What’s in your phone, Samantha Villenave?
Samantha Villenave is an artist, translator, and community manager. She’s done hackathons, conferences and other geeky events, and does a bunch of webby things with artists. Sam is also
Pam’s sidekick cofounder of Cowgirl App!
“What’s in your phone?” is our ongoing series of interviews with women about the apps they use. (We already know what’s in your bag…)
Q: What mobile device(s) do you have and in what situations do you use them?
A: I have a Samsung Galaxy S2, and an iPad. I use the iPad for light surfing, and as a sketchbook and/or canvas with either Paper or ArtRage. I prefer the iPad size for drawing and (finger) painting, but I use my phone for nearly everything else. I feel naked without it. I generally turn the sound/ringer off, as the constant buzzing of notifications stresses me out, and I prefer calling or texting people back rather than being interrupted in my workflow or time off. And if you’re really my friend, not only do you know that I obstinately refuse to respond to my home phone when it rings, but you also know that I’ll respond quicker to a Tweet, or a text, than to a voicemail.
A: I open Twitter first, just to check my @mentions and DM’s before reading and responding to my emails (which I prefer doing from the computer, and after my second cup of coffee.) I’m a bit frustrated, as I have tried many, but have yet to find a third party Android Twitter client that works well for me. For perusing my actual Twitter stream over (my first cup of) coffee, I use Flipboard. Flipboard is more visual and quicker to weed through the mass of Tweets and news, in order to find what actually interests me. I used to trawl my Instagram stream if I had a little of time left, before hitting my nose to the grindstone, but lately I’ve been using Pictarine instead. Pictarine is a timesaver, as it pulls in photos from many of my social networks into one stream, letting me interact with them from inside the app.
Q: What extras do you have (covers, bags, sleeves, dangly things…)?
A: My husband built this super cute iPad stand out of legos, and has since become a permanant fixture in our living room. I use it as a docking station, when I plug the iPad into speakers and use it to listen to music, or podcasts. (I’m a podcast addict.) To protect my phone I have a simple black silicone skin, with a slight glittery effect. I keep it simple.
Q: Do you use apps mostly for practical purposes, entertainment, creation, socializing, or something else?
A: I use apps for everything. I love using social networks, not because of the platforms, but because of the people. I live in a very rural part of France, and I’m not from here; I’m an immigrant. I’m American, and I came here on a whim ten years ago, met a handsome Frog, fell in love, and stayed. But many of the people I love the most are across the Atlantic. Having apps that permit me to keep in touch with them, as well as speaking English (I speak French all day, and at home, here), has become a necessity for my well being. I’m a fiercely loyal public radio
addict nerd, and listen to podcasts on a daily basis. I mentioned before that I like to draw and paint with apps, but I find an iPad much more practical than a phone for this, because of its size. I use apps for cooking, managing my budget, as reminders for my to do lists…
Q: In what ways have apps enhanced your life? In what ways do you think apps have enhanced society? Or hurt it?
A: Apps have made my life simpler, and busier at the same time. (I think I’d say the same thing for technology in general.) Apps entertain me, help me organize my life, and at the same time preoccupy me more than I care to admit. I’m not a naturally organized person, and until I had a smartphone I would write down little bits of information on pieces of paper that I inevitably lost in the end. I would often forget or lose my dayplanner when I most needed it. But those days are past, and nowadays, I would be in a lot of trouble without my phone. Having it with me is like having an extra brain, or two, or ten. I do think, however, that there is a temptation within all of this connectivity that we maintain, to become disconnected from those who are physically present with us. Sometimes when I should be enjoying the present moment and conversation with friends or family, I’ll catch myself mindlessly playing with my phone instead of really listening to and sharing with them. I’m working on that, as I don’t think it’s the fault of the tech, rather mine.
Q: What would be your desert island app?
A: I’d have to say Flipboard. It gives my Twitter, Facebook, and favorite news topics a beauty makeover, and makes reading them such a beautiful visual experience. I love it. Two months ago I would have said Instagram, but sadly, as I mentioned earlier, a wet blanket has been thrown on the fire of my Instalove.
Q: What’s the most embarrassing app in your phone? ‘Fess up!
A: Oh, gawd, do I really have to tell you? Okay, I feel so ovarian for admitting this, but I have an app that tells me when I’m going to get my period. It’s also good for baby makin’, or avoidin’. The app’s called My Days. (I’m cringing now. Why did I admit to this?)
Q: If you could design the perfect app, what would it be/do?
A: I think all of the apps that I want to make exist are to do impossible things. Like an app that can give me a Shiatsu massage while it does my laundry. And pours me a glass of wine. Is there an app for that?
Q: What advice would you give to people who haven’t adopted apps as part of their lifestyle?
A: Don’t be scared. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Start with some of the pretty photo apps we’ve reviewed. Those are generally good starters. And let us know here at Cowgirl App! if there is an app or type of app that you would like to see us write about. We love hearing from you, honest!