Sunday, November 8, 2009

iPod Touch Home Screen OCD

iTHSOCD - The uncontrollable desire to control both the functionality and the aesthetic properties of the home screen on the iPod Touch.
I am simultaneously coining a new disorder and self-diagnosing myself with it. This brand new disorder is called iPod Touch Home Screen Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (iTHSOCD).

It has been driving me nuts that default apps on the iPod Touch can't be removed. I don't own stocks – I don't need an app staring at me from the home screen to remind me of that fact. There's also an app called Voice Memos for recording reminders and messages, and my iPod (3rd generation touch) doesn't even have a microphone! I don't need this junk!

It seems that that only options to remedy this are to either jailbreak the iPod and risk getting infected by the latest rash of viruses, or to simply drag all the unwanted items onto their own home screen. I decided to play it safe and go for the latter. The apps aren't gone, but they're effectively segregated.

On to my next problem.

Safari comes with the handy option of saving favorites directly onto the home screen. I personally like this because all my frequently visited sites can be grouped on their own home screen as a visually pleasing favorites list. The only problem is that not all of these sites provide visually pleasing home screen icons.

As best as I can tell, Safari uses the default .ico file (that's the little picture that appears in the address bar of a browser) as the home screen icon for sites that are configured for mobile browsers (Bank of America, for example). For all other sites, it just takes a screen shot and uses that. These screen shots are tiny, bland, and basically useless for anything other than making my iPod look kind of unkempt. Here's where the Home Screen OCD kicked in – I figured out a way to give every site an appealing home screen icon.

It's simple but it works. The screen shot Safari uses is literally a shot of whatever is on the screen at the time the “add to home screen” button is pressed. Before pressing the button, all I do is zoom in on either a logo or interesting design element, and viola! Instant home screen icon. This works especially well for blogs or other personal websites.

Home Screen OCD satisfied.

Here is my iPod favorites list, complete with visually pleasing icons.

And if you're interested, here are the links starting at the top left:

School Email – District employee email site
My Blog – You're lookin' at it!
Merit Badge – My band's Myspace page. Not really active these days, but I like to check up on it occasionally
Cool Cat Teacher – Excellent blog by educator, Vicki Davis
2 Cents Worth – Another great education blog – Colleague's fledgling website promoting her children's book series
M&T Bank – Amazingly, this site did not supply its own icon
The Edublogger – Blog sponsored by
TeachPaperless – Great ideas from progressive-thinking Latin teacher, Shelly Blake-Plock
Mike Fisher – PB Works site for my tech integrator pal
Ed Insanity - Blog site of educator, Jonathan Becker
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1 Responses:

Sue Waters said...

Definitely cool how you have created the icons on your iPod Touch. Might need you to do a makeover of my iphone to make it look prettier.

How do you find reading the blogs like that as opposed to using a RSS reader on your iTouch?