Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Apple, Macs & OS X
Merlin Mann | May 31 2007
My pal, Ethan, is a photographer who's probably best known in the Mac-o-sphere as the author of "Kinkless GTD," the AppleScript for OmniOutliner Pro that caused a sensation last year among Mac productivity nerds and helped lead to the development of the OmniFocus task management app (disclosure: it's a project to which Ethan and I both currently contribute).
Well, if you haven't visited Ethan's Kinkless.com site in a while, you'd do well to pop by for a fresh look, because you're in for a treat.
In addition to doing a re-architecture and redesign that's one of the most eye-catching I've seen on a Drupal site, Ethan has begun writing some very useful tutorials (in addition to the screencasts for which he's becoming well-known).
For example, he's recently completed his "Five Steps to a Kinkless Desktop" series, focusing on how to "clean up, prettify and streamline the usage of your desktop." He starts with "The No-Mercy Cleanup":
If your Mac and your brain need a dose of strong medicine, don't miss this.
I'm really enjoying seeing Ethan contribute his thoughts on productivity -- I've learned from working with him over the past few months that he's very thoughtful and deliberative about this stuff. Despite being a taxonomical animal, he's always focused on sharing first-person changes that will bring real, non-fiddly benefits to the lives of creative types. Looking forward to seeing where he takes this.
Merlin Mann | May 30 2007
iTunes Plus (iTunes link)
Merlin Mann | May 22 2007
TextMate users in search of a simple wiki should check out Matt Webb's new plain text wiki bundle. He's made it very easy to quickly generate new "pages" and links using nothing but TextMate, the Finder, and CamelCase words:
I'd also note that Matt's bundle works handsomely with Quicksilver's venerable prepend/append and new file functionalities, so, once you've taken the requisite 45 seconds to set this up, you don't necessarily need to even be in TextMate to make additions. You gotta love text.
Nice work, Matt.
Edit 2007-05-22 17:36:17 Forever confusing my British Matts; This bundle is by Matt Webb not the also-wonderfully-talented-and-funny Matt Jones. Many thanks to jjg for the correction. 43 Folders regrets the error.
Merlin Mann | May 9 2007
As we all learned from Equus, we don't get to choose the things in life that fascinate and repel us, and, in retrospect, if I could have chosen to avoid the avalanche of empty businessspeak I've been exposed to over the past dozen or so years, I certainly would have. Alas, I could not. And, so here I am, alternately repulsed and amused by the twisted patois of nonsense that passes for communication in offices and boardrooms today.
If you share this sad affliction, you may enjoy the pleasures afforded by the Corporate Ipsum Dashboard widget, cleverly (and pointlessly) designed to generate paragraphs and paragraphs of empty insight for your next pitch, presentation, or VC meeting.
In one instance, this paradigm-shifting functionality was a solution-provider for the following bit of kimono-opening stone soup:
At the end of the day: awesome. Sand Hill Road, here I come!
Many thanks to jwines' bookmarks on del.icio.us
Merlin Mann | May 9 2007
Fans of working in troglodyte mode should have a look at A1c0r's latest creation, Nocturne, an application that generates a "night vision mode" for your Mac -- similar to looking at a negative of a photo.
For years, you've been able to do something similar by hitting "
While A1c0r's improvements on this may seem subtle, they're very useful for allowing you to tweak your own preferences and minimizing distracting, full-color solarization effects.
I love that you can pick your own tint for how the monochrome image is colored. Want an old-time sepiatone writing environment? No problem.
My tip? If you enjoy sitting outside with your laptop, but the sun is making your screen almost illegible, try flipping Nocturne on -- the contrast and darker backgrounds should help make reading and navigating much easier.
Like all Blacktree's stuff, Nocturne is free of charge.
Merlin Mann | May 8 2007
Let's say you've hypothetically picked up a DVD of hypothetical episodes of The Larry Sanders Show, and now you want an easy way to watch them on your hypothetical Apple TV. Well, Macworld's handsome Chris Breen comes to your hypothetical rescue with the help of HandBrake's new "Queue" functionality:
Merlin Mann | Apr 30 2007
My friend, Matt, first showed me FuzzyClock a few years ago, and I'll admit that, at first, it seemed sort of silly and counter-intuitive. But even after a few days' use, it became one of my favorite little Mac apps.
Unlike the typical digital clock that tells you the precise time, FuzzyClock gives you -- well -- a fuzzy version of the time. So, instead of your menubar displaying "4:58:23 PM," you'll see "nearly five."
Plus, you can enter in your own custom fuzz -- for example, changing the period from "5:25pm through 5:35pm" to "beer thirty."
Merlin Mann | Apr 27 2007
Seems like every time another Mac user looks over my shoulder, they freak out over the number of little icons I have up in my menubar. And -- like all Mac geeks -- we have to immediately start trading information, learning tricks, and sharing tips. I'm sure you know the drill by now.
If you were looking over my shoulder right now (and I hope that you are not) here's the stuff you'd see in my menubar.
The larger version on the Flickr will, where appropriate, let you mouseover for the name and a link, but I'll save you the trouble of a click by repeating the links below.
Merlin Mann | Apr 23 2007
I've only been playing with it for an hour or two, so I don't have anything revelatory to add to everyone else's reactions. But, so far, I'm very impressed with the ease of use and lovely design. That said, hiding under the pretty is a lot of great stuff that should make prosumer web designers' lives easier, including built-in SSH shell, a straightforward CSS editor, and a very configurable multi-paned window approach. I also love the low-key code validation, Hamburger Helper "Clips," and what looks like a pretty nifty "Bonjour" sharing functionality.
The care that the Panic folks put into all of their apps and the humor and humanity that they express as a company makes me proud to use a Mac. They're doing God's work, and, whenever the opportunity arises, I'm all too happy to give them my money.
Merlin Mann | Apr 23 2007
It took me a while, but ever since I've gotten my head around Smart Folders (and Smart Playlists and Smart Groups, etc.), I've started to think about the way I use my Mac a bit differently.
Clearly iTunes is the winner in this regard (watch for an upcoming multi-part series about Smart Playlists on The Merlin Show), but the Finder, and Address Book, and Mail.app also have an amazing amount of power rumbling under the hood. So, in the interest of spreading the love, here's four Mail.app Smart Mailboxes that have been rocking my world over the last months.read more »
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