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.

Apple, Macs & OS X

Interesting 43F Stats

Talking blog stats is dull, tacky stuff, so I usually avoid it like the plague. But here’s a couple data points you might find interesting.

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Index Card Printer Review: Canon Pixma iP3000

The Hipster PDA has been extended and improved beyond my wildest dreams thanks to things like GTDTiddlyWiki, Douglas Johnston’s DIY Planner, and John Norris’s very creative templates. With this growth and interest have come a lot of requests from readers for the best, cheapest, and most Mac-friendly printer for printing directly to ordinary index cards. I’ve shared this interest since, frankly, I’ve been buffaloed as well—crippled by the crappiness of my old Epson and unsure what to try next. So I did what I always do: I asked for help.

Even as I started asking for reader advice on inexpensive printers that handle standard index cards well, I had a feeling this was going to be a tough post to put together. This was borne out by the very wide range of suggestions you all submitted—over 30 different models by most all the major companies were mentioned (although only 4 got mentioned more than once)—as well as the plain fact it’s virtually impossible to give meaningful advice on a product you’ve never used. Duh, right?

Anyhow, to put this together, I’ve adopted a blended approach. First, I took everyone’s suggestions (and warnings), compiled a tally count, and then did a bit of extra research on CNET, Epinions, etc. (including a couple phone calls to sales support and some assorted friends).

But, in the end, I decided to put my real-life money where my mouth theoretically should be: I popped in to CompUSA on Saturday morning and bought the recommended model that looked best to me—the Canon Pixma iP3000—and then spent the rest of the weekend testing it out. See how much I love you guys?

The Winner: Canon Pixma iP3000 Photo Printer

This sexy little number looks like a toaster oven from 2001 and has an awful lot of cool features given its sub-$100 price tag. Most importantly for our purposes, it takes a big pile of regular old, drug-store index cards and prints whatever you want onto them at a clip of about 10 seconds per card. It also has a 150-sheet, cassette-loading paper drawer (similar to those on the old LaserWriters). This means that you can load up the tray with plain printer paper without removing your blank cards from the top loader —no juggling, and no disruption to your “normal printing.”

It’s a great photo printer and a fast, middle-quality text printer, but if you’re looking for a cheap way to print index cards from your Mac, I think this is a great choice.

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Last call: Printers that handle index cards well

43F Google Group: Research for a Post: Printers that handle index cards well

A few weeks back, I posted a message to the Google Group, asking for advice on the best printers for printing onto standard index cards. There have been a lot of suggestions (HP and Brother models seem to be popping up a lot), but there hasn’t been a decisive winner as far as I can tell.

I’d love to post a summary of the three or so best printers people are using—I hope some time in the next week—so this is your final chance to chime in on the model that’s rocking your world. I know a lot of you have been printing to tons of index cards lately, so there must be some printers that can handle the little fellas better than others.

Just to toss this out, here’s a few of the things that I would be looking for in this printer:

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More Quicksilver Power Tips

As long as we’re on a run with Quicksilver tips, here are a few of the ways that I use Quicksilver that include pieces of the program that many folks aren’t familiar with yet.

Note that these are intermediate to advanced tips, so, again as ever, please look over the documentation (such as it is) and my setup guide—make sure you're using the latest version, read up on Quicksilver, load up on plugins (available via “Preferences > Plugins” in the Tiger version), and make sure you’re running in beta mode before asking for help.

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Quicksilver: AppleScript to quickly add Entourage Tasks

Entourage - Fast Task.scpt

A hacker who wishes to remain anonymous has answered my prayers by creating a modest one-line AppleScript that lets you pipe input from Quicksilver into a new Entourage Task with zero cruft—no Category, no Project, no date, and no reminder. Perfect for fast capture any place, and something I’ve craved for over a year.

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Quicksilver: The Comma Trick

Screenshot of The Comma Trick in action I’m still encountering folks who are big-time Quicksilver fans who don’t know about “The Comma Trick,” so check it out: when you’re using the first (and often the third) pane in Quicksilver, you can hit “,” (comma, with no modifier key) at any time to add the currently selected item to a working stack. Go ahead and try it. (important: The Comma Trick only works if you’ve chosen "Advanced Features: Beta" in “Preferences: Application??? and the “Primer” or “Bezel” command interface in “Preferences > Appearance”—switch if you need to and restart QS)

  1. Invoke Quicksilver (CTRL-Space by default)
  2. Use QS to navigate to your ~/Documents folder (or wherever a bunch of small documents live)
  3. Select a text file or a Word doc or what have you (don’t grab anything too huge for now)
  4. Type “,” (that’s a comma)
    • The icon in the pane should “scooch up” a little and the icon for the selected item now appears in miniature format below its name
  5. Select another file (again, any small file will do), and, again, type “,”
    • The icon for the item you added should now also appear next to the icon for the first item
  6. Repeat steps 3-4 a couple more times on random small documents
  7. When you’re done making your stack, TAB over to the second pane, and type til you get “Copy to…
  8. TAB over to the third pane and type until “Desktop” shows up
  9. Hit Return
    • All the files you’d added in the first pane should now be copied to your Desktop

Now consider a few possibilities of “The Comma Trick”

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Mail Act-On: Invoke Mail.app rules with custom commands

Mail Act-On 1.3 - Key Stroke Plugin for Apple Mail.App

If you’re using Tiger and Mail.app, you need to have a look at Mail Act-On, a free plugin developed by Scott Morrison and Jonathan Paisley that lets you assign keyboard commands that are bound to custom “Rules” you set in your Preferences. This is (very cleverly) accomplished by naming the rule according to the CTRL key you want to assign to it.

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Dashboard Widget for Unix 'Remind'

A few months back Mike Harris wrote us up a great article on Remind, a very cool and flexible little UNIX app for tracking date-based events. If you enjoy Remind and are using Tiger (OS X 10.4), checkout Nick Vargish’s Remind Widget. Gives you all the power of Remind in a pretty and configurable package. Great work, Nick!

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Quicksilver <3s Backpack

Good movie illustrating how Quicksilver, email, and Backpack can interact.

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More on gluing stuff together in Entourage

The main reason I stick with Entourage for all my calendar, TODO list, and—to a certain extent—archival email needs, comes down to one word: glue.

As annoying as Entourage is in so many ways, I love that I can basically associate anything with anything via the “Link” functionality. This provides a handy little landing pad for any task, note, event, email, or contact onto which you can drop any other Entourage object as well as virtually any item from the Finder (for some reason it doesn’t easily handle URLs, which seems kind of dumb: use .weblocs as a workaround). Entourage then perpetually remembers that association in both the linking and linked items. Got it? Group like with like, and then get to anything from anything (Steal this idea, Apple; use Spotlight).

So, I can associate an email message with a TODO, attach a text file to a calendar event (see my article in June’s MacWorld), and even, apparently, attach Applications and folder paths to any Entourage object. Why is this last one so freaking handy? Lemme show you.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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