43 Folders

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

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

August, 2007

Getting schooled on macros

David Pogue: Be Careful What You Joke About

David Pogue gets an informative response to an offhand remark he'd made about macros. Man, you really don't want to fool around with these EMACS people:

Various packages of “macros” were developed to provide speedier editing, and went by various names ending in “macs,” short for “macros.” TMACS and RMACS had also been popular, but the EMACS package seemed to have the most users. By 1979, EMACS was in version 135, and was maintained mostly by Richard Stallman with help from a few others.

Around 1981-1982, I added the M-$ keystroke bound to the macro “Check Word Spelling,” making EMACS perhaps the first text editor with an integrated spelling corrector.

In my brief time with EMACS, I felt like I was trying to play Rachmaninov with tiny, baby hands. But, brother, when I see what people like Ken and Nelson can do with it, my mind is blown. Makes me want bigger hands.

Gruber on "Rethinking Email"

Rethinking Email

Good insight from Chairman Gruber, related to the email system he's started employing since moving to Mail.app

...I can classify all incoming personal email into three broad categories: (a) messages that are either very important or very interesting; (b) messages that are utterly non-interesting; and (c) those which fall somewhere in-between.

The vast majority of my email falls into the latter category. Under my previous “system”, I let them pile up in my inboxes, under the assumption that some day I’d get around to answering many of them. Under the new system, if I don’t respond immediately after reading them, they go right into my archive. Out of sight, out of mind.

For folks who haven't crossed the line to where this realization really clicks, I understand that this can sound harsh, even uncaring. But once you have gotten into the habit, you realize the amount of bullshit you had been shoveling to yourself -- hoping that all that stuff in your inbox, which you knew in your heart you'd never do anything about, would just...what?...grow wings and fly a response back to its sender? It's daft.

It's so tough to be honest with yourself about your real situation with email, but once you've made the admission, you're weirdly freed up to communicate more authentically, and, in my experience, with a renewed enthusiasm.

43f Jobs; Get a freebie ad

43 Folders Job Board

Here’s our featured gigs this week on the 43 Folders Job Board:

Free Job Postings (if you’re fast)

Got a job opening? Are you cheap? Not a problem. Have a freebie on us.

read more »

Vox Pop: Email via web CRM?

Most businesses and an increasing number of people (including me) are looking for friction-free ways for teams to deal with incoming public email accounts. Whether you're managing a home eBay company, fielding FAQs, or reviewing incoming resumes, it seems like there must be some good, lightweight web apps for teams to use and collaborate around.

Ron Richards just pointed me to Cerberus, and I've previously looked at DayLite, MailTank, and Sugar. I like the trouble-ticket approach in some ways, but I also wish it could be prettied up -- ideally including remote form submission from your own domains.

The Question to You:

Have you found a free or inexpensive web-based app that helps your teams manage incoming email and convert them into assigned tasks? Got one that’s great at template-based responses? Anything with the power of a support ticket app that’s a bit prettier from the user’s standpoint?

edit 2007-08-27 09:17:40: Shoulda mentioned: relevant self-links are okay on this one.

"Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting


I noticed a lot of people are favoriting this screen grab of the "Perfect" iTunes equalizer setting (I posted it to Flickr, so I won't keep forgetting it when I need it).


Ever since I saw this in that Mac OS X Hints article, I've used it as my default equalizer in iTunes -- it seems to give a nice pop to MP3 tracks in particular.

HOWTO and specific settings from the original article:

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select "Make Preset." Call it "Perfect," because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):

db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db

Email in the WSJ; Drupal Fastsearch; Getting Things Written; Finding Lunch 2.0; Butt-kickin' Bourne

How I Made My Presentations a Little Better

Since my Google Tech Talk (previously) caught fire last month (it's gotten over 100,000 views so far), I've been receiving a lot of really nice email, comments, and questions about how I put my presentations together. I'm happy to oblige.

read more »

New iPod Nano?; Buddy List Zero; "Bricking" a stolen iPhone; Lovely PocketTweets;

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Mathowie's decluttering project

The Great Uncluttering

Matt Haughey recently posted a Flickr set documenting a dramatic, decluttering re-do of a spare bedroom that transformed it from the typical suburban catch-all/playroom into a tidy space for hanging out and watching Monsters with the familia.

before after
read more »

Vox Pop: What default settings would you change?

As I am wont to do, I was thinking out loud on Twitter this morning.

Twitter message: 'I wonder how different the world might look if the default 'new meeting' time in calendar programs were 10 minutes instead of 1 hour'

I'm convinced that, for better or worse, a lot of computer-related habits come straight out of using the default settings. For example a stock Mail.app install checks your email every 5 minutes (I reset mine to 'Manual') and, without interdiction, Apple's mail program will also create all your new messages as "Rich Text" (Nuh uh. Mine? 'Plain Text').

read more »

Purging info-poor entries from Address Book

You may share my Address Book pollution problem — having too many orphaned names that got scribbled on a PDA or were manually added but never fleshed out (like: 10 years ago!).

Here’s a really stupidly useful Smart Group for Address Book that helps identify entries without any real information attached to them.

read more »

About 43 Folders


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

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Record-breaking fourth week without a Johnny Paycheck joke

43 Folders Job Board

This is Troy and his 'team'.

Another Friday, and another pack of cool jobs we’re featuring this week on the 43 Folders Job Board:

Featured Job: Ruby/Rails Developers - ThoughtWorks, New York, NY (Atlanta, GA)

You can post your own open position on 43 Folders. It’s easy as theoretical pie, and, brother, is that ever easy. [Mmmm...pie »]

Awards link scam; Truth about book-writing; Better iPhone mail; Old-timey photo maps; How I really found your site; ViaTalk? Dea

  • The software awards scam « Successful Software - Five stars! Reminds me of the ubiquitous mid-'90s "Cool Site of the Day!" awards -- the web equivalent of "World's Greatest Grandpa."
  • scottberkun: How to write a book - the short honest truth - "Writing, as opposed to publishing, requires almost no financial or physical resources. A pen, a paper and effort are all that has been required for hundreds of years."
  • CatCubed: Gmail, IMAP, and iPhones - Part 2 - The Tutorial - "As I posted previously, I’ve been experimenting with finding a my perfect iPhone email set up." Neato-sounding (if kind of complicated) setup for iPhone-friendlier email.
  • Photo-Auto Maps (1907) - "Rand McNally published what were called Photo-Auto Maps, showing photos of streets and landmarks, with arrows pointing you to the correct path leading toward your destination." Awesome. Like a photo version of a AAA TripTik.
  • Gruber’s Trick - I do this all the time too. Truth is, I’m way more likely to find a site via referrers than any other way. I don’t link to ‘em all, and it’s not out of pure ego — more like way limited time, above average signal-to-noise ratio, and the occasional unavoidably awesome serendipity. BTW, this not necessarily a suggestion for people who want a link from here: if it's crap, it sinks. More just an “annoying trick” that I’m totally fine sharing openly with you. [via: DF]
  • SunRocket Saga: Still No Happy Ending for Many - I ordered my ViaTalk service and VoIP dingus on July 20th. Half a dozen unanswered emails and 3 weeks later: nada. Not classy, ViaTalk. Not classy at all. Makes me want to open up a big-ass Can of Cory.
TOPICS: Daily Links

How to use a single Mail.app Archive (without losing your mind)

For some time now, I've encouraged people to consider abandoning the byzantine folder structure that most of us used to employ to "organize" our email. In fact, this kind of functional simplicity is something I've started to think of as a pillar of Inbox Zero.

In addition to helping explode the myth that most email messages have any life once their actions have been liberated, it's a healthy habit to actively remove any unnecessary systematic fiddling that doesn't handsomely pay back the effort that habitually goes into it.

And, as ever: yes, some of you -- because of the incredibly unique nature of your work in an office -- will need to have 500 taxonomic mailboxes, a monthly archives by project, a person-by-person collection going back to 1983, and a multiply-copied CC'd team archives, coded by color and identified with helpful icons you found on Gopher in 1992. Sure, why not. If that's working for you, by all means, keep fiddling and filing.

But, if you're ready to admit you might be turning a crank that's potentially not hooked-up to anything, here's my four favorite ways to leverage the intelligence of Mail.app for drop-dead simple archiving.

read more »

PingMe reminders; OSS Quicksilver?; Ethan joins OmniGroup; iPhone tips and wallpaper; Tribute to YouTube commenters

Admin: Why things are kind of slow around here

Pardon a meta post, but I wanted to offer an apology for the paucity of new feature-length posts here recently, as well as to provide some context for where that time's been going. A little "behind the scenes" insight, if you're curious.

read more »

Peter Walsh's clever hanger trick

Here's one of my favorite life-hacky tips from Peter Walsh (guy from Clean Sweep, author of It's All Too Much, and inspiration for my recent War on Clutter).

After you've done a major purge of your closet, remove all the remaining clothes that live on hangers, and put them back in backwards, such that the open end of each hanger now faces you. Got it?

Then, mark your calendar for six months (or whatever) from today, and go back to your business as usual. Except that after every time you wear a shirt or a jacket or a skirt or what have you, when you replace the item, make sure the hanger faces the opposite/usual way (with the opening in the back).

When your n months have passed, and your calendar reminds you that it's time, open your closet and remove every piece of clothing on a backward hanger; the chances are good you can give it away without the slightest pain, because you just clearly demonstrated that you don't wear it.

Here's why I love this.

read more »

Great week in jobs: This American Life, Kevin Kelly, Mule Design, and more

43 Folders Job Board

This is Ashley and Tyler.

We have some really cool job posts for you this week on the 43 Folders Job Board. Positions are available with some of my favorite organizations and people:<br/>

Featured Job: Ruby/Rails Developers - ThoughtWorks, New York, NY (Atlanta, GA)

You can post your own job on 43 Folders. The process is easy, fast, and it even makes julienne fries. [Fill ’em up »]

Fighting overextension; First look at Numbers; "Linkable" notebooks; Doing v. tracking; Better 404s

Start Here - Notebooks

Google Docs API; Blogging elsewhere; YouTube preview picker; David the Giant

'David Allen Has a Posse'

Vox Pop: Your best "best practice" for email?

Short Subject: Now You're Talking (1927)

prosaic [on email]

Chris Streeter picks up on a thread that I've been thinking about a lot lately (and he's kind to mention the relationship to Inbox Zero).

He reminds us that the etiquette for using a telephone was once well-established enough to earn a place in the encyclopedia:

read more »

Frustrated? Bored? Sick of your stinky cubemates? Let us help.

43 Folders Job Board

This is Tor. Tor is angry. The guy in the cube next to Tor keeps eating burritos and singing 'Chocolate Rain' to himself. Tor promised himself this job was just transitional, but increasingly, Tor worries that he'll never leave. Tor needs to move on, and come in out of the chocolate rain. Tor needs a 43 Folders Job.

We have some swell new job posts for you this week on the 43 Folders Job Board. Here are a few positions we wanted to highlight for you:<br/>

Featured Job: Ruby/Rails Developers - ThoughtWorks, New York, NY (Atlanta, GA)

You can post your own job on 43 Folders. It's easy, and it makes you look skinny and smart. [more info »]

Posts, posts, posts.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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