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

Kinkless.com and "The Kinkless Desktop"

Kinkless | Productive Creativity

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":

So we have an undifferentiated mass of stuff on the desktop. This is the point at which a lot of organization self-help tells you to sort through it file by file. I am not going to tell you this. Why? Because I am lazy and realistic. You are just not going to clean up your desktop right now. Why? It’s overwhelming. So we’ll use a trick I call 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.

iTunes Plus, DRM-free tracks, arrive on iTunes Store

iTunes Plus (iTunes link)

iTunes Plus now available

For help getting set up with "iTunes Plus" (giving you access to buying/upgrading EMI's DRM-free tracks), don't miss this handy helper from MacUser.

The DRM-free features are being billed as “iTunes Plus”: in order to turn it on, you have to click on your account name in the top right corner of the iTunes store. You’ll be prompted for your password, and then brought to the account information page. The top button on that page now reads “Manage iTunes Plus.” Clicking on that will let you choose whether or not iTunes will show you DRM-free tracks when available. Click the checkbox and hit “Save Changes” and you’re ready to rock.

Pick of the Week: Plain Text Wiki bundle for TextMate

plain text wiki (20 May 2007, Interconnected)

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:

This is exactly what I need: A bunch of text documents that I'll be able to read at any point in the future, in a wiki structure that will be simple to implement in most extensible text editors.

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.

Net Net: Drill down with 'Corporate Ipsum' widget

Corporate Ipsum - Dashboard - Developer

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:

Synergistically engage cross-media human capital for out-of-the-box convergence. Objectively generate fully tested meta-services via market-driven sources. Interactively underwhelm long-term high-impact convergence rather than future-proof convergence.

At the end of the day: awesome. Sand Hill Road, here I come!

Many thanks to jwines' bookmarks on del.icio.us

Nocturne: Free "night vision" app from the maker of Quicksilver

nocturne:nocturne [docs]

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 "ctrl-opt-cmd-8," which invokes "Switch to black-on-white" in Universal Access options (go ahead and try it, then hit it again to return to normal).

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.

  • Proper color correction in monochrome modes - you don’t lose all your blues or reds when you tint the screen.
  • Window shadow toggling - if glowing windows aren’t your thing.
  • Background removal - hide the desktop picture so you don’t see a inverted version.

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.

[Direct download]

Macworld: HandBrake for converting TV episodes to AppleTV

Playlist: Ripping episodic DVDs

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:

From the Title pop-up menu select the first episode that you’d like to rip (if it’s a TV show it will be 20 - 60 minutes long). In the Destination area you’ll see a File field. Give your file a unique name—BlahEpisode1, for example. Click the Presets button at the top of the window and, in the resulting Presets pane, select the appropriate preset (HB-AppleTV if you intend to rip that content for Apple TV, for example). Finally, click Add to Queue.

FuzzyClock gets Universal Binary update

Objectpark's FuzzyClock

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."

Many thanks to Guido for the fast update to universal binary; he heard my whining the other day, and pushed out a new DMG lickety-split.

Now, I think the last three PowerPC holdouts on my personal UB wish list are SplashShopper, AutoPairs, and HumaneText.

On that last one -- a useful OS X Service for turning Markdown text into HTML and back -- I suppose its author, Jack, can be forgiven. He's been kinda busy lately.

What's in my menubar?

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.

I'm out of control

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.

Panic releases lovely "Coda" web dev app

Panic - Coda - One-Window Web Development for Mac OS X


In conjunction with the celebration of their 10th anniversary -- and cannily timed to be eligible for an Apple Design Award -- Panic has released their new "one-window web development" app, "Coda."

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.

Some handy Mail.app Smart Mailboxes

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 »



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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