43 Folders

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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.


43F: Recent MacBreak Podcasts

MacBreak Weekly

MacBreak Logo

Over the past few weeks, I've been having a lot of fun participating in the MacBreak video podcast and its little brother, the MacBreak Weekly audio podcast. Leo, Alex, Scott, and the rest of the MacBreakers do a swell job with these shows, and I've enjoyed getting to nerd out a little with them.

If you haven't caught these already, here's a quick catchup of episodes I've been on in the last month or so (reverse chronologically):

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Make vol. 07, new Life Hacks column

makezine.com: The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work

Danny and my latest column, for vol. 07 of Make, is about "The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work." While the concept is nothing new to agile developers, we wanted to talk about how it relates to the lives of garden-variety makers and life hackers:

When choosing an approach to building code that will pass their unit test, XP programmers are always encouraged by their beardy masters to "try the simplest thing that could possibly work." Note that this is not the most comprehensive thing that could work, nor the most impressive thing that could work, nor even a particularly enjoyable thing that would just be really fun to build...

[In Danny's Life Hacks research,] geeks weren't developing world-beating frameworks that could "scale across the enterprise" or cook a plate of french toast every morning -- most of the scripts were hastily coded with the single-minded purpose of fixing exactly one problem.

The geeks' consequent leaps in productivity seemed to come not simply from automating repetitive tasks, but, one imagines, from not blowing two weeks engineering a bloaty system meant to solve every conceivable problem in their lives.

Among many other cool things, this issue also has a profile on Mark Pauline, instructions on building a weatherproof wi-fi access point, plus -- my favorite -- three methods for silencing a child's beeping toy.

Vol. 7 of Make is available at your geekier magazine stands, or you can buy it now on Amazon.com.

What does your inbox say about you?

Salt Lake Tribune - Your e-mail inbox is a metaphor for your life

Jeffrey Zaslow rang me up a while back for a quote that made it into his WSJ article (mirrored many places, including here) on what your email style says about you, your habits, and your "mental health." It's a fun piece, and I was happy to contribute, but I'm not altogether on-board with the thesis.

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Dave Gray: "The lifehacker's dilemma"

The lifehacker's dilemma
The lifehacker’s dilemma
Originally uploaded by dgray_xplane.

Dave sums it all up nicely, as far as I’m concerned.

(N.B.: the paper-based crotchal coverage hack.)

Board thread: Quicksilver podcast questions

Open Thread: Quicksilver podcast questions - 43 Folders Board

Following up on the (very enthusiastic) response to the MacBreak podcast about Quicksilver, I've opened a new thread on the board where people can ask questions -- and all you Quicksilver ninjas out there (given the time and interest) can maybe me help answer anything not covered in the documentation. I'll answer as many as time allows (my internet access will be spotty for a few days), so anything the QS pros can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

Stop by and get your 'Silver on!

Reminder: Good Quicksilver links:

Merlin on MacBreak: Intro to Quicksilver

Leo and Alex were kind enough to ask me to drop by MacBreak to talk a little bit about Quicksilver.

Most of what we discussed is probably old hat to the hardcore fans, but if you're looking for a fast intro, this might be a useful link for your friends and cubemates.

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43F Podcast: Work the Dash and Take the Break

The 43 Folders Podcast

Work the Dash and Take the Break

43folders.com - To make the "(10+2)*5 Procrastination Dash" work, you have to actually take the break. Make a modal change, get away from the computer, and catch up on your neighbors' mail.

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

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Widescreen Mail.app plug-in

Widescreen Mail.app plug-in
Originally uploaded by merlinmann.

Widescreen Mail.app plugin

As the monitors in my life have gotten wider, I've longed for a Mail.app feature that's baked-in to most other Mac email apps and RSS readers (as well as all the Microsoft email clients I'm aware of): the three-paned, widescreen format.

Prayers apparently have been answered in the affirmative with harnly.net's Widescreen Mail.app plugin. On my 1440x900 MacBook Pro this works great, but it's truly a godsend on my ginormous (and beloved) Dell UltraSharp.

This Mail.app plugin rearranges the interface into three vertical columns -- so the message pane is to the right, rather than below, the message list.

On a widescreen Mac, this gives the email a more pleasing paper-like shape. You'll probably need at least 1280 and perhaps 1440 pixels across for this arrangement to work for you.

Lifehacked by Matt Haughey; mindfulness, ho

Interview with a Lifehacker: Merlin Mann - Lifehacker

Last Friday, Lifehacker guest editor, Matt Haughey was kind enough to do an email interview with me. It's mostly about Getting Things Done, but I was pleased to be able to sneak in something I've been meant to call out more formally here on the site.

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BayCHI podcast and slides available

Tuesday, March 14, 2006: Monthly Program (BayCHI)

Last Tuesday, I joined OSAF's Mimi Yin to talk about GTD at the monthly BayCHI program down at PARC. A podcast of both our presentations plus our slides are now available for download from the program page. Many thanks to Steve Williams for getting it all up so fast.

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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. »

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. »