43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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

Blog Pimping, or: Who Do You Want to Delight?

Big Contrarian → Tacky.

My favorite bloggers are great at articulating something I feel in my gut -- but they regularly present it better, more clearly, and (on days like today), more succinctly than I ever could. Such is the case with Jack Shedd's post, "Tacky," a razor-sharp polemic on the industry of cheese-food manufacturing that "pro blogging" has turned into.

Write top ten lists and whore yourself on many other sites as you possibly can. Don’t be thoughtful, long-winded or interesting. Don’t write about you love, unless what you love is popular on Digg. And for god’s sake don’t even think about writing about more than one topic.

Whether their strategies work or not is slightly beside the point. It’s cheap. It’s marketing driven, instead of content driven. It’s the type of thinking that leads to a sequel to the movie Garfield.

For myself, I think there's nothing wrong with having a blog and wanting to make money with it. Obviously. But I also hold an increasingly old-fashioned view that you ought to start with something you're passionate about sharing with people -- something besides how to make easy money with a blog -- and try to build an audience of people you respect based on producing work you're happy with or even proud of.

read more »

Chronic Procrastination and the Cost of the "Ding!"

Guadian UK: Hi-tech is turning us all into time-wasters

(via Rich Siegel)

A few weeks ago, I pointed you to a startling stat in the New York Times stating that 28% of the average worker's day gets blown on unnecessary interruptions -- helping contribute to a crisis that a company like Intel now considers a $1 billion per year problem. From yesterday's Guardian comes more numbers on the growing cost of distraction:

Ferrari says that chronic procrastination is now so serious a condition it needs to be recognised by clinicians. In a study to be published later this year, he estimates that 15 to 20 per cent of people are chronic procrastinators. 'We now have data on 4,000 people, and it doesn't seem to matter what age you are, or your sex or background.'

Of course, as the Inbox Zero guy, I think a real eye-opener sneaks in with this passing note about the cost of all those noisy email notifications you created:

read more »

Google Docs Adds Over 300 New Templates

Google Docs Templates

Google Docs recently added over 300 templates for a variety of business documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Need templates for a calendar, a letter, a resume, or even Avery-compatible labels? You're good to go.

My favorites are in the eclectic "Miscellaneous" section, where you'll find templates for athletes, parents, wedding or event planners, wine nerds, screenwriters -- even "animal guardians".

read more »

iPhone Apps I'd Totally Buy

Detail from conext-specific location controls in OmniFocus for iPhoneAs I wrote yesterday, I'm loving the new iPhone apps on the iTunes store. Also, as we mentioned on MacBreak Weekly yesterday, it seems likely that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what people will do with that SDK.

But it got me thinking about the stuff I want -- the itches I want to scratch. So, iPhone developer friends. Please make these three apps.

read more »

3 iPhone Media Apps (that Feel a Little Like Magic)

There are so many amazing new apps on the iPhone store that I hope to review here (and I'll certainly spend time on a few more over coming weeks), but today I want to point you to three applications that make me feel like I'm a music fan of the very-near-future -- where personalized data flies through the air, phones play rock music based on your personal preferences, and everybody listens to Silkworm on moving sidewalks and in tricked-out rocket cars.

read more »

How Hard is MobileMe Really "Pushing"?

Push in the bush? Or sync with less stink? Look at me! I'm Merlin, and I'm writing funny headlines!

Apple's MobileMe Lacks True Push Syncing - InformationWeek

MobileMeAccording to many users, and as reported by numerous news outlets, Apple MobileMe's implied promise of instantaneous sync between between multiple devices (including, it had been implied, your desktop Mac) is not accurate. Since it appears that syncing from the desktop to anywhere else in "the cloud" can actually take as long as 15 minutes, many are questioning Apple's referring to this functionality as "Push" (as opposed to simply sped-up, automated "syncing"). Marin Perez of InformationWeek writes:

The gripe comes because data entered on their Macintosh or PC address books and calendars isn't immediately pushed to MobileMe's servers.

"Selecting Automatic in Mac OS X allows your computer to immediately sync and update when there are any changes on the MobileMe servers," read a support note on Apple's Web site. "Those changes come from your iPhone, iPod Touch, the MobileMe Web site, or another computer. Changes made on your computer will be synced to the MobileMe 'cloud' every 15 minutes."

You may have shared my slack-jawed gape and consequent fistbump when Phil Schiller's WWDC demo of MobileMe [free iTunes link] implied magically fast, truly instantaneous syncing. Because that's really hard to do well -- and implying MobileMe would enable such a thing suggested mighty technological leaps over the previous .Mac service, whose sync skills and reliability were famously uneven at best.

read more »



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »