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

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').

And then, in some cases, even if you want to do things differently, you have to swim upstream to do so. In the case above, I can't set iCal or gCal's default to anything but 1 hour (any more than I can autoset multiple alarms1). God only knows what poor John Gruber would give to have Mail.app more easily let people quit top-posting.

The Question to You:

What default settings would you love to change in popular applications? Taken a step further, what excellent habits could be taught to users by looking at defaults as something beyond familiarity and day one ease-of-use? Could the aggressive use of smart or personalized defaults create a generation of short-meeting-makers and intersperse-responders?

James Ledoux's picture

I'd like to see a...

I'd like to see a default "dynamic message quota" to be set up by the following quotas:

1) user limit 2) daily limit 3) weekly 4) monthly 5) content driven - chain letters and ROFL = auto delete

While I'm sure I exceed my quota sending Merlin e-mails this would be very helpful.

The quota message would read:

"You have exceeded your daily limit of e-mails to X. Please revise the list of lined up e-mails below and use your quota wisely."

If this seems to fascist then how about an interactive Netfilx-like star rating system. You could rate e-mails received with a click and this would be sent back to the sender. Avoids the time-consuming/awkward "Dude stop sending me crap" e-mails...




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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