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


DHH on iPhone 2.0's Glitches

iPhone 2.0: The glory wore off in wash - (37signals)

[via DF]

While acknowledging the complexity of Apple's ambitious launch, David Heinemeier Hansson says iPhone 2.0 wasn't ready for prime time on a number of levels.

Combined, it’s a rather big disappointment. I’m surprised just how much impact the small griefs have when they add up to a lack of confidence in the system. It’s a great example of the cumulative effects of problems. They have an exponential damage on the experience. [...]

It feels a little like Apple got swept up in knocking down every single detraction point from 1.0 that they lost sight of what everyone loved about the first version. Yes, it got cheaper (not really), faster (some times), installable apps, and GPS, but it lost a bit of Apple soul in the process.

David also has a laundry list of complaints on stability and performance. I went through his items and ticked off each of the ones I've also noticed (with a 01-10 for how big a problem it's been for me):

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Apple's iPhone Battery Advice

Apple - Batteries - iPhone

Apple has 11 tips for increasing battery life on your iPhone.

  • Turn off 3G
  • Minimize use of location services
  • Fetch new data less frequently
  • Turn off push mail
  • Auto-check fewer email accounts
  • Minimize use of third-party applications
  • Turn off Wi-Fi
  • Turn off Bluetooth
  • Use Airplane Mode in low- or no-coverage areas
  • Adjust brightness
  • Turn off EQ

In a nutshell? Use it as an iPod. But not too often.

NB: there’s appears to still be an instance of “Push” in there. Was the decision to pull that term just for the non-email stuff?

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TOPICS: Apple, Heh, iPhone

Apple Device Security: Big Temptation to Dumb-Down

Chairman Gruber recently discovered (via his sharp-eyed reader, Earl Misquitta), that the aforementioned iPhone Remote application can also be used as a virtual keyboard for entering search text, login information, and what have you on your AppleTV. Seeing the typed characters appear on the TV screen as you type them is simply magical. So, if, like me, you’re in the amazingly tiny sliver of the Venn diagram for people who own both these products, this is hugely convenient, and what a welcome trick it is.

As I’ve alluded to before, the AppleTV’s torturous keyboard entry (via the hardware Apple Remote’s 4-way joystick) is abysmal. In 21 uninterrupted years of using Apple products, it’s probably the most consistently frustrating and poorly-designed interface I’ve encountered. I literally hate using it.

The ability to enter text via the superior (but far from perfect) iPhone keyboard is wonderful but it doesn’t and can’t address a deeper problem with the keyboard-challenged devices Apple are focused on vending right now: assy and annoying text entry encourages the use of crap passwords. This is bad, and here’s why.

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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.

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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.

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How Hard is MobileMe Really "Pushing"?

Push in the bush? Or sync with less stink? Look at me! I'm Merlin, and I'm writing funny headlines!

Apple's MobileMe Lacks True Push Syncing - InformationWeek

MobileMeAccording to many users, and as reported by numerous news outlets, Apple MobileMe's implied promise of instantaneous sync between between multiple devices (including, it had been implied, your desktop Mac) is not accurate. Since it appears that syncing from the desktop to anywhere else in "the cloud" can actually take as long as 15 minutes, many are questioning Apple's referring to this functionality as "Push" (as opposed to simply sped-up, automated "syncing"). Marin Perez of InformationWeek writes:

The gripe comes because data entered on their Macintosh or PC address books and calendars isn't immediately pushed to MobileMe's servers.

"Selecting Automatic in Mac OS X allows your computer to immediately sync and update when there are any changes on the MobileMe servers," read a support note on Apple's Web site. "Those changes come from your iPhone, iPod Touch, the MobileMe Web site, or another computer. Changes made on your computer will be synced to the MobileMe 'cloud' every 15 minutes."

You may have shared my slack-jawed gape and consequent fistbump when Phil Schiller's WWDC demo of MobileMe [free iTunes link] implied magically fast, truly instantaneous syncing. Because that's really hard to do well -- and implying MobileMe would enable such a thing suggested mighty technological leaps over the previous .Mac service, whose sync skills and reliability were famously uneven at best.

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Apple's Bad Day

This is not the Friday Apple had wanted. There's a lot of frustrated people out there right now. A quick survey of the damage so far:

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First Look: Evernote for the iPhone

(Oh, man. I’ve got a crazy busy day today, but it just got a lot busier thanks to an intoxicating morning with the iPhone 2.0 update and the iTunes App Store. I’ll try and sneak in a few little posts today on the amazing new apps as time permits)

Evernote (iTunes App Store Link)

  • Free
  • works with Evernote web and desktop apps

I need to do a full post on [Evernote](Evernote](http://www.evernote.com/) here some time soon, because it really is a nifty little application for collecting, storing, and organizing practically any kind of information you can throw at it. The iPhone version is a stripped-down, all-business version of the app that will scratch an itch for Evernote fans who are fatigued by having to email everything to the mothership.

More after the jump, including how to take screengrabs like this on your iPhone 2.0...

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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.

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Life Without a Laptop, Two Months Down

It has now been two months since I sold my laptop and started working with just a Mac Mini in my office and an iPhone, and I've more or less survived. I never expected it to be permanent, but unless my life changes drastically and I have to start traveling full-time, I could probably go on like this indefinitely. My real work hasn't suffered, because I was doing all of that on the desktop anyway, and with Google Reader's killer mobile version, I've been able to satisfy any web surfing urges away from the computer.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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