Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Apple, Macs & OS X
Merlin Mann | Jan 9 2006
My question to you: what's exciting on the show floor this year? Anything I shouldn't miss? Any exhibitors want to make a case to the Bay Area (and out-of-toen) geeks reading this? Beckon us unto your booth (and do feel free to offer free schwag and discounts to 43F Geeks in the bargain :)). NB: the usual admonitions on self-linking are lifted for this one -- provided they're tasteful and do indeed point to info on your exhibiting company (yes, I'll check).read more »
Merlin Mann | Dec 27 2005
Robert Blum has come to my rescue with this handy little iCal hack -- it automatically adds an alarm to new events. It's currently hard-wired with a "one day before" alarm (happily, also my preferred default from Entourage), but Robert plans to add some flexibility in the 0.2 release next month.
(It still kind of amazes me that this feature isn't baked right in to iCal, but I'm wildly grateful to Groby for picking up the slack.)
Merlin Mann | Dec 12 2005
The explications continue.
It's been a while since I talked about how I'm using text files, and my post a while ago on Quicksilver appending reminded me of a few little changes I've made over the past year or so that my fellow text geeks might find interesting.
Reviewing: Why text?
Like a lot of geeks and aspirational geeks, I do as many things as possible in plain text files. I've endlessly sung the praises of text on 43F, but in a nutshell, they're portable, efficient, tiny, and almost endlessly mungible. They're the lingua franca of Unix and most of the civilized world.
As you'll see, I use text files for any variety of things, although my favorite use is for making and maintaining lists. The aforementioned append functionality lets me quickly add items to any file with nothing but muscle memory and a few keystrokes. Best thing ever.
I also write in text files as well as store large amounts of reference information. Text is very easy to swap into HTML (I keep almost everything in Markdown format), and text is wonderfully searchable, whether using Spotlight, Find & Replace, or just via incremental search from within the editor.
Point being: I use applications like OmniOutliner, iCal, and (formerly) Entourage to organize the relationships between silos in my life; but text files are the living repositories for as much of the actual information as I can manage.
Getting a system
Like everything, this text system benefits from a loose organizational framework that lets me quickly create and change files without having to worry too much about what it's called, where it goes, and how I'll find it again. So here's a few high points from my text world.read more »
Merlin Mann | Dec 7 2005
Related to today's earlier post, a number of people have written over the past few weeks with curiosity about kGTD ("Is it worth buying OmniOutliner Pro?" "Is it worth buying a Mac?" "Will I be able to vanquish all foes?"). While I'm not prepared to do a major sales presentation, I am happy to oblige the folks who wanted to see how I've set mine up. Also gives you a little window into my current contexts (as well as my atrocious personal habits).read more »
Merlin Mann | Dec 7 2005
Merlin Mann | Dec 4 2005
_The Atlantic_'s James Fallows -- who also wrote one of my favorite pieces on The David -- has done a piece for the New York Times_ on the various "thinking tools" for the Mac. He covers all the goodies, including Devonthink, Tinderbox, Circus Ponies Notebook, AquaMinds NoteTaker, and my current steady date, OmniOutliner Pro (including a nice shoutout to Ethan's _amazing Kinkless GTD for OO).
[ Thanks, Brian Oberkirch ]
Merlin Mann | Nov 21 2005
The Quicksilver feature that will most dramatically change how you work is probably "Append to..." (or, when you prefer, "Prepend to..."). We first covered this back in the Bronze Age of 43F, and it's come up again repeatedly here, in the podcast, and elsewhere. And with good reason, I think. It's jaw-droppingly useful, and is the single best way I know of to ensure that "ubiquitous capture" can always occur without causing disruption or unnecessary modal change.
To review, for you new kids, Quicksilver, when properly configured (more on that in a minute), will let you add a line of text to any text file on your Mac. As long as it's included in a QS catalog someplace, you're a few fast keystrokes away from capturing your brilliant but ephemeral idea without stopping what you're doing. This is huge, in practice, believe me.
A few uses we have loved?
As I said to the Tinderbox group on Saturday -- this approach is the most efficient way I know of to get it all down whenever you're at your Mac:
This is all partly in the service of bubbling up (and lovingly rehashing) something I adore, but it's also to share some very useful advice from the de facto Vice President of 43 Folders, Mr. Robert Daeley. As Robert notes, there are several problems that can cause QS to barf on your append functionality. Tracking down the exact cause has sometimes driven friends of 43F to the brink -- so much did they crave the Power of Append.
Well, friends, Robert has come to the rescue with this handy guide to finding what the hell is wrong with your setup. Many thanks to him.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 18 2005
Mr. Ferguson turns up what has to be my favorite Mac nastygram in a while.
(Try your luck with Yahoo! starting here.)
Update 2005-11-18 15:40:00
Merlin Mann | Nov 16 2005
read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 15 2005
I forget where, but someone once mentioned that you could probably emulate fullscreen mode in most OS X apps by using the "Universal Access" PreferencePane (if I'm stealing this idea from you uncredited, send the link and I'll correct the error with my thanks).
Anyhow, this rules. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fast to set up, and if you're as easily distracted as I am, it's a handy way to minimize distractions and force yourself into focusing on just one thing.read more »
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