Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Merlin Mann | Mar 1 2006
And, yet these are all things that I used to monitor manually via my RSS reader. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Refresh all. Madness.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 24 2006
There's two significant features I've been wishing for in my beloved newsreader, NetNewsWire, and the emergence of this cool little ListMixer app will suffice as the prodding needed to toss them out to Brent and the boys upstairs.
1. Per-feed expirations
I'd love a little drop-down menu on the "New Subscription" window (that's also echoed as a section in the feed's "Info for..." window) that lets me select how long I want to subscribe to the feed. It might be pre-popped with, say, 3 months, but the options I'd include are (1 day | 1 week | 2 weeks | 1 month | 3 months | 6 months | 1 year | Forever). "But why?" you wonder aloud, "these RSS feeds, they are so wonderful!"
Well, one of the reasons I ended up deleting all my RSS feeds last month was the fact that my collection had become a disorganized travesty consisting largely of things I'd stopped reading, packages that had been delivered weeks ago, and comment threads that hadn't seen a new addition in months. Noise, noise, noise, and it's all down to me to delete the junk one feed at the time. Screw that. Reset.
I've found an increasing number of my feeds are, by their nature, ephemeral, in that they will lose any value to me within a very short period of time. FedEx deliveries are the canonical example. What in this world could possibly seem more important before it happens, but could matter less once it's passed?
Letting me establish the life of a feed when I add it, but then giving me a cool interface to decide if I really want to delete it would be very cool, and it could come in the way of...read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 23 2006
Has your Mac turned into a shooting gallery full of distractions? Do your eyes spin like pinballs every time you sit down to work? Try a few of these apps to help discourage attention-grabbers and force your sickeningly versatile computer (and yourself) into doing just one thing at a time.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 14 2006
If you're saving your pennies, or liked the column and would like to learn more, you might want to cruise back through the original posts from last September. I still really like how they turned out --- and I actually do re-read them myself when I'm having trouble getting my stuff together. Yes, I'm actually that unproductive; I have to look to myself for advice. Pathetic, really.
Anyway, reintroduced here, "The Smarter To-do List":read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 13 2006
There's been some interesting activity lately on two of the productivity tools that a lot of our readers like to follow.
D*I*Y Planner 3.0
Douglas Johnston has recently released v 3.0 of his Classic/A5 D*I*Y Planner. If you haven't seen this before, Douglas has put together a Creative Commons-licensed version of the plain-paper templates usually associated with Costly Paper Planners. But he's added some lovely design touches as well as some creative templates that are meant to support GTD and other popular productivity systems. Douglas says, of this version:
While, in my opinion, the recent 'net obsession with "things you can print at home" has gotten out of hand -- y'know they have graph paper in stores now? -- Douglas has added a lot more than blue quadrille lines here. This is thoughtful stuff, and if you love the immediacy of paper but don't want to spend a fortune on a big folio from Staples, this may be right up your alley.
GTD Tiddly Wiki Plus
Although I'm a little confused over exactly who's doing what to which version (why does my brain freeze up whenever I see words like "wiki" and "plus"?), it appears that GTD Tiddly Wiki Plus is a project to revive the popular (but stalled?) GTD Tiddly Wiki. According to Ted Pavlic, on the 43F wiki:
I haven't spent much time with this new release, but I'm intrigued by the idea of "plug-ins" as well as the idea that Ted plans to afford a "kGTD-like usage" for the GTDTWP.
I played with the last release of GTD Tiddly Wiki last summer, and I think it's a fascinating chunk of functionality. It's not really my particular cup of tea for everyday usage, but I really recommend you have a look for yourself. I get so much mail about the best way to "live" on two or more computers, and -- at least from a "GTD system" standpoint -- this seems like one novel solution.
Merlin Mann | Feb 9 2006
A few good links and snippets on Flow -- a topic that's come a couple times before here and on the group, but which seems more germane than ever given a lot of what [the royal] we have been talking about lately. More deets on buying the book at the end, although there seem to be plenty of chewy resources on the web if you just want an introduction.
Online places to pick up a copy of Csikszentmihalyi's book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:
Merlin Mann | Feb 8 2006
Washington Post on the growing amount of crap people carry around (present company very much included).
So what should you carry, hmmm?
If you're looking to shed (or, perhaps, more efficiently augment) your on-board crap pile, check out these fun pages from the 43F wiki:
Merlin Mann | Feb 3 2006
I was doing a little demo of Quicksilver for a few folks at Search Champs last week, when a truly amazing and life-giving thing happened: I realized that one of my favorite features of Quicksilver -- cruelly torn away by a heartless Tiger upgrade a few months back -- has returned following the 10.4.4 update. Best. Day. Ever.
For those of you who haven't seen The Light, you can now (again) select virtually any kind of thing on your Mac -- including text strings, URLs, Finder selections and so on -- and "send" it to Quicksilver by hitting "
For me this means I can type a bunch of crap in any old text file, select it, hit
Now, it's also worth mentioning that, with the versatility of Proxy Objects, you can do the same thing from within Quicksilver. Get your head around ideas like "Finder Selection," "Current Web Page," and "Selected iTunes Album" and you start to see even more ways to quickly get where you need to be without breaking a sweat.
The more you use and explore Quicksilver, the more you see how its sticky little tendrils can be extended into nearly every corner of your Mac world. And if you missed Dan's excellent overview of the many new Quicksilver features that have sprung up in the last little while, do yourself a favor, and check it out. You may be amazed what all's hiding under Quicksilver's hood these days.
Merlin Mann | Feb 3 2006
Berkeley's Christopher Alexander -- author of A Pattern Language -- talks with Chron art critic Kenneth Baker in a 2-part feature discussing his career and his 4-volume collection, The Nature of Order (official book site)read more »
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