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.

Open Thread: What's your killer app?

The other day I was talking with someone about the novel and non-obvious ways that people use Excel in their work and home life. Gotta say, I've personally seen some pretty amazing stuff happen when people take a favorite app, get really good at it, then bend it to their will. (And Excel is perfect for this.)

This tracks to Danny's Life Hack concept by which the alpha geeks were achieving lofty heights of productivity partly by mastering 1-3 "killer apps" -- then using them to solve most of their information and functional problems in fairly novel ways.

So my question for you: What's your killer app? Is there one place where 80% or more of your activity takes place (by choice)? Vim? Excel? Perl? Firefox? Post-it Notes? What's yours and when did you realize you'd become a badass at using it?

Rusty Haskell's picture

My killer apps are Vim...

My killer apps are Vim and Perl. I originally got really proficient with them back when I was running a text-only FreeBSD box for over a year, but I never considered the notion of how useful these things were until I managed to (1) automate routine web changes with a convoluted Vim macro, and (2) Update roughly 2000 separate HTML files on our company web site with a 50-line Perl script when manual changes would have taken one of our employees several days to make.

The part about open source software that I love is that there aren't really any artificial ceilings on the learning. In Windows and even in OS X, you can eventually reach the point where you can't do any more with the software. In the OSS world, even if you've mastered the thing, you can start digging into source code.




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. »