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.


How to Use 43 Folders

A very simple guide to leaving here quickly so you can get back to making something awesome.

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Deciding Whether to Read a Book: Some Wildly Reductive Heuristics

Smiles!People send me lots of books, so I have to decide rather quickly whether one should be added to the ambitious pile of stuff I already really want to finish reading.

On the off chance that you care or find it useful in developing your own filtering, here's my insanely reductive, mean-busy-guy way to make a 90-second decision on whether to read a new non-fiction book from an author I'm not familiar with.

It does not matter whether you agree with these; that's how you know they're personal heuristics. Also, they are almost uniformly unfair and unkind. So.

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Nuclear reset for .Mac syncing

How-To: Truly reset your .Mac sync data [Ars Technica]

I never have trouble finding company when it comes to whining about the reliability of .Mac syncing. It's surely not fair to lay all of this at the feet of the .Mac developers -- sync is, we are often reminded, "hard." But if you want to rely on syncing your Calendars, Contacts, Preferences, snippets, Yojimbo, and what have you via .Mac in a battlefield environment, you're going to need a strong stomach, a lot of patience, and reliable backups. Plus, friends, you will regularly have to _reset frickin' everything_.

Entirely overfamiliar with that particular reality, I was pleased to get pointed toward David Chartier's tutorial on saving your .Mac's village by burning it to the ground. It's a handy, illustrated companion piece to Apple's own advice on scorching earth. Very handy, and, yeah, you will eventually need it. So print it out. Maybe even have it laminated.

Apple's .Mac syncing features are sometimes no exception to these problems, and even though Apple provides a number of decent solutions in its .Mac sync support pages, they don't always work. Fortunately, a brief adventure using .Mac sync chat support (found at the bottom of that aforelinked page) cleared up a repeating "merge/overwrite" sync dialog problem for me, and we felt the procedure was worth sharing.

FWIW, here's a few other things I do (as a raving .Mac paranoiac):

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The Great Keyboard Bath of 2007

A few months back I read Scott Machella's story, via BoingBoing's post, about cleaning a computer keyboard by putting it in the dishwasher. From the little bit I know about electronics, it rang true to me but I didn't feel compelled to actually try it. At least, not at first.

The thing about a dirty keyboard is that it's only dirty if you notice it. I'm a touch-typer, so I rarely look down. But once the aforementioned articles caused me to examine my own keyboards, I was sorry that I looked. Yuck. Clearly, I had to do something about it.

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Break out of "phone jail" with GetHuman

In yesterday's post about putting customer service numbers onto your mobile phone, commenter Joe suggested checking out Paul English's wonderful GetHuman, a website that diligently collects and updates the phone numbers (and key punches) necessary to get you straight through to a human being at 500 well-known companies.

I realize this site is ancient news to a lot of you, but I couldn't believe I'd never featured it in its own post here; I've been loving and using the crap out of GH (and the preceding IVR) for years now. Consider the oversight rectified.

Paul also shares some smart tips for intrepid information seekers (Hint: that fast "0" mashing tip has worked great for me):

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Becoming a tagging kung-fu master

You’ve heard the hype about tagging. You’ve seen people flocking to sites like Flickr and del.icio.us, where they jump head-first into a pulsing mass of disjointed tags, possibly never to be heard from again. And you’ve wondered: how exactly is tagging worthwhile again?

Any idiot can tag, but you want tags that are useful rather than a disorganized mess. This is not an unreasonable desire, and by completing three simple steps before you start tagging, you too can become a tagging kung-fu master. (Or, if you want more intellectual cred, explicate your personal taxonomy.)

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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