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.

Office Supply Fetish: Nerdy History of Tabs & Index Cards

Yay! Tabs!

Technology Review: Keeping Tabs

Here's a fascinating history of a small but influential idea that's touched the lives of every librarian, accountant, office supply fetishist, and web surfer: **the tab**.

The original tab signaled an information storage revolution and helped enable everything from management consulting to electronic data processing.

The tab's story begins in the Middle Ages, when the only cards were gambling paraphernalia. Starting in the late 14th century, scribes began to leave pieces of leather at the edges of manuscripts for ready reference. But with the introduction of page numbering in the Renaissance, they went out of fashion.

Apparently, the modern index card really hit its stride after file cards -- and the "randomly accessible, infinitely modifiable arrangement of data" they afforded -- became the province of a company founded by Melvil Dewey (yes, that Dewey):

read more »

Panic's stevenf: Time to Dump FTP

stevenf.com ("Don't Use FTP")

Transmit is Panic's FTP app -- which does indeed support SFTPSteven Frank, one of the boys wonder behind Panic and their excellent Transmit app says it’s high time to dump FTP in favor of its smarter, sexier sister, SFTP. Of which Steven says “It’s secure, it’s consistently implemented, and it’s machine-readable.”

A lot of people who have used FTP daily for years are surprised to learn that they're sending everything in the clear -- that means the stuff you're uploading as well as your actual password. Makes you think twice about what you're throwing through the air as you update your blog templates via "free WiFi."

Steven says:

read more »

Kurt Vonnegut on Writing Better

"How to Write With Style" by Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt VonnegutIn an essay from his 1981 collection, Palm Sunday, the wonderful Kurt Vonnegut offered simple, sensible advice on improving your writing. Love this bit on learning how to "sound like yourself":

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

The seven points, in all:

  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers

[via MetaFilter]

(Ask me about the time in 1986 that Kurt Vonnegut bought me breakfast.)

Update 2008-07-14 09:11:30: If you're curious, [here's my Kurt Vonnegut story](kung fu grippe, which I shared on another site of mine not long after his passing. What a good human Mr. Vonnegut was.

read more »

Apple's Bad Day

This is not the Friday Apple had wanted. There's a lot of frustrated people out there right now. A quick survey of the damage so far:

read more »

First Look: Evernote for the iPhone

(Oh, man. I’ve got a crazy busy day today, but it just got a lot busier thanks to an intoxicating morning with the iPhone 2.0 update and the iTunes App Store. I’ll try and sneak in a few little posts today on the amazing new apps as time permits)

Evernote (iTunes App Store Link)

  • Free
  • works with Evernote web and desktop apps

I need to do a full post on [Evernote](Evernote](http://www.evernote.com/) here some time soon, because it really is a nifty little application for collecting, storing, and organizing practically any kind of information you can throw at it. The iPhone version is a stripped-down, all-business version of the app that will scratch an itch for Evernote fans who are fatigued by having to email everything to the mothership.

More after the jump, including how to take screengrabs like this on your iPhone 2.0...

read more »

Quicksilver's Back; Nerd Hope Cautiously Restored

New Quicksilver builds | Hawk Wings

Quicksilver Logo

Since going open source late last year, things have seemed pretty quiet in the world of our favorite app launcher, Quicksilver. Today, our pal, Tim Gaden of Hawk Wings, posts on the availability of a bug fix release of Quicksilver that's come out in the last few weeks. He also points to a thread on the QS Google Group that suggests Quicksilver's auteur and flippered mystery bot, A1c0r, is currently hard at work on a substantial rewrite.

Please note that this is only a bug fix version, the creator of Quicksilver (Alcor) is working on a complete re-write of the frameworks of Quicksilver and should hopefully release it soon ;)

The post by user Patrick also refers to a separate, similarly numbered "Ankur's cleaned-up QS version," which refers to the work Ankur Kothari has been doing primarily to reduce the weight of Quicksilver's code.

These have been white knuckle months for me (and a lot of other Quicksilver nerds), dreading the inevitable OS X update that might break the aging Quicksilver build we've been using. This all seems like encouraging news -- although you have to hope at some point the different folks working on improvements will be able to consolidate their efforts into one big, happy, branch.

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. »