One Device To Rule Them All: Part 3, Tools of the Trade

“Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) or Compulsive Tool Acquisition Syndrome (CTAS) [1] has been defined as “the all-consuming desire to expand your collection of gear …”  Wikipedia

After deciding to buy a tablet computer, based on real need and not GAS, I calculated that an iPad Pro, with 256 gigabytes of storage capacity, would be plenty for my needs. I’m not a big music listener or video watcher but I do have a large podcast library. I’ll write about the value of podcasts in a later post.

The only accessories I bought with the device were the optional stylus, the Apple Pencil (gives a little more precise control when editing photos and writing) and a protective case. I’ve used Otterboxes on every tablet and phone I’ve ever owned so I bought an Otterbox DEFENDER SERIES case.  The case comes with a cover that doubles as an adjustable viewing stand and pencil holder. No external keyboard, batteries, earphones, speakers or other stands are necessary. I’ve owned all these accessories before and it’s more pieces to keep up with…more distractions.

“App” wise, I use an internet browser, Firefox, that syncs across all devices (laptop and phone), as my main app, especially since the device is internet connected. Chrome and Safari web browsers also work. I’ve bookmarked the web applications of many of the apps and only use apps as back-ups in case the browser doesn’t work. The browser provides a familiar, stable, and minimalist interface on the tablet. I can switch between applications on the browser quicker than switching apps even though the iPad Pro now does faster multitasking and split screen viewing. The goal is to keep as many those accumulated and distracting apps out of sight.

If you have a smartphone, you can identify with being overwhelmed keeping up with apps. It’s the same with a tablet. The key is to use only the apps that you have a real need for. Those are below on the first screen of my iPad.


You may also notice that utility apps, that allow me to maintain the functions of the device, are located on the bottom of the screen allowing quick access.

What you don’t see are all the entertainment apps and lesser used apps in folders that are out-of-sight on the second page.


Sure, I’d like to access my flight simulator (I missed that part while I was in the Air Force), but having it tucked away until I get my work done lessens the temptation to fly. 🙂

Now that we’ve covered the physical setup of the device and app organization, in the next post of this series, I will write about how I generally basically organize my life on my tablet. Windows and Android users, it’s all the same principle.  Stay tuned.


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A former event photographer, I became an early adopter of, advocate for, and then a digital camera addict. After half-a-million frames taken and thousands of dollars spent, I no longer stress over the camera brand or worry about the number of megapixels. I ignore the marketing of the camera manufacturers that promote technology over the eyes of the photographer. I’ve returned to simple film cameras with the understanding that one should not have to be a Ph.D. in physics to operate a camera. Photography doesn’t have to be complicated. Visualizing the moment and finding the light is more important. Just point, shoot, and preserve your memories, create your art. After 15 years of being an “unofficial” camera engineer for Nikon, Canon, Leica, Fuji, and Ricoh, I’m still on a journey of recovery. Along the way, I’ll share how I adapt to a more considered photographic practice that promotes a more contemplative way of life.