iPhone Pro-Tip: Reordering Icons After an Update [DEPRECATED]

*Apple has addressed this issue in the iPhone 2.1 software update*

When applications on your iPhone or iPod touch are updated, they get installed at the bottom of the last home screen, leaving an empty spot where the original app resided. I don’t know about you, but it annoys the crap out of me.

This is especially a pain when, to move the updated icon to back to its original position, you have to perform a delicate tap-and-hold-and-drag maneuver while the rest of the icons dance and jump around from row to row and screen to screen, further complicating the process. It’s enough to make me put off updating apps until I can plug my phone into my laptop and let iTunes handle the mess. Until now.

While brushing my teeth this morning, a simple shortcut popped into my head that will make reorganizing after an update virtually painless. And here it is:

1. In the image below, the homescreen on the left is my “main” screen. The empty space was once occupied by OmniFocus, which is now the last icon on the last screen (middle): four screens away from where it’s supposed to be.

2. While on the last screen, tap and hold any icon to activate the wiggling “reorder” mode. Then, pull any icon out of the “dock” at the bottom of the screen (I chose the iPod icon), and replace it with the app you want to move (right). Once it’s in the dock, press the home button to end reorder mode. The icons will stop wiggling.

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3. Navigate to the homescreen where you want to place the new icon (below, left), and then tap and hold any icon once again to reactivate reorder mode. Drag the updated app’s icon out of the dock back to where it belongs (below, middle). Press the home button again to turn off reorder mode.

4. Finally, go back to the screen where you dropped off the first icon (below, right). Tap and hold any icon to enter reorder mode one more time, then tap and drag the desired icon back into the dock. Press the home button one last time to end reorder mode, and you’re all done.

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This seems like a lot more work than it actually is, and as usual, I’ve over-explained it, but next time you have to update an app, give it a shot. It only takes a couple seconds, but it’s easy and effective. It should hold us over at least until Apple introduces an “update in place” feature, if it’s even possible.

Highway to Hull

I’m writing this in the backseat of Sonja’s parents’ Audi as we make the drive home to Mineapolis after a quick trip to Alcester, South Dakota, for a family reunion. (We’re actually quite a ways past Hull and have just driven through Sheldon, Iowa, but “Highway to Sheldon” didn’t make as catchy a title.)

I’ve now got one full week of the new job under my belt, and I’m happy to say that I still like it. The four days I spent there in mid-July were, in fact, a fine representation of the company and I wasn’t just being shown the “shiny bits” to make it seem nice.

Everyone I’ve met so far has been really cool and I’ve yet to meet anyone not suited for the position they’re in, which is a relief.

The funny thing that I’ve noticed is that, since this company is new to producing their own commercials, each shoot is still something of a novelty to them. On Friday, for example, there was a shoot at a local house. At previous jobs, the crew might have consisted of the producer, director, and copywriter (often all the same person), a shooter and maybe a grip. Add the talent and maybe you’d have four or five people on set.

Here, each one of those positions was an individual person, but add to that a couple sound guys, makeup, gaffer, another grip, lighting, and so on. Plus, the account manager was present. Then, throughout the day, various others would leave the building to “go see the shoot.” This included a couple other copywriters, a VP or two, the creative director, random executives, and another audio guy or two. I, on the other hand, was in the office all day working with the other editor but I think we were a couple of the only people from the creative department who did not visit the shoot.

I’m sure that once the “newness” of producing video in-house wears off, there will be fewer gawkers on location. But as someone who has been on countless shoots and knows how monotonous they can become over the course of a few hours, I can’t imagine wanting to hang around one all day if I didn’t have a legitimate reason to be there.

Maybe that’s why I prefer to work in post, and only occasionally go out on shoots. I’m fine with being there if I’m needed or if I have a reason to be, but I’ve never been one to hang around shoots for too long otherwise, especially if the director has already established a “rhythm,” or lack of a better term, on the set. New people showing up mid-shoot only distracts the talent and crew that is already in place.

So that’s my week. Sonja and I are still trying to decide where we’re going to live. A house may not be out of the question, and right now is probably the best time to buy one since the sellers’ market is in shambles. We still have to find the right house (though we already found the “perfect” house just outside our price range), and we still need to unload the house in Kansas City (see previous statement about sellers’ market). The good thing is that we don’t have to be in any rush, since Sonja’s parents are generously letting us live in their home until we make up our minds. Still, I miss my cats (who have taken temporary residence with my parents in Iowa), and it would be nice to have a place to call a home of our own again.

It’s an exciting (and a little bit scary) time in my life right now, but all the changes have been positive so far (when did this turn into a motivational blog?).

Signing off from Kansas

In a matter of hours, I will leave this house.

Then, I will leave this neighborhood, this city, and this state altogether. My car will be full of as many clothes as I can pack in the giant suitcase I bought for my honeymoon, while still leaving room for my iMac, my television, and whatever else I can squeeze into my hatchback.

