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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.

Mac OS X

MacBreak Minute: LiteSwitch X

In the latest episode of MacBreak Minutes (subscribe), I talked about a favorite PreferencePane of mine called LiteSwitch.

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MacBreak Weekly 47: Merlin's picks

MacBreak Weekly 47: That's Our Shooby!

Hosts: Leo Laporte, Merlin Mann, Scott Bourne, and Alex Lindsay

Universal challenges iTunes, iPhone hacks, and our software picks of the week...

Here's a direct MP3 download of MBW 47.

This time we did our usual weekly software picks, but I also got to choose our Audible.com audiobook of the week. Can you guess what it is?

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43f Feature: Michael Buffington's "How I use iGTD"

Michael Buffington is a pal of mine who's a talented developer and all-around swell fellow. I got to work with him a bit on the Stikkit project and, in some of our offline talks on productivity stuff, I was intrigued to learn about some of his ninja geek skillz.

I asked Michael to write up a series on some of his favorite tricks to get his stuff done, and he kindly obliged. Here's part one.


How I use iGTD

by Michael Buffington

This is the first part in a multipart series about using iGTD with Quicksilver and how it's changed my life, allowed me to grow hair where I never thought it possible, and more importantly, spend more quality time with my children (who are, as you might know, super humans with indescribable special abilities).

I'm a recent and somewhat enthusiastic convert to GTD. I have had the good fortune of starting to manage my digital life with GTD the same day Merlin first mentioned a great application for OS X called iGTD.

I have to admit though that I'm not a very hard core GTD follower yet. The most important parts of GTD for me are getting my tasks out of my head the moment they pop into existence, and putting them into some sort of system I can trust. iGTD allows me to do exactly that in a very intuitive way, but if I'm having a good day I only ever bring iGTD into focus when I'm not sure what's next on my list.

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Net Net: Drill down with 'Corporate Ipsum' widget

Corporate Ipsum - Dashboard - Developer

As we all learned from Equus, we don't get to choose the things in life that fascinate and repel us, and, in retrospect, if I could have chosen to avoid the avalanche of empty businessspeak I've been exposed to over the past dozen or so years, I certainly would have. Alas, I could not. And, so here I am, alternately repulsed and amused by the twisted patois of nonsense that passes for communication in offices and boardrooms today.

If you share this sad affliction, you may enjoy the pleasures afforded by the Corporate Ipsum Dashboard widget, cleverly (and pointlessly) designed to generate paragraphs and paragraphs of empty insight for your next pitch, presentation, or VC meeting.

In one instance, this paradigm-shifting functionality was a solution-provider for the following bit of kimono-opening stone soup:

Synergistically engage cross-media human capital for out-of-the-box convergence. Objectively generate fully tested meta-services via market-driven sources. Interactively underwhelm long-term high-impact convergence rather than future-proof convergence.

At the end of the day: awesome. Sand Hill Road, here I come!

Many thanks to jwines' bookmarks on del.icio.us

FuzzyClock gets Universal Binary update

Objectpark's FuzzyClock

My friend, Matt, first showed me FuzzyClock a few years ago, and I'll admit that, at first, it seemed sort of silly and counter-intuitive. But even after a few days' use, it became one of my favorite little Mac apps.

Unlike the typical digital clock that tells you the precise time, FuzzyClock gives you -- well -- a fuzzy version of the time. So, instead of your menubar displaying "4:58:23 PM," you'll see "nearly five."

Plus, you can enter in your own custom fuzz -- for example, changing the period from "5:25pm through 5:35pm" to "beer thirty."

Many thanks to Guido for the fast update to universal binary; he heard my whining the other day, and pushed out a new DMG lickety-split.

Now, I think the last three PowerPC holdouts on my personal UB wish list are SplashShopper, AutoPairs, and HumaneText.

On that last one -- a useful OS X Service for turning Markdown text into HTML and back -- I suppose its author, Jack, can be forgiven. He's been kinda busy lately.

What's in my menubar?

