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.


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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MacBook Air: Specific Machines, Specific Uses

macbookair.jpgThe new MacBook Air announced at yesterday's Macworld keynote doesn't disappoint; it's pretty much the laptop I've wanted ever since I stupidly broke my 12" Powerbook trying to replace the hard drive. All things remaining the same, I'd buy it simply for the difference in weight, a full two pounds less than a MacBook. As someone who's put a lot of miles on his kicks with a laptop bag on his shoulder, that would make a world of difference.

What's interesting though, is what the MacBook Air isn't: it's not simply a sexier MacBook Pro on Jenny Craig, it's a different class of machine. John Gruber rightly points out that it's clearly designed as a secondary machine for people who do their heavy lifting on a desktop. Without another machine standing by at home or the office, only a select group of geeks could really get by without an optical drive, not to mention the diminished overall specs of the MacBook Air may not please a power user without reinforcements (a.k.a., the folks willing to spend upwards of $2000 on a laptop).

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Luggage Pr0n: Five Head-Turning Bags for Your Notebook

Transitions can be a bitch. I’ve just traded in my big black Sony Vaio tower for a slim silver MacBook Pro not-laptop (because it runs so hot). On the one hand, I’ve said good-bye to a 750Gb RAID drive and a dual-monitor video card capable of running two 30-inch Cinema Displays. On the other hand, I’ve also said good-bye to daily virus updates and the constant fear that my entire system is going to become unstable and turn into a Russian Zombieputer overnight and start to spam myself about how small my penis is.

Now, I can carry my digital world around with me. Convenient, sure, but also it presents a quandary to a homosexualist like myself. Pardon me if I seem cliched and stereotypical, but it’s important for me to try to look good no matter what I’m doing, and that goes for my computer, too. If I’m going to be hauling my notebook into the latest trendy coffee shop and stare at my 15” glossy LED-lit screen as I sip a latte and nosh a bagel, I need it to look good not just sitting there glowing softly, but also look great coming and going.

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Life Without a Laptop, Week 1

When the iPhone came out this summer, I was locked into a contract with another cell phone carrier, one that I couldn't escape on pain of a $200 surcharge. So I waited it out, and dreamed my little iPhone dreams all alone with my Plain Jane cell phone and suddenly archaic-looking iPod Video.

To be honest, I didn't really need an iPhone. I work from home, rarely more than a few yards from a computer (we had two laptops and a Mini in our house at the time). I don't travel for work, and when we go on vacation, I never bring work with me anyway. When I do leave the house for extended periods of time during the day, running errands, taking appointments, etc, it doesn't matter because I'd trained myself to plan ahead for that situation. Besides, I never get any messages that can't wait a couple hours until I get back to a computer anyway.

I was amazingly good at rationalizing away my need for an iPhone, but I still wanted one ever so badly. So last week I created a way out.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

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This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »