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.

Mac OS X

Why we're "Mac-centric," and what it means for you

I don’t want to start a religious war in our nice, quiet little beach community, but I think it’s important to address some folks’ concerns that 43 Folders is too “Mac-centric.” This post will, I hope, function as a one-time statement of purpose to which I can point the curious or merely annoyed in the future. Thanks for bearing with me for a few minutes.

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You shall know us by our Notational Velocity

Powerful, simple note program with incremental searching.

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Mark Hurst reviews "Typeit4me"

This is a bit of a milestone day for 43 Folders. In addition to our new 43folders.com domain name more or less working (finally), it’s also my honor to present our first guest post, brought to us today by Mark Hurst.

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Shadow Plan 4 beta for OSX

The new public beta of Shadow Plan 4 for OSX came out today, and it looks pretty neat.

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Terminal Nerds II: Electric Boogaloo

516234_3c61dab15b_o Our post about getting started with the Terminal command line and various related discussions swirling around the site have started to produce some remarkable results.

First, our home-grown OSXCLI tag on del.icio.us has yielded a wondrous crop of links for the OSX Terminal newbies. Although the reading level does seem to be inching northward, there’s still a ton of great stuff that should help folks at many skill levels.

Also, a followup CLI discussion on the 43F Google Group has provoked some very smart people to talk about how they use their Macs. The most fascinating comes from my new favorite fake nemesis and CLI stud, John S.J. Anderson, who has posted a terrific breakdown of his setup and emacs world that you should not miss:

I’m a sysadmin and the father of a two-year old, which means my life is almost completely interrupt-driven. My system allows me to quickly capture new input as it happens, and then more fully process it later, which is key to me avoiding a complete mental meltdown. [read it all »]

There are many other highlights on the thread itself that I’ve printed out for future reference. Here are a few:

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Quicksilver B30 introduces triggers and content searching

New features continue to move app beyond its modest roots.

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OSX inventories, tips & hack collections

I love hearing how other people have set up their OSX Macs and learning about which programs they like to use for various tasks. I’m putting together a (very long and growing) profile of my own, but until that’s finished, I wanted to point to a few folks I’ve bookmarked who have posted great software and setup inventories as well as smart tips for workflow and productivity hacks. Here’s a few I like.

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Remap modifier keys, shut off 'Caps Lock'

Kill 'caps lock' and make your life livable again, at last.

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43F Interview: Alcor, Developer of Quicksilver

Our first 43 Folders interview is with Alcor, the developer behind our favorite productivity app, the mighty Quicksilver.

Vox43 Folders: What initially made you want to build Quicksilver? Has your interest or focus changed since you started, and how?

Alcor: Quicksilver started out as a module based applescript for OS 9 using a healthy dose of AKUA Sweets. It basically supported drag and drop and performing of some basic actions and scripts on the dropped items or the finder selection. It launched stuff too, but was an unwieldy dialog of applications you had to sift through. The initial point of it was to speed up day to day tasks like emailing and file manipulation. It sometimes took longer to do stuff using it than by hand, but was mostly a fun toy. The idea behind it was sound, and that is what made it through to the OS X incarnation. The focus has not changed since the beginning, but the implementation has become far more flexible (though perhaps less reliable.)

43 Folders: Were there particular things that weren’t happening with the other launchers that made you want to take a crack at it?

Alcor: The main thing that OS X seemed lacking was OS 9’s ability to drill down into folders with astounding speed by typing portions of the names of each folder and opening them. 9 let you navigate a well organized hierarchy of directories almost completely blind just using keys. The column view in X was nice, but wasn’t nearly as snappy. Dealing with files X was just a lot less fun. LB was a huge help for a while, but back then still didn’t allow sub searching within directory contents and still required the mouse to move files about. In the hopes of bringing back the quick file system drilling and manipulation, Quicksilver was given a Cocoa transfusion and came sputtering back to life.

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Drop the text file, and step away from the Powerbook

MacBreakZ - Your Personal Ergonomic Assistant

Designer, gentleman, and Vice-President of my Personal Board of Directors™, Doug Bowman, recently told me about this cool OSX app for reminding yourself to take frequent breaks.

MacBreakZ is a personal ergonomic assistant that monitors our keyboard and mouse use and helps us structure our computer use in a healthy and constructive manner, thus preventing computer-related injuries from developing.

I’ve long suspected that I will eventually have a hunch and a couple glass eyes from my execrable ergonomic habits, and this seems like a smart solution for reminding myself what my brain often neglects: sometimes it’s nice to stand up and walk around.

Apparently, you can even set it to lock up your box until you’ve successfully completed your break. Might be a bit much for most folks, but I’ll bet it’s a sure way to save your eyes and wrists from some hard mileage.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

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

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

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