Seems like every time another Mac user looks over my shoulder, they freak out over the number of little icons I have up in my menubar. And -- like all Mac geeks -- we have to immediately start trading information, learning tricks, and sharing tips. I'm sure you know the drill by now.

If you were looking over my shoulder right now (and I hope that you are not) here's the stuff you'd see in my menubar.

I'm out of control

The larger version on the Flickr will, where appropriate, let you mouseover for the name and a link, but I'll save you the trouble of a click by repeating the links below.

Some handy Mail.app Smart Mailboxes

It took me a while, but ever since I've gotten my head around Smart Folders (and Smart Playlists and Smart Groups, etc.), I've started to think about the way I use my Mac a bit differently.

Clearly iTunes is the winner in this regard (watch for an upcoming multi-part series about Smart Playlists on The Merlin Show), but the Finder, and Address Book, and Mail.app also have an amazing amount of power rumbling under the hood. So, in the interest of spreading the love, here's four Mail.app Smart Mailboxes that have been rocking my world over the last months.

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Quicksilver's plug-in for Stikkit goes public

Values of n Blog: Stikkit quick with Quicksilver

(Disclosure: Merlin is a proud member of Stikkit’s advisory board)

As Rael writes on the Values of n blog, Alcor has just released his first public version of the Stikkit plug-in for Quicksilver:

The plug-in enables you to send text to a new stikkit, edit an existing one, append and prepend, search by text and tag, jump right to the Stikkit you were after, and more. True to form, QS has again revolutionized the way I use yet another app—this time my own.

I've been using a pre-release of the plug-in for a few weeks now, and personally I think it's just swell. A few little tips and suggestions:

  • Append! - Just as you might do with a text file, you can create a QS trigger that allows you to append (or prepend) text to any of your favorite stikkits (your to-do list, per-person agenda, project list, and list of software bugs are all handy ones to automate with triggers)
  • Tag access - Tags are now your friend, big-time. Start typing, and when the tag you want appears, hit enter, and you'll go straight to a page with all that tag's stikkits; RIGHT-ARROW into the tag, and you'll see all those stikkits in a clickable QS dropdown
  • Proxy mania - Consider how you might be able to use a combination of Stikkit, proxy objects, and triggers to automate transactions like the one shown above and right. Specifically talking about this example, let me assure you: selecting a string of text and hitting one key to silently generate a new stikkit is just badass
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Vox Pop: Google Desktop Day 1?

So far, Google Desktop for the Mac isn't moving me.

I like the idea of it a lot. Integrating my Google and local searches and theoretically improving on Spotlight's UI and indexing foibles are laudable goals and, to my mind, could be useful additions if they're done properly. But, based on, admittedly, just 24 hours' usage, it hasn't provided a lot of new usefulness for my own purposes that isn't better served right now by a combination of Quicksilver and Spotlight.

When people ask me (ad nauseum nauseam [mea culpa]) to explain why they would ever need Quicksilver if they already have Spotlight, I opine that, while the latter does a good job of indexing the contents of your Mac world, the former does an outstanding job of helping you access and manipulate it in theoretically endless ways. They're actually very different things, and although they can and do work together, claiming they're trying to accomplish the same thing suggests a lack of exposure to what Quicksilver can do (as well as a dearth of experience in what Spotlight cannot).

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Vox Pop: What's your "Mac Whine?"

We've started a new feature over on MacBreak Weekly that I really hope becomes a regular thing: "_Mac Whines_!"

Yeah, sure, I'm an unapologetic Apple fanboy (I, mean duh), but some stuff about my Mac experience makes me crazy. Have you got a beef with your Mac or OS X you want to shout from the shiny counter of the "Genius" Bar? Yeah, me too.

I'll open with:

  • inexplicable iCal "snooze" options (per MBW 30 -- which, incidentally, may also be my favorite MacBreak Weekly to date)
  • near-hangs whenever a mounted network volume is no longer available
  • no way to (temporarily) enable password-free user switching
  • The Finder. The goddamned Finder.

What's your Mac Whine?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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