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

Use Quicksilver to navigate around dialog boxes; Default Folder plug

Handy little tip to avoid unnecessary drill-down, plus a plug for an old Mac evergreen.

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Custom feed refreshing in NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire is one my favorite Mac applications. It's a beautiful RSS/Atom reader with so many wonderful features that it's easy to lose one of it's smartest ones in the lights.

I've talked recently about the value of setting your email program's "autocheck" frequency to something more realistic than "every minute," as so many folks currently do. It's an easy way to minimize distraction, plus it encourages the smart habit of "ganging" email work into focused sprints of activity—rather than dashing away from whatever you're doing every minute or two like Pavlov's drooly puppy.

NetNewsWire has a setting that supports this same good habit in your site surfing habits. Under "Preferences > Downloading > Feeds", you can set "Refresh all subscriptions" to any of [Manual only | Every 30 Minutes | Every Hour | Every 4 Hours]. While the last one is optimal for server load etiquette and reduced distraction fu, I think you could be forgiven for wanting updates every hour. But what if you want even more granularity—to further minimize distractions from time sink "fun" sites? Easy.

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Guest: Mike Harris looks at "Remind"

How much do I love my readers? So much.

Mike Harris very kindly sent me a suggestion about having a look at Remind, a swell little Unix program for doing CLI stuff to give yourself, well, reminders. It’s really quite powerful, that.

Despite my initially flipping the bozo bit by asking for technical support about installing Remind, Mike responded with one of the most useful emails I’ve received in a year. So good, that I asked him to move a couple things around and turn it into a full-length guest feature for 43 Folders. So he did.

Many thanks, Mike. I'm still getting my head around a lot of this, but already see many uses for this. Fellow Unix noobs: this looks like a pretty good first project, eh?

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Intermediate Quicksilver tutorial

Dan Dickinson posts a great, intermediate Quicksilver tutorial; how are you using Quicksilver?

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Remainders: Coin envelopes, sprints, binder clipping & more

Our usual Friday skip through the meadow of Merlin's marginally-productive brain.

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Entourage & txt: In which the farmer and the cowman become friends

I love that Entourage lets you link  files to any item (task, contact, appointment, etc.). I use this feature all the time to point to text files on my Mac.

Why bother? Why not just use the built-in notes capability of Entourage? Ah, if you were a fan of text files you wouldn’t need to ask that, and if you were a fan of Quicksilver, the gears would already be clicking.

Among many features—as we all know by now—Quicksilver lets you append or prepend to any arbitrary text file without changing out of your current app. Once learned and ingrained, this will become one of your favorite things to do on the Mac, bar none; but Entourage doesn't currently support it. Still, this tip helps you get around it in a satisfying way—letting Entourage handle all the busy work, while your beloved text files do all the heavy lifting.

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Five fast email productivity tips

There’s been a lot of great discussions about email productivity going around on sites I enjoy, so I thought I’d throw in five no-brainers that I’ve seen help a lot of folks.

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Using Categories & Tasks in Entourage

Snapshot of a few categories in Entourage 2004 Categories are a powerful tool for organizing any of the information you store in Entourage 2004—whether it’s email, contacts, appointments, or notes—but I think they really shine as a way to provide context for your task list. I use Categories almost synonymously with the idea of "contexts" that David Allen discusses in Getting Things Done—as a way to identify the location, conditions, tools, or focus needed to work on a given item. As I said the other day, I try to use my Categories to provide ready answers to the "How," "Where," and "When" of a given task as clearly and uniquely as is reasonable. You want to be analyzing and thinking about this stuff when you’re planning it, so you won’t have to process it again when it’s time to actually do it.

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Friday remainders, 2005-02-11

You know the drill--items that never or shouldn't find their way to a full post. Digital Chow Mein.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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