Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Mac OS X
Merlin Mann | Sep 6 2006
Merlin Mann | Sep 5 2006
I have to say, I just love TextExpander (formerly “Texpander”). Its functionality is not unique — users of, say, TextMate, TypeIt4Me, or Windows’ popular ActiveWords (Hi, Buzz), or for that matter, Vim, will recognize the similarities. But, brother, is it ever easy to setup, modify, and use.
At the heart of it, TE gives you system-wide text shortcuts that, when typed, explode into much longer bits of text or can even, say, paste in an image, like your scanned signature. So, for example, if you’re sick of retyping a new email sig, you can store it in TE and assign “
A screenshot of the control panel, courtesy of the Smile on My Mac site:
There’s just too many uses for TextExpander to try and catalog here, but I'll share a few that I particularly like...read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 4 2006
I love my Brother PT-65, which is regarded by many as the unofficial official label maker of GTD nerds (and which, quizzically, appears to have been discontinued :-().
The PT-65 has easily paid back its modest sticker price with three years of faithful service. Trouble is, I like using it so much that it's gotten to be kind of a pain to pull it out and Blackberry-thumb-type my bajillion labels via its teeny keys. Now, I want something that hooks up to my Mac.
Josh Carter's gotten me interested in the Dymo LabelWriter 330 Turbo via this handy tutorial from late last year, which covers basic setup info, plus a tip on speeding up the creation of a new label with Quicksilver.
Josh has good stuff to say about the 330:
Anybody using one of these units or similar? Care to recommend a label maker of any brand that hooks up via USB and works well with Tiger/OS X? I ♥ my little Brother, but I'm ready for Label Maker 2.0!
Merlin Mann | Sep 1 2006
Glenn Wolsey has a great little post on how he's set up and is using Mail.app. He's got some very smart stuff here, including an intriguing approach to minimalist mailbox management:
The "Interesting" folder is a new one to me, and, although I personally favor a more verb-y approach to my email buckets, that would be a cool way to bubble up stuff you don't want to miss after a big round of processing.
As we covered in Inbox Zero, it's all about liberating the actions out of your mail. Like any of this stuff, if the system makes sense to you and gives you transparent affordances for instantly knowing "where it goes" and "what you need to do about it," then you're on to something.
Nice work, Glenn!
Merlin Mann | Aug 30 2006
Wow. It's been over nine months since I quit Entourage in favor of the kGTD/iCal productivity tag-team. In that time, I could have had an infant, finished a school year, or been responsible for a couple failed sitcoms. (I mean: if I had a uterus, was still in college, and were, say, McLean Stevenson)
Yes, friends, I do still spend a lot of my day shaking my hammy fist in impotent rage at iCal's numerous shortcomings, but I've reached a kind of détente with Apple's stock calendaring app, and along the way I've discovered some modest ways to squeeze more drops of Cupertino-y goodness from its moist Jolly Rancher-like pages. Here's a few of my favorites.
Merlin Mann | Aug 15 2006
Via Andy, here's a thought-provoking post that draws from a mosaic of current and forthcoming features (including Wiki Server, iCal Calendar Sharing and the nifty-sounding Teams) to suggest that Apple's moving toward some interesting directions in social software and enhanced functionality for teams.
Merlin Mann | Aug 7 2006
Like most of you, I'm keeping an eye on today's previewed features of the upcoming "Leopard" (OS X 10.5) release.
I think I'm most intrigued so far by the idea of "to-do" functionality from within Mail.app (thanks for the tip, Matt); let's hope that also means I can deep link to a given email from my iCal task list. I also welcome the concept of built-in email templates -- although I'm kind of bummed that they seem more focused on execrable 1999-style HTML emails than on the kind of functional time-savers found in the peerless MailTemplate.
To be honest, on first blush -- and I'm sure there's much more to come by the time of release -- this feels a bit cute and a little light on really revolutionary stuff (the long overdue promise of something like Time Machine notwithstanding). Stuff like (yet. more.) iLife integration is handy enough for the notional Swithcher and Grandpa Joe, but in general I guess I'm hoping for some serious power-user improvements to the core functionality. Maybe that's just me.
What do you think? What's "Yeah!" and what's "Meh?" Anybody else holding out hope for some really deep Finder rewriting and more functional iCal updates?read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 28 2006
Following up on the (very enthusiastic) response to the MacBreak podcast about Quicksilver, I've opened a new thread on the board where people can ask questions -- and all you Quicksilver ninjas out there (given the time and interest) can maybe me help answer anything not covered in the documentation. I'll answer as many as time allows (my internet access will be spotty for a few days), so anything the QS pros can do to help would be greatly appreciated.
Stop by and get your 'Silver on!
Reminder: Good Quicksilver links:
Merlin Mann | Jul 26 2006
Merlin Mann | Jul 19 2006
An alarmed timer is one of the most simple external systems you can employ, and many of us distracted geeks have come to rely on them as a way to improve concentration, redirect attention, and bitch-slap procrastination. Why make your brain be the time-keeper and scold when you can just make some little robot do all the heavy lifting for you? Exactly.
Lucky for the Mac-scented timer geeks out there, this is an area of software development that seems to be flourishing lately, with sexy little apps like Minuteur and Dashboard widgets like ProdMe arriving on the scene to ride herd on the wandering mind.
Further, in the past week, I've stumbled across a couple more new apps that look like promising additions for the time-addled brain -- and, I'm happy to note, they look especially useful for fans of the (10+2)*5 dash.read more »
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