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.


Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users

The success of yesterday's post on the basics of Smart Playlists makes me think you might enjoy seeing a few more. So, today I want to show you how to get control of a very large iTunes library -- to save space by getting rid of stuff you're not enjoying or listening to, as well as bubble up stuff you may not even realize you like.

If you are an iTunes packrat but feel overwhelmed by your collection (or are simply running out of drive space), try these recipes for Smart Playlists to help you get it together.

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"Music Only" for your iTunes playlists

New for Friday 11/10:
Revenge of the Smart Playlist: 5 tricks for packrats & power users »

In my MacBreak Weekly capacity as Vice-President in Charge of Digging Pointless Ratholes™, I recently mentioned some tricks that I use to create better playlists in iTunes. One of these tricks -- which is an oldie, and which I'm certain I yoinked from some uncredited smarter person out in the blogtropolis -- is to create a "Music Only" list.

So you know how you have increasing buttloads of non-music (podcasts, audio books, etc.) in your iTunes library? It's really annoying to throw on one of your sexy Smart Playlists or the Party Shuffle, only to have a 20 minute nap or a Noam Chomsky lecture kick in.

I get around this by basing almost all my Smart Playlists on my one canonical "Music Only" list, which currently looks like this:

Music Only

Yes, it's very hacky, and yes there's probably a more elegant way to accomplish this effect, but so far it's been a handy jumping off point for my favorite Smart Playlists. This helps me build stuff like...

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MacBreak Weekly 12: “Smokin’”

MacBreak Weekly 12: Smokin’

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and Scott Bourne

Apple updates the MacBook Pro, and Scott buys one. No wonder they've got such a great bottom line. And our application picks including Disco and Tangerine.

Running time: 1:03:36

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Post your MacBreak Weekly ideas to del.icio.us: "mbwideas"

I'll steal a page directly from Amber's book on this one -- if you have something that you think might make a good story for us to cover on MacBreak Weekly, you can add it to del.icio.us with the tag "mbwideas". We check that page pretty regularly (I actually look at it once a day or so), so it's an easy way to get your favorite Mac and Apple stories of the week into the queue for consideration.

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MacBreak Weekly: "iPhone Home"

MacBreak Weekly 11: iPhone Home

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Amber MacArthur, Scott Bourne, and Merlin Mann

The iPhone starts to look like the real thing, and Scott Rejoices. iPod celebrated five years... with a Windows Virus. And dating tips from Steve Jobs.

Running time: 1:22:45

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MacBreak Weekly: "Look What They Done To My Boy"

MacBreak Logo

MacBreak Weekly 10: Look What They Done To My Boy

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Alex Lindsay, and Scott Bourne

New Mac ads, why does Adobe hate Intel, and iTunes TV store woes...

Running time: 54:15

Links to some of the stuff I mentioned in the podcast:

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LifeClever: Dot Mac needs more than a paint job

Apple finally revamps .Mac webmail, but does anyone care? » LifeClever

I have to admit, I'm solidly in LifeClever's corner on this one. They write:

The hatred for .Mac is not new in the [sic] amongst the Mac community. For me, .Mac is slowly becoming less and less valuable -- certainly less interesting -- as free services from Google, Flickr, and Delicious duplicate or nullify many of .Mac’s offerings. Of course, some things to like include .Mac’s ability to sync certain system preferences between computers. Still, it doesn’t seem quite worth the hundred bucks a year.

A few years ago, things like WebDAV were a novelty that was awesome but hard to find and setup, even on most shared server accounts -- I have four, and only one currently supports it out of the box -- but it's certainly not enough goods for the average user, even when you look at the other pieces of the .Mac offering. Not for that kind of dough.

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Merlin on MacBreak Weekly: Wax On, Wax Off

In which Alex is still on about the notional iPhone (and its current-day antecedents), Leo loves his lumber-swinging MacPro, Scott is completely full of beans, and everyone rags me mercilessly about my fondness for new age nap software.

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Merlin on MacBreak Weekly: The Safeword is "Banana"

MacBreak Logo

MacBreak Weekly 7: The Safe Word is Banana

Guests: Anand Shimpi, Adam Knight, and Adam Christanson

MacCast is shutdown by GoDaddy, the Mac installer security hole, and upgrading a Mac Pro to eight CPUs.

Running time: 1:14:00

Plus, of course, there's a repeated Family Guy reference, and we learn that Scott plays his treasured Edison cylinders on the most costly modern equipment available.

[Download MP3 file]

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"My Dream App" voting open til Midnight EDT

The My Dream App competition (for which I'm a judge) has reached the first elimination round, so you have just a few hours to place your vote and help whittle the contestants down to the next round of 18.

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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. »

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