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

Mac OS X

kGTD Tip: Link to sites, files, and more

This is technically more of an OmniOutliner Pro tip than a strictly kGTD trick, but it's so useful that I wanted to make sure my fellow fans are aware of it.

The beauty of kGTD lies in its single-minded focus on managing your tasks in the context of the projects with which they're associated. Add too much else (or get lazy with your level of commitment to what you've added) and the system starts to fall apart. And yet it's so useful to have easy access to the people, websites, and documents that you'd like associated with your tasks and projects. OS X to the rescue, because OmniOutliner makes it very easy to drag and drop virtually any kind of Mac data object into a given OO document -- and, consequently, to keep the non-task corners of your world never further than a click away.

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Open Thread: Developing for Full Screen Mode?

So my question, for you Mac developers in the house: I'm curious to learn more about Full Screen mode and how hard it is to make it a part of Cocoa applications. I've gotten the impression that Cocoa has "hooks" in place to hide the Menu Bar and claim all the screen space with a given document's front window, so I'm curious whether it's something that's difficult to implement. I'd love to request it in some favorite applications of mine (Hi, again, Allan!). _What do you guys say? Piece of cake or pony? _

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7 things I like about Path Finder for OS X

I've received a minor surfeit of email since yesterday asking me to talk a bit more about Path Finder and why I think it's so swell. Here's a few fast reasons for my own affection.

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Path Finder 4 available

Path Finder 4
Originally uploaded by merlinmann.

Cocoatech: Path Finder 4

I'm very happy to share that PathFinder 4 is now out and available for download at Cocoatech's site. I've been beta-testing this badboy for a couple months now and can happily confer upon it my official okey-dokey. It's one badass Finder replacement that power-users will find pretty foxy.

I may try to do a longer review in the next week or four, but I wanted to be sure and spread the word -- the tabs, the search/filter by string, the improved interface widgets -- dang, there's a lot to like here. Turn on as many or as few of the drawers as you need, and make yourself a happy little MacBatcave. Life inside a single Finder window is closer than ever. Great work, guys.

Be patient if the Cocoatech site is a bit slow -- I predict people are going to be downloading and buying the crap out of this.

MacWorld SF 06: What's not to miss?

My question to you: what's exciting on the show floor this year? Anything I shouldn't miss? Any exhibitors want to make a case to the Bay Area (and out-of-toen) geeks reading this? Beckon us unto your booth (and do feel free to offer free schwag and discounts to 43F Geeks in the bargain :)). NB: the usual admonitions on self-linking are lifted for this one -- provided they're tasteful and do indeed point to info on your exhibiting company (yes, I'll check).

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iCal hack to automatically add alarms

Groby Unplugged » Blog Archive » Making a better iCal

Robert Blum has come to my rescue with this handy little iCal hack -- it automatically adds an alarm to new events. It's currently hard-wired with a "one day before" alarm (happily, also my preferred default from Entourage), but Robert plans to add some flexibility in the 0.2 release next month.

(It still kind of amazes me that this feature isn't baked right in to iCal, but I'm wildly grateful to Groby for picking up the slack.)

My txt setup

The explications continue.

It's been a while since I talked about how I'm using text files, and my post a while ago on Quicksilver appending reminded me of a few little changes I've made over the past year or so that my fellow text geeks might find interesting.

Reviewing: Why text?

Like a lot of geeks and aspirational geeks, I do as many things as possible in plain text files. I've endlessly sung the praises of text on 43F, but in a nutshell, they're portable, efficient, tiny, and almost endlessly mungible. They're the lingua franca of Unix and most of the civilized world.

As you'll see, I use text files for any variety of things, although my favorite use is for making and maintaining lists. The aforementioned append functionality lets me quickly add items to any file with nothing but muscle memory and a few keystrokes. Best thing ever.

I also write in text files as well as store large amounts of reference information. Text is very easy to swap into HTML (I keep almost everything in Markdown format), and text is wonderfully searchable, whether using Spotlight, Find & Replace, or just via incremental search from within the editor.

Point being: I use applications like OmniOutliner, iCal, and (formerly) Entourage to organize the relationships between silos in my life; but text files are the living repositories for as much of the actual information as I can manage.

Getting a system

Like everything, this text system benefits from a loose organizational framework that lets me quickly create and change files without having to worry too much about what it's called, where it goes, and how I'll find it again. So here's a few high points from my text world.

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My kGTD setup

Related to today's earlier post, a number of people have written over the past few weeks with curiosity about kGTD ("Is it worth buying OmniOutliner Pro?" "Is it worth buying a Mac?" "Will I be able to vanquish all foes?"). While I'm not prepared to do a major sales presentation, I am happy to oblige the folks who wanted to see how I've set mine up. Also gives you a little window into my current contexts (as well as my atrocious personal habits).

Screenshot here (best viewed full size): comments and questions will be entertained.

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James Fallows on Mac thinking tools

Mac Programs That Come With Thinking Caps On - New York Times

_The Atlantic_'s James Fallows -- who also wrote one of my favorite pieces on The David -- has done a piece for the New York Times_ on the various "thinking tools" for the Mac. He covers all the goodies, including Devonthink, Tinderbox, Circus Ponies Notebook, AquaMinds NoteTaker, and my current steady date, OmniOutliner Pro (including a nice shoutout to Ethan's _amazing Kinkless GTD for OO).

These programs are of obvious interest to the Mac community, but the much larger community of non-Mac users also has good reason to keep an eye on them. Some are simply better than their current Word counterparts, illustrating features and approaches that PC users will want once they have seen them. The companies making two of the programs discussed here have announced forthcoming Windows versions.

Others may follow next year, when Apple Computer begins producing Macs based on Intel processing chips like those that PC's use. That change will make it easier for software vendors to create both Mac and PC versions of their programs; the introduction of the Mac mini, discussed here two months ago, makes it easier and more practical for users to switch back and forth between platforms.

[ Thanks, Brian Oberkirch ]




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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