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.


aTV Update Gives AppleTV FTP and USB Drive Support

aTV Flash - Ver. 3.2 - Apple Core, LLC

The 3.2 version of Apple Core's patchstick for the AppleTV is out. And it's pretty amazing.

If you've never heard of the aTV, I'll point you to the product page for all the feature details that turn your AppleTV into a tricked-out media center that runs an assload of codecs without PitA transcoding. And, yes, you will need to read the detailed instructions on how to make this work -- there's a lot of them and it's not for the impatient or the faint of heart. For now, I just want to highlight why this particular release of this particular product has scratched such an itch for me.

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TOPICS: Apple, AppleTV

DHH on iPhone 2.0's Glitches

iPhone 2.0: The glory wore off in wash - (37signals)

[via DF]

While acknowledging the complexity of Apple's ambitious launch, David Heinemeier Hansson says iPhone 2.0 wasn't ready for prime time on a number of levels.

Combined, it’s a rather big disappointment. I’m surprised just how much impact the small griefs have when they add up to a lack of confidence in the system. It’s a great example of the cumulative effects of problems. They have an exponential damage on the experience. [...]

It feels a little like Apple got swept up in knocking down every single detraction point from 1.0 that they lost sight of what everyone loved about the first version. Yes, it got cheaper (not really), faster (some times), installable apps, and GPS, but it lost a bit of Apple soul in the process.

David also has a laundry list of complaints on stability and performance. I went through his items and ticked off each of the ones I've also noticed (with a 01-10 for how big a problem it's been for me):

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Apple's iPhone Battery Advice

Apple - Batteries - iPhone

Apple has 11 tips for increasing battery life on your iPhone.

  • Turn off 3G
  • Minimize use of location services
  • Fetch new data less frequently
  • Turn off push mail
  • Auto-check fewer email accounts
  • Minimize use of third-party applications
  • Turn off Wi-Fi
  • Turn off Bluetooth
  • Use Airplane Mode in low- or no-coverage areas
  • Adjust brightness
  • Turn off EQ

In a nutshell? Use it as an iPod. But not too often.

NB: there’s appears to still be an instance of “Push” in there. Was the decision to pull that term just for the non-email stuff?

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TOPICS: Apple, Heh, iPhone

Apple Device Security: Big Temptation to Dumb-Down

Chairman Gruber recently discovered (via his sharp-eyed reader, Earl Misquitta), that the aforementioned iPhone Remote application can also be used as a virtual keyboard for entering search text, login information, and what have you on your AppleTV. Seeing the typed characters appear on the TV screen as you type them is simply magical. So, if, like me, you’re in the amazingly tiny sliver of the Venn diagram for people who own both these products, this is hugely convenient, and what a welcome trick it is.

As I’ve alluded to before, the AppleTV’s torturous keyboard entry (via the hardware Apple Remote’s 4-way joystick) is abysmal. In 21 uninterrupted years of using Apple products, it’s probably the most consistently frustrating and poorly-designed interface I’ve encountered. I literally hate using it.

The ability to enter text via the superior (but far from perfect) iPhone keyboard is wonderful but it doesn’t and can’t address a deeper problem with the keyboard-challenged devices Apple are focused on vending right now: assy and annoying text entry encourages the use of crap passwords. This is bad, and here’s why.

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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.

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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:

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.Mac: Future of a sleeping giant?

TUAW Interviews Merlin Mann

My tall, new friend Scott McNulty interviewed me yesterday for TUAW's Macworld coverage -- unintentionally providing me a fine bully pulpit from which to perpetuate my baseless theories and half-baked forecasts about how Apple might eat the lunches of about three different industries over the next couple years.

If they can pull it off, if they can fix .Mac, and if they have the vision to re-imagine themselves as the company who makes your entire digital world safe, fun, ubiquitous, and flawlessly integrated.

Anyhow, on with the motley, but stay tuned after the jump for value-added hand-waving.

So, exactly what the hell nonsense am I talking about here?

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MacBook Air: Specific Machines, Specific Uses

macbookair.jpgThe new MacBook Air announced at yesterday's Macworld keynote doesn't disappoint; it's pretty much the laptop I've wanted ever since I stupidly broke my 12" Powerbook trying to replace the hard drive. All things remaining the same, I'd buy it simply for the difference in weight, a full two pounds less than a MacBook. As someone who's put a lot of miles on his kicks with a laptop bag on his shoulder, that would make a world of difference.

What's interesting though, is what the MacBook Air isn't: it's not simply a sexier MacBook Pro on Jenny Craig, it's a different class of machine. John Gruber rightly points out that it's clearly designed as a secondary machine for people who do their heavy lifting on a desktop. Without another machine standing by at home or the office, only a select group of geeks could really get by without an optical drive, not to mention the diminished overall specs of the MacBook Air may not please a power user without reinforcements (a.k.a., the folks willing to spend upwards of $2000 on a laptop).

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Back to MacBreak Weekly with Episode 70

MacBreak Weekly 70: Happy Life Day!


Hosts: Leo Laporte, Alex Lindsay, Andy Ihnatko, Chris Breen, Merlin Mann, and Scott Bourne

It's the Macbreak Weekly Year Ender!

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 70.

And here's linkage to a few of the things I mentioned (adapted from this episode's show notes):

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Amazon launches sale of DRM-free MP3s

Daring Fireball: The Amazon MP3 Store and Amazon MP3 Downloader

Given the Amazon MP3 Store’s audio quality, prices, and user experience, I can’t see why anyone would buy DRM-restricted music from iTunes that’s available from Amazon. And given that Amazon is quite a bit cheaper than iTunes Plus, you might as well check Amazon first. I plan to.

I'm with Gruber -- this is a welcome and fan-friendly addition to the marketplace. And, frankly, I'm glad there's finally somebody out there who can really give Apple some competition in this area.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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