I will be making my way north. Destination: My inlaws’ home in Minneapolis, where I will be staying for a few weeks while I get settled into a new position at a new department at a company that is just beginning to do what I’m heading there to do. I will be working as a contractor–basically freelance–for a few months, and then hopefully turn it into an “official” full-time career. It’s what I want to do, where I want to do it. And that’s what I keep telling myself.

Still, I keep getting choked up when I think about what I am leaving behind here in Kansas City. First and foremost, the friends. Sonja and I moved to Kansas in July 2002, and in six years, we have met some of the greatest people I’ve ever known. So many talented people with diverse backgrounds, somehow all crossing paths with us through a total of seven jobs, two apartments and one house. I didn’t get a chance to say a proper goodbye to everyone, but I don’t consider it goodbye anyway, because these are people that I know I will see again, many times.

Speaking of the house, perhaps that’s what hurts most. It’ll be easy to stay in contact with the people, but leaving our first house under these circumstances, so soon after moving in and making it our home, that’s what hurts. It hit me hard a couple nights ago, and even now, as I sit at my desk during what is my last real night here, it makes me ache.

We were really fortunate with this house. It’s in the perfect neighborhood, surrounded by perfect neighbors on all sides. These people welcomed us so warmly last May, and just as we were getting to know them, we’re leaving them behind, too. As silly as it seems, I feel like we’re kind of letting them down. Stupid, I know.

I love this little house, even with its squeaky floors and too-small garage. More than any other place I’ve lived, this feels like my home.

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What I keep having to remind myself is that this is a positive change. It’s a step in the direction we want to head. Sonja and I always planned to eventually move to Minnesota, where she grew up, just not this soon. But then, starting in mid-April when I was laid off, a series of events started to unfold.

First, three job interviews for three jobs that I didn’t want, though I tried to make it seem otherwise when talking about it with my friends. I think all along, I was trying to convince myself that these were jobs that I wanted, even when I knew they weren’t.

Each position was close to what I wanted, but each had something I didn’t like about it. One was a “junior” position that was beneath my skills; one was at a fledgling company that I didn’t feel had the resources to ever really become anything more than what it already is; and one that was so stiflingly corporate, I knew before I walked in the front doors that I did not want to be there.

During all this, a person from my past called me to do some freelance work, which saved me both financially and mentally, as well as prevented me from having to swallow my pride and work full-time at my other gig, a part-time retail job at the Apple Store. That job was supposed to be just for fun and a little extra spending money, but was looking more and more like it may have to become my real job instead of just my “retail experiment,” as I called it.

Freelance turned out to be a big success, and at times, I was busier than I had ever been, but loving every second of it. I was finally able to do what I wanted to do on my terms and make some good money at it. At one point, I even had to scale back my availability at the store so I could devote more time to my freelance projects.

Then on the last day of June, we were dealt another blow when Sonja was part of a round of layoffs at her job (though vindication would come in time), which forced us to seriously look at our options for the future. I still hadn’t heard back from the third job after my second interview there, so I announced a decision to Sonja while we were standing in the backyard: If I didn’t get the job, we’d move to Minnesota.

Wait, I need to back up: In April, the same person that gave me my first freelance job had also asked if I still had plans to move north, which I did, but hadn’t given them any thought. Now that we had a house, we were more tied to Kansas City than ever, or so it seemed. A little bit later, that same person announced he was moving to Minneapolis to build the video department at an established marketing agency, and told me he’d need help.

So I called the hiring manager at the third company, but the tone of his voice told me the answer before he could get the words out. Yet, even as I was being turned down, I was feeling relieved, very similar to the feeling I got when I walked out the front door of my last job back in April. Had they offered me the job, I would have taken it for the money and benefits, but I knew that it was not what I wanted to do, and it wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be.

That phone call started us down the path that leads to where we are now. Sonja and I spent about 10 days in Minnesota a couple weeks ago. I got the rare chance to “test drive” the company while they got to do the same with me while I worked there as a contractor. When I left at the end of the week, I felt something completely different than I had about the jobs I’d interviewed for and the jobs I’d held over the past six years: Hope.

I started the week hoping that the company was well-established and intelligent, and that the position would be a good fit for me. At the end, I was hoping that they’d seen the same promise in me that I saw in their organization. I was only there for four days, but I was excited for the future of the company, and I hoped that I’d be a part of it.

That brings us back to today. Our home on the market, packing our belongings back into the boxes we pulled them out of a little over a year ago, and cramming what we can into an 8′ by 8′ storage unit across town.

And so, when I set out in a few hours for the unknown and the uncertain future, I know that I will be feeling a lot of sadness for what we are leaving behind, but I know that the opportunities that await me are, without a doubt, the best thing that could have happened to us at this point in our lives. We’ll be in the place we wanted to be, and I’ll be doing what it is that I love to do, at a place that is serious about giving us the resources to do the best job possible, and really, that’s all that I could ask for.