Seeing as how we've got this new rootin', tootin', fancypants series showing off how us Android Central staffers set up our phones, I figured I'd volunteer myself, write this little doodad, and step up to the plate. I don't move from phone-to-phone as often as my gadget lust would like (hey, I'm on a student's budget, ya know?), but no matter what device I've got, I tend to set them up the exact same way. Steel yourselves, and when you're ready to have your minds blown, join me after the break.
I'm a tinkerer by trade, and while I think Google totally nailed it with Ice Cream Sandwich, I've been spoiled far too long by custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. Even if bone dry stock is awesome, knowing there are options where I can tweak even the smallest settings, I'll have to give them a try. After asking the Google+ community (thanks, guys!), I settled not on CM9, but Team Kang's AOKP ROM (Milestone 4 version, if you're curious).
What made Team Kang's ROM so compelling, especially in a world awash with custom ROMs for the developer phone? Two words: ROM Control.
Hop into the ROM Control menu and you're shown more options than you can shake a stick at. Want to mess with your UI? Done. Not digging the default lock screen? Mess with it. Looking for specific options to be on your power menu? You can do it.
When I first flashed Milestone 4, after getting my home screens set up, this was my next destination. I messed with my power menu options, signal text, and a whole host of other stuff.
And, because I'm a CyanogenMod veteran, I also changed the default settings options on the dropdown notification menu to get them more in line with what I'm used to. (I like me some quick access buttons.)
My home screens!
Despite being an app reviewing, ROM flashing, phone buying, power user, I have to keep my screens simple. When your phone is inundated with apps waiting to be reviewed, the thought of adding any of them to a home screen doesn't seem appealing at all, so I take the utilitarian approach and add only what I absolutely need.
One swipe to the left, you've got my calendar widget, courtesy of Business Calendar. It's a simple, nearly-transparent widget that scrolls like a champ, lets me add events as needed, and shows all of my upcoming stuff across every calendar I've created. In trying to balance writing here and student teaching at school, getting everything documented and organized has been absolutely pivotal in making sure there's no conflicts and everything gets done.
To the right of the main home screen is my quick access people widget, powered by Android Pro Widgets. Sure, it doesn't quite fit in with the whole ICS aesthetic (although themes can somewhat alleviate that issue), but it's functional, so I use it.
All that's left to talk about is the main screen, nestled safely in the middle. (Yeah, I'm a three screen man.) Up top is a widget by Beautiful Widgets using the Vanilla ICS clock theme and Oriental Weather HD for the weather. I've been a big supporter of Beautiful Widgets ever since they broke on the Android scene, and for good reason. If I can have a widget that looks that good on my main screen at all times, well, there's just no reason for the time to be in my notification bar. (And it's not.)
Moving south, you'll notice I just have five sets of folders. Yeah, that's it. They're all broken up into nice little categories, though, and because they're my most-used apps, opening my app drawer is almost a thing of the past. (I still do it to scroll around and watch the neat animations, though.)
The farthest left folder holds my travel apps, Tripit, Fly Delta, and FlightTrack. I might not be gallivanting around the country as often as my superiors here, but I'm in the air often enough that having these these apps is really a lifesaver.
Moving on over, I've got all my finance stuff. I use American Express, Mint.com, ING Direct, and USAA. Between these four apps I can keep track of my bank account, credit card balance, savings accounts, and make sure I'm not going over on any budgets. Being in college and all, I'm especially aware of how I'm spending, and using this suite of apps, I can check at any time, anywhere.
Third in line is my Google folder. The Play Store, Navigation, Play Music, Offers, Schemer, and Authenticator all reside in here. I need the store to buy stuff, I'm terrible with directions, and I've got my whole music library in the cloud.
I've scored some sweet deals through Offers, and while Schemer still kind of eludes me, but I think it's neat (and has a ballin' icon). The Authenticator adds an extra level of security to my Google account, and really, let's be honest here: if my account got seriously compromised, that person (or group) would have access to just about everything.
Social apps are up, and I use Google+, Path, Plume, Facebook Messenger, and Google Talk. Google+ is just the bee's knees (seriously, Circle me), Path lets me update to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously (I know, there's more than one way to skin a cat), Plume is absolutely back on top after their ICS update, Messenger is for all my less enlightened friends (see: most of them), and Talk is Talk.
Finally, there's my fitness folder. I'll be real with you: I'm not in the shape I'd like to be. I also firmly believe that at the intersection of technology and fitness is the answer of how I'll get to where I want to be. The question really becomes, if I can keep being a huge tech nerd and shed some pounds along the way, why wouldn't I?
So I picked up a FitBit Ultra (and their accompanying app), use Endomondo to track my runs and such, and try to stay motivated and on track with C25K Pro. It's a simple setup for now, but as I (hopefully) get more intense, so will the apps I use. (Also, RunKeeper is only there because it ties in with Zombies, Run!, and I'm counting down the days until it's released on Android.)
My apps! (the other ones)
I know, I just listed a ton of apps. So to save your sanity, this'll be like a quick shot rundown of other apps I have and love.
I spend far too much on Amazon, Chrome to Phone is insanely useful to send things like maps straight to ol' Mr. Nexy, Dropbox keeps my files in the cloud, Foursquare makes revealing my location easy when I feel like it (maybe too easy...), and Light Flow seems mandatory for anyone with a phone that supports more than three notification colors.
Mobile Metronome has been essential in all of my music studies, while ROM Manager is one of the old guard of root-only apps. Alongside ROM Manager stands Root Explorer, another of the root-only bastion, and Slice keeps all the stuff being shipped to me organized, even if I do have to grant it access to my Gmail inbox. Tapatalk 2 keeps my forum addiction at bay, and Titanium Backup is another staple of the root-only bunch.
And the last page of apps is kind of like the table of smelly kids in the cafeteria, except for Vlingo, Google Voice, Google Wallet, and WeatherBug Elite. So it's really not like the smelly kids table at all. Go figure.
So that's my setup. My Galaxy Nexus is the only phone to my name right now, but you can rest assured, whenever I pick up a new phone, this is just about how it'll look. (I'm a creature of habit.) Keep your eyes peeled for more articles like this in the series, and don't be afraid to share yours with us as well!
All you need to do is saunter on over to the Android Central lounge, write one of these up, and show it off to the Android world. Recommend any awesome setups folks have by hitting the News Tip button, and we'll check it out. Let's create the most epic repository of Android setups ever, because after all, this is the best Android blog on the 'net.
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