43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Why we're "Mac-centric," and what it means for you

I don’t want to start a religious war in our nice, quiet little beach community, but I think it’s important to address some folks’ concerns that 43 Folders is too “Mac-centric.” This post will, I hope, function as a one-time statement of purpose to which I can point the curious or merely annoyed in the future. Thanks for bearing with me for a few minutes.

So, when people point out, via the web and email, that this site is “Mac-centric,” I think they tend to mean it in one of four ways.

  1. Unbridled enthusiasm - “Holy crap! There’s finally a site about Macs, lifehacks, and productivity tips. I’ve honestly never been this happy in my entire adult life!”
  2. Value-free observation - “Mmm, yeah, a lot of this stuff definitely isn’t for me and my Dell, but some of it is pretty cool and useful.”
  3. Good natured jibing - “Hey, big shot, buy a real computer and you’ll finally get productive! Hah hah hah. ;-)”
  4. Garden variety ignorance - “No find Windows here. Mac bad. Hulk will smash!”

Love the first three. Love ‘em! Fourth one? You poor bastards are so out of luck here.

Look: some of my best friends use Windows, but—God bless you people—you’re the rich, white, frat boys of the computer space; everything has been all about you for so long that a few of you actually get a little miffed when you’re not the center of attention for two minutes. God forbid you have to actually search beyond the default setting for anything you need. So, yeah, I understand that this is probably confusing and difficult for you. Maybe it can be a teachable moment.

This certainly is not rocket science, friends. What any one of you finds useful on this site on any given day will necessarily vary widely depending on your needs, your technical decisions, and your current skills—let alone the seemingly self-evident fact that your interests aren’t likely to be identical to my own. But, if the existence of information outside your single area of interest causes you stress, you should either stick with the non-Mac categories or just not visit here at all. I just can’t be responsible for your stroke. Who would keep installing Service Packs during your recuperation?

So, yeah, I’m really grateful for the wonderful emails, posts, visits, and goodwill. People seem to like this site a lot and that makes me really happy and glad I go to the trouble. So thanks. And to folks who can’t abide the idea of anything but Windows being discussed anywhere, I’m afraid I just can’t help you. But I do wish you well.

Let me just conclude with a rare piece of overt Mac advocacy. Not my usual “Hey, this is a cool Mac trick for power users,” but a more aggressive, “You should really be using a Mac now. Seriously.”

To be honest, I tend to discourage friends from “switching” for the very reason this post now exists; it takes a lot of courage to move from the hegemonic center to the slightly less well-defined edges of any system.

But, I’m here to tell you, if you read about stuff like Quicksilver and i-search and Notational Velocity and think “Man, that is so much cooler than what I have now,” you might want to consider giving OS X and Macs a spin. I’m not saying it will be easy or seamless or fix all your problems at a pass, but a lot of folks are finding life a lot less menacing and a lot more fun on our little side of the wall.

Just one data point. Thanks for hearing me out.

[Comments off, but I’ve started a sibling discussion thread on the the Google Group]

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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