Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Apr 28 2009
Thanks to my funny, literary pal, Jason B. Jones, today, I'm visiting lovely, warm Connecticut to do some talks and whatnot at CCSU. I mention it because I'd started typing this little post mid-way through the long eastbound flight that delivered me here from three fun (but very long) days doing a comedy thing with You Look Nice Today and Jordan, Jesse, Go! over on that other, top-left, edge of our nation.
So, I was tired. Really tired. The kind of tired where your wallet hurts your butt, and coffee tastes weird, and you try super-hard to sleep, but -- well -- you're just too tired to sleep. And, I was fine with all that. Who can complain about being sleepy from hanging out with Adam and Scott? Exactly.
Except. The lady in the seat directly behind me was having grave problems with her "mud room." Big mud room problems. I know this because she talked about it for several hours in excruciating detail.
I'll spare you the nuts and bolts of the numerous and surprising ways that the room in which wealthy persons remove their shoes might contribute to causing a carefully-coiffed, 60-year-old woman to come unglued over "priorities." Suffice to say, fixing this problem was a "high priority" for her. So, she said, repeatedly, as I shifted my wallet, let my coffee go cold, and balled the little blue pillow under my neck.
"Priority! Mud room!" I audibly mumbled, just loud enough to be heard exactly one row back.read more »
Merlin Mann | Apr 10 2009
This unbelievably long article is related to (but not necessarily about) a discussion that I and several other people have been participating in online over the past few days. It's about (and not about) the increasingly popular practice of re-publishing someone's online work on another site without the attribution, formatting, and linking that many bloggers regard as standard, ethical, and fair.
It's admittedly a polemic (which is what people who think they're clever call, "a rambling rant"), but what may seem to many to be a childish and ungrateful pout about trivial status and self-esteem beefs turns out to be a kitchen table issue for me. Because, how people decide to reuse and attribute my work directly affects my career, my livelihood, and my ability to thrive based mostly on giving things away for free. I know. Paradoxical, right? Believe me, I know.
Anyhow. To get up to speed, please read these in order: Matt said something, Josh said something, I said something, Andy wrote this awesome post, Jason responded, then, Anil responded. For extra credit, and to get you in the mood, go back and re-listen to Gruber's and my talk from this year's SxSW.
I will wait here. Please read them all. This will take a while, and you should only continue if you're okay with that. As ever, it's kind of the whole point.
[Time passes, and then:]read more »
Merlin Mann | Mar 11 2009
That's my pal, Jonathan Coulton, remarking on the disruptively talented Kutiman, who has made an astounding series of YouTube video remixes that's lighting up the web and (one imagines) generating a lot of wood amongst our nation's libidinous entertainment litigators.
Here's Kutiman's "The Mother of All Funk Chords" (link includes credits for each video):read more »
Merlin Mann | Jan 28 2009
Merlin Mann | Dec 9 2008
Politics, celebrity gossip, business headlines, tech punditry, odd news, and user-generated content.
These are the chew toys that have made me sad and tired and cynical.
Merlin Mann | Dec 9 2008
danah boyd is finishing her dissertation, then going on vacation for a month. While, she's gone, she's not accepting email. At all. Got that?
No apology. No "vacation message" to pretend she'll read it later. And no implied promise that the stuff people send to her will magically be tended to by an invisble army of interns and elves. While she's away, every message she receives is simply discarded with a friendly response as to why. danah writes:
If you roll your eyes at such fancy, uppity, big-city behavior, consider the alternatives most of us suffer in order to pretend we're listening. Even when we know we're not.read more »
Merlin Mann | Dec 1 2008
As I've started shooting photos more often, I've picked up on some interesting patterns: habits, if you like. And, as I struggle to absorb the insane physics of capturing light with some glass and a black box, I accept upfront that the improvements to my actual photos will be slow, incremental, and, largely undetectable to anybody but me -- a fact that's never more painfully clear than when I swoon over the work of the more talented friends who inspire me (Heather, Ryan and Chris each come to mind here).
But, being instantly great at this couldn't be further from the point. Although I started taking photos to become a better photographer, I keep taking them because I've learned to love the process. And, luckily, at least as far as I can tell, dedication to the process can't help but make you a better photographer -- or a better whatever, for that matter.read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 26 2008
It's purely coincidental that today is my 42nd birthday, right? Eh. Maybe.
Still, seems like as good a day as any to tell you what I've been thinking about, so, here's a little present to myself.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 10 2008
["what is this?"]
Here's something I wrote last week for this site's new "About" page:
Call it a motto, or a charter, or -- if you have to -- a "mission statement." But, for both of us, it's a stake in the ground that keeps me focused on what I feel best suited to do for you with this site right now.
I want to help you identify and remove any obstacle that keeps you from making things that you love. And then I want to help you figure out how to make those things even better. That's pretty much it.read more »
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