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.


Panic's stevenf: Time to Dump FTP

stevenf.com ("Don't Use FTP")

Transmit is Panic's FTP app -- which does indeed support SFTPSteven Frank, one of the boys wonder behind Panic and their excellent Transmit app says it’s high time to dump FTP in favor of its smarter, sexier sister, SFTP. Of which Steven says “It’s secure, it’s consistently implemented, and it’s machine-readable.”

A lot of people who have used FTP daily for years are surprised to learn that they're sending everything in the clear -- that means the stuff you're uploading as well as your actual password. Makes you think twice about what you're throwing through the air as you update your blog templates via "free WiFi."

Steven says:

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Email Insanity & the 0.001 Challenge

Via a Toot by Jeff Atwood comes this thoughtful post by Tantek Çelik on how email is no longer working for him. His first reason is a biggie:

1. Point to point communications do not scale.

All forms of communication where you have to expend time and energy on communicating with a specific person (anything that has a notion of "To" in the interface that you have to fill in) are doomed to fail at some limit. If you are really good you might be able to respond to dozens (some claim hundreds) of individual emails a day but at some point you will simply be spending all your time writing email rather than actually "working" on any thing in particular (next-actions or projects, e.g. coding, authoring, drawing, enjoying your life etc.)

This is one reason I'm getting attracted to using Get Satisfaction as a way to expose help issues to a large group of helpers and helpees (BTW, we're just getting started on GS -- FAQs and more will be coming soon). I'm also realizing that this is why I (and Jonathan Coulton and probably you) struggle with holding up dozens of one-on-one conversations -- it locks up your attention and its fruits in thousands of inaccessible alcoves. And truly, that does not and will not scale.

But, y'know, as I read Tantek's post, alongside his "Communication Protocols" notes, I found myself returning to a pet theory that I've been too embarrassed to lay out in a real post. But what the heck, I'll capture some notes and you can tell me what you think:

I suspect that email encourages people to act insane.

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Clever web dev trick for checking browser history

Sniff browser history for improved user experience

Talk about sufficiently advanced technology. Although you will surely see this post linked many times this week, I have to throw in my own kudos. Fantastic trick, Niall!

In a nutshell, Niall shows how you can use a combination of CSS and JavaScript to selectively display information based on previously visited URLs in your visitor's browser history. Have you been to Digg? Then Niall's site displays a "Digg This" badge (and, importantly for Niall's purposes, not 100 other badges for sites you haven't used).

Try Niall's live example to see this stunner in action.

Dang. That sound you just heard? That's a few million people scurrying to hit "Clear History." Terrific work, Niall -- totally clever.

Now, regrettably, I suspect the race begins for seeing how horribly something like this can be abused.

[via Brian and Ev]

Adventures in $40 eyeglasses

Glasses purchased online Last year, I stumbled upon a blog post about buying prescription eyeglasses online. It sounded too good to be true: you could get any frames you wanted quickly and cheaply, and the comments were filled with optometrists freaking out. Eventually, the author launched a dedicated blog for it called Glassy Eyes. When the site was recently mentioned on MetaFilter right around the time I was getting my 2-year exam, I decided to take the plunge myself and order some glasses online.

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Vox Pop: Re-creating scarcity

I have a friend who told me he was thinking about giving his project managers a weekly pile of chips that could be redeemed for person-hours in meetings. So, to schedule firewalled, group face-time, the PM would need to cough up the equivalent number of tokens from her pile. Thus, one, long, all-hands meeting might require the whole week's stack. While, fewer, shorter meetings with smaller groups made the pile go further.

It was just an idea, and I'm pretty sure he never implemented it, but I think it's a fascinating concept. Why? Because I love the idea of re-introducing scarcity into systems that lack boundaries.

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If life were like YouTube

Ok, it's Friday, and the team and me are pooped from several weeks of site-making. No profound tips today. I'll just leave you to your weekend with a wonderfully timely video.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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