Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Mac OS X
Matt Wood | Jan 24 2008
Sort of an add-on to the New York Times piece Merlin linked the other day about Scrivener and its cohort of new writing applications, Jeffrey MacIntyre at Slate coins a new term for programs that eschew the familiar, bloated twiddliness of Microsoft Office for simplicity:
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Merlin Mann | Jan 6 2008
I was delighted to see my favorite OS X writing app, Scrivener, turn up in today's "The Medium" column of the New York Times Magazine. I reviewed Scrivener about a year ago, and still use it whenever I have to research, plan, and draft anything more complicated than a blog post. In fact, as luck would have it, I was actually working on my upcoming Macworld talk in Scrivener when I took a break to read the paper and saw this article. Kismet or something.
Columnist, Virginia Heffernan, notes the app's beloved full-screen capability:
High fives to other great apps mentioned in the article, including Ulysses, WriteRoom, and Nisus Writer. Slightly lower fives go to Microsoft Word, which, once again, takes its usual drubbing as The Application Everyone Wants To Get Away From™. Poor Microsoft Word, the mascara-smeared Gloria Swanson of word processors.read more »
Gordon Meyer | Nov 13 2007
Sometimes surprises come from unexpected places. (Um, I guess that’s part of why they’re surprising.) Case in point, yesterday I opened Sciral Consistency as I’ve done several times a day for the last five years. This time, however, something happened that hasn't occurred since sometime in 2005. A notification window announced that a new version of the application was available for downloading.read more »
Matt Wood | Nov 1 2007
A few posts back, I professed my love for paper. That affection runs deep already, but I stumbled onto a trick this week that makes me lust after the power of a sheet of 8.5" x 11" even more.
As I'm wont to do, I returned to the Lucky Charms, marshmallowy goodness of iCal recently to organize my stuff. I know it isn't perfect, but it's my comfort zone, and after flogging myself publicly over my tendency to switch systems, I decided to stick with the ol' July 17 icon for better or for worse.
In my paper post, I mentioned that I like to jot down a few tasks at the beginning of each day, to focus my energy. It's not GTD orthodoxy, but with a job like mine, I have to make a plan of attack or else it will be lost in a pile of board books and Legos. Normally this does the trick, but on days when I have lots of reminders, or appointments with accompanying notes, it can be tedious copying this all down. So one day this week, when I was in a hurry out the door, I decided to print out an agenda from iCal.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 24 2007
Hog Bay Software's TaskPaper was recently released in a completed 1.0 version (previously), and if you're the sort of person who casts about for a simple way to manage projects and tasks from a Mac, this just may be your app.
But, even more significantly, if you're not looking for a simple action management system -- if you're that particularly pathetic sort of character who's convinced that features like tagging, syncing, collaboration, graph paper generation, and the introduction of an onboard artisanal breadmaker are all that stands between you and getting your stuff done -- well, you may need TaskPaper more than anybody. Because, friends, TaskPaper is just about fiddle-proof, and, frankly, I know a lot of people who could benefit from that today.
Here's what a simple document looks like in TaskPaper:read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 15 2007
You could be forgiven for being exhausted by my harangues about the importance of putting actions into their own special place outside of email, web sites, or other action-bearing media ("Email is just a series of tubes," Senator Ted Stevens, might one day say).
In fact, liberating actions from the email in which they arrived and putting them into a system that you trust is arguably the most important tenet of Inbox Zero. But it's also advice that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads: "OK, big shot, so where do I put this new task, and how exactly is it supposed to get there?"
Well, I'm happy to say that recent sneaky peaks of OmniFocus now have a pretty neat way to help with this problem. It's called "Clippings," and if you're familiar with the similar feature in OmniOutliner, you can imagine how it might work in the context of a task-tracking app and the complementary apps whose contents you want to direct to it.
Alongside the recently-added Perspectives, this is a feature that is making me very happy right now.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 5 2007
This morning, like a lot of other people, I was locked out of using my PayPal debit card while the site (and apparently its glass-jawed transaction processing network) took a total dirtnap. So it goes. That’s only indirectly the point of this post (although I did kind of feel like opening a “Can of Cory” on The Pal).
Point is, my pal dansays left a great comment on my whiny Flickr post laying out why he's put all the customer service numbers of products and sites he uses right into his Apple Address Book. Great advice that I'll be taking this weekend:read more »
Ian Beck | Oct 5 2007
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.)read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 30 2007
Acting without doing SOUNDS good, but... (Ask MetaFilter)
Here's a portion of how I responded in comments:read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 23 2007
Mark Fisher shares terrific tips on how to use Quicksilver Proxies for faster printing:
Use this method when you want to print files that are on the Desktop or are all in the same folder.
Also check out how to use the "comma trick" to print multiple files. Great stuff.
After the jump is the video for the episode of The Merlin Show where I talked about using proxies to access application menus.read more »
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