43 Folders

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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.

Apple, Macs & OS X

Three OS X Timers

I know I'm not the only timer nerd here -- check out three Mac-friendly ways to time your activities and make sure you stay on track.

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KGTD keeps getting better

Kinkless (Home)
Kinkless GTD 0.69 [Salt Water] (Download)

KGTD & QuicksilverYesterday afternoon at about 15:00 Pacific standard time, I realized that I officially had way too much going on. Too many scattered low-depth projects, countless "waiting ons," and a situation where seemingly infinite scintillas of work here and there were needed to keep two dozen plates spinning. It almost makes me understand what it's like for you people with jobs. Almost.

I'd already been meaning to have another look at the Omni Outliner-based Kinkless GTD, which -- after my heartfelt infatuation a month ago -- fell off my radar screen in a frenzy of air traffic that sent me into Extreme Tool-Reduction Mode™. Yesterday I realized the time was right and that KGTD would be perfect for this particular blizzard. Well, jeez Louise: I returned to find an already amazing project had actually gotten much better. I mean, damn, man.

The marquee feature for us Quicksilver flying monkeys is the addition of an Applescript for adding to a KGTD inbox from anywhere. I swear by these sorts of scripts (and currently use about 7 of them to generate Category-based Tasks in Entourage). Note that in the image above, you're seeing where I've created a Quicksilver trigger (F8) for the script plus its action via "KGTD Inbox > Process Text..." For what it's worth, this is a bit like putting your steroids on steroids.

The QS stuff alone is worth a look, because it frees you from the agony of the modal change, but I'm also intrigued by a bunch of other little finials in the latest editions:

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Disk maintenance small boost to productivity?

Whenever I run DiskWarrior (starting-up from a CD), do an Applejack repair, or otherwise cause some event that renders my PowerBook temporarily unusable, I often find a few things happen:

  1. I'm initially stressed-out, although I soon move to feeling kind of relaxed -- like someone called a snow day on the morning of the Chemistry final.
  2. I'm drawn to several small (truly neglected) chores related to my immediate physical area -- cleaning off my desk, returning file folders, or taking out the recycling.
  3. Forced to write in either a notebook or at my girlfriend's Mac, I often end up drafting something quickly, easily, and occasionally in a style I don't think I write in.
  4. I don't miss the computer that much after 2 minutes; but I do get itchy after a couple hours.

There's any of a dozen reasons for all these, but I suspect there's commonality.

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Vote: alt or option?

Vote: alt or option?, originally uploaded by merlinmann.

An eagle-eyed reader took me to task for calling this the "option" key. The reader found this vexing and thinks it should always be called the more agnostic "alt" key.

Got an opinion?

(Vote in Flickr comments.)

10.4.3 update; Getting into “that backup habit”

macosxhints - 10.4: OS X 10.4.3 update released

MacOSXHints covers a few of the 500+ 10.4.3 updates that are worth not missing. Two that popped out for me:

  • If you use Mail, you can now set your own font family and size for the mailbox list. My message list and mailbox list are finally in the same font!
  • Also in Mail, when you forward or reply to a message, they got rid of some of the extra blank lines (though they left the one at the top, above the quoted text)

I'll take all the Mail.app updates I can get. Now will someone please make MailEnhancer work again!

Paranoia, Part I

I have, I must admit, become one of those people who waits a week before running OS X updates. I used to be "that excited guy" until I learned a) new cuts of Safari almost always break one or more of my (and Pimp My Safari's) must-have plugins (Saft, SafariStand, PithHelmet); b) there's nearly always at least one deal-killer booger that sends me into two days of hair-pulling kernel panics, restarts, font removals, DiskWarrior runs etc. (Yes, thanks, I actually have modded almost every aspect of my setup in incredibly haphazard ways.)

As ever, kids: do yourself a favor and run a Safety Backup using SuperDuper. If anything goes kerflooey, you can do a perfect rollback to the snapshot of your disk before updating, then you're back to work with almost zero downtime. Seriously, just get in the SuperDuper habit just in general.

Paranoia, Part II

A propos of nothing, here's my current backup and SuperDuper schedule:

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Helpy page; Writing apps on the web; Collaboration everywhere?

I want to - a page of utilities that help you do stuff you want to

Man, I have a warm spot for old-school pages like this. Just a bunch of links to tools and apps, organized by what you want to do. Feels like 1995 again. snif

All of the topics and most of the sites will be familiar to you as they were to me (sharing photos, sending large files, creating to-do lists), but it was worth the visit just to be reminded of This to That -- the canonical place to to learn how to glue anything to anything.

[ via del.icio.us/popular ]

Looking at that page, I'm reminded of a couple apps I've been meaning to mention that both do an impressive job of putting collaborative word processing on the web.

Firefox users: do check out Writely. Feels surprisingly like -- well -- a web version of MS Word, to be honest. Haven't used it in battlefield conditions, but it is a feature-rich, intuitive app, given the medium.

If you like this kinda thing but want something a bit lighter (and Safari-friendly), definitely have a look at Writeboard, a beautiful, stripped down chunk of func from the less is good geniuses at 37 Signals.

I would also, at this juncture, like to renew my annual request to the gods that somebody on the OS X team please (Please!) steal the collaborative editing functionality of SubEthaEdit and put it into any app that supports text editing. That functionality should be like printing; a baked-in service that's ubiquitous and configurable once from the System Preferences, then portable anywhere that the router has the correct holes punched. I'd so kill for that.

Applescript to "sync" iCal to your Hipster PDA


Mike McCamon offers a clever way to get just his task list from iCal printed onto index cards for his Hipster PDA. Applescript to the rescue:

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Textmate: Recent enhancements

TextMate: The Missing Editor for OS X

It's been a while since I've checked in on Textmate--my steady date this last year for most text editing work.

The updates have been coming fast and furious lately, and have included tons of tiny features I love. In the last couple days, we've gotten a cool little menu bar that lets you change code highlighting language or run bundle-based commands, macros, and snippets (how I love you, snippets).

The lack of polish that a lot of people ragged in the app's early days keeps being corrected with smart, good-looking little tweaks. It's still a lean and mean geek app, but I like where it's headed. Might be worth having another look at if it's been a while for you.

(Also, here's the appcasting RSS feed of the changelog. Yes, thanks, I am a huge dork.)

Review: iPod Nano, 2GB

Product Image: iPod Nano, 2 GB

iPod Nano, 2 GB

While I don’t really “move” much except to place orders for food delivery or to occasionally evacuate my bladder, my girlfriend runs a lot and for long distances. She loves to have music with her but hates lugging the deck-of-cards-sized 40 Gig iPod I bought a couple years ago (for, I don’t know—like, $1800 or something). She has an iPod Shuffle, but it recently started acting really squirrely plus it never had quite the capacity she’d have liked. But, friends, the iPod Nano I got her for her birthday has been an especially huge hit. Big time. And now I want one, too.

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Open Thread: How are you using tabs?

I live in browser tabs. Whether I'm in Safari or Firefox, I'm constantly sending links to a new tab (CMD-click in either app). It's something that most geeks take for granted but--I can tell you, I've seen the browser stats--there's still a lot of folks out there living in one Window. (*observes solemn moment of silence*)...My question to you is: how are you using tabs and tab sets?

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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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

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This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »