, and this is how I work!




Owl Ink Phone

Device: 16GB iPhone 5s, Gold. December 2013.

Wallpaper: A photo I took on a foggy drive down Highway 152, edited with VSCOcam.


Before I begin, I must credit Toffer with the simple yet brilliant “emoji as folder titles” idea. Thanks Toffer! :D

Dock: Messages, Safari, Phone, Music. Sorry Grey, couldn’t get behind the 3-icon dock.

Screen 1: Calendar, Clock, Weather, Settings, Mail, Camera, Photos, YouTube, Google Maps, Overcast, Trello, and a folder containing: Yelp, Mint, Tip Calculator, Venmo, Sleep Time, Google Authenticator

Screen 1 holds my “daily life” things. Honestly, I don’t need the weather app, but I put it there for aesthetics as I think it looks nice to have some blue in the top row.

Screen 2: Facebook, Feedly, Pinterest, Strava, and four folders.

  • Folder 1 is camera/images related: Instagram, VSCOcam, Hyperlapse, InstaSquarer, InstaCollage, Lumify
  • Folder 2 is chat related: Snapchat, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Twitter
  • Folder 3 is reading related: Goodreads, Quora, Bible, Alien Blue, Vocabulary Quizzer, and iBooks
  • Folder 4 is Apple related: App store, Notes, Apple Maps, FaceTime, Health, Calculator. Apple things I never use are buried deep in this folder.

Screen 2 holds my diversions, hobbies, and distractions. Since I only  have two rows on screen 2, I could technically fit everything onto one screen. However, I tried it and immediately felt claustrophic. I think I’ll be sticking with two screens, as I like the action of switching between the two, and I like seeing my wallpaper!




Owl Ink Laptop



Owl Ink Monitor

Devices: 13″ Asus UL30A Notebook. June 2010.

 27″ Samsung LED Monitor. June 2015.

Wallpaper: A beautiful space wallpaper that you can find here


Notable Applications:

Rainmeter: Desktop customization tool for making your desktop pretty + functional!

I love playing around with Rainmeter! The skins I am currently using are:

  • Elegance: Clock, Date & Time
  • Enigma: Album art, Volume control, Systems monitor, Notepad

Rocketdock: Hover-over application launcher that mimics Apple’s menu bar, but for Windows.

My docked items include browsers (Chrome and Firefox), music players (iTunes and Spotify), graphic design programs (Photoshop and Illustrator), and basics like documents folder, etc.

I like unobtrusive icons, so I make grayscale versions of all my icons in Photoshop and deleted the icon caption. As Grey and Myke discussed, the entire point of the icon is to tell me what app it is!

BetterDesktopTool: Exposé and Spaces for Windows

Though I do like the Windows 7 Alt-Tab view, sometimes it’s just easier to hover. I set my upper right corner as the hover point to show all open windows.

The Spaces function is great when I’m trying to keep my creative work (Photoshop, images, etc) and diversions (Facebook, email) on separate grounds.

F.lux: Screen color adjuster that dims based on daily sunset time.

Adjusting the colors to yellow hues instead of blue hues makes screens easier on the eyes, and supposedly improves your sleep!



Thanks for reading this long post about my devices, hope you found this interesting! Personally, I really enjoy seeing what tools people use, which is why I’ve taken such a liking to podcasts like Cortex and Dot Grid. It’s quite intriguing!

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