43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.


Celtx: Powerful Free App for Script Writing, Pre-Production, and Collaboration

celtx - Integrated Media Pre-Production

QPR - CryingStore - "Cold Tulips" by merlinmann (Celtx - Project Central)

I've recently returned to using the Open Source (MPL-based CePL license) Celtx app for all the script-ish stuff I write. But it does a lot more than just collect and format drafts (which, unlike a text file or MS Word, Celtx does in a way that lets you focus solely on writing, rather than fiddly formatting). It's also an amazingly flexible and robust app for managing all the pre-production materials for screenplays, comics, audio plays, or what have you. And, again: it's totally free.

read more »

Ubiquity: Firefox Gets its Quicksilver On

Aza’s Thoughts » Ubiquity In Depth

Take a few minutes this week to look at the Ubiquity plugin for Firefox. So far, I've spent just enough time with it to have my mind blown by the Quicksilver-like interface it wants to bring to web browsing.

read more »

Delicious.com Relaunches with 1,000-Character Notes Fields

Oh happy day — the new Delicious is here

In the years since del.icio.us was acquired by Yahoo! it’s been hard to get why it remained such a red-headed stepchild. Despite an unbelievable lead in both mindshare, functionality, and ease-of-use (yeah, it’s been my preferred bookmarker for years), del.icio.us seemed to sit there while a dozen social bookmarking sites lapped it with fancier designs and (mostly superfluous) new features. Yay, Yahoo.

Today Y! revealed a beautiful new version of the site, redubbed Delicious.com. You’ve probably read way too much about this, but I want to highlight exactly one new feature: big, 1000-character notes fields.

read more »

iPhone Apps I'd Totally Buy

Detail from conext-specific location controls in OmniFocus for iPhoneAs I wrote yesterday, I'm loving the new iPhone apps on the iTunes store. Also, as we mentioned on MacBreak Weekly yesterday, it seems likely that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what people will do with that SDK.

But it got me thinking about the stuff I want -- the itches I want to scratch. So, iPhone developer friends. Please make these three apps.

read more »

3 iPhone Media Apps (that Feel a Little Like Magic)

There are so many amazing new apps on the iPhone store that I hope to review here (and I'll certainly spend time on a few more over coming weeks), but today I want to point you to three applications that make me feel like I'm a music fan of the very-near-future -- where personalized data flies through the air, phones play rock music based on your personal preferences, and everybody listens to Silkworm on moving sidewalks and in tricked-out rocket cars.

read more »

Quicksilver's Back; Nerd Hope Cautiously Restored

New Quicksilver builds | Hawk Wings

Quicksilver Logo

Since going open source late last year, things have seemed pretty quiet in the world of our favorite app launcher, Quicksilver. Today, our pal, Tim Gaden of Hawk Wings, posts on the availability of a bug fix release of Quicksilver that's come out in the last few weeks. He also points to a thread on the QS Google Group that suggests Quicksilver's auteur and flippered mystery bot, A1c0r, is currently hard at work on a substantial rewrite.

Please note that this is only a bug fix version, the creator of Quicksilver (Alcor) is working on a complete re-write of the frameworks of Quicksilver and should hopefully release it soon ;)

The post by user Patrick also refers to a separate, similarly numbered "Ankur's cleaned-up QS version," which refers to the work Ankur Kothari has been doing primarily to reduce the weight of Quicksilver's code.

These have been white knuckle months for me (and a lot of other Quicksilver nerds), dreading the inevitable OS X update that might break the aging Quicksilver build we've been using. This all seems like encouraging news -- although you have to hope at some point the different folks working on improvements will be able to consolidate their efforts into one big, happy, branch.

read more »

Beeswax: Free Productivity App in the Spirit of Lotus Agenda

Beeswax - Mind Your Own Beeswax

Wow, this looks like a really interesting project to watch — a GNU-licensed, command line productivity app that finds inspiration in a bona fide classic:

Beeswax is an information management system inspired by Lotus Agenda. It aims to recreate Agenda’s flexibility and efficiency in a clutter-free, text-based (ncursesw) user interface with vi key bindings. Beeswax views & reports will have specifications for sections, columns, filtering, and sorting…

The relationships between items of information are highly flexible. An item can be easily assigned to several different categories and the view immediately displays the new relationships. An item can just as easily be detached from categories. As you move items through Beeswax, their relationship to each other remains highly flexible.

You still hear a lot of people saying Agenda is the closest they ever got to their dream productivity app. And, depending on who you ask, Agenda's endless flexibility was either incredibly powerful or infinitely fiddly.

Beeswax is a very young application, but I’ll definitely be giving it a spin. There's certainly a long-standing itch for Agenda that lot of folks would love to have scratched.

The Question to You

Any of the old hardcore Agenda folks tried out Beeswax yet?

[via Anarchaia]

read more »

OmniFocus for iPhone: Location-Aware Contexts and More

The Omni Group - OmniFocus for iPhone and iPod touch

[Disclosure: I'm a consultant on the OmniFocus project. You can blame me for having requested any of the features you don't like.]

Oh, man. It's so nice to lift the veil on this one. It's been like I knew you guys were getting the big Lego Millennium Falcon for Christmas, but I couldn't tell you until Santa had gone back up the chimney (in his black mock turtleneck and jeans). Anyway.

Merry Christmas, Mac productivity nerds: iPhone synching for OmniFocus is coming. And it is gorgeous, usable, and location-aware. More here on OmniGroup's blog.

From the OmniGroup site:

Using your location, OmniFocus can create a custom list of actions to complete nearby. Buying groceries? OmniFocus can show you the closest grocery store and create an instant shopping list.

Capture tasks anywhere, anytime with OmniFocus: you can enter text, take a picture, or even make a quick voice recording.

Yum. Screengrabs and more -- including a reminder that you should totally visit me at the WWDC OmniFocus meetup tonight -- after the iJump.

read more »

James Fallows on GTD apps

Bright side #5: interesting GTD software, including for Mac

The Atlantic writer (and recent Mac convert) James Fallows covers three apps that have caught his attention, including OmniFocus, ThinkingRock, and MonkeyWiki. Fallows says:

The GTD Way mainly involves habits of mind and action, but it also places a lot of emphasis on having the right tools, gizmos, and gimmicks to support those habits. Over the years I've used a variety of software to set up GTD-based systems on my computer.

And, if you're in a real "grab the shovel" mood, don't miss his link to a metric buttload of GTD apps.

As ever, though, friends, just remember: GTD's power is in what it does to your approach and to your thinking; it's not about magic beans and doo-dahs. Never allow yourself to obsess over tools to the exclusion of actually completing tasks. This is about action.

Slate Magazine on the market for "Zenware"

Sort of an add-on to the New York Times piece Merlin linked the other day about Scrivener and its cohort of new writing applications, Jeffrey MacIntyre at Slate coins a new term for programs that eschew the familiar, bloated twiddliness of Microsoft Office for simplicity:

There's an emerging market for programs that introduce much-needed traffic calming to our massively expanding desktops. The name for this genre of clutter-management software: zenware.

The philosophy behind zenware is to force the desktop back to its Platonic essence. There are several strategies for achieving this, but most rely on suppressing the visual elements you're used to: windows, icons, and toolbars. The applications themselves eschew pull-down menus or hide off-screen while you work. Even if you consider yourself inured to their presence, the theory goes, you'll benefit most from their absence.

read more »



An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


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. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